This page includes posts from
October 9-22, 2005 in the usual reverse
order. Each posting on the home page is perma-linked to these
It's commonly known among journalists that Saturdays are the slow day in the newspaper business.
Sales are usually off quite a bit from the Sunday bulge and the normal weekday sales figures.
That fact may be the best explanation for an odd story/headline combination that ran in today's News-Journal--or at least, the kindest.
The story dealt with the latest employment figures from the Delaware Department of Labor, and the headline started things off with a bang:
Why would anyone boast about having fewer jobs?
The story eventually explains that this number comes from an increase in formally unemployed Delawareans, from 17,400 to 18,100 during September 2005.
The story then causes a bit more confusion, with this additional competing factoid about the last twelve months of job data:
So what are we to make of this interesting combination?
It seems to me that if the News-Journal wanted to spin this story so it could use "Boasts" in the headline, it should have highlighted the net gain in jobs, instead of the net increase in unemployment.
Or, if the News-Journal wanted to highlight the slight increase in unemployment, it certainly should have avoided the cognitive dissonance it caused with this headline.
Maybe the editors were at one of the Friday night high school football games, instead of hanging around at work.
After all, it's just the Saturday paper.
My bride came home from a college function recently, bearing two gallons of leftover apple cider.
I like the stuff as much as anyone, especially with a few Sweetzel’s spiced wafers.
When there are only two of us in the house, however, some of this stuff could turn into apple jack unless we found some way to use it up.
If you find yourself facing a similar risk, here’s a recipe that could help.
Tomato/Apple Cider Chicken
Serves two, with a bit left over.
Divorce and bankruptcy cases don’t often show people during their finest hours. When one reads the judicial opinions regarding these and other emotionally wrenching legal matters, it helps to keep that fact in mind.
On the other hand, sometimes some of these litigants seem to go out of their way to create an impression---and not in a good way.
A college professor and his wife were married in 1967, and divorced in 1993. During the divorce proceedings, the ex-wife was awarded $2,000 per month in alimony, along with a share of certain annuities. In addition, the court ordered the repayment of thousands of dollars of cash that had been taken from the ex-wife’s parents, along with interest.
From the quoted passages in yesterday's Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals decision in a subsequent bankruptcy proceeding, it’s safe to say that the professor didn’t take his losses well:
Things didn’t approve when the case went to the next level, before the Bankruptcy Appellate Panel:
After recounting this sorry history, the Circuit Court then addressed the legal issue in the case—whether a bankruptcy debtor had an absolute right to convert his case from Chapter 7 to Chapter 13, where a payment schedule could be set for the payment of his debts.
It wasn’t hard to guess which way they would go. The Circuit Court affirmed and adopted the reasoning of the Bankruptcy Appellate Panel:
This decision strikes me as the proper reading of the statute and the correct result, especially under the circumstances. Nonetheless, I also have the feeling that this decision won’t be the end of the matter.
This morning I went to two high school assemblies. It’s only been 34 years or so since the last time I did that.
I went to Dover High School as the representative of the Attorney General’s Office, to be part of an opening presentation for a new initiative to improve driving safety among teenagers, called SmartDrive.
Delmarva Broadcasting Company, which owns and operates eleven FM and AM radio stations on the Delmarva Peninsula, is the lead sponsor. It came up with a program that combines monthly education modules that young drivers work on with their parents, along with a pile of individual and school-based incentives to do well on the periodic tests that are an integral part of the process.
Electronics, gift certificates, and concert tickets were among the swag items noted and vigorously applauded by the several hundred seniors and juniors in the auditorium.
The Attorney General’s Office, the Delaware Office of Highway Safety, and other public and private partners are also working with DBC on this new project.
Between assemblies, I spoke with Pete Booker, DBC’s chief executive officer, and renewed an acquaintanceship that goes back to the early 1970s at the University of Delaware. At the time, Booker could always be found at the UD radio station in the old Student Center. I was a photographer for the college newspaper and yearbook, both of whose offices were next door to the radio station.
Booker was optimistic that the SmartDrive concept would produce safer young drivers, reducing accidents and the tragic deaths caused by foolish, preventable mistakes.
It looks like a good idea, and it’s certainly well-intentioned.
