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Illinois Man Sues Cops Who Arrested Him for Burning a Flag

Dozens of states still have unconstitutional laws that make flag desecration a crime.

FacebookFacebookWhen Donald Trump declared that anyone who burns an American flag should go to jail, it was consistent with his general ignorance of the Constitution and his specific antipathy toward freedom of speech. But nearly three decades after Texas v. Johnson, the 1989 decision in which the Supreme Court recognized flag burning as a form of political expression protected by the First Amendment, police officers surely should understand that following Trump's suggestion would be illegal. Four cops in Urbana, Illinois, nevertheless saw nothing wrong with arresting Bryton Mellott last summer for violating a state law that makes public flag desecration a felony punishable by up to three years in prison.

In a federal lawsuit filed last week with help from the ACLU of Illinois, Mellott argues that the four officers—Kenneth D. Sprague, Jeremy A. Hale, Matthew E. McElhoe, and Andrew J. Charles—should be held personally liable for violating his First and Fourth amendment rights because their actions were clearly unconstitutional at the time. Mellott burned a flag in a friend's backyard on the evening of July 3 as a protest against America's "blind nationalistic approach to foreign and domestic issues." He posted photographs of himself holding the burning flag on Facebook, accompanied by an explanation of why "I am not proud to be an American," followed by the hashtag #ArrestMe.

Taking the bait, Officers Sprague, Hale, and McElhoe showed up the next morning at the Walmart in Savoy where Mellott worked and took him away in handcuffs after determining that his actions met the terms of the flag desecration statute. (Because part of the backyard could be seen from the street, the protest was deemed "public.") Mellott was held at the Champaign County Jail for five hours, then released with a notice to appear after a lieutenant consulted with local prosecutors. The following day, Champaign County State's Attorney Julia Rietz announced that Mellott would not be charged with violating the flag desecration statute because it is unconstitutional under Texas v. Johnson.

"Open dissent is the highest form of American patriotism," Mellott said last week. "It was a frightening display of irony that on the Fourth of July, I should be taken from my workplace to sit in a county jail for exercising this liberty."

Mellott is asking a federal judge to overturn the flag desecration statute and order appropriate damages for the violation of his constitutional rights. The police suggested that they took Mellott into custody for his own protection because of death threats from people offended by his Facebook post. But Mellott did not ask for police protection, and whatever anger was aroused by his protest would not justify charging him with a crime.

"There simply was no justification for Bryton to be arrested for his political statement," said Rebecca Glenberg, an ACLU of Illinois senior staff attorney. "If police were concerned about Bryton's safety, they should have taken action against whoever they thought was compromising his safety, not against the person engaged in constitutionally protected speech."

The Associated Press notes that "dozens of states" still have flag desecration statutes on their books. It says legislators "have been reluctant to repeal such laws either because it's politically unpalatable or it hasn't been a priority."

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • hpearce||

    I don't think most people are concerned so much anout others burning the flag, it is more about people having a right to burn the flag on public property while I probably would be arrested for burnbing my couch on public property.

    The government could/should simply prohibit the burning of substances on public property without a license as a danger to the public of starting a larger fire or perhaps pollution.

    That prohibition would not be discriminatory against flag burning and I bet would solve the public outrage too.

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    This. I have searched for years for the picture I remember of a post 9/11 Islamic idiot who burned an American flag and then had the misfortune (karma?) to get wrapped in it by a gust of wind. Most flags these days are made of petrolium based cloth which melts as well as burns, so an accident could result in someone covered in patiotic pseudo-napalm. Burning a flag in a public place is not merely a 'statement'; it is a potentially serious hazard.

    I don't advocate banning flag burning. I simply suggest that people who insist on doing it in crowds should have to get a fire permit. It is my understanding that the KKK has had to do so for its cross burning ceremonies for years. Placing flag burners on the same social level as the KKK seems about right to me.

    I also note the burning is the correct method of disposing of old, worn, or faded flags. So burning one in the privacy of,your own home or back yard should not be a problem.

  • prolefeed||

    Requiring a permit to burn a flag in public would be a blatant backdoor to reinstituting these unconstitutional bans.

    I could see citing someone for burning a flag in public IF they were doing so in such a way as to endanger others or damage property, otherwise no. Burning a couch in public, since it is a much bulkier thing, is different than burning a thin sheet of cloth, and even the couch burning could be constitutionally protected speech if somehow done as an act of protest and in a way so as to not endanger others or damage property.

  • R C Dean||

    Indeed it would. A permit is just a ban wrapped in a bureaucracy.

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    I'm not recommending a special permit for burning flags. Most places require a permit for having a fire above a certain size in a public place. Just apply those. Unlike the "shouting fire in a crowded theatre" theory of censorship, which is (I'm told) largely discredited, a fire is an actual hazard. I'm not suggesting denying permits - grant them liberally - just make e flag burners go through the same process as the KKK .... or the family barbeque in the park.

  • Eternal Blue Sky||

    "having a fire above a certain size in a public place."

    Unless we're talking about torching one of those massive jumbo-flags they fly above car dealerships and the like, methinks you're not gonna get ~near~ that "certain size" of flame with a just a flag.

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    Most of the flags I've seen being burned were in the 3 by 4 foot range, or slightly larger. A 3x4 sheet of burning petrolium products, dripping sticky globs of fire, and of a,weight to get caught by amstrong breeze and set to flapping, is at least as much of a public hazard as, say, a habachi grill.

    If people want to pour paint on a,flag, or cut it in ribbons, or trample it, I think they're pillocks, but see no reason to require a permit (although you might require them to clean up any mess). But we are altogether too fond of fire as a symbol of protest, and the people who use it at demonstrations do not strike me as reasonably cautious. I think society has a vested interest in discouraging the idea.

    As a side note; something about the Kent State protests that seldom gets mentioned (I read about it in Michner's book): the day before the National Guard was sent in, the students set fire to the ROTC building and then interfered with firefighters on the scene. An extremely stupid act that could have caused a major disaster, since a building sized blaze is not really under anyone's control. As I said, we are ENTIRELY to fond of fire at protests.

  • DarrenM||

    Even a small fire can get out of hand if there's enough fuel nearby. A spark can start a forest fire.

  • Zeb||

    Yeah, there is a safety issue if you do it in public that makes it more than free expression.

    This guy was on private property, so it is irrelevant in this case.

    I honestly don't give a fuck if anyone burns a flag for any reason. Flags are for waving at sporting events and identifying which country ships are from.

