This page includes posts from
August 22-28, 2004 in the usual reverse
order. Each posting on the home page is perma-linked to these
It looked like fun, and it was. Here are my results, which should surprise none of the long-time readers of this blog:
For the data-crunchers in the audience, the numbers are as follows:
This week's golf column is a story about a family that built and opened a par-3 public golf course in the Cape Region.
Even non-golfers might enjoy reading about the learning curve for those embarking on a new business venture.
In many ways the City of Rehoboth Beach is an old, traditional beach resort.
Tonight we were treated to one of the nicer aspects of this part of the town’s character--an open air concert at the city’s bandstand at the boardwalk.
Tonight’s performers were the Jazz Ambassadors, a 19-piece ensemble of the U.S. Army Field Band.
About 700 people filled the long white benches facing the stage. Dozens more surrounded the seating area. The band gave the crowd a polished performance, with a wide variety of jazz standards.
The audience seemed especially pleased with two other parts of the show.
First, the band played short renditions of the anthems for each of the five branches, in this order—Air Force, Coast Guard, Marines, Navy, and Army. As requested by the band leader, veterans in the crowd stood up during the playing of their own particular service's segment. Each group was fairly well represented among those in attendance.
The entire crowd then stood up again, as Sergeant First Class Marva Lewis sang Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the USA.”
All in all it was a very enjoyable show. Check the band’s website for an upcoming performance near you. I highly recommend it.
Yesterday morning a passerby noted four fishing rods, a tackle box and related equipment set near a bridge over the Nanticoke River in Seaford, a small town in western Sussex County, Delaware. The fishing lines were still in the water, but there was no sign of their owner.
The authorities were duly contacted, and an intensive 90-minute search ensued, including boats and divers.
According to a News-Journal report, the police eventually decided that since they found no signs of foul play, perhaps the owner of the poles and fishing tackle had simply left them there.
Their second guess proved to be far more accurate than their first:
I’m sometimes justly accused of not being up to speed on all things modern. Even so, I’m pretty sure this episode is not exactly “hooking up” as the term is now used. In any event, it certainly brings a new meaning to the phrase “gone fishin’”.
Wonder what kind of bait he was using.
The last paragraph in the story carried the mystery just a bit further:
This week’s Tenth Circuit decision about Internet casket sales and the Oklahoma laws regulating funeral directors reminded me of Jessica Mitford.
If she were alive today, the author of the bestseller American Way of Death would have smiled broadly as she read how the funeral industry uses its friends in the Oklahoma legislature to protect it from the modern free enterprise system.
On the other hand, I believe she would have ruefully agreed with the Circuit Court’s handling of the case, which applied fundamental principles of constitutional law. The decision is also a handy primer on the limitations of seeking to gain in the courts what one has not yet obtained through the political process.
Kim Powers, Dennis Bridges, and Memorial Concepts Online, Inc. wanted to sell caskets over the Internet without obtaining licenses for this purpose from the Oklahoma State Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors.
They weren’t completely stymied—they didn’t need this license to sell caskets to out-of-state customers. On the other hand, the requirement to embalm 25 bodies, pass a licensing examination, and complete a specified 60-credit program of undergraduate training for the required funeral director’s license seemed a bit much for these would-be merchants. After all, they were only interested in selling funeral crates at whatever the market would bear.
They sued the Oklahoma board, arguing that the licensure requirements of the Funeral Services Licensing Act (FSLA) violated their rights under the Privileges and Immunities, Due Process, and Equal Protection clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment. Among other arguments, they pointed out that less than five percent of the required curriculum for licensure had anything to do with selling caskets.
Nonetheless, the District Court ruled in favor of the state board after a full trial. The plaintiffs appealed.
The appellate panel’s discussion is noteworthy on two levels. First, it applied the traditional rational basis test for analysis of the plaintiff’s claims against the Oklahoma regulatory scheme. Second, the panel reminded the parties of the constitutional limits on the court’s authority, as well as the general primacy of the Oklahoma legislature in adopting fundamentally anti-competitive laws.
Here are some extended, particularly noteworthy portions of Chief Circuit Judge Tacha's opinion:
The plaintiffs’ effort to restore some semblance of free market capitalism is certainly admirable. They obviously still have their work cut out for them in the Oklahoma legislature.
Perhaps some updated muckraking about the funeral industry by an Oklahoma blogger or journalist could help. Mitford is gone now, but the scandalous behavior by some merchants of death continues.
I've added two new bloggers to the list on the home page, both of whom happen to be law professors--not that there's anything wrong with that.
Hugh Hewitt also works as a radio talk show host on the West Coast, with a conservative viewpoint that is also respectful of others' perspectives.
Ann Althouse teaches at the University of Wisconsin, and thus far her political leanings as expressed in her posts seem to match my own. Two of her recent essays are particularly good, in fact. Suddenly I don't feel quite so much like a norphan anymore.
Janis Gore sent me a link to a story about a recent hearing in a Louisiana courtroom.
John Rawls represents the Forum for Equality Political Action Committee, seeking to block a state constitutional amendment to bar same-sex marriages.
Apparently he's also a bit tetchy:
Janis had a few questions about the incident:
I did a little checking around here, which is a notably gay-friendly place.
The idea that "homosexual" would be considered derogatory was a mystery to the guys I asked.
Perhaps Mr. Rawls is a bit hypersensitive--or perhaps he was simply trying to engage in a bit of courtroom theatrics.
Either explanation makes sense to me, even if Rawls' allegation doesn't.
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 2002-2004