The Pledge.

A US District Court in California recently ruled in favor of Michael Newdow, an atheist, and stated that reciting the Pledge of Allegiance in public school is unconstitutional. For now, this only affects a handful of school districts in California, but it could eventually have greater effect—the 9th Circuit (AK, HI, WA, OR, CA, MT, ID, NV, AZ), or the entire country. Some thoughts:

  • Does including the words “under God” in the Pledge—which no level of government should be able to force anyone to say—truly constitute an “establishment of religion”? It’s not as though President Bush said, “We are all going to be Eposcipal– Episco– Epis– we’re all going to be Baptists now.”
  • One of Newdow’s arguments was that his rights were violated because he was made to feel like a “political outsider” and that his ability to “fit in” was inhibited. Great news! According to this jackass, we have a constitutional right to “fit in”! That must be in the Twenty-Eighth Amendment that was passed while everyone was distracted by Katrina. Well, it’s about time, because I’m sick of being a lefty in a right-handed society. I’m sick of having thirteen toes in a ten-toed world. I’m sick of women telling me I have beautiful blue eyes, not ugly brown ones. Where’s my lawyer?
  • Newdow, the plaintiff, strikes me as a busybody. There is a saying, “Don’t make a federal case out of it,” which would apply here. For Christ’s Sake, just tell your kid: “I’m an atheist, and I am going to raise you to be an atheist.” The same as I’ll have to tell my children one day: “I know what your teacher taught you, but as long as you’re living in this house, you will use Roman numerals.”
  • Was the status quo really so intolerable that Newdow felt compelled to take this “bold stand” against a Pledge that nobody is forced to say, that a minority of people actually take seriously, and that a majority of people don’t even remember the words to? Does he think that because his daughter (a Christian, by the way) might hear the words “under God,” or even say them if she chose to, that he is as oppressed as, say, Rosa Parks? Or the Japanese-Americans in the internment camps during WWII? Or the Cherokees marching along the Trail of Tears? Or anybody else who actually had a real-live valid gripe about the government?
  • How can teacher-led recitation of the Pledge be considered a violation of the Establishment Clause, without some higher court eventually finding the Pledge itself to be unconstitutional on the same grounds?

Ultimately, the issue is the constitutionality of the “under God” version of the Pledge. Or of our motto, “In God We Trust.” Or of the use of Egyptian and Masonic religious symbols on our money. Or of the Constitution’s own mention of “the Year of Our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Eighty seven.” So here are some potential solutions to this “crisis”:

1. Remove “under God” from the Pledge. Upside: Restores the Pledge to its pre-1954 text, which was undoubtedly constitutional. Downside: God unleashes earthquakes, floods, and locusts upon us.

2. Replace “under God” with “under the supernatural or natural force, or lack thereof, of my own choosing.” Upside: Covers all the bases. Downside: Too wordy. Doesn’t flow.

3. Replace “under God” with a phrase from the Declaration of Independence. For example:

  • “under Nature’s God,” who entitles us to have separate and equal station with other nations.
  • “under our Creator,” who endows us with certain unalienable rights, among which are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
  • “under divine Providence,” which gives teachers the opportunity to teach two more terms which could show up on the SAT Verbal.

Upside: Recognizes the historical influence of religion on the founding of our country in a way that will probably irritate Newdow even more—just for the sake of irritating him. Downside: Runs the risk of having the Declaration of Independence declared unconstitutional, which would immediately return the United States to British colonial status.

Seriously, though, I like #3.

PS. Two Mormon gentlemen just knocked on my door to share a message and I turned them away. I’m in a lot of trouble.

This entry was posted on Friday, September 16th, 2005 at 4:18 PM.

6 Responses to “The Pledge.”

1. Anyone USA Says:
September 18th, 2005 at 10:51 PM

    You must be lonely. But not lonely enough. Try a roast beef sandwich. And then visit Cicero for other worthwhile discoveries.

    2. MyCreativeAlias Says:
    September 19th, 2005 at 11:02 AM

      Guess who, bi-otch….

      Well, all I’ve got from this posting is that this Newdow fellow is clearly a toolbox. Since I’ve practically been given divine powers… (long story, but it ivolves me somehow ending up holding the holy water at a recent funeral and having since been surrounded with a heavenly, Belushi-esque glow… like I said, long story)… I’ve decided to condemn this attention-starved [noun redacted by moderator for utter lack of taste] to a life of watching that crazy, pink-haired lady on TCN do impromptu interpretive dancing to “Our God Is An Awesome God”.