  • John Titor||

    Mellott burned a flag in a friend's backyard on the evening of July 3 as a protest against America's "blind nationalistic approach to foreign and domestic issues." He posted photographs of himself holding the burning flag on Facebook, accompanied by an explanation of why "I am not proud to be an American," followed by the hashtag #ArrestMe.

    You would think that in general people would be smart enough to realize that 90% of flag burnings just scream "PAY ATTENTION TO MEEEEEE".

    "Open dissent is the highest form of American patriotism...It was a frightening display of irony that on the Fourth of July, I should be taken from my workplace to sit in a county jail for exercising this liberty."

    Oh, and you were talking all that good shit before about blind nationalism.

  • Billy Bones||

    "You would think that in general people would be smart enough to realize that 90% of flag burnings just scream "PAY ATTENTION TO MEEEEEE"."

    I would think that is the point of any protest 100% of the time. Seems rather pointless to protest something if no one knows you are protesting.

  • John Titor||

    There's a difference between protesting in regards to issues and "look at how freaking edgy I am".

  • Aloysious||

  • Not a True MJG||

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Being free is messy. People do things that you might not like.

    On that note, littering is littering. If someone burns a US flag they should clean it up or get a littering ticket. Same thing if you burn a couch in public.

    I wish people would not burn the US flag as many brave Americans have fought and died for America and one of its symbols- the US Flag. That is why burn it - to gain attention because it does upset people so much.

  • gaoxiaen||

    Unless it's Dondero's couch. Then the EPA's involved.

  • Sevo||

    Sure that's not the DEA?

  • Pompey: Ho Class Mothersmucker||

    Nicely played. I might have chosen BATFE with all of the stored methane and all.

  • Zeb||

    If you fought and died for a flag, you are kind of an idiot. People put way too much into symbolism. Yeah, the flag symbolizes American values or something. But destroying a flag harms nothing.

    Don't worry about the fucking flag. The flag is nothing. Worry about the decay of the values and principles that made this country something special and the ever more tyrannical government.

  • Trshmnstr, Grump Apprentice||

    This.

  • Curt2004||

    +100

  • DarrenM||

    The whole point of "symbolism" is that it's a symbol for something else that is NOT a symbol. No one literally fights for a flag. They fight for what it represents to them. (Sheesh!)

  • Not a True MJG||

    Is that why burn it? Or is broader statement about US, which symbol is.

  • Eternal Blue Sky||

    "I wish people would not burn the US flag"

    Meh. It's a stupid lookin' flag. We could've gone for the badass one with the snake, but nah, let's have a crapload of stars and lines instead.

  • Jerryskids||

    The police suggested that they took Mellott into custody for his own protection because of death threats from people offended by his Facebook post.

    And yet that threat is not dissipated merely by his being taken into custody, the internet is forever and so too will the threats be. Therefore, I would suggest the guy needs to be guarded to some extent for the rest of his life, perhaps by having his name put on a list of people the police need to keep a close eye on. For his own protection, of course.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    You have a far better chance protecting yourself outside jail than in jail.

  • Lachowsky||

    The flag was burned last last summer. WTF does it have to do with The Donald's tweets from a few weeks ago?

  • BigT||

    The flag burning idea is spreading like wildfire. Trump is fired up about it. That burns up the talking heads.

  • Cliché Bandit||

    * SLAP *

  • Roger the Shrubber||

    There was a presidential campaign going on last summer, and IIRC, Donald Trump was involved and was vocal about his random thoughts on Twitter. I could be wrong as I have been on a bender since July 4, 2016.

  • Jerryskids||

    Does the Reason commentariat have an anti-cop bias? I'd have to say so - A former Harris County sheriff's deputy accused of producing pornography depicting bestiality is facing three more felonies after police said a forensic search of his home computer turned up more than 200 images of child pornography.

    C'mon man, after all the nutpunches of cops shooting dogs, we get a story of a cop showing a dog some love - and nobody wants to comment on it? You people make me sick.

  • Swiss Servator||

    *slow clap*

  • Lachowsky||

    I can't speak for the rest of the commentariat, but I certainly have an anti cop bias. I think anyone who doesn't at least have a heavy skepticism of them should have their head examined.

  • Zeb||

    Hell yes.

    They are pretty much all willing to ruin your life over some petty bullshit. Fuck cops.

  • Mainer2||

    Anyone catch NCIS Los Angeles last night ? Through some nefarious plot the stars were being arrested by various other law enforcement agencies and being subjected to the treatment they were used to inflicting on others. And they was pissed !

  • This Machine Chips Fascists||

    They fucking hate it when they don't get their professional courtesies.

  • Crusty Juggler||

    I'm all for free speech, but I draw the line at burning the American flag. I didn't storm the beaches at Normandy so that some hippie who works at American-hating Wal-Mart could desecrate the symbol of this once great nation.

    Free speech is fine, burning the flag isn't - it's that simple.

  • ||

    *salutes Crusty's flag - no the other flag*

  • Claytron||

    You can't be "all for free speech" with a caveat.

  • Swiss Servator||

    Report for sarcasm-meter calibration.

  • straffinrun||

    I think Crusty was serious on this one. He is Francis Scott Keys half brother.

  • Radioactive||

    they could have just shot the fucker in the kneecap...

  • ||

    Crusty was never the same after Omaha Beach.

    So many bloody holes to be filled and he only has one dick. He has some sort of DDPTSD (Dutch Dyke Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    Free speech includes speach that annoys or enrages you, or it isn't worth a damn. Besides, flag burners are permenant adolescents craving attention because Daddy didn't love them. Can't say I blame him. Ignore them and with any luck they'll go away, possibly via slit wrists or sleeping pills.

  • DWC||

    It doesn't just "include" annoying speech. It is specifically to protect that kind of speech. There is no need to protect generally accepted speech.

  • Eternal Blue Sky||

    It's a stupid flag and you're stupid for likin' it.

    ~I~ didn't storm the beaches of Normandy just to be represented by some lame piece of cloth with a ludicrous amount of stars and some lines drawn on it. No, give me more badass flag. Something people can look at and go "that's fuckin sweet".

  • Eternal Blue Sky||

    I mean this is one area where Mexico just plain has America beaten.

    Mexico?? Eagle engaged in mortal combat with a SNAKE. While standing on a cactus!! That's fuckin' metal!!

    America?? Looks like it was designed by some unimaginative hack with a pentagram fetish.

  • Curt2004||

    Newsflash: Human life > piece of f'ing cloth + Nationalism = brainwashing

  • ||

    No AM Links for MLK day?

    Is Reason a bank or are they part of the post office?

  • Swiss Servator||

    Markets close, so do the Mourning Lynx!

  • ||

    Ere body jus sittin 'round waiting on linxs while Fist be fappin away.

