Friday, July 24, 2009

Scotty at the Bat

Scotty at the Bat

The Outlook wasn't brilliant for the GBurg Times that day:
The score stood four to two, with but one inning more to play.
And then when SteamTown died at first, and John M. did the same,
A sickly silence fell upon the patrons of the sheet.

A straggling few got up to go in deep despair. The rest
Clung to that hope which springs eternal in the human breast;
They thought, if only Scotty could get but a whack at that -
We'd put up even money, now, with Scotty at the bat.

But Hayes preceded Scotty, as did also Freddy S.,
And the former was a lulu and the latter was a cake;
So upon that stricken multitude grim melancholy sat,
For there seemed but little chance of Scotty's getting to the bat.

But Hayes let drive a single, to the wonderment of all,
And Freddy, the much despis-ed, tore the cover off the ball;
And when the dust had lifted, and the men saw what had occurred,
There was Freddy safe at second and Hayes a-hugging third.

Then from 5,000 throats and more there rose a lusty yell;
It rumbled through the valley, it rattled in the dell;
It knocked upon the mountain and recoiled upon the flat,
For Scotty, mighty Scotty, was advancing to the bat.

There was ease in Scotty's manner as he stepped into his place;
There was pride in Scotty's bearing and a smile on Scotty's face.
And when, responding to the cheers, he lightly doffed his hat,
No stranger in the crowd could doubt 'twas Scotty at the bat.

Ten thousand eyes read him as he rubbed his hands with dirt;
Five thousand tongues applauded when he swore to get big John.
Then while the writhing pitcher ground the ball into his hip,
Defiance gleamed in Scotty's eye, a sneer curled Scotty's lip.

And now the leather-covered sphere came hurtling through the air,
And Scotty stood a-watching it in haughty grandeur there.
Close by the sturdy batsman the ball unheeded sped-
"That ain't my style," said Scotty. "Strike one," the GAO said.

From the benches, black with people, there went up a muffled roar,
Like the beating of the storm-waves on a stern and distant shore.
"Kill him! Kill the GAO!" shouted someone on the stand;
And its likely they'd a-killed him had not Scotty raised his hand.

With a smile of Christian charity great Scotty's visage shone;
He stilled the rising tumult; he bade the game go on;
He signaled to the pitcher, and once more the spheroid flew;
But Scotty still ignored it, and the umpire said, "Strike two."

"Fraud!" cried the maddened thousands, and echo answered fraud;
But one scornful look from Scotty and the audience was awed.
They saw his face grow stern and cold, they saw his muscles strain,
And they knew that Scotty wouldn't let that ball go by again.

The sneer is gone from Scotty's lip, his teeth are clenched in hate;
He pounds with cruel violence his bat upon the park.
And now the pitcher holds the ball, and now he lets it go,
And now the air is shattered by the force of Scotty's blow.

Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright;
The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light,
And somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout;
But there is no joy in Gburg - mighty Scotty has struck out.


GettysBLOG

[With apologies to "Phin" who wrote Casey at the Bat -- Ernest Lawrence Thayer, Published: The San Francisco Examiner, June 3, 1888]

We support the Roadmap to Reform!

“Be steadfast in your anger, be sure in your convictions, be moved by the right and certainty that abuse of power must be defeated at every turn; uphold Liberty as the just reward of a watchful people, and let not those who have infringed upon that Liberty steal it away from you. Never loosen your grip on Liberty!" -- GettysBLOG

“Legislation without representation is tyranny.” -- GettysBLOG

Remember in May and November! Before you vote, GettysBLOG!

Copyright © 2005-2009: GettysBLOG; All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

DR: The Rule of Law v. the Law of Rules

In the hierarchy of codes for human behavior, there are:

1. Holy books and natural laws
2. Constitutions
3. Statutes
4. Regulations
5. Rules
6. Resolutions
In 2007, lawmakers on the Speaker's Reform Commission showed that if you want to do something without really doing anything, adopt a rule that can be suspended. The wary citizen, therefore, has learned that talk about rules "reform" is so much hot air.

