Friday, June 12, 2009

The LuLac Edition #845, June 12th, 2009



Well the new Home Rule committee got off to a pretty rollicking start according to my sources in the community. It seems as if Kingston Mayor Jim Haggerty is taking the proverbial bull by the horns and is starting to twist and pull. Haggerty has already raised the hackles of members of the committee by saying that maybe they don’t need public meetings all the time. From a practical political standpoint the Mayor is correct. A few guys having lunch at the Beer Deli who happen to be members of the Commission does not present itself as a violation of the sunshine act. However voicing the fact that maybe you don’t need public meetings will get the attention of the Commission members who made their political bones with the word “transparency”. Also interesting is the implementation of the 3 minute speaking rule by the public. Granted limited public input can get meetings finished in a timely manner but I believe the time limit should be extended to perhaps 10 minutes. Now I know you’re going to get long winded and self serving individuals singing the same old song but that’s what the discretion of a chair person is for on a commission. Apparently Mayor Haggerty ran the meeting and there were a few who had a few unanswered questions. Like, did anyone contact the County Commissioners to see if there were funds available to do necessary work like placing ads in the newspaper for a solicitor? Or do they already have a person handpicked? Were there any guidelines or requirements for support positions they will need? (This issue will be addressed at future meetings according to committee members). Will Commission member Jack Shumacher’s suggestion that meetings be held county wide be implemented? (When the first study commission met in 1974 there were county wide meetings at different locations.) All of that said, the Commission did accomplish a few things in its inaugural session. They did elected a leadership team consisting of Mayor Haggerty as Chairman, Veronica Ciaruffoli as Vice Chair and Rick Moreli as Treasurer. The board committee to hold weekly meetings at 7 p.m. on Wednesdays at Wyoming Seminary’s Stettler Conference Room. Haggerty said that the meetings could be moved if need be but at the first meeting they needed to establish a permanent residence according to the state law governing study commissions. Haggerty volunteered the services of his law offices as a communications clearinghouse while things began to formulate. Veteran political observers were surprised that vocal community activists like Walter Griffith and Charmayne Maynard were not nominated for any leadership positions by members of the board. This is not criticism, just an observation. Now more than ever this Study Commission will be scrutinized very carefully by a public that is fed up with government at every level. For Commission members the old Chinese proverb “may you live in interesting times” just might be ring truer than ever before.


This week all the city schools in Wilkes Barre went through the annual ritual of graduating hundreds of students from the three city high schools. From a ceremonial standpoint, it is the first real test of achievement for a young person. To their parents, it is time for older generations to say to them, “job well done”. The graduation day marks the end of a personal era for the class of ’09. Through the years students were expected to meet standards of education that gave them their ticket to either higher education or academic freedom. Students were held to a standard and if they did not meet it, there was a form of correction that hopefully veered them in the right direction. It is too bad the Wilkes Barre Area School board and its administration were too lazy to order new diplomas without the name of self professed felon and school board President James Height. The intrepid Steve Corbett called the district offices up and was told the school officials didn’t have time to make the change. Height resigned in May, before the primary. He plead guilty in court before Memorial Day. I don’t buy the “there’s not enough time argument”. Plain and simple, the bloated overpaid administrators of the Wilkes Barre Area School District were just flat out too damn lazy to change the diplomas. But maybe it wasn’t in their job description. Look, I have no dog in this hunt. I have no children. But as a taxpayer in Wilkes Barre city, we have paid thousands of dollars in property taxes to educate other people’s kids. We have no problem with that because we figure we’re educating future citizens of our country. We pay the taxes with the expectation that our money will be wisely used. In this case, it wasn’t because all of those graduating students got a bum diploma with a name of an individual who resigned because he was accused of taking a bribe. Some may call his name on the document a collector’s item but most will say that again students who met the standards were besmirched by those who didn’t. (Height, the board and the lazy ass administrators). I was disturbed when callers to Corbett’s show dissed the kids further by saying, “they don’t even know the names on the diploma, all they want is to get it and get out”. I think that’s shortchanging the young graduates intellectually and as young citizens. No wonder very few young people have faith in our educational and political system! The school board did not even make an attempt to make it right. By the way, to the morons who called Corbett and said names on a diploma didn’t matter, I give you these names: Monsignor Thomas Knight and Sister Dorthea McHale. Those were the names on my diploma and after 37 years they are etched in my mind forever. Just like Jim Height’s will be.