  • Free Society||

    Fist is the bringer of Linx. When they fail to arrive, you can only blame him or Robby. But I actually like Fist, so I blame Robby.

  • Mantis Toboggan, Jr.||

    I like the idea that M. Night Shyamalan's new movie Split is a depiction of the many personalities of Fist. Sometimes he's "Robby Soave", sometimes he's "Shikha Dalmia", sometimes he's...well, this is why we don't talk about...you know who.

    That's why everyone in the comments is a Tulpa sock; Fist showed us the way.

  • ||

    *reported as spam*

  • Mantis Toboggan, Jr.||

    Stepfanie...I agree,LordHumoguss' st0ry is amazin...I bougt a Kia Sephia after jsut 4-weeks on my new online job,,,click here.

  • ||

    I dream of the day that I can drive a Kia Sephia! /s

  • Zeb||

    Your ideas fascinate me.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Subscribe to his newsletter.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Raving lunatic watch

    But let's not talk about Mr. Trump's ravings. Instead, let's ask whether Mr. Lewis was right to say what he said. Is it O.K., morally and politically, to declare the man about to move into the White House illegitimate?

    Yes, it is. In fact, it's an act of patriotism.

    By any reasonable standard, the 2016 election was deeply tainted. It wasn't just the effects of Russian intervention on Mr. Trump's behalf; Hillary Clinton would almost surely have won if the F.B.I. hadn't conveyed the false impression that it had damaging new information about her, just days before the vote. This was grotesque, delegitimizing malfeasance, especially in contrast with the agency's refusal to discuss the Russia connection.

    Was there even more to it? Did the Trump campaign actively coordinate with a foreign power? Did a cabal within the F.B.I. deliberately slow-walk investigations into that possibility? Are the lurid tales about adventures in Moscow true? We don't know, although Mr. Trump's creepy obsequiousness to Vladimir Putin makes it hard to dismiss these allegations. Even given what we do know, however, no previous U.S. president-elect has had less right to the title. So why shouldn't we question his legitimacy?

    Will Krugabe get the professional help he so desperately needs before it's too late?

  • Mainer2||

    When did Trump stopp beating his wife ? I'm just asking questions.

  • BigT||

    Um....as soon as she learned how to play checkers?

  • Mantis Toboggan, Jr.||

    Even given what we do know, however, no previous U.S. president-elect has had less right to the title.

    Because he won fewer popular votes than Hillary?

  • Gadfly||

    Even assuming all the accusations against Trump are true, saying that "no previous president has had less right to the title" would be an idiotic/ignorant statement. Some candidates for less right to the title are:

    John F Kennedy, due to voter fraud in 1960

    Rutherford B Hayes, the only president to win despite his opponent earning a majority of the popular vote, in an election wherein the validity of several states' electoral votes were contested

    John Q Adams, the only president to win by being selected by the House of Representatives, despite winning fewer popular votes and electoral votes than Andrew Jackson

  • ChipToBeSquare||

    Sadbeard has at least been critical of a few of the main Democratic narratives. It's surprising because Vox is typically the absolute worst of the worst for establishment Dems

  • Tyler.C||

    Law and Order: Krugman edition

    "Your honor I object in the ground that the defendant is icky and most people don't like him"

  • thom||

    As somebody who enjoys a relatively stable life, I've felt that the language being used by the mainstream left is getting a little uncomfortable for me. This is the kind of language that can spiral into violence and unrest.

  • Trshmnstr, Grump Apprentice||

    Keep your powder dry, my friend.

  • Radioactive||

    and your pistol loaded...

  • Not a True MJG||

    In fact, it's an act of patriotism.

    Huh, what a peculiar fact.

  • R C Dean||

    It wasn't just the effects of Russian intervention on Mr. Trump's behalf;

    Near as anyone can tell, it was Russian outlets exercising free speech, some of which echoed through American outlets doing the same. Clearly, we can't have free speech tainting elections.

    Hillary Clinton would almost surely have won if the F.B.I. hadn't conveyed the false impression that it had damaging new information about her, just days before the vote

    Ah, the Weiner leak. Which the FBI actually sat on of weeks, trying to figure out how on earth it could take a look at emails on a computer. And which the FBI then cleared up in what has to be beyond record time - less than 10 days, if memory serves, to conclude that none of hundreds of thousands of emails were relevant. Let's just slide past the underlying issues that made this a story - Hillary's grotesquely insecure and illegal use of private email, her creepy hanger-on with the perv husband, and the bizarre antics around the decision not to prosecute.

    But you keep on keeping on, lefty dimwit.

  • Mainer2||

    I thought the result of investigating Weiner's e-mails was that Comey exonerated Hillary a second time. Now it turns out he cost her the election ? So hard to keep the narrative straight.

  • BigT||

    the Weiner leak

    Someone's weiner was leaking?

    I guess that happens to old guys like Donald.

  • Not a True MJG||

    Did the Trump campaign actively coordinate with a foreign power? Did a cabal within the F.B.I. deliberately slow-walk investigations into that possibility? Are the lurid tales about adventures in Moscow true?

    Does any of this matter? Particularly the "lurid tales," what do those have to do with anything?

    Was any American force into voting for Trump, or prevented from voting for Clinton? Were any Americans subjected to extraordinary propaganda or manipulation by either side? Clinton was caught on tape talking about her public position vs her private position, but that's legitimate manipulation of the electorate, right?

  • Jerryskids||

    Is it O.K., morally and politically, to declare the man about to move into the White House illegitimate?

    Yes, it is. In fact, it's an act of patriotism.

    So by his own reasoning, he's either unpatriotic or he's calling Trump illegitimate.

    But as I've said many times, Homo sapiens is not a reasoning creature, it's a rationalizing creature. We don't generally study the facts and draw conclusions, we draw conclusions and then study the facts to find ones that support our conclusions. As much as people may claim this, that, or the other affected the election, I find it improbable that anything that came out in the campaign changed anybody's mind about who they were going to vote for. You're a moron if whatever came out at the last minute about Hillary was some big reveal that changed your mind - "Oh, wow! This makes Hillary look like some greedy power-hungry evil bitch willing to do anything for a buck or a vote. Good thing I learned about this before I voted for her like I've been planning to do!", said no one ever.

  • Mainer2||

    Did the Trump campaign actively coordinate with a foreign power? Did a cabal within the F.B.I. deliberately slow-walk investigations into that possibility? Are the lurid tales about adventures in Moscow true?

    Is Judge Napalitano ghost writing for Krugman ?

  • BigT||

    the 2016 election was deeply tainted.

    Just because Hillary was running?

