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State flags going to half staff for Roseburg

OLYMPIA — Gov. Jay Inslee ordered flags at state offices lowered to half staff to honor the victims of the mass shooting in Roseberg, Oregon.

In an order issued late Friday afternoon, Inslee's office said he was issuing the directive along with the White House, which issued a similar one for federal buildings. "Other government entities, citizens and businesses are encouraged to join in this recognition," the directive says. 

Flags at state buildings will stay lowered until close of business or sunset on Tuesday. 

State lowers flags to half-staff

The World War II Memorial on the Capitol Campus today.

In case you're wondering: Washington state buildings have their flags at half-staff today.

It's in honor of Pearl Harbor Day.

Thief steals flag from man in chicken suit

MANCHESTER, Conn. (AP) — Manchester, Conn., police are investigating the theft of an American flag from a man in a chicken suit.

The Hartford Courant reports (http://cour.at/ML9gUJ ) that Eric Didio was waving the flag and dancing outside a newly renovated Boston Market restaurant Wednesday as part of his job, when a man jumped from a car, grabbed the flag and took off.

A customer who witnessed the theft called police.

The newspaper reports that the dispatcher had a hard time relaying the call to officers, breaking into laughter while trying to say "chicken suit."

Nathan Atwood, the restaurant's general manager, says he stood beside the 23-year-old Didio for the rest of his shift to provide security.

No arrests have been made.

Flag designer would be happy to see flag flying again

A few weeks ago I wrote a story about the reemergence of the City of Spokane's flag.

I heard soon after from the flag designer's son, who shed more light on the flag.

Here is his note:

I'm Lloyd Carlson's son, and it was a real treat to see the flag again after all these years. The history of the flag is actually somewhat more complex (perhaps you knew this but didn't have space) as the "Children of the Sun" logo was done by dad as the official seal of the City of Spokane in the 1960s — 1964-65 as I recall. I have the original artwork, along with the original Expo '74 logo master art in my collection of his designs.

The flag combined the city seal with the white, green and blue motif that had been made famous by the Expo "Mobius strip" logo. The STA (Spokane Transit Authority) adopted the same colors a bit later, which I believe are still in use. When I visit Spokane I see examples of logos he did half a century ago, still in use—- not a bad legacy.

Dad was born in Spokane and lived there until 1986, when my parents moved to Portland to be near their grandchildren. In his retirement, he painted as a hobby, but still did the occasional logo design to keep his hand in. He passed away in July of 2009 at the age of 90. I know he would be so very pleased that the City of Spokane flag was flying again.

Best regards,

Steven B. Carlson

(Attached to this blog post of a letter Carlson wrote to Mayor Jack Geraghty about the logo he designed for Expo '74. Here is a link to photos of all three of the city's official flags, which were adopted in 1912, 1958 and Carlson's in 1975.)


Solons Rip Occupiers Wardrobe Flags

The Idaho State Senate leadership today pulled a dozen members of Occupy Boise out of the Senate Gallery to discuss cloth, dollar-store American flags pinned to each individual's shirt. In the Minority Caucus room on the fourth floor of the Capitol, Idaho Falls Sen. Bart Davis asked them to remove the flags. "We have asked many people over the years, people I have agreed with and I have disagreed with," said Sen. Davis. "To not wear buttons, and to not wear hats, and we're asking you please to be similarly sympathetic to allow us to do our business in that fashion"/Andrew Crisp, Boise Weekly. More here. (Earlier in the session, Occupy Boise members record the proceedings at an Idaho House State Affairs Committee hearing)

Question: Did Idaho legislators react properly/overreact to the flags worn by Occupy Boise members?

Squirrel blamed for flag thefts in Ohio

In a Wednesday, photo, a squirrel makes off with a flag from the Toledo Police Memorial in Toledo, Ohio. (AP Photo/Toledo Blade via Toledo Police Dept, Lt. James Brown) 

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) — Police in Ohio have discovered that small flags being swiped from a police memorial were being squirreled away.

 Two Toledo officers watched on Wednesday as a squirrel quickly snatched a flag off its wooden dowel and ran off with it. Lt. James Brown told The Blade newspaper the bushy-tailed critter was too quick to catch.

Later, police noticed a squirrel hanging out on a tree branch outside a third-floor window at their headquarters building. They also spotted a squirrel's nest made of leaves and branches — and at least two of the little flags.

Brown says at least three of the flags have gone missing in recent days.