Jacob Sullum’s piece noted that marijuana made up over two-fifths of all drug offense arrests, and that
It certainly makes sense that most of these arrests don’t involve the more serious issues of growing or selling the stuff. Customers far outnumber the growers and sellers of most commodities, legal or otherwise.
What has me curious is the extent to which marijuana arrests are simply an additional offense to the crime that first drew the police officer’s attention. That’s because the Reason piece reminds me of a story from my infrequent work as a prosecutor in Wilmington’s Municipal Court in the early 1980s.
I would report to the Criminal Division when one of the regular city prosecutors was either out sick or on vacation (Somehow, they were never available to return the favor).
The first item of business required me to review the large stack of formal charges against the crowd facing justice that morning. With the normal complement of 40 to 50 defendants, there would often be over 150 charges to read, sign, and begin the process of confirming if the witnesses were going to show up.
The typically few marijuana possession charges on the list were almost always an addition to the fundamental offense.
For example, the defendant would have been stopped for some traffic offense, such as running a stop sign. When asked for his license and registration, a joint would fall out of his car’s visor onto his lap, when he lowered the visor to retrieve the ordered items.
In one case I remember vividly, the defendant faced 6 traffic counts and one marijuana possession charge with just this kind of fact pattern.
During this time, however, it was usually next to impossible to prosecute one of these minor possession charges successfully. Inevitably there was some kind of problem with the chain of custody or state chemist witness unavailability.
With that history in mind, I had no problem offering the defense the option to plead guilty to any three traffic charges listed, as long as one of them was the most serious, a reckless driving count. The other four charges, including the joint possession case, would go away.
Fastest plea bargain I ever made.
After reading my recent post recommending John McPhee's The Control of Nature, blogbuddy Ann Salisbury sent a note that the New Yorker Magazine had recently reprinted the Atchafalya segment on its website.
Here's the link. Peruse the whole thing, as they say.
Meanwhile, I'm still reading John Berendt's The City of Falling Angels and John Barry's Rising Tide: The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 and How It Changed America. Both are very good.
Jack Ashford, who won a Grammy for the documentary about the group, Standing in the Shadows of Motown, led his musicians with his distinctive play on the vibes and tambourine. Most of the songs were from the long list of Motown hits for which the band provided the original studio recordings, but there was also a very well done jazz piece.
During one painfully funny interlude, the group was also assisted by a dozen or so volunteers from the audience, who "helped" with a rendition of My Girl on stage, complete with an homage of sorts to Motown musical choreography.
One young lady had a great voice, but most of the men fell into the category of being so bad they were good.
The set lasted about an hour and a half, and was a lot of fun.
The festival continues through this weekend.
I must confess to at least a small bit of annoyance with the announcement that there may be a new James Bond in our movie-going future:
As far as I'm concerned, they've missed their chance once again.
It's not like I couldn't have made myself available. They could have called me, explained about the situation with Pierce Brosnan, and quietly but firmly tried to bring me around to the notion of taking over as his replacement.
Some folks might even suggest that I have perfected the look of suave menace that is the hallmark of the famous fictional spy, as in this recent example:
Maybe it was the wedding ring--but some things are just not negotiable.
The structure is also the subject of a very good memoir of an eventful year spent on lighthouse duty by a Coast Guardsman named Stephen Jones. (I've had the first edition hardback for a long time, but it's still available in paperback.)
Jones just happened to be on duty during one of the worst storms to hit the Delaware Coast, in March 1962.
I was in the third grade in parochial school at the time, and have a vivid memory of joining my classmates in prayers that our teacher's beach cottage would not be destroyed.
However, I have no present memory of whether our prayers were answered.
I took advantage of the Columbus Day holiday to write and post my newest golf book review this afternoon, which you can read here.
Curt Sampson's The Slam: Bobby Jones and the Price of Glory is a clear-eyed yet respectful look at the legendary golfer and his unmatched string of major tournament victories in 1930.
Wednesday of this week begins this year's edition of the Rehoboth Beach Jazz Festival, running through Sunday, October 16.
There's still a little time left to check the schedule and see if a favorite performer or group's show is sold out, or if tickets are still available.
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