    Or are you referring to Melania ... or Ivanka?

  • Atanarjuat||

    A generation ago, we had Deep Throat. In 2017, we have Deep Taint.

  • DarrenM||

    Stay tuned.

  • ||

    Randy tortoise fitted with a pair of wheels after sex sessions wore out his legs

    They are used whenever his back left leg swells up, and his keepers believe he is the largest tortoise in the world to have such wheels fitted.

    The randy tortoise lives at the Secret Animal Garden at the Dinosaur Adventure Park in Norfolk, where his keepers took the drastic move after they noticed severe swelling in his rear legs restricted his movement.

    Vets noticed the issue when he returned from a breeding programme in 2011.
  • Mantis Toboggan, Jr.||

    Randy Tortoise should go on tour with Harvey Danger and Lucious Jackson and The Pon Farr Brothers.

  • Roger the Shrubber||

    his keepers believe he is the largest tortoise in the world to have such wheels fitted.

    All those wheel fitted randy tortoises should form a support group.

  • Swiss Servator||

    Randy Wheeled Tortoises... on Tour, Summer of '17!

  • ||

    So it's the Rolling Stones?

  • Mainer2||

    They were making jokes about wheel chairs when the Stones did the Steel Wheels tour. And that was in 1989. Twenty fucking seven years ago.

  • Necron 99||

    I saw them on that tour in Dallas - damn I'm old. Not Rolling Stone old mind you, just "it's been twenty fucking seven years? Dammit!" old.

  • Tyler.C||

    This is the cost of tortoise sex trafficking

  • BigT||

    after they noticed severe swelling in his rear legs

    That's not his leg that's swelling...

  • ||

    Heads Are Finally Beginning To Roll At The Clinton Foundation

    The layoffs were reportedly announced internally in September, ahead of Clinton's stunning loss to President-elect Donald Trump. Many other employees had already begun looking for or accepting other jobs at that time, as it had become clear the future of the initiative was in doubt. It's unclear how many of the once 200 strong staff might remain at the Clinton Foundation in some other capacity.

    The Clinton Foundation could not immediately be reached for comment.
  • Lachowsky||

    It's damn damn difficult to sell influence when you are all out.

  • Entropy Drehmaschine Void||

    The Clinton Foundation could not immediately be reached for comment.

    Nobody there to answer the phone ...

  • R C Dean||

    Could they have done anything more to confirm that it was an influence peddling and money laundering operation?

  • Mongo||

    Since it's MLK Day you'd think that the Reason online ad staff could arrange to show some foxy browns or fly sisters in the ad images.

  • prolefeed||

    Just google "hot black women". Do we have to do everything for you?

    OTOH, I just have to stroll in the other room and kiss my GF to accomplish that.

  • bacon-magic||

    ^Tulpa social signal confirmed
    Kiss her for me, too. Never mind...some things you have to do yourself if you want it done right. *kissy smooch face

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Tribalist morons, assemble!

    With a single tweet on Thursday, President-elect Donald J. Trump pulled L. L. Bean, the Maine retailer known for its boots, jackets and preppy New England aesthetic, back into a political crossfire.

    The company was already facing a boycott from liberal customers after reports that Linda Bean, a granddaughter of the company's founder, had donated thousands of dollars to a political action committee that supported Mr. Trump's presidential campaign. The donations turned out to be illegal.

    These are perilous times for brands, with partisans on both sides threatening boycotts. Grab Your Wallet, a group that opposes Mr. Trump, added L. L. Bean to its list. Company executives pleaded with the critics to reconsider. Shawn Gorman, L. L. Bean's executive chairman, declared on Sunday that "we stay out of politics."

    Left wing vigilante mobs good, right wing vigilante mobs bad. Remember this.

  • ||

    Meh. As long as Twitter continues to get what's coming to it.

  • Tyler.C||

    When you are angry at Twitter, just remember this. They have never ever turned a profit. Didn't that make you feel good?

  • Not a True MJG||

    With a single tweet on Thursday, President-elect Donald J. Trump pulled L. L. Bean, the Maine retailer known for its boots, jackets and preppy New England aesthetic, back into a political crossfire.

    The company was already facing a boycott from liberal customers

    Ahem...

  • Longtobefree||

    "When a flag is so tattered that it no longer fits to serve as a symbol of the United States, it should be destroyed in a dignified manner, preferably by burning"
    Guess I missed the dignified part on this one - - - -

    Idle curiosity, what about the "fighting words" exception? Apply here, or just when a snowflake melts at the truth?

  • Mainer2||

    According to FIRE, the exception is only for " abusive language, exchanged face to face, which would likely provoke a violent reaction." Incitement is a related doctrine, allowing the government to prohibit advocacy of unlawful actions if the advocacy is both intended to and likely to cause immediate breach of the peace.

    So no, what this guy did is not even close to meeting either of those standards.

  • DarrenM||

    In an internet age, I'm not sure "face to face" has the same meaning it once did.

  • Zeb||

    Is "fighting words" still a thing? It really shouldn't be. If you feel compelled to use violence against someone who insults you or offends you, you are the problem.

  • Swiss Servator||

    It still is - but it is harder to use these days. You all but have to get to someone standing near your family and gleefully shouting "I am going to rape your child and eat their heart" before you can successfully invoke it.

  • DarrenM||

    No, it's the other guy's problem for triggering you since you are obviously a mentally unstable psychopath (but I suppose that's redundant) and can't be held accountable for your own actions.

  • Deep Lurker||

    It's "...in a dignified manner, preferably by burning in private."

    The "in private" is what makes it dignified.

    Burning the flag in public is rude, but rudeness to make a point is free speech and ought to be protected. And flag-burning is just a variant on the time-honored protest of burning a person in effigy.

  • Password: pode$ta||

    When Donald Trump declared that anyone who burns an American flag should go to jail, it was consistent with his general ignorance of the Constitution and his specific antipathy toward freedom of speech.

    ...

    police officers surely should understand that following Trump's suggestion would be illegal. Four cops in Urbana, Illinois, nevertheless saw nothing wrong with arresting Bryton Mellott last summer for violating a state law that makes public flag desecration a felony punishable by up to three years in prison.


    Did The Donald's November tweet travel back in time to July to make these cops arrest this kid? If so, I really wish I would've voted for our first digital time-traveling President.

    As a matter of fact, what does any of this story have to do with Trump, at all?

  • R C Dean||

    Its a Bad Thing, therefore Trump?

  • ||

    Pictures of pretty ladeez:

    Could This Be Guam's Year?