      3. Vincent Viscariello Says:
      September 19th, 2005 at 1:19 PM

        That’s a little harsh, isn’t it? And don’t you blaspheme in here, don’t you BLAS-pheme in heeya!

        4. Lassie-v 5.0 Says:
        September 26th, 2005 at 4:56 PM

          I too like #3, although MyCreativeAlias’ idea is pretty good.

          5. domthebomb Says:
          October 3rd, 2005 at 7:24 PM

            why do we need a pledge at all? most of the little kids don’t even know what they’re saying…

            6. Vincent Viscariello Says:
            October 5th, 2005 at 11:31 PM

              We need a Pledge because in 1892, the United States was conquered and its citizens enslaved by a race of multicolored cloth monsters from Mars. They have been merciful thus far and I for one don’t want to antagonize them.

              Haiku.

              I’m sure someone else has already thought of it, but here goes:

              First, five syllables.
              Second, seven syllables.
              Last, five syllables.

              I’m so clever. And:

              I’m not a deep man.
              My thoughts are not insightful.
              La de da de da.

              I want to write about Bush’s speech, but my eyeballs and brain seem to be swelling. Not because of the speech; they’ve just hurt all day.

              This entry was posted on Thursday, September 15th, 2005 at 9:07 PM.

              7 Responses to “Haiku.”

              1. MyCreativeAlias Says:
              September 20th, 2005 at 12:27 PM

                Instead of “Haiku”, this post should concern the “Haka”. It would be much more entertaining.


                Ringa pakia
                Uma tiraha
                Turi whatia
                Hope whai ake
                Waewae takahia kia kino

                Ka Mate! Ka Mate
                Ka Ora! Ka Ora
                Tenei te ta ngata puhuru huru
                Nana nei i tiki mai

                Whakawhiti te ra
                A upane ka upane
                A upane kaupane whiti te ra
                Hi

                2. TOO STUPID TO MAKE UP AN ALIAS Says:
                September 24th, 2005 at 7:53 PM

                  VINNY! I would have made an alias except i couldnt think of one that portrayed me how i wanted. SUPERSWEET87 sounded too concieted and it was my first choice. Doyle pointed this page out to me and i must say that i did not see you as the post my feelings online for people to read type. I guess i was wrong. i must say this haiku has inspired me to change my life almost as much as your inspirational speeches or your wrestles with Parker to show who is a bigger man. i hope all is doing well up in da chicago suburbs and you have met a lot of hot babes. Pearson says who taught him to not use many words when a harsh curse is suffice. We all love you and misss you terribly.

                  Much love from your favorite soccer player and student

                  3. Vincent Viscariello Says:
                  September 24th, 2005 at 8:33 PM

                    TSTMUAA–

                    Try harder next time.

                    4. STILL TOO STUPID TO MAKE UP AN ALIAS Says:
                    September 28th, 2005 at 12:40 AM

                      This alias sucks Mr.V. You could have been a little more creative. And thanks for trying to reply to my thoughtful post. I’m going to go see Kevin Cantfil this weekend he goes toFSU now…any words you would like to pass along i would be happy relay. Hope you arnt getting to attached to the food… i know its hard being italian and all…i know how important good food is. This is my attempt of trying harder.

                      5. sparetyre Says:
                      September 28th, 2005 at 12:20 PM

                        Hey, i didnt believe “Too Stupid To Make Up An Alias” when he sent me this link. so how are things up in the windy city? are you enjoying teaching still ?? or have you moved on to something else. and Tony was right we miss all your sarcassam and plain making fun of all the teachers! i write you later! till then take care and have fun!!
                        Your stupidest soccer player.

                        6. scrappy Says:
                        October 1st, 2005 at 1:23 AM

                          Vincent Viscariello,
                          I noticed mostly soccer players posted on this update, so I thought I would also. I am not sure if you get to see my profile and/or can easily guess who this is. A fellow soccer player would be able to tell (so long as they paid attention during the awards ceremony…). I just wanted to make you aware of my knowedge of this site (you now have one more intelligent person who will get the second level jokes… maybe not the third or fourth though… yet). Also, tell your ex-students to learn how to write.

                          7. Vincent Viscariello Says:
                          October 1st, 2005 at 1:18 PM

                            I bear no responsibility for the writing abilities, or lack thereof, of any former students, current students, family, friends, or strangers.

                            Je vous salue, Elan Davout.