One recent development in the House proves that point, while another development proves that "resolutions" in the Senate may be even worse.

Senate Resolutions - A Law Unto Themselves?
The Philadelphia Inquirer on Monday reported extensively about Senate Minority Leader Robert Mellow, D-Lackawanna, using tax dollars to pay his wife (now ex-wife) and himself rent for a district office for seven years. Click here for the full story.

The bare facts are that Mellow has used the building as his district office and campaign office since 1990 when one of his staff bought it for $90,000. Eleven years later in 2001, the building was valued at a little more than $82,000 when Brad Inc, a company half owned by Mellow's then wife, bought it for $1 (that's one dollar). After the divorce, Mellow sold the building in 2008 for $350,000. In between, taxpayers paid Mellow $200,000 in rent and currently pay $4,600 per month.

The state's Ethics Act has something to say about this in Section 1102, which defines "conflict of interest" as "Use by a public official ... of his office... for the private pecuniary benefit of himself, a member of his immediate family or a business with which he or a member of his immediate family is associated." Click here for the full act.

Mellow defends the arrangement by citing a Senate resolution that allows senators to rent office space from themselves. Mellow claims that the Senate resolution trumps the Ethics Act, even though Senate resolutions do not have the force of law. If Mellow's defense is allowed to stand, it turns the rule of law into the law of rules and stands the hierarchy of codes of human conduct on its head. Click here for an Inquirer editorial about that.

A Manufactured Crisis to Avoid House Rules?
The question everyone is asking is how the legislature could be so incompetent that they can't pass a budget five months after the governor's proposal hit the streets. But that question masks a more important question: Would lawmakers rather be seen as incompetent than corrupt?

As Gov. Ed Rendell and lawmakers spun their partisan and ideological webs last week, hoping to snare a majority of public opinion, the plan among House Democrats briefly was to pass the budget adopted by the Senate, SB 850. By doing so without amendment, the House could have sent the budget to the governor expeditiously. However, according to several reports, if they had passed SB 850 out of committee on Monday, they still could not vote on it finally for two weeks under a new rule requiring that much time to elapse so lawmakers and citizens can study the budget and comment on it.

Everyone knows that there will be something in the budget that will get people upset if they're allowed to see it before it's too late - gambling, transportation, WAMs, etc. There always is. So the crisis of unpaid state employees works to lawmakers' advantage. It creates the perfect excuse for suspending the rule and hiding the mischief yet again. And even if SB 850 is no longer in play, the same crisis will excuse the same gambit on whatever bill becomes the budget. You'd think they planned it that way.

The Complicity of the Courts.
Why do lawmakers have such aloof attitudes about the Constitution and the laws? Simply put, the PA Supreme Court won't enforce the Constitution or the law against the General Assembly's rules and resolutions. Consistently, the court refuses to overturn enactments that abide by House and Senate rules but that conspicuously violate the Constitution. The slots gambling law, the pay raise and many other abuses of legislative and executive power prove the point.

Similarly, the State Ethics Commission has been hamstrung. In addition to being chronically under-funded, its victories in court often are undermined when the courts refuse to publish the decisions. This denies the SEC the ability to cite the cases as precedent, causing them to go to court again and again with the same issues.

What can we do?
The Mellow Scandal has created the opportunity for a close look at the Ethics Act with an eye toward strengthening its enforcement and penalties. Courts can be required to publish opinions. There can be penalties that act as deterrents instead of incentives. The legislature can create a dedicated source of adequate funding. And citizens can begin to regain confidence in their government.

Which lawmakers will make that happen?

Please support Democracy Rising PA. Donate here.
Thank you!

Thank you, Tim Potts!

GettysBLOG

We support the Roadmap to Reform!