    The Miss Universe pageant is coming around again; the finale will take place in Manila on January 29. Somewhat weirdly, they are calling it "Miss Universe 2016," even though it is actually Miss Universe 2017. You may remember last year's pageant, when the announcer mistakenly announced Miss Dominican Republic as the winner, only to have to retract after the crown had been placed on her head, and award the title to Miss Philippines.

    This year's contest has a number of story lines. Miss USA, Deshauna Barber, is the first woman actively serving in the US Army Reserve to represent the U.S. in the pageant:

    Miss Barber says:

    Considering all the events happening nationally and internationally, I feel most inclined to say God Bless America. I feel most inclined to say "I Am A Proud American". Every Time I put on my uniform I thank God for allowing me another opportunity to represent the greatest nation in the world.
  • Lachowsky||

    I remember the mess Paula Dean got into a few years back for her supposed racist comments. As the outrage machine was kicking into high gear, I went and bought a while new set of Paula Dean cookware.

  • Lachowsky||

    Meant to be a reply to the late p brooks.

  • ||

    First lady Melania and the political fashion police

    elania has high heels to fill. Not only is she the only first lady to come from the fashion world, she succeeds one of the most stylish and beloved first ladies of all.

    Obama seduced the fashion world with her deft mix of high street favorites and high fashion, championing young and minority designers, managing to look both relatable and effortlessly chic at the same time.


    It remains unclear what path Melania will take. Years ago, she said she would like to be a "traditional" first lady like Jackie Kennedy -- famed for her timeless elegance and love of French as well as American fashion.

    But she comes into the role at a time when an unprecedented number of designers are saying she simply isn't their style or urging each other not to dress her because of her husband's insult-dishing, divisive campaign.
  • Mainer2||

    Every wife of a Democrat president is the second coming of Jackie O. This is known.

  • Roger the Shrubber||

    I don't think HRC was ever regarded in that way.

  • Mantis Toboggan, Jr.||

    Among recent Democrat two-term presidents, Michelle is an improvement over her predecessor.

  • AlmightyJB||

    Agreed.

  • John Titor||

    There's a lot I disagree with Gavin McInnes on, but he was absolutely spot on when he talked about what an utter scumbag Michelle Obama was for lecturing and snobbishly tut-tutting fathers while completely avoiding talking about her own. Her dad was one of those guys who worked fifty hours a week, and HE HAD FREAKING MS.

  • Not a True MJG||

    I think she's quite unpleasant, but she wears good clothes/has good clothes made for her.

    The story is why anyone gives a shit how the partner of an elected official dresses. She's not our mommy, you morons, nor does she become some symbol of fashion or class for being married to the 'right' guy.

  • Free Society||

    I pray that soon, the media will stop making such a public display of sucking Michelle Obama's fabled penis. All she did was virtue signal about fat kids, fuck up school lunches and be unduly credited as the hottest First Lady since Jackie. The time has come to set aside Wookie standards of beauty.

  • Zeb||

    In her younger years, at least, Nancy Reagan was probably the best looking first lady. But aside from her, it's been a whole lot of meh since Kennedy. And if not for the permanent bitch face, Michelle Obama wouldn't be bad looking.

  • Free Society||

    And if not for the permanent bitch face, Michelle Obama wouldn't be bad looking.

    Or her fangs. Or her wookie arms. Or her man shoulders.

  • Zeb||

    Well, to each his own. I would (in fantasy world where I wouldn't have to talk to her or ever see her again or face any other repercussions).

  • straffinrun||

    She reminds me of that thing in the basement in Goonies.

  • Mantis Toboggan, Jr.||

  • VG Zaytsev||

    In her younger years, at least, Nancy Reagan was probably the best looking first lady. But aside from her, it's been a whole lot of meh since Kennedy. And if not for the permanent bitch face, Michelle Obama wouldn't be bad looking

    For an NFL linebacker or body builder.

  • BigT||

    Young Barbara Bush!

  • prolefeed||

    be unduly credited as the hottest First Lady since Jackie

    To be fair, Michelle Obama is a good looking women, and the other first ladies were not exactly hotties.

  • Zeb||

    Oh my god, who the fuck cares?

  • John Titor||

    Christ, just drop the pretense and install an Emperor already, so these idiot peasants can preen over the New Aristocracy.

  • Free Society||

    Install an Emperor, replete with an imperial family, palaces and have the best of the best reserved for them. The upside is that every time taxes go up, people will be more likely to say "fuck you, cut taxes" because every tax increase or new security measure cannot be described as "the will of the people". Too many bad laws squeak by on the pretense of democratic institutions.

  • thom||

    I've been watching "The Crown" recently and it's made me wonder if we wouldn't be better off having a relatively powerless family as the head of state (Obamas would be perfect for the role) and then let less stylish people go about the business of governing. Doesn't really seem to work in the UK though.

  • Not a True MJG||

    Except the Obamas wouldn't be content being powerless, and they certainly wouldn't keep quiet.

    But it does seem like a good compromise to keep the idiots pleased.

  • John Titor||

    Welcome to the constitutional monarchist club, God Save the Queen. But I would reject the Obamas in favour of someone who could actually act royal...that is, respectable and proper. I'm going to miss Liz.

    Doesn't really seem to work in the UK though.

    Too much loss of power, and an unwritten constitution (that's the bigger problem in Britain).

  • Number.6||

    Well, that's the subject of an argument put forward by Hans-Herman Hoppe - one of the points also being that an Imperial/Royal Family have skin in the game - they have an incentive to ensure that civil society is maintained, because their offspring will end up inheriting whatever mess they have left them.

    The British Royal Family isn't utterly powerless - but its power is at this point somewhat theoretical and is maintained by the recognition that Queen Brenda isn't an utter howling loon. Public veneration for Elizabeth *as an individual* is substantial, but it looks like we'll find out pretty soon what the public stance is on the rest of them.

    Considering the fact they're a bunch of Germans, I'd say the Windsors haven't done an awfully bad job to date, although they let a not-so-crypto Nazi sympathizer get way t oo close to running the show.

  • straffinrun||

  • AlmightyJB||

    Put Congress on Obamacare.

  • Zeb||

    Is that a SugarFree story? I'm only clicking the link if it is.

  • Trshmnstr, Grump Apprentice||

    Warty Hugeman v. the erection-withering old hags

  • ||

    Even the Doomcock of Doom wouldn't stand a chance against their combined anti-boner power.

  • Mantis Toboggan, Jr.||

    Warty Hugeman v. the erection-withering old hags

    Result: gamma rays.

  • chemjeff||

    Yeah but we get at least 35,040 hours with Trump....

  • Swiss Servator||

    Thanks for that, you buzzkill.

