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Mississippi lets freak flag fly (briefly)

Mississippi lets freak flag fly (briefly)

The Confederate battle flag got raised today over the Mississippi Supreme Court in Jackson. The picture above -- and the news -- comes by way of Cottonmouth, an estimable lefty blog in my home state of Mississippi.

When I called the court to ask about it, the spokeswoman explained to me that they were as surprised as anyone to see the wrong flag up there. "The court asked that it be taken down immediately," Beverly Kraft said.

The job of raising and lowering the flags belongs to the Mississippi State Capitol Police, where a Lieutenant Hamilton said they had taken the Confederate flag down as soon as they were alerted. "We got on it in a hurry, as fast as we could," he said.

But where did the Confederate flag come from in the first place? Kym Wiggins, with the state department of finance and administration, says the Mississippi flag they'd been flying over the court had gotten tattered. They ordered a new pair of flags, with one to fly and one to keep in reserve. Wiggins says the Confederate flags were shipped to them, by mistake, in boxes that were mislabeled "Mississippi flag." Sometime around 2 P.M., workers opened a box and hoisted what they believed was the real state flag.

The Mississippi flag (pictured at right) does contain the old Confederate flag. "Without the wind blowing, you know, it's about a 10-by-15-foot flag," Wiggins said. "You don't hook it on and lay it out flat first. The bars and stars do show in the upper left corner." So up went the Confederate flag, where it flew for about two hours until someone pointed it out and the state police hustled it back down.

P.S. The Mississippi flag is the only one in the nation that still contains the Confederate symbol. In a 2001 referendum, two-thirds of the voters said the state should keep it. UPDATE, Saturday morning: The local paper report, basically the same, says the boxes were labeled "Mississippi state flag."