This page includes posts from March 12-25, 2006 in the usual reverse
order. Each posting on the home page is perma-linked to these
I don't always agree with him on politics, but JPod is dead on the money on this one.
Go see it-and after that, go see this great trailer for Sleepless in Seattle.
Fred Phelps is an alleged Christian with a twisted sense of what it means to proselytize. After years of abusing AIDS victims, lately he and his followers have been picketing soldiers’ funerals, holding up signs such as “Thank God for Dead Soldiers."
Their cruel intervention in what civilized folks recognize should be kept as a respectful ceremony reminds us that you just can’t make a sphincter feel like one.
Professor Volokh also went to the trouble of writing a useful essay discussing some of the legalities of these efforts to stop Fred and his gang, appearing in the National Review.
As he notes:
Yesterday the Delaware General Assembly saw its first legislative effort to deal with this issue, with House Bill No. 371 introduced and sent to an appropriate committee.
At least at first glance, the proposed Delaware version appears to follow the constitutional lines set out in Professor Volokh’s article:
(2) This Section applies to conduct within one (1) hour preceding, during and within two (2) hours after a military funeral, memorial service, funeral procession or burial.
(3) A person who commits a violation of this Section commits:
(a) A class A misdemeanor for a first offense.
(b) A class F felony for a second or subsequent offense.
Thus far we haven’t seen any sign of Fred at any Delaware soldiers’ funerals, which may be a bit surprising considering the Dover Air Force Base’s status as the primary military mortuary.
If he and his gang never show up around here, however, they certainly won’t be missed.
UPDATE: A local correspondent tells me that Phelps has actually been in Delaware a few times on his misguided mission. His note is confirmed by the ADL website, which says this happened twice in 2005 at anti-gay demonstrations.
And I was so hoping he wouldn't know where Delaware was.
I took a short trip south last week, which will be the subject of this week's golf column.
Meanwhile, the American media industry showed that it's ability to garner additional Claude awards for table-poundingly obvious headlines continues unabated.
This week's winner somehow reminded me of the way that the Action News team on Philadelphia's Channel 6 would open the newscasts in the late 60s and early 70s, using the standard "Go local, especially if it bleeds" approach. The classic formula would run like this:
And off they'd go with some locally-produced video of yet another rowhouse fire in a Philadelphia neighborhood.
After a while, you began to wonder what else was left to burn there.
Today's News-Journal continued that tradition, with a story about a huge brush fire not too far from here.
As usual, the piece itself is fine, as far as it goes. It's the headline that bugs me:
This one earns three Claudes.
I'm taking a short blogging break. Back in a bit.
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 2002-2005