  • Free Society||

    How much raw derp can Obama cram into four days? We shall see.

  • Pompey: Ho Class Mothersmucker||

    Officially under 100 hours of Block Insane Yomomma left. Halle-fuckin-lujah. Hopefully we can hold off Curled Fart III just a little longer.

  • Swiss Servator||

    Curled Fart III? Not Worried Wart III?

    Nice job, though - my carping aside.

  • Pompey: Ho Class Mothersmucker||

    Mike didn't leave much to work with today unfortunately, proper noun-wise. He fucking loves Block Yomomma and played it like the timeless hilarious classic that it really is.

  • John Titor||

    I don't listen to hiphop, so I don't know who this Block Yomomma character is. But hey, at least there's a couple days of the Obama Presidency left.

  • Swiss Servator||

    Meh. His career peaked as the opening act for Common, a while back.

  • Not a True MJG||

    I'm sure your life will be markedly improved come Friday. Suddenly everything will be coming up Dyke Fem.

  • ||

    Why 'Fat Shaming' Celebrity Feminists Is Counterproductive

    The truth is, there are no hard and fast rules on what is considered plus size. Some brands uses models between 10 and 12, others like Lane Bryant use anywhere from 14 to 24. But it was interesting that Schumer posted a photo of herself in a bathing suit in order to combat Glamour's categorization of her. Some may argue her rant and photo are also a form of "body shaming" the rest of us.

    The other frequent target, especially when it comes to comments on her looks, is Lena Dunham. She seems to keep herself in the news by making ridiculously tone-deaf statement—like when she recently said during a podcast, "Now I can say that I still haven't had an abortion, but I wish I had."

    She now claims it was a "distasteful joke," which still misses the mark in explaining a stupid comment that many feminists like her stupidly believe. They truly believe getting an abortion is an empowering experience with no consequences. It's not a joke gone wrong—it's their entire political platform.

    The author sounds fat.

  • straffinrun||

    I can't even tell if I'm being lectured or not. On cue, critics were quick to point out that Schumer doesn't have the same body type as Barbie. Ok, I'm just being trolled.

  • DJF||

    Even before becoming President, Trump is not only making the US Great Again but the world

    """"""U2 delays album release in light of Trump victory"""

    http://www.cnn.com/2017/01/10/.....bum-trump/

  • ||

    Pompous asses.

  • John Titor||

    Bono said that Trump was the worst thing to ever happen in U.S. history, before he won. I mean, I would probably put slavery or the Civil War or something up at the top, but Bono clearly knows what he's talking about.

  • ||

    He's a moron.

    Progs give the appearance of sounding all rational when they control the narrative and power. The second they lose it they revert to their actual natural default position: Emotion.

  • Free Society||

    I think the world will survive.

  • Mantis Toboggan, Jr.||

    Related: Bruce Springsteen questions Trump's competency

    I can't think of a person more qualified to raise such questions.

  • Mainer2||

    Meryl Streep, George Clooney, Joy Behar, Martin Sheen, Sally Field........Keegan-Michael Key, for cryin' out loud. The list is just endless.

  • thom||

    Most of them, yeah. But Martin Sheen was a great President.

  • DJF||

    Don't forget Rosie O'Donnell whose plan to save democracy from Trump is to impose martial law.

  • ||

    Behar is ESPECIALLY retarded.

    Didn't Clooney recently try his hand at being a smart alec saying, 'aren't you supposed to be running the country' in defense of Streep?

    Huh.

  • ||

    These celebrities just show more every day how out of touch with the real world they are. It's easy to see that most of the world are starting to wake up and reject global socialism. But these fools see nothing.

  • AlmightyJB||

    I'm disappointed at the lack of links outrage.

  • Chip Woodier||

    I'm gonna go ahead and start the looting now.

  • Swiss Servator||

    *hardheartedly makes effort to set mattress on fire and clang food tray against cell door*

    ATTICA! Attica. ....meh.

  • ||

    *eventually joins half-hearted protest - after my nap*

  • rudehost||

    I am personally liable for anything I do in my job as is any private worker. The police should be no different. Start holding them civilly liable for their behavior and watch how quickly that behavior changes. I hope he gets a million or two from each of them.

  • Free Society||

    I am personally liable for anything I do in my job as is any private worker. The police should be no different. Start holding them civilly liable for their behavior and watch how quickly that behavior changes.

    They should also criminally liable when applicable, that's the true rarity. That's when you could safely say they're "no different" than anyone else.

  • rudehost||

    Agree although in theory they are already criminally liable for their behavior. In most cases I believe they have sovereign immunity.

  • Free Society||

    qualified immunity. "Yes I committed acts that would earn any peasant a couple of life sentences, but I was clocked-in and wearing my special costume at the time so..."

  • Tyler.C||

    The SCOTUS, for some reason disagrees. Didn't they just uphold qualified immunity in pretty much any case that doesn't put Hitler to shame?

  • R C Dean||

    Yup.

    As a pure judicial doctrine, though, with zero Constitutional footing, it can be changed by the legislature (stop laughing!) or the courts (I mean it, stop laughing).

  • kbolino||

    The reasoning was pretty bad, too, especially for a unanimous decision. We have to keep qualified immunity strong because otherwise it wouldn't be immunity! Never you peasants mind the meaning of the word "qualified"...

  • Mainer2||

    Not being held personally responsible for your actions is being held to a higher standard. No that doesn't make sense to me either.

  • ||

    There was a movement getting started to do just that, but then the genius Democrats invented BLM to make it all about race and that was the end of that.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "I am personally liable for anything I do in my job as is any private worker. "

    Personal liability is a problem that can be easily addressed with the assistance of a lawyer. Or you could incorporate yourself with a service like LegalZoom.

    You should be held criminally responsible for anything you willfully choose to do that violates someone's rights, but criminal justice isn't so much of a popularity contest. Civil court is another matter. Part of the issue is the different jury requirements and the different standard of proof in civil court. Only a simple majority is required in a civil case rather than unanimity, and it's only by a preponderance of the evidence--not beyond a reasonable doubt.

    In some jurisdictions where the police are especially unpopular, you'd have to be a moron to be a cop if every mistake you made might open you up to personal liability.

  • R C Dean||

    Personal liability is a problem that can be easily addressed with the assistance of a lawyer.

    Addressed? To some extent. Easily? Not a chance.

    Or you could incorporate yourself with a service like LegalZoom.

    You are personally liable for anything you do personally. A corporation doesn't change that.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "Start holding them civilly liable for their behavior and watch how quickly that behavior changes.

    This suggestion is usually that the taxpayers shouldn't be on the hook for the mistakes of a cop--that they should only be able to go after the individual cop in question.