“Be steadfast in your anger, be sure in your convictions, be moved by the right and certainty that abuse of power must be defeated at every turn; uphold Liberty as the just reward of a watchful people, and let not those who have infringed upon that Liberty steal it away from you. Never loosen your grip on Liberty!" -- GettysBLOG

“Legislation without representation is tyranny.” -- GettysBLOG

Remember in May and November! Before you vote, GettysBLOG!

Copyright © 2005-2009: GettysBLOG; All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Ubi Sunt 2009

Medieval Anglo Saxon poetry contains a number of works by unknown authors with the theme of "ubi sunt". Ubi sunt is from the Latin for "Where have they gone?" One poem, "The Ruin", goes like this:

This masonry is wondrous; fates broke it
courtyard pavements were smashed; the work of giants is decaying.
Roofs are fallen, ruinous towers,
the frosty gate with frost on cement is ravaged,
chipped roofs are torn, fallen,
undermined by old age. The grasp of the earth possesses
the mighty builders, perished and fallen,
the hard grasp of earth, until a hundred generations
of people have departed. Often this wall,
lichen-grey and stained with red, experienced one reign after another,
remained standing under storms...*
Anybody know what town the local police are patrolling? It sure isn't the Gettysburg area. They must have gone down the shore for the weekend because they sure ain't around here!

I guess we know who pulls the strings in the Gettysburg area. Has to be the merchants. They're the only ones having a successful weekend. Well, the police certainly are...wherever they are.

...Bright were the castle buildings, many the bathing-halls,
high the abundance of gables, great the noise of the multitude,
many a meadhall full of festivity,
until Fate the mighty changed that.
Far and wide the slain perished, days of pestilence came,
death took all the brave men away;
their places of war became deserted places,
the city decayed. The rebuilders perished,
the armies to earth. And so these buildings grow desolate,
and this red-curved roof parts from its tiles
of the ceiling-vault. The ruin has fallen to the ground
broken into mounds, where at one time many a warrior,
joyous and ornamented with gold-bright splendour,
proud and flushed with wine shone in war-trappings;
looked at treasure, at silver, at precious stones,
at wealth, at prosperity, at jewellery,
at this bright castle of a broad kingdom...*
[*The Ruin on Wikipedia.]

We suppose, then, that this is the future of Gettysburg. Some time in the future a wanderer might stumble upon the ruins here and compose a song along just those lines. And we know the cause...the abandonment of the people by authority.

Perhaps this also explains why last year there were only 6 arrests.

GettysBLOG

We support the Roadmap to Reform!

“Be steadfast in your anger, be sure in your convictions, be moved by the right and certainty that abuse of power must be defeated at every turn; uphold Liberty as the just reward of a watchful people, and let not those who have infringed upon that Liberty steal it away from you. Never loosen your grip on Liberty!" -- GettysBLOG

“Legislation without representation is tyranny.” -- GettysBLOG

Remember in May and November! Before you vote, GettysBLOG!

Copyright © 2005-2009: GettysBLOG; All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

GNMP Supt. Latschar Earns CWPT Preservation Award

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 1, 2009

CIVIL WAR PRESERVATION TRUST ANNOUNCES WINNERS OF 2009 PRESERVATION AWARDS

Recipients lauded as “the best in the business” for preserving the hallowed ground of Civil War battlefields

(Washington, D.C.) - During the organization’s annual conference in Gettysburg, Pa., Civil War Preservation Trust (CWPT) president James Lighthizer announced the winners of the 2009 Preservation Awards, recognizing extraordinary individual and organizational achievements in the cause of Civil War preservation.

“Time and again, when the naysayers said it couldn’t be done — that this was progress and that nothing could be preserved — these dedicated individuals rolled up their sleeves and proved them wrong,” Lighthizer said. “We owe them all a debt of gratitude.”

The Preservation Awards were presented during a banquet at the Wyndham Gettysburg hotel in Gettysburg, Pa., on Saturday evening, June 6. During the ceremony, Lighthizer stressed the need for cooperation among like-minded groups, and stated that he was proud to recognize a few of preservation’s many “unsung heroes” with these awards. Among the partners recognized this year were representatives of local governments, the National Park Service, reenactment groups, Civil War Roundtables and educators.

