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Wave those Chinese-made flags

I’m thinking about little American flags. You know, the kind politicians carry in Memorial Day parades, kids wave as they watch the parades go by, and Frank Yurek uses to line the tree lawns of Wyoming on patriotic holiday weekends.

Most of the little American flags are made in China. This makes a lot of people angry. Three or four years ago there was a huge outcry over this. Some state legislatures passed laws requiring variously that American flags displayed at public schools or on state property or paid for with state money be made in America. Pennsylvania proposed such a law in 2007, called House Bill 416. It got through the house, but I don’t know if the senate ever acted on it.

Minnesota went all the way, banning the sale of all foreign made American flags with fines and even a 90-day jail term for violators.

I get this. I get the anger. I get legislatures thinking they need pass little American flag protection laws.

What I don’t get is this: who wants to work in a little American flag factory?

I’d like to poll the hundreds, or maybe even thousands, of state legislators who voted for these laws and who are parents and ask how many of them would want their kids to grow up and work in a little American flag factory.

The answer would be zero.

In June when the seniors at Pittston Area and Wyoming Area graduate, we’ll learn that some 85 percent of them will be going off to college or some form of higher education. If we polled everyone of them, not one would say his or her ambition is to work in a little American Flag factory.

If we polled the parents of every elementary kid at PA and WA, not one of them would say they hope their kids work in a little American flag factory when they grow up. Not that there’s anything wrong with working in a little American flag factory or any kind of factory. There is dignity in any work, I always say.

Now there are good factory jobs – Egan’s and Diamond in West Wyoming are two local examples – but these are niche companies making unique products. Companies like those can pay a living wage, but how much would we have to pay Americans to work in a little American flag factory and what would that do to the price of little American flags?

High quality full-sized American flags are another story. Many of those are made here and the people who make them get decent pay, but little American flags are cheap trinkets and Americans don’t like to make cheap trinkets – and that’s a good thing. Americans make niche metal products like they do at Egan’s and Diamond. Americans make computers,fire trucks, backhoes, tractors and jets. That we can farm out our little American flags and our airport and hospital gift shop souvenirs to developing countries is good for them and good for us.

A vacation getaway

Speaking of fire trucks, I saw a report on the TV news about some men from the Dominican Republic who were in our area. And the pretty news lady on the TV said before cutting to commercial, “Find out why they were here after this and they weren’t here on a vacation.”

I might have guessed that.

Can’t you just picture a couple guys down in the DR where the average temperature is 80 walking down the beach with a couple Red Stripes and one of them says, “You know, I’ve never seen snow, lets go on vacation to Wilkes-Barre.”

For the record they were firemen from the DR here to learn new firefighting techniques and shop for a fire truck.

Republicans are mean

I’m a Republican and I’m disappointed Congress, the Senate and the President reached a budget compromise that averted a government shutdown.

I’m disappointed because as a Republican I wanted a shutdown because I wanted old people to eat dog food, I wanted poor people to freeze, I wanted the wittle children to go barefoot and I wanted to bomb inner cities.

And women? Well, I wanted them to die. Not only did I want them to die, I wanted to kill them myself.

And the way I understand it if there was no compromise and the mean old Republicans got their way it would have been legal to kill women.

At least that’s what Rep. Louise Slaughter, a Democrat from New York, who must have missed the civility in discourse memo, said. And I quote: “In 1994, people were elected simply to kill the National Endowment for the Arts. Now they’re here to kill women.”

Slaughter, you slay me.

Toole time

I don’t get that Channel 16 is so bloody heroic now because their lawyers got Judge Caputo to release the letters he got requesting sentencing leniency for ex-Judge Toole.

How does this knowledge benefit anybody?

And who cares, anyway?

Toole’s got friends. So what?

I always thought when you dropped a letter in the mail it was a divine covenant that the contents were for the addressee only.

Guess not.

And what compelling, riveting TV. A pretty lady reading the names of letter writers. Of course, it’s TV news, so for all their histrionics they could only devote a minute to the letters. If you want to read more you are directed to the 16 website.

No thanks, I’ve got plenty of stuff to read, like The Pocket Book of Bathroom Humor.

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