    Regardless, the suggestion was that things somehow need to be changed.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "Addressed? To some extent. Easily? Not a chance."

    $149 plus filing fees. In Delaware, I think you're looking at less than $100 in fees.

    http://tinyurl.com/jy6ory9

    Open a bank account online.

    Hold meetings with yourself quarterly.

    It's pretty easy.

    I doubt many UPS drivers get sued personally for being in an accident. If you're driving a truck for yourself, and you want to protect your personal assets, there's a pretty easy way to do that, right?

  • Pompey: Ho Class Mothersmucker||

    Your corporate entity cannot be your alter ego and there must be a clear distinction between your personal activity ("Or you could incorporate yourself with a service like LegalZoom.) and what you circumscribe as the [specific] activities of your corporation.

  • R C Dean||

    As I said, Ken, you are always personally liable for what you do personally. Having a corporation doesn't matter. Corporations only limit the liability of the owners arising from acts of other people working in the corporation.

  • Ken Shultz||

    The suggestion was that things somehow need to be changed.

  • R C Dean||

    Not personal v corporate liability. The immunity of government workers from liability. Different things.

  • R C Dean||

    I doubt many UPS drivers get sued personally for being in an accident.

    Only because its not worth it given the assets they likely have. They are technically liable, its just that the company is also liable, and is worth suing. Plus, the plaintiff doesn't want to alienate the employee for depositions and the like.

  • rudehost||

    "In some jurisdictions where the police are especially unpopular, you'd have to be a moron to be a cop if every mistake you made might open you up to personal liability."

    So? Isn't that the world the rest of us operate in? You think business owners in Berkley aren't in the same situation? I think it would be a great idea to fix the system of civil liability for everyone. Government employees do not deserve a special carve out exception.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "Isn't that the world the rest of us operate in?"

    No.

    Maybe if the police started treating their cops as independent contractors and required them to carry liability insurance like a surgeon.

    You'd have to start paying them all like brain surgeons, too. In some jurisdictions, it would be like brain surgeons who know they're going to get sued a dozen times a year.

    And, once again, police work isn't meant to be precise. The standards are "reasonable suspicion" and "probable cause". They're not meant to be judge, jury, prosecutor, and legislator, too.

    I AM THE LAW!

    They're not supposed to only arrest guilty people. Guilt, innocence, that's all for others to decide.

    If a careless cop becomes an undue financial burden on a city, they should fire him for that reason.

    If a bad cop intentionally violates someone's rights, he should be prosecuted like any other suspected criminal.

  • rudehost||

    Your point was cops are special because in some jurisdictions they are hated. That describes business owners as well. I imagine if you are a gay person living in OK you would have a similar issue. Any group or profession you can think of is theoretically liable for their behavior in a hostile locale. You talked quite a bit without addressing that critique of your point.

  • Ken Shultz||

    If it opened the arresting officer up to personal liability claims every time an arrest didn't or shouldn't result in a criminal conviction, the world would be less free in all sorts of ways. For one, the cops would be less inclined to get involved in situations where they weren't personally witnesses to the crime. The standard for arresting a suspect shouldn't be "beyond a reasonable doubt". Another obvious problem is that prosecutors would start feeling compelled to prosecute people for things they decline to prosecute now--just to help protect the police from personal liability. That isn't conducive to a free society that protects people's rights.

    Because someone was arrested for something that shouldn't be against the law isn't a good reason to change the way personal liability works. Because someone was arrested for something that shouldn't be a crime is a good to change the law so that thing isn't a crime anymore.

  • prolefeed||

    You're burning a strawman in an article about burning a flag.

    The lawsuit is attempting to hold the police officers personally liable for throwing someone in a cage for an act that they should have known was a constitutionally protected form of free speech with a clear SCOTUS precedent affirming that free speech right.

    I think holding police officers personally liable when they obviously violate civil rights would cause cops to read the Constitution cover to cover and think about whether what they are about to do would violate someone's rights.

    It's not like this was a split second decision by a single officer. Four officers had ample time to think this through, and they still proceeded with caging the protester.

  • Ken Shultz||

    There's no straw man anywhere in sight.

    You're trying to hold a policeman responsible for enforcing a law that's unconstitutional?

    That isn't the job of the police. That's the job of legislature. That's the job of the courts.

    You're trying to hold the police personally responsible for what the courts and the legislature's failures.

    That's the job of the jury. If a law is unconstitutional, then a jury shouldn't convict them for violating it and a judge shouldn't sentence someone for being convicted.

    I'd rather the police used their discretion to not arrest people for breaking this unconstitutional law. But suing them because they arrest people for breaking the law is absurd.

    The solution is to change the law--not sue the police because the law is bad.

  • rudehost||

    The arrest was illegal per a SCOTUS decision. Ignorance of the law is no excuse for the rest of us. Cops should be no different. I think civil liability with a non-trivial damage award is appropriate here. I said a million or two but I think realistically 50k or 100k would send the message quite nicely.

  • prolefeed||

    Because someone was arrested for something that shouldn't be a crime is a good to change the law so that thing isn't a crime anymore.

    Perverse incentives. The law was on the books despite being struck down as unconstitutional, because the legislators who enacted the law didn't want to take the political hit for formally removing it from the statute books.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Because the legislature doesn't do its job is not a good reason to sue police for what the legislature should have done.

  • DarrenM||

    I wonder how much cops would get paid if their jobs were on the open market assuming they did not have any special legal protections. You'd have to weight the risk of getting prosecuted with the benefits.

  • Mainer2||

    As I recall, Rehnquist said flag burning was an "inarticulate grunt ". That makes no sense. People react strongly to the symbolism of burning the flag, and the reaction itself demonstrates that the act is something more than a grunt.

  • Pompey: Ho Class Mothersmucker||

    OT: For anyone into EPA policy, the confirmation hearing for Trump's Administrator nominee is scheduled for this Wednesday at 10AM. I'm clearing my agenda for the full day to watch the complete hearing livestreamed on YouTube because I fucking love Science and the on-demand technology. I even convinced myself to suspend all speaking in tongues and ritualistic river pollution activities for the occasion, drink beer, and eat popcorn.Nyah.

    Anyone who gives a flying fuck about the scientific method, the distinction between causation and correlation, and the very clear distinction between conclusions derived from empirical observations & physical law should be interested to learn that science will be on trial. Of course anyone that sued the EPA must be a snake-handling Denier-Heretic because the Science is Settled.

    P.S.: my own personal interests in the EPA spectacle revolve primarily around its arrogance, almost complete lack of accountability, and cases where authority to prescribe civil fine and sanction directives has ruined lives and livelihoods of hapless actors, rather than the more contemporary concern for the emminent Waterworld situation.