He's careful to point out he can't prove all were the work of the same squirrel.

Institute Targets Supremacists’ Flags

Human rights activists in Coeur d’Alene have decided to fight flags with flags. For months, people have been walking into the Human Rights Education Institute in Coeur d’Alene asking what they can do about two nearby residences flying white supremacist flags, said Rachel Dolezal, the institute’s education director. The institute’s staff and volunteers brainstormed a response and decided to create a flag of their own, this one emblazoned with a human rights message. They are encouraging residents to fly the flags in their neighborhoods and use them to establish “hate-free zones” throughout the region/Alison Boggs, SR. More here.

Question: Would you be interested in flying a human rights flag at your home in an attempt to establish a ‘hate-free zone’ in your neighborhood? Or do you think this idea will fly?

State flags to be lowered Monday

OLYMPIA — State flags will be at half-staff Monday to  honor Pfc. James L. Miller of Yakima, a member of the 5th Stryker Brigade Combat Team killed in Afghanistan Monday.

Gov. Chris Gregoire issued the order this morning for lowering the flags. Miller, 21, died of injuries inflicted by a roadside bomb.

State flags lowered

Washington state lowered flags to half staff today in honor of Pvt. Aaron Fairbairn, a 21-year-old soldier from Aberdeen who was killed in Action in Afghanistan on July 4.

Gov. Chris Gregoire issued the order early Thursday morning. The flags will stay at half staff on state buildings through sunset today, or until Friday morning if the flags stay outside round the clock.

WA flags ordered to half staff

Gov. Chris Gregoire ordered flags on state buildings lowered to half staff Wednesday in honor of 1st Lt. Brian Bradshaw of Steilacoom.

Bradshaw, 24, died June 25 in Kheyl, Afghanistan, from injuries suffered when an improvised explosive device was detonated.

One other flag note

The flag flying below the Stars and Stripes on the Spokane County Courthouse is the official Prisoner of War/Missing In Action flag.

It has a black field with a white circle in the middle, which has a profile of a head in silhouette. The county flies it to honor missing military personnel from here and around the country.

 Some county staff members noted recently that people have called recently to ask why the county was flying a pirate flag. So if you thought that was the Jolly Roger flying from the courthouse tower, you can be forgiven if you just rented Pirates of the Caribbean on DVD or had your property taxes jacked up.

But you probably still should get your eyes checked.

At half staff

In case you’re wondering:

May 15 is Peace Officers Memorial Day. Because of this, flags on government buildings — and some commercial and private buildings with flagpoles — lowered to half staff.

And even though Monday was the day that local officials marked the loss of life among public safety employees, that was at the beginning of the memorial week. This is the day.

General misstated the debate

While asking retired Gen. Barry McCaffrey about the president’s plan to draw down the troops in Iraq, Matt Lauer segued Friday morning into another military question du jour, the lifting of the ban on photographing the coffins of returning casualties.

For those not following closely at home, the Pentagon has long banned pictures and videos of the flag-draped coffins coming off the planes at Dover Air Force Base, which is, for most fallen service members, their first American stop on the final journey home. A cynical person might say that the Pentagon, or the previous Administration, didn’t want the public to be reminded of the true cost of the war. The official response, however, was always that it was to preserve the dignity of the soldiers and the privacy of the family.

McCaffrey’s answer pretty much blew the official answer out of the water, as well as misstated the whole debate.

Freedom of Speech or Something Else?

Photo from weblogs.newsday.com

I came across an interesting topic in government class today, and since it has the potential to become controversial I just knew I had to post it (okay, I wanted to see what your responses were to it as well).

The big topic? Should the burning or desecration of the US flag be illegal? Arguments from both sides can be very convincing.

Those against the idea of making it against the law to desecrate the law argue that, although it is deplorable, it is an act of political speech and that outlawing it would be against the first amendment and would make us no better than countries like China and Cuba, which do not allow citizens to speak out at all. One woman (on the website listed below) says that the law gives Congress too much power: where does the law draw the line? At something you fly from a flag pole, at a flag on a tee shirt? Underwear?

Those supporting making flag desecration illegal say that the flag is a symbol of our country, something that millions of men and women have died fighting for, and that the desecration of it is a dishonor to them and a threat to America.

Click here for the website I was on. It’s very informational and offers great arguments for both sides. (Note: it is the first link, labelled “How a Member Decides to Vote”, and it is interactive). 

Should desecration of the flag fall under freedom of speech, or should it be illegal?