Posted on June 30, 2005

Despite Pressure For Budget, Pa. House Finds Time For Big Issues

John Baer, Philadelphia Inquirer, June 30

And now for a story of crackers and condos, or a day in the life of your state House.


Anyway, in an effort to, well, show the flag, the House is pushing a bill that would override home-association or condominium rules against flying flags, to permit the flying of the American flag.

This will, I have no doubt, solve most of the state’s problems. But some members of the Black Caucus, noting the diversity of some regions of the state, aka Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, asked about other flags.

Hey, why not? If you wanna talk flags, let’s talk flags!

This riles Rep. Thomas Yewcic, of Johnstown, the only Democrat on the board of the conservative Commonwealth Caucus, aka the Neanderthal Caucus.

He says that anybody embarrassed to fly the American flag and interested in flying another flag should, “Go back to their ethnic origins and fly it there.”

This draws oohs and ahhs. It gets Rep. John Myers, D-Philadelphia, on his feet. Fur, basically, flies.

There are references to Nazi flags, Latino flags and, at one point, al Qaeda flags, whatever they might be. Myers, who is black, is offended by the “go back where you came from” inference. He says he’s “from Philadelphia” and can’t go back until the end of legislative session.

Then he asks if Yewcic’s remarks violate House rules. Well, actually he asks if “phraseology unbecoming to others” violates House rules.

House Speaker John Perzel says, “It does not violate the House rules.” Myers asks if he can take a shot. Case-by-case basis, says Perzel.

Well, then, says Myers, “I think that those types of remarks would come from a cracker.”

Whoops and hollers.

Perzel, less than amused, asks Myers to come to the rostrum. Microphones are shut off. Order is restored. Minutes later Yewcic announces that if anybody’s offended by anything he said, he apologizes.

Perzel asks if Myers would also like to apologize.

Myers, as a slight smile crawls across his face, says, “I’m sorry for referring to him as a cracker.”

This sets off much laughter around Myers.


E-mail Thomas Yewcic at