  • Mainer2||

    DENIALIST !

  • Pompey: Ho Class Mothersmucker||

    I'd propose that any other southern NH/northern MA/southern ME degenerates like me pool together funds for a gathering at a semi-private room with a TV at a tavern or restaurant, but I kind of doubt there are many other weirdos interested in playing hookey and/or pausing their involvement with their business for the day just for a dumb wonky hearing like this. My my estimation it's quite likely to evolve into a 2-day slog.

  • Lurk Diggler||

    If he's smart he'll tell the panel what they want to hear, then do what needs to be done. Sive leftists often fail to relate rhetoric with consequences he can just say he plans to save Gaia, and puppies, and bunnies then dismantle that shit organization.

  • Ken Shultz||

    AM links are for suckers!

  • Sevo||

    "Lawmakers outraged over Trump's Twitter insult to Rep. John Lewis"
    http://www.sfgate.com/local/po.....859311.php

    Two of 'em, and you never heard of them, either. And the supposed 'journalist' who wrote what amounts to an editoral.
    Lewis should thank Trump for his 15 minutes.

  • Pompey: Ho Class Mothersmucker||

    Racist!

  • ||

    I just need to know if the niece of MLK is racist for voting for Trump.

    MLK niece votes for Trump

  • Free Society||

    Her first name is "Evangelist". At first I thought is was just being used descriptively, but no, that seems to be her actual given name.

  • Ken Shultz||

    AM links are for racists.

    It's MLK Day, bitches!

  • ||

    The real racists are the people who are working today. I for one, salute MLK for giving us this extra holiday. I take it off because all my clients take it off. If there's any other ya'll uppity negroes out there wanting to get me another day off work, I got your back bro!

  • Free Society||

    Today is my birthday. I decided to check my privilege and correct anyone who says "happy birthday" by reminding them that they are denigrating MLK day by not wishing me a happy MLK day.

  • Trshmnstr, Grump Apprentice||

    Happy Birthday!!!!1!1!

  • Free Society||

    How insensitive. But thank you.

  • Mainer2||

    I'm going shopping, they are having a white sale at Penney's.

  • lap83||

    Ugh. /retreats to safe space

  • ||

    Doesn't flag burning contribute to global warming? Why is the EPA silent on this?

  • Mainer2||

    and Pruitt isn't even in charge yet.

  • Trshmnstr, Grump Apprentice||

    That's the good kind of CO2, like the stuff that comes out of volcanoes and wild animals.

  • Pompey: Ho Class Mothersmucker||

    The bad kind of CO2 only comes out of people and industrial activity.

  • ||

    Troll baits dunces. Dunces bite.

  • R C Dean||

    The Associated Press notes that "dozens of states" still have flag desecration statutes on their books.

    Statutes that are struck down as unconsitutional typically remain on the books. The legislature has to repeal them to take them off the books, and rarely does. I seem to remember seeing laws criminalizing abortion are still on the books, for example. Those laws not allowing gay marriage are still on the books as well.

  • The Fusionist||

    "I seem to remember seeing laws criminalizing abortion are still on the books, for example."

    Wait, they may come in handy again.

    Meanwhile, the states, pressed by the prolife movement, are trying to pass laws the federal courts will approve of.

  • prolefeed||

    Haven't read all the comments, but this has to be said:

    After looking at the pic attached to this article ... why did they show Bill Gates burning a flag?

  • Deep Lurker||

    Ever notice?

    If people burn the flag: Lots of howling
    If people burn the Constitution: Crickets

  • ||

    Is Illinois man related to Florida man?

  • ||

    David Burge ‏@iowahawkblog 3h3 hours ago

    Media: here's 50 thinkpieces on why we must oppose Trump
    Trump: the media is an opposition party
    Media: HOW DARE YOU

  • Crusty Juggler||

    Dorky even by Reason commenter standards: This guy makes sweaters of places and then takes pictures of himself wearing the sweaters at those places.

    TW: Gilmore would have a heart attack.
    TW: Crusty was enchanted.

  • ||

    When I imagine the average H 'n' R commentator, this man comes to mind.

  • Aloysious||

    I could be wrong here, but I think GILMORE would be aghast at the hand-knitted sweater/sweats combination.

    Could you please elucidate; what exactly is that polar bear doing in the third picture? kthx.

  • lap83||

    Dying from global warming

  • Pompey: Ho Class Mothersmucker||

    AwwwwwwWW!!! Adorable.

  • Mantis Toboggan, Jr.||

    No trigger warning for the fanny pack!?

  • lap83||

    Get this man some orphans and a knitting factory (whatever shut up)

  • The Fusionist||

    It's fun to say Trump is ignorant simply because he disagrees with the U. S. Supreme Court.

    But the U. S. Supreme Court used to disagree with the U. S. Supreme Court.

    In 1907, the Supremes said that the flag is such an important symbol that you don't even have the right to use it in advertising.

    "From the earliest periods in the history of the human race, banners, standards, and ensigns have been adopted as symbols of the power and history of the peoples who bore them. It is not, then, remarkable that the American people, acting through the legislative branch of the government, early in their history, prescribed a flag as symbolical of the existence and sovereignty of the nation....

    "...a state may exert its power to strengthen the bonds of the Union, and therefore, to that end, may encourage patriotism and love of country among its people....And we cannot hold that any privilege of American citizenship or that any right of personal liberty is violated by a state enactment forbidding the flag to be used as an advertisement on a bottle of beer."

    The first Justice Harlan wrote the opinion. Justice Rufus Peckham (famous for devlivering the *Lochner* decision) dissented without opinion.

    I'm inclined to believe that Justice Peckham was in the right, but I won't call Trump ignorant of the Constitution simply because he agrees with the first Justice Harlan.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Flag burners are fucking tools with incredibly insipid politics -- yet, they still have rights, including free speech. Living with their own fucktoolery is certainly punishment enough without the law having to get involved, creating sympathy for fools and their opinions.

  • HenryC||

    There are any number of places that burning anything is a crime. A month ago in Alabama he might have been arrested because burning anything was regarded as a hazard due to drought. There are cities that outlaw burning things outside as well.

  • BigT||

    Burning tobacco is illegal in many indoor places and some places outdoors, for example.

  • colorblindkid||

    This is one of those cases, like the death penalty with Dylan Roof, where it is incredibly hard to stay principled, because this kid is the absolute fucking worst.

  • DarrenM||

    So, burning a flag is a form of political expression, but burning a cross is a hate crime. No inconsistency there. Nope.

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