This page includes posts from May 21-June 3, 2006 in the usual reverse
order. Each posting on the home page is perma-linked to these
June 3, 2006
This afternoon I posted my newest golf book review, which you can read here.
How to Hit the Second Shot First: Blue and Bawdy Jokes that Unlock the Puzzle of the Green is a compilation of dozens of golf jokes and stories. After over twenty years of golf, I'm sure I've heard or told 90 per cent of them, but it may be handy to have them all in one place.
June 2, 2006
Daniel B. Wood of The Christian Science Monitor wrote a very good article about the increasing trend toward the production and widening distribution of single point-of-view documentaries, such as the new global warming movie featuring former Vice-President Al Gore, or Michael Moore's 9/11 screed.
I also like the term used in the piece to describe this type of cinema--docu-ganda.
As a board member for the Rehoboth Beach Film Society, I also share the concern raised in the closing paragraphs of Wood's article::
Organizations such as RBFS can do something about this particular risk, in their programming for their film festivals or other events.
Depending on speaker availability, it might also be beneficial for festival organizers to combine these films with space and time for a debate or post-showing discussion.
The fact that a docu-ganda film may make no effort to present all or even two sides of an issue is, of course, the filmmaker's prerogative. Nonetheless, film-promoting organizations should bear in mind that their own long-term prospects for success may depend on reaching out to as many different groups of potential movie buffs as possible.
Note: This post's title is admittedly just a tad derivative.
We drove in to Rehoboth Beach last night for dinner at the new Finbar Restaurant. As should be expected on this particular Sunday, we were joined by umpteen thousand Memorial Day visitors, both on the way in and during the hunt for an open parking space in the little town.
Even though weíve lived here for nearly twenty years, itís still a bit stunning to see so many people all at once, with the certain knowledge that the hordes of tourists will be with us for the next fifteen weeks or so.
On the other hand, we quickly acknowledge that if it werenít for all those folks who come here in the summer, we wouldnít have what we enjoy during the rest of the year. Besides, thereís plenty to like about living here from May through August.
We just have to share.
Several bloggers noted happily how this week the very liberal Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) took off after fellow Congresspersons and others who are seeking to preserve the protectionist policies propping up some American agricultural interests, such as Big Sugar.
They're right to applaud him, at least from the perspective of those of us who support free trade policies. It's a fine speech, and yes, you should read the whole thing.
On the other hand, his recent remarks are simply a continuation of stuff he's said before, using several of the same references.
For example, here's the text of his February 24, 2004 speech on this issue. It's well worth comparing to the one he gave this week:
Amazing similarity, eh?
Now compare these two speeches with a Frank quote used in a December 1994 National Review article by Rich Lowry:
I suppose at some point even Mr. Frank must tire of using the same arguments he articulated at least a dozen years ago. On the other hand, the bigger disappointment is that he and others opposing agricultural subsidies like those enjoyed by the sugar interests have had to fight against these giveaways for so long.
Perhaps like-minded folks, such as those pushing the Porkbusters movement, will finally provide enough additional support to help carry the day for Rep. Frank and other free-traders.
On the rare occasions that I go into one of Delaware's gambling establishments, I can always see the same thing--lots of white-haired folks, stooped over the slot machines, who only rarely take their eyes off the whirling discs that eventually stop and tell them how much they just lost.
Even so, the News-Journal headline today about senior citizens and their money seemed way too obvious to attract anyone's attention long enough to read the story below it:
This goal really separates the no-longer-working from the rest of us, doesn't it?
As usual, the piece this yawner accompanied was better-written than the boring headline indicated, although anyone with retirees as parents or friends would not learn much new about the subject.
This header earns two Claudes.
May 21, 2006
Two recent emails discussed two different posts from a while ago, both dealing with transportation issues.
In August 2003 I wrote about a Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals decision involving Ms. Helen Faith Jones. She received a large number of parking citations issued by Monroe, Michigan, allegedly for overstaying the cityís time limits on its metered parking spaces. Ms. Jones argued that the enforcement policy as applied against disabled motorists such as herself violated Federal discrimination laws.
Hereís a portion of what I said about the case, after the majority on the court panel turned down her appeal:
It appears that her legal advisors were thinking along similar lines.
Ms. Jones wrote to tell me that she won a separate appeal to the Michigan Supreme Court. From what Iíve seen on the Internet, it looks like she was able to rely upon Michigan's version of the Delaware laws I mentioned in the post.
Hereís what she also said in her recent note:
As regular readers also know, Iíve written about automated red light enforcement systems a few times. Besides being an intriguing transportation policy issue, I also have advised my clients at DelDOT about their own red light camera program from its inception, including handling the appeals filed against the Delaware citations.
A gentleman from Virginia sent me a copy of my August 26, 2002 post on this subject, and apparently took issue with some of my commentary about the safety goals of these programs.
Hereís what I said then:
My recent Virginia correspondent has a decidedly different take on the subject, as shown in these segments from his email:
To answer his specific question about Delaware, not long after the stateís red light camera program began operations, the General Assembly added this passage to 21 Del.C. Section 4101(d)(1):
This law re-affirmed DelDOTís previously adopted policy choice. In fact, in most locations the stateís yellow-time sequence has been extended slightly, for example from a manual-recommended 4.5 seconds to a full 5.0 seconds. In addition, in each appeal hearing the court is presented evidence of the yellow time and the degree to which these sequences extend beyond the recommended limits.
Furthermore, I strongly disagree with the correspondentís suggestion that Iím being cavalier about the risk presented by rear-end collisions and their potential aftermaths. I know that this issue is being seriously studied by a number of transportation engineers, and that the data thus far have not always been conclusive.
DelDOTís red light camera enforcement system is a three-year experiment. My clients are looking at their accident data every month to see what changes in accident type and number may be occurring as a result of having these systems in place. That data will certainly play a role in the General Assemblyís eventual decision whether to retain these systems or drop them.
I canít speak for other jurisdictions, but any claims that Delaware only has its eyes on the money and doesnít care about traffic safety are simply false.
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 2002-2006