                            I started writing a long entry about 9/11, this being the fourth anniversary in case you hadn’t heard, but it was nothing that hadn’t already been written or said by people far more eloquent than I. So I’ll just go with this:

                            Osama bin Laden’s a bastard and here’s to catching him before he dies horribly of chronic renal failure, and then… and then what? What should we do to bin Laden if we catch him? Let Bush talk him to death? Pump him full of staples and force him to go through airport security? Release him on the streets of midtown Manhattan? I’ll take suggestions.

                            Today, one of my best friends on Earth went to Texas in preparation for deployment to Iraq. In a St. Crispin’s Day-eqsue spirit, I am strongly tempted to join him. I don’t know what good I’d do over there… maybe our guys need econ lessons, or a fourth for cards, or someone to make PB&Js. Anyhow, Godspeed, Captain Patton. And if you come across any terrorists, just remember: “Kill ‘em for me, Patton. Kill ‘em good.”

                            While chatting with him a coupla days ago, the topic of the draft came up. I mentioned that I’d read about some hearings held many years ago regarding the draft. (See, kids, once upon a time, if you were “drafted,” you were forced to serve in the military, unless you had a really, really good reason not to, called a “deferment.”) At the time, the military was considering abandoning the draft and becoming the all-volunteer force it is now. At some point, General Westmoreland, pro-draft, asked a wizened old wizard named Milton Friedman, pro-volunteer, how he’d feel about being defended by an army of mercenaries, aka paid volunteers. Friedman responded that he’d rather be defended by an army of mercenaries than an army of slaves. That’s why Milt is my favorite Jewish uncle.

                            We’ve been hearing for years that the military hasn’t been meeting its recruitment goals. Nobody wants a draft (except the people want to create the political pressure that would bring the troops home). So how do you get more people to volunteer? I know it’s shocking, but there are people out there who’d sign up if the pay was a little higher. Go to goarmy.com and look up the “pay.”

                            “Where will the money come from?” That’s a different discussion. Maybe you raise tax rates, maybe you lower them. Maybe you transfer the spending from other government sectors. I can think of a few things here and there we could trim.

                            If we ask people to risk their lives for us, whether we’re at war or not (and I think many would be surprised at how many military personnel have died during peacetime), we have to pay them. If we’re going to ask more people to risk their lives for us, we’re going to have to pay them more. Bottom line: give my buddy Patton more cash.

                            This entry was posted on Sunday, September 11th, 2005 at 8:23 PM.

                            5 Responses to “Je vous salue, Elan Davout.”

                            1. aabrock Says:
                            September 11th, 2005 at 10:16 PM

                              Friedman is a smart man; who could expect a conscripted military to care as much about success as one that is there by choice? In looking at the size and scope of our government, I cannot see that many groups that are more vital to the survival of not only this country but the Western way of life than our military…pay them more, a heck of a lot more. But in true bureaucratic fashion, the organizations that fail to do a competent job (i.e. everyone but the military) get more money since it was ONLY due to a lack of funds that the job didn’t get done…RIGHT?

                              To Capt. Patton: It’s been a while since we chatted, but I’ll be thinking about you during your deployment…thanks for doing what you are doing.

                              Oh, and I suggest we send Osama to an all-women prison. And then make a reality TV show out of it.

                              2. apushisfun Says:
                              September 17th, 2005 at 10:46 PM

                                instead of releasing him in the street of Manhattan… tie him to a light pole in midtown Manhattan. i would be more fun to have him at your hands instead of having to chase him down. and then you can make a booth, called Brutal Beating brought to you by Vincent Viscariello, and charge people a dollar to get one hit on Osama. hahaha

                                3. Lassie-v 5.0 Says:
                                September 26th, 2005 at 5:07 PM

                                  I concur all the ideas for osama are good but the booth should let him heal between beatings that way he wont die from them. Though I dont know him good luck, Godspeed, and thanks to Capt. Patton

                                  4. domthebomb Says:
                                  October 3rd, 2005 at 8:43 PM

                                    my sister was deployed as well a couple years ago. when it’s someone you know, you care more about these debates. And it’s really aggravating when people say “well, that’s what they signed up for”…unless war was your friend’s call to arms. i wouldn’t know. I just think we should think things through very carefully and make sure war is a last resort and not a political strategy…let’s value human life a little more, er, give peace a chance and all that. tata.

                                    5. donnimikk Says:
                                    October 5th, 2005 at 5:15 PM

                                      ***DISCLAIMER*** The writer of this comment is an A- rab and in no way is a racist… toward A- rabs. Please do not be offended if you are an A- rab. This is only a joke meant to be mean to Osama and other dirty mean terrorists. And if you are still angry… Nanny Nanny BooBoo, That’s why I have an alias, hah hah hah…

                                      Let’s dress Osama in a Red Sox shirt and THEN march him through Manhattan. And then, shave his beard off. Everyone knows that an arab can’t live longer than two weeks without his beard. (similar to a cockroach when you cut his head off)

                                      Food.