Over the years, CWPT has honored a wide variety of individuals and groups for their work to preserve endangered Civil War battlefields. Previous winners include historians, celebrities and even residential development firms. Despite such disparate backgrounds, all have made unique and lasting contributions to historic preservation.

The 2009 award winners are:

Shelby Foote Preservation Legacy Award: The Preservation Legacy Award is generally awarded to members of the business or civic community for extraordinary contributions to further the cause of battlefield preservation. This year, awards went to Andy Shield of Richmond, Va., for his extensive preservation work at Malvern Hill and Totopotomoy Creek, and to Dick Gilder of the Gilder Lehrman Institute for American History for his notable involvement in numerous preservation organizations.

Carrington Williams Battlefield Preservationist of the Year Award: This award, named for the first chairman of CWPT, was presented to Mike Perry for his leadership of the “Winchester Wheelmen,” a cycling group that works to maintain and support CWPT’s battlefield at Third Winchester.

National Preservation Leadership Award: Traditionally, CWPT’s National Leadership Award has been presented to policymakers who have made significant contributions to preservation on the national level. This year, CWPT recognized Bryan Mitchell of NPS Heritage Preservation Services, a long time preservationist with a career spanning 35 years in public service. Under his leadership the American Battlefield Protection Program continues to make CWPT’s efforts possible by providing primary funding for federal matching grants.

State Preservation Leadership Award: This year’s State Preservation Leadership award went to Kathleen Kilpatrick, Director of the Virginia Department of Historic Resources, who is responsible for the precedent-setting state matching grants program that has provided the financial support to save countless acres of battlefield across the state.

Brian C. Pohanka Preservation Organization of the Year Award: This award was named after the late Brian Pohanka, an outstanding historian and one of the founders of the modern battlefield preservation movement. This year’s award went to the Natural Bridge Historical Society of Florida for its long-standing commitment to protecting and interpreting that battlefield, as well as its key role in seeing a major portion of the site preserved in 2008.

National Park Service Preservationist of the Year Award: This award, which is presented to outstanding NPS personnel, went to John Latschar, Superintendent of Gettysburg National Military Park. In his tenure, Latschar has overseen a massive landscape restoration project across the battlefield, as well as the planning and construction of the new Visitor Center.

Preservationist Teacher of the Year Award: Every year, CWPT recognizes an outstanding teacher for motivating students to become more involved in battlefield preservation. This year, CWPT recognized Mr. Tom Watts of Madison Middle School, Mississippi who helped his students raise $650 toward CWPT’s purchase of land at Champion Hill Battlefield, Mississippi.

Reenactment Unit of the Year Award: In recent years, CWPT has begun recognizing the most preservation-friendly reenactment groups in the nation. This year, CWPT honored the 28th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Company B, located in Arlington, Virginia which donated more than $3,000 to CWPT’s Slaughter Pen Farm effort.

Civil War Roundtable of the Year Award: This award was presented to the Low Country Civil War Roundtable for its commitment to excellence and battlefield preservation. The group has donated nearly $30,000 toward various groups and causes in the last decade.

With 60,000 members, CWPT is the largest nonprofit battlefield preservation organization in the United States. Its mission is to preserve our nation’s remaining Civil War battlefields. Since 1987, the organization has saved more than 25,000 acres of hallowed ground. CWPT’s website is located at http://www.civilwar.org/.

GettysBLOG

We support the Roadmap to Reform!

“Be steadfast in your anger, be sure in your convictions, be moved by the right and certainty that abuse of power must be defeated at every turn; uphold Liberty as the just reward of a watchful people, and let not those who have infringed upon that Liberty steal it away from you. Never loosen your grip on Liberty!" -- GettysBLOG

“Legislation without representation is tyranny.” -- GettysBLOG

Remember in May and November! Before you vote, GettysBLOG!

Copyright © 2005-2009: GettysBLOG; All Rights Reserved.