Furling the flag

UPDATE 4PM ET, JUNE 23

After hundreds of demonstrators rallied against the Confederate flag at the South Carolina statehouse in Columbia, the state legislature moved to authorize a debate on whether the battle flag should be removed.

The House backed such a debate – which would happen after the state budget is finalized – by 103-10, before the Senate also considered the issue.

But the language among opponents to the flag’s removal was trenchant, while this ad appeared in the local newspaper.

Outside the political arena, there were significant commercial moves against the flag by Amazon – despite a surge in sales – Sears, eBay and even NASCAR, as well as by one of the country’s most prominent flag-makers, which said it would no longer manufacture Confederate flags, Reuters reported.

 

MIDNIGHT 22 JUNE

As debate and protest has intensified over the use and symbolism of the Confederate flag in the aftermath of the Charleston shooting, a number of Republican politicians are moving to distance themselves from what has been a longstanding regional base issue.

South Carolina Gov Nikki Haley on Monday called for the removal of the Civil War symbol from the state capitol, and some prominent Republicans followed suit.

“That flag, while an integral part of our past, does not represent the future of our great state,” Haley said. “By removing a symbol that divides us, we can move forward in harmony.”

But the proposed move requires a vote in the statehouse and there is no indication how quickly the flag might actually be removed. Tonight it remains padlocked in place.

A rally in favor of removal is scheduled for outside the state capitol in Columbia, SC on Tuesday morning.

Among GOP Presidential hopefuls – already dealing with the fallout from political contributions by the leader of a white supremacist group linked to the alleged Charleston shooter – there remains far from a consensus on the flag issue, likely a reflection of South Carolina’s position in the early primary schedule.

Charleston’s local paper the Post and Courier – whose coverage of the events of the past week has been outstanding – published an editorial saying it was “time to furl” the flag.

Such an act would be in the spirit of the original compromise, which was approved by lawmakers of good will, black and white, to remove the flag from a position of sovereignty and place it at what was viewed as an appropriate place on the Statehouse grounds.

The paper is also doing a live survey of all SC legislators on their opinion on the issue,

On Monday night, it was announced that President Obama would travel to Charleston and deliver the eulogy for Rev Clementa Pinckney at the funeral on Friday of the pastor and state senator.

Meanwhile, Mississippi’s Republican House Speaker said the Confederate battle emblem should be removed from that state’s flag, while Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer, said it was withdrawing Confederate-themed merchandise from sale.

 

***

* POLITICS * The US Supreme Court did not hand down much-anticipated decisions on same-sex marriage and the Affordable Care Act, rulings on which could now come on Thursday or Friday, as the Court moves to clear its workload of outstanding cases.

But they did rule on Monday on raisins and SpiderMan.

President Obama created something of a media kerfuffle after he appeared on Marc Maron’s WTF podcast for what turned out to be the longest interview of his Presidency.

You can download the podcast here.

***

* WORLD * While a definitive deal on Greek debt wasn’t agreed at Monday’s EU emergency summit, there does appear to be movement towards a resolution – possibly “within days” – a situation reflected in some modicum of optimism on the part of global markets.

Negotiators from Iran and the West indicated that they are prepared to go past the 30 June deadline in order to clear barriers to a final nuclear agreement, the Wall Street Journal reports.

***

* MEDIA *  Julia Carpenter at the Washington Post looks at Snapchat’s live story on Charleston and how it might mark a new era for the content platform.

Meanwhile the New Yorker magazine used Snapchat to bring its Charleston cover to life.

So what did we learn from Apple’s change of heart after being called out by Taylor Swift? Ian Crouch writes at The New Yorker:

It can’t be that Apple is simply a massively successful and wealthy consumer-products company, because, if that were the case, then how could we account for the way we venerate its executives, mark its product announcements like minor national holidays, and visit its stores like pilgrims? The fear of Apple is, in part, the fear that it will do things that make us question our “love, admiration and reverence” in the first place.

Meanwhile, Robert Cookson writes at the FT on how Apple’s “deep pockets pose a threat to Spotify.”

***

* SPORTS *  New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady will on Tuesday appeal against the NFL-imposed suspension for his role in the “deflategate” nonsense.

Diego Maradona as head of FIFA? Why not…?

Pete Rose is “finally out of second chances,” writes Eric Malinowski at Rolling Stone.

Finally, there are two sad losses to report tonight.

Darryl Hamilton, who played for several major league teams and later worked as a broadcaster, passed away following a shooting incident.

How can you not love baseball? It’s beautiful. A form of art with the diamond as it’s stage. – Darryl Hamilton

James Horner, who among many movie scores, composed the remarkable soundtrack for Field of Dreams, died in a small plane crash near Santa Barbara.

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