Sneaking Suspicions
Archives-- October 24-30, 2004

This page includes posts from October 24-30, 2004 in the usual reverse order. Each posting on the home page is perma-linked to these archive pages.

October 30, 2004
Sea Witch Festival

This year marked the 15th anniversary of the Rehoboth Sea Witch Festival, and thousands of Halloween lovers filled up Rehoboth Avenue this morning for the big parade. 

The Sea Witch herself led off, driven by the owner of a fully-restored 1966 Galaxie 500 convertible. He also happens to be the guy I usually commute with to work.

Kids made up at least 70 per cent of the crowd, and patiently waited for the parade participants to throw them candy as they passed by.

For more of this post, including several more photographs, click here.

October 30, 2004
The last refuge of some scoundrels

The Drudge Report this morning linked to an Iowa newspaper’s story about one of Senator Tom Harkin’s religious convictions.

Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin says John Kerry has been gaining in the polls every day since Oct. 21, and George Bush has been going down every day.

"That's how God wants it to be," Harkin told a group of about 25 people at the Benton County Headquarters in Vinton on Thursday afternoon.
Harkin was touring the state to stump for Kerry and Democratic legislative candidates. 

As usual, God could not be reached for comment. Therefore, we are left to surmise and suspicion that perhaps Senator Harkin’s take on the matter is a bit convenient.

In addition, the reporter did not say if Harkin or the Democrats he spoke to were waving any of the new Kerry/Edwards Prayer Cloths.

October 28, 2004
Nothing too subtle, eh?

Some of you may think that the national political campaigns have become increasingly strident. 

You’d be right, but the fact is that the tendency to magnify political differences is by no means limited to the national scene. 

Here’s a local example.

Sussex County, Delaware is governed by a five-member council, currently split between two Republicans and three Democrats.  Lynn Rogers (D) represents the Third District, where I live, and Judson Bennett is the Republican challenger trying to unseat him. The other two Democrats are also up for re-election, but the really intense fight is between Bennett and Rogers. 

Land use issues predominate, thanks to the area’s tremendous growth in the last decade or so. Bennett is essentially anti-growth, while Rogers is a self-styled champion of property rights. 

[BTW, if this sounds like the opposite of what one usually expects when thinking of the differences between Democrats and Republicans, you’re correct. This happens sometimes at the local level, regardless of what one reads in the national party platforms—ed.] 

The campaigning has been surprisingly passionate, as well as expensive

The intensity level is perhaps best exemplified by a half-page Bennett advertisement I saw in the local paper two days ago. It mimics a badly-drawn editorial cartoon. 

The left side of the cartoon shows a knight in armor, holding a long lance, with the name Judson Bennett underneath. However, this knight is a good hundred pounds lighter than Bennett is in real life.

Snarling at the knight, on the right side of the panel, is the three-headed dog Cerebus, standing on top of the “Gates of Hell.” Each dog head is labeled with the names of the three Democratic Sussex County councilmen. Clouds of steam escaping from Hell carry titles such as “Pollution of the Environment,” “Ill-conceived Poorly Planned Growth,” and “Route 1 Gridlock.” 

All in all, it’s a remarkably restrained, subtle statement of the differences among the candidates—or perhaps not.

I wonder how Bennett thinks this cartoon will help him win over his fellow councilmen if he somehow wins this election. From what I know of the councilmen (as well as Jud), I can just imagine how well those first few council meetings would go.

“Tension convention” might be too mild a description.

After all, when you’re described as the font of all evil, and the person who called you that in October tells you in January that he’d like you to vote with him on a given matter, your reluctance would be perfectly understandable.

October 27, 2004
Quick links worth reading

Tonight is a column deadline, so in lieu of my usual postings I'll just refer you to two others' pieces that I recommend:

Dennis Prager does a nice bit of work explaining why anyone interested in Israel's long-term security should support the re-election of President Bush.

Tom Maguire's work over the last several weeks has been just outstanding. Start with this post today and scroll down for as long as you can. It's well worth the time.

October 26, 2004
Why no, I won’t be voting for the Libertarian candidate for President. Could you tell?

Megan McArdle provided a helpful link to a recent interview with Michael Badnarik, the 2004 Libertarian candidate for president. 

I wasn’t at all disposed to vote for Badnarik in any event, but after reading David Kopel’s extensive Q & A with him, I have to wonder why any sane person would. 

The Radley Balko piece McArdle also cited is similarly instructive, and highly recommended.

October 25, 2004
Two Claudes for not enough birds in the bush

It’s been a while since we issued any Claude awards around here.  

Perhaps the media have caught on, and are trying harder to avoid publishing unintentionally ironic or superbly obvious statements. 

Or maybe I just haven’t been reading enough papers.

This week’s winner is a AP headline for a story about a new Audubon Society report outlining several disturbing downward trends in bird population statistics: 

Audubon: Habitat Losses Lower Bird Count

That one shows a firm grasp of the obvious, doesn’t it?

As is often the case, the story was far better than the headline. The first-time-ever report described several drops in species populations, including the Eastern Meadowlark, Bobolink, and Northern Bobwhite:

The group described the losses as abnormal, and said they could be seen as ecological indicators of problems that people also are or will soon be facing. Because of that, the group called for more protections for those habitats and increased conservation efforts by private landowners and homeowners.

There are several options available to folks who’d like to help. Those who live in urban environments that don’t support significant bird populations can contribute to bird habitat-promoting organizations such as Ducks Unlimited. For those who own some open space, the Federal government and several states also encourage the use of conservation easements, complete with tax breaks.

Land use agencies can also promote bird habitat protection as part of a responsible growth strategy. One local land use proposal now under consideration in Sussex County includes a 40-acre wildlife protection zone in the middle of a housing project, designed to preserve an eagle nesting area.

There are even simpler strategies. Our little half-acre was once a soybean field. After we built our house, we added over a dozen trees to the property, including several Christmas firs, spruces, and pines that had seen service inside the home before being planted out back. Several different bird species now call our place home. We have the nests to prove it.

This headline deserves two Claudes, but the story deserved far better.

October 25, 2004
You won't find anything about that here, thanks

I found this unusual request in the referrer log this morning, from three visitors:

current presidential poles

There's nothing here about that issue--sorry to disappoint.

Didn't we have enough embarrassing moments about this during the last Administration? I mean, really.

Some things you just don't want to know. TMI, and all that.

October 24, 2004
Impeccable Sports Logic

Earlier this year, the University of Delaware Fighting Blue Hens, a perennial Division I-AA powerhouse, defeated the Maine Bears football team.

Also earlier this year, the Maine Bears beat the Mississippi State football squad.

Yesterday Mississippi State beat the Florida Gators in an upset.

Florida was ranked #20 in the nation when it lost to Mississippi State.

Therefore, Delaware should be ranked at least #20 in tomorrow’s Division I-A standings, if not higher.

Works for me.


Contact Information:

Fritz Schranck
P.O. Box 88
Nassau, DE  19969


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© Frederick H. Schranck 2002-2004