Representative Barney Frank had a brief interview this morning on CNBC. Frank appeared on CNBC this morning, ahead of today's executive pay hearing. "We'll try to keep it brief so you can do the job you're there to do," said Mark Haines at the beginning of the interview. He just didn't know it would be this brief. After some back-and-forth with Haines (around the five minute mark), Frank got annoyed. "I apologize, but this interview is over," he said. "I get three different questions, different angles, I try to respond, you want to interrupt because you don't like what I'm saying, then you can find someone else". From You Tube, the exchange:

Frank has long been an advocate of adjusting executive pay. The man makes sense, It is not the government's business to discourage risk taking," said Frank, D-Mass. "But neither should we allow systems which have existed up until now whereby decision-makers are handsomely rewarded if they take big risks that pay off, but suffer no penalty whatsoever if those risks result in losses to the company." Frank is the chairman of the House Financial Services Committee.


The U.S. Senate votes cloture of the Civil Rights Bill after a 75-day filibuster. The history of this bill dated back to the Kennedy administration. After the fallen President’s death, new president Lyndon Johnson was hell bent on seeing the bill pass by an overwhelming majority. It would take guile, wheeling and dealing and smart management to make it happen. LBJ who wanted the bill passed as soon as possible, ensured that the bill would be quickly considered by the Senate. Johnson prevailed upon his successor as Majority Leader Mike Mansfielkd to do some fancy footwork. Normally, the bill would have been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee, chaired by Senator James O. Eastland a Democrat from Mississippi. Under Eastland's care, it seemed impossible that the bill would reach the Senate floor. Senate Majority Leader Mike Mansfield took a novel approach to prevent the bill from being relegated to Judiciary Committee limbo. Having initially waived a second reading of the bill, which would have led to it being immediately referred to Judiciary, Mansfield gave the bill a second reading on February 26, 1964, and then proposed, in the absence of precedent for instances when a second reading did not immediately follow the first, that the bill bypass the Judiciary Committee and immediately be sent to the Senate floor for debate. Although this parliamentary move led to a brief filibuster, the senators eventually let it pass, preferring to concentrate their resistance on passage of the bill itself. The bill came before the full Senate for debate on March 30, 1964 and the "Southern Bloc" of southern Senators led by Richard Russell of Georgia launched a filibuster to prevent its passage. Said Russell "We will resist to the bitter end any measure or any movement which would have a tendency to bring about social equality and intermingling and amalgamation of the races in our (Southern) states." After 54 days of filibuster, Republican Senators Everett Dirksen of Illinois, Thomas Kuchel of California Hubert Humphrey of Minnesota and Mike Mansfield of Montana introduced a substitute bill that they hoped would attract enough Republican votes to end the filibuster. The compromise bill was weaker than the House version in regard to government power to regulate the conduct of private business, but it was not so weak as to cause the House to reconsider the legislation. On the morning of June 10, 1964, Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia completed an address that he had begun 14 hours and 13 minutes earlier opposing the legislation. Until then, the measure had occupied the Senate for 57 working days, including six Saturdays. A day earlier, Democratic Whip Hubert Humphrey of Minnesota, the bill's manager, concluded he had the 67 votes required at that time to end the debate and end the filibuster. With six wavering senators providing a four-vote victory margin, the final tally stood at 71 to 29. Never in history had the Senate been able to muster enough votes to cut off a filibuster on a civil rights bill. And only once in the 37 years since 1927 had it agreed to cloture for any measure. The bill was signed on July 2nd with Everett Dirkson a GOP stalwart and Hubert Humphrey, eventual Vice President getting most of the credit………..Statewide in Pennsylvania on the same day the Senate broke the filibuster, Pennsylvania Governor William Scranton returned home humiliated politically from the National Governor’s Conference in Cleveland. The anti Goldwater forces were hoping to annoint Scranton as their alternative candidate but former President Eisenhower’s lack of support at the last moment cut the legs out from the Scranton effort. On that day, Senator Barry Goldwater stood on the floor of the Senate, he a representative of the party of Lincoln and voted with the minority in opposing the civil rights legislation. In effect, the presumptive nominee of the GOP was saying that he was voting against intervention by the federal government to secure the human liberties and civil rights of all Americans, black or white. Scranton’s own pain at his dashed ambitions now gave way to a sense of duty. Was his party, a party that was nurtured by earlier Scranton generations going to be known as the party of segregation? In a conversation with Eisenhower, the Pennsylvania Governor said Goldwater’s vote made him sick to his stomach and he was going to run for President as a matter of principle. And with that convergence of events, the short lived Scranton for President candidacy was born…….Meanwhile the fightin' Phils were doing well. The 1964 Phillies take 2 out of 3 from the Pirates but then feat on the New York Mets taking 3 out of 4 games. Art MaHaffey improves to 5-2, Chris Short pitches a complete game to make his record 4-3 and Dennis Bennett leads the team in victories with a 7-4 record. Later in the week Ray Culp comes on in relief and pitches 5 innings in a slugfest with the Mets bettering his record to Luzerne County, local Republicans were in a frenzy whipping up support for the Scranton Presidential bid. County GOP Chairman James Post told the Wilkes Barre Record, “We’re going to pull out all the stops and go full steam ahead for the Governor. I think he is the country’s and the party’s best hope for victory. We need a contrast to Senator Barry Goldwater” said Post. Post then called an emergency GOP county wide meeting at Genetti’s in Wilkes Barre with the local delegation consisting of Margaret Sordoni and John Vivian taking a leading role as well as alternates William Genetti and Attorney Max Rosenn………………..and 45 years ago this week the number one song in LuLac land and America again came from foreign soil. However this was not from Great Britain but from the tiny island of Jamaica. Number 1 this week was from Millie Small and her hit “My Boy Lollipop”.