                                      I moved to Chicagoland recently. I’d always wanted to live up here, partly because it’s a big metro area, but mostly because it’s where my family, minus my generation, is from. I feel like I’ve been missing from this place my whole life.

                                      The most notable part thus far has been the food. My first observation was that every other restaurant seemed to be or include a pancake house. Drive down these suburban streets: “Grandma Sally’s Family Restaurant and Pancake House,” “Quincy’s Restaurant and Pancake House,” “Gi Gi’s Restaurant and Pancake House,” “Pancake Café,” “Butterfield’s Pancake House,” “Egglectic Café,” Bob Evans (like IHOP, but better), IHOP (like Bob Evans, but worse), “Trixxxie’s Den of Sin and Pancake House” and so forth. Chicago loves its hotcakes.

                                      My second observation was that there’s a lot of really, really good food up here that I’d never heard of, much less eaten. Capicola. Giardiniera. The Czech equivalent of lasagna (I couldn’t pronounce it because to do so would dislocate my tongue). All good. But all the proof one will ever need of God’s existence comes in pint-sized containers from Caputo’s or Butera and is called “Bocconcini.” Spelt with a capital “B” because it is from God. It’s like wet mozzarella that comes in little dollops or twists the size of your curled finger; except it’s so much better that I’m going to name my firstborn son after it. Sorry about that 600-year tradition, Dad.

                                      My new favorite restaurant is Portillo’s Hot Dogs. I haven’t had any hot dogs there yet, but I’ve had their Italian roast beef sandwich. Wow. Especially with sweet peppers and mozzarella sprinkled on top. It’s far superior to any roast beef I’ve ever had. Must be all the ground-up non-union labor they feed to the cattle. It’s cheap, relative to what I’d pay for it, and they have locations throughout Chicagoland… but just in Chicagoland. I can’t figure out why they haven’t opened locations in the rest of the country, although they deliver to all 50 states. Anyhow, Portillo’s has so convincingly replaced Wendy’s as my favorite that I’ve only been to Wendy’s six or seven—maybe more—times since I’ve been up here.

                                      This entry was posted on Wednesday, September 7th, 2005.

                                      3 Responses to “Food.”

                                      1. aabrock Says:

                                      September 7th, 2005 at 2:04 PM

                                      Glad to hear you have found some good food up there Dom, but questions still remain. Is there a Papa Johns, a Green Olive? And what of doughnuts…for the love of God tell me!

                                      Oh, and FIRST COMMENT EVER!

                                      Double-Oh, sorry about violating Posting Rule #1….or did I?

                                      2. Vincent Viscariello Says:
                                      September 7th, 2005 at 2:38 PM

                                        PJ’s yes; Green Olive, no; and doughnuts? They have 24-hour Dunkin’ Donuts, where the fairest maidens bring you silver platters full of the finest Boston Kremes, silk napkins, finechina tea cups full of East India’s best, and plastic swizzlers with which to swizzle in the Splenda and half-and-half.

                                        3. ktea Says:
                                        September 7th, 2005 at 9:00 PM

                                          I used to go to pancake cafe when I used to live in Chigao. I miss beef sandwhiches so much that I could cry, but when I was in Cocoa Beach I found a place that comes close to making one. You failed to mention White Castle so I take that means they displease you.
                                          Oh and by the way Dictionary Boy [name “aliasized” by moderator per Rule #1] has been standing outside your window for three weeks holding up a sign saying ‘Batman Forever’.Its kind of depressing because the blinds to your old window are always shut. Its like that scene from Hook where Robin Williams wont let the children leave the window open.

                                          Former Student,
                                          Little Girl from Orland Park [name “aliasized” by moderator per Rule #1]

                                          First post.

                                          Testing. Testing. This is my first attempt at a “web log,” or “blog,” as it were. Blog blog blogBlog blog.

                                          This entry was posted on Thursday, September 1st, 2005 at 12:10 PM.

                                          2 Responses to “First post.”

                                          1. sparetyre Says:
                                          September 29th, 2005 at 12:01 AM

                                            This is so wierd you having your own website!

                                            2. Simplexity17 Says:
                                            November 5th, 2005 at 2:16 AM

                                              I wish I could be as insightful as you…