This page includes posts from
February 1-24, 2007 in the usual reverse
Each posting on the home page is perma-linked to these archive pages.
February 20, 2007
Late last month I reacted to two separate articles that were related to each other.
The first was a Jay Nordlinger piece that quoted a very Republican friend of his. The unnamed source offered a reason why the Democrats needed to win the Presidency as well as control of both houses of Congress in 2008:
This sentiment dovetailed with a WaPo article by Ruth Markus about the Democrats' persistent opposition to any policy proposal by the current President.
My post offered a different explanation for the Democrats' attitude than Markus. I think to some extent it's related to the Clinton impeachment and the protest votes that ugly fustercluck generated.
At this point, I'm just hoping that a true national security Democrat receives the nomination:
Thinking along these lines seems to be spreading.
Here is a relevant segment from a recent Jonah Goldberg column:
Now here's Jim Geraghty's reaction to Jonah, from a post that appeared earlier today:
Geraghty then describes a series of realistic and worrying circumstances, including but not limited to terror attacks in America, more violent Islamist uprisings in the Middle East, and renewed troubles between Pakistan and India. He then poses these questions:
All good questions--and this far removed from the 2008 elections, it's not at all easy to answer them, except to note that they are of a piece with the basic trust issue raised in these and similar posts and commentary.
Nonetheless, the recent non-binding anti-surge resolution passed by the House certainly doesn't instill any real confidence in the likely answers from the current Congressional leadership.
February 18, 2007
This morning I posted my newest golf book review at
Hole By Hole.
Lou Hays' Make Your Golf
Dream A Reality
Lou Hays' Make Your Golf Dream A Realityis a sprightly written golf instruction book, emphasizing the short game as the path to lower your handicap significantly.
There's also a new golf column:
I hope you like it.
February 14, 2007
We invited several friends over for dinner on Sunday night. I put together this dish on Saturday afternoon, and needed some folks to help eat it the next day.
They didn't mind at all, especially when my wife also prepared a nice salad, along with a great flan and a pineapple angel food cake for desert.
Brown the sausages for 5 minutes a side in a non-stick sauté pan, over medium heat. Remove from pan, slice the links into pieces between ¼ and ½ inch thick, and set aside.
Brown the chicken pieces in the sausage drippings in the same pan for five minutes or so, over medium heat.
In a large stock pot, melt the stick of butter over low heat, and when it bubbles stir in the flour to make a roux. When the roux becomes light brown, add the remaining butter, onions, and garlic on low heat. Cook until the onions soften, about five minutes.
Add to the pot the peppers, celery, tomatoes, mushrooms, and white wine, and increase heat to medium. When the mixture begins to boil, turn heat back to simmer. Add the spices, salt, peppers, sausages, and chicken, including the drippings from the sauté pan, and cover.
Let the mixture simmer for at least an hour, stirring occasionally.
As I expected, the flavors improve if you let it sit overnight in the refrigerator, and then re-heat it on low/simmer for about 45 minutes just before dinner.
Serve in bowls with hot boiled rice, with baguettes.
Makes about 10 servings.
Afterwards, some of us also enjoyed a few cheeses and a bit of port that went very well with everything that had gone on before.
February 13, 2007
Small town land use disputes sometimes show people misbehaving at their very best.
I think it’s due to the unsettling of expectations that others will do with their land what you want them to do, instead of what they might want to do themselves.
That was certainly the situation with a recent Board of Adjustment hearing in the little town of Fenwick Island, at the southern edge of Delaware and the Atlantic Ocean.
Fenwick isn’t really an island, although non-natives could certainly be excused for thinking it is when they visit. The Little Assawoman Bay sits to the west, with the town taking up only a few blocks of land between the bay and the ocean.
The property in question sits on Bayside Drive, on the west side. The owner formerly stored boats on the mostly triangular-shaped parcel for many years. With the run-up in beach property values, he decided to try to obtain a variance from the usual setback rules, in order to shoehorn a small house onto the lot.
The parcel barely met the 5,000 square foot minimum, but its odd configuration required Board approval for any house to be built on it. For example, under the normal rules the building envelope (lot space minus the setbacks) measured only 423 square feet. On the other hand, the town code required a building footprint of not less than 750 square feet.
He first tried to have the Board approve placing a 900 sf home on the lot, but they turned him down. Undaunted, the owner then hired an architect, who came up with a plan that used 821 square feet for the footprint. However, it also included a bump-out of an additional 22 square feet on the second floor, measuring about 11 feet from the street side of the parcel when viewed from overhead.
This plan brought out several locals in opposition. They found a ready audience among some of the Board members at the contested hearing:
Another neighbor noted that renters for other nearby properties used this parcel
The Board chairperson also suggested that shortening the setback requirements would increase fire hazards in the area.
The Board eventually turned down the variance request, suggesting among other things that the owner should file another plan that came closer to meeting the normal setback requirements. Instead, the owner appealed to the Superior Court.
Judge Richard Stokes didn’t hide his exasperation with the Board very well:
The judge also ruled that at least one Board member had his mind made up long before the hearing took place. Citing a lengthy colloquy between the member and the Board counsel, Stokes noted the following:
Relying on the parking issue was also a non-starter:
He didn’t think much of the fire hazard contention, either:
And with that, Stokes reversed the Board.
I’d like to think that the Fenwick Board members will treat seriously the legal problems noted by Judge Stokes in this appeal, and find a way to improve their decision-making process in their future hearings. To the extent they don’t, however, other Fenwick property owners will be forced to seek yet another brisk reminder of the Board’s obligations from the Court.
Official small print disclaimer: This is, after all, a personal web site. Any opinions or comments I express here are my own, and don't necessarily reflect the official position of my work as a government attorney or any of my clients.
That fact may become obvious later on, but it needs to be said here anyway.
© Frederick H. Schranck 2002-2007