At 10:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Damn David Letterman for giving Gov Palin a forum to stay in the news! Letterman was wrong and has apologized. Palin is the same woman who subjected a newborn to the noise and confusion of a GOP Convention and dragged out her pregnant daughter and reluctant boyfriend for the same event. Now she is protecting her cubs like a mother bear while she once again uses them to her advantage. Seems the Queen of the Klondike wants it both ways and intends to ride this one as far as she can. Sled Dog speed to ya, Sarah.

Klondike Jack

At 11:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So far 1964 just isnt as interesting as '68, but 1968 was a tough act to follow.

At 12:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree, the School administration in Wilkes Barre was just plain lazy. Therre was enough time or maybe they could've given the kids blanks and then sent out the new ones.

At 12:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just another example of Luzerne Countys Committment to the Kids.
School Administrators should be flat ass ashamed of themselves. Lazy and insulting if you ask me.

At 4:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great round up for 1964. Love your history on things great and small. What the Phillies didn't play any games that week?

At 5:40 PM, Blogger David Yonki said...

What the Phillies didn't play any games that week?

At 5:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yonki, you know the connection between Rush Limbaugh and Millie Small? Let's see if your memory is good.

At 5:48 PM, Blogger David Yonki said...

you know the connection between Rush Limbaugh and Millie Small?

At 1:01 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Despite Vietnam, in the rear view mirror of history, Lyndon Johnson's domestic achievements are really standing tall. That Civil Rights Bill was LBJ at his best, using people with ambition, Humphrey, and Dirksen for duty and honor ultimately for the greater good!

At 8:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey 1:01, Vietnam killed almost 59,000 Americans and wounded countless others mentally and physically. The death toll in Vietnamese can only be guessed at
let alone the casualties and property damage. It also divided the country in ways that last to this day. Vietnam Vets take no small offense to "despite Vietnam".
Hey hey LBJ, how many kids did you kill today, but on Civil Rights you did OK aint gonna fly even if it is true!


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