Blogs > Frye on the News

Keeping his eye on the news and offering commentaries and insights on what is happening in Oakland County, around the world, on the tube and in the news.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Teens charged as adults

This will be a topic I get back to, but another teenager has been
charged as an adult with murder, a crime that potentially could bring
life without opportunity for parole.
A few years back, The Oakland Press looked at teenagers under 18 who
had committed crimes that led to them being charged with first-degree
At the time, 40 people in Michigan's prisons came from Oakland County
and had been 17 or younger when they killed someone. All will die in
prison, as they were serving life without parole, the mandatory
sentence for first-degree murder.
Just a couple of years ago, several teenagers faced similar charges
in Oakland County.
One, who beat an elderly woman during a robbery, causing her to have
a heart attack and die in Troy, pleaded to a reduced second-degree
murder and is serving a lengthy prison sentence. Though the death was
unintended, the act of robbery was intended, and felony murder
applies whenever someone dies when one commits a felony. He was lucky
prosecutors were willing to negotiate.
Just because they are charged with first-degree, a jury could find
them guilty of a reduced charge or the prosecutor could negotiate to
a lesser charge, which still would mean decades behind bars. The 15-
year-old who stabbed his mother to death in Rochester Hills is
serving more than 20 years in prison after pleading to second-degree
murder, for instance.
In these two negotiations, prosecutors avoided a jury coming back
with a much lesser manslaughter charge. And in regard to the boy who
killed his mother, a strong insanity defense was a possibility.
With the economy tanking, logic dictates that crime will rise. With
that, more younger people will be committing crimes, which could lead
to a spike in teenagers killing people and then facing life in prison.
Of the 40 offenders in that previous article, most came from two
periods, the early 1980s and then the early 1990s, both times of
economic recession.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Deer language

A radio report, I guess I can't say detailed, shed some light on a
plan to alleviate the impact of a growing deer population in
Rochester Hills.
However, the report indicated that the Oakland County Sheriff's
Office would take some of the deer. Take? Where?
The word missing from the report was kill.
I think what they will do is shoot and kill the deer.
Don't know why we can't be clear about that. If the city's leaders
determines the deer risk lives, then something should be done.
Bullets are pretty cheap, as long as they don't fly into people's
homes or heads. Fences or moving the deer seems rather expensive and
But there's no need to sugar coat what's happening, especially during
hunting season, as thousands of deer are being shot and killed this
week throughout the state.
By the way, my experience with the deer in Rochester Hills involves
eaten plants and little piles of poop under an apple tree. They are
bold. Once, last summer, one was eating my plants right by my front
door, and I opened it and stared and it looked at me like I was the
Of course, I do like to let my dog chase them, asking "Mason, who's
here, who's here?" That gets him going and the black lab loves to fly
out the door and give them a good chase.
(Of course, a recent skunking has lessened my desire to have him
chasing critters.)
If the city wants to pay to kill deer, then hopefully it works to
reduce car/deer crashes. Let's just hope it's done safely.
I don't mind them that much, but I won't particularly miss them.
However, it is somewhat pleasant to see a group of six strolling by
calmly in the morning while the sounds of chaotic traffic loom
overhead from the nearby major road. A little of country life is not
a bad thing, and usually I'm not driving fast enough in Rochester
Hills to hit a deer by a road. Now, along those highways in northern
Michigan, oh wait, we have hunting season and that's still a problem.
My guess is that I'll still have some goofy shapes trees come next
year and I'll have to watch my shoes under the apple tree.

Astronauts are people, too

Though it might seem they require super-human smarts, patience and
fortitude, astronauts can be just like regular people as well.
The Associated Press reported that today with a story headlined,
"Astronaut loses tool bag in space."
The mishap occurred when a grease gun erupted inside the bag of
astronaut Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper, who then tried wiping the
grease from her spacesuit, at which time the bag floated off.
With all the dropped screws or washers I've lost into spaces I cannot
reach, tools lost in the garage or paint spilled, I can relate to
this mistake.
Hopefully, it is not a major problem as my sprinklers and baby crib
do not constitute the dangers found with space travel.
I sympathize with the error, and I wonder what kind of swear or grunt
could be heard when one's tool bag simply floats off into nothingness.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

One story that doesn't matter to us

Here's one story that has no place on our Web site or newspaper,
though I placed it there anyway just to show how the half -- or
really, 95 percent -- live.
It is an Associated Press piece on the price of NFL playoff football
tickets, going down actually. Playoff tickets will be about 10
percent cheaper, and though the Super Bowl now features $1,000
tickets, some tickets are going to be cheaper to the big game. This
marks the first time any Super Bowl tickets have seen price cuts, as
1,000 tickets in Tampa will cost between $200 and $500.
But of course, we in the Detroit area still get the playoffs for free
because the only way we watch is if we turn on the TV, because the
Lions aren't anywhere near the playoffs.
Reminds me of the Jim Mora's rant.... "PLAYOFFS?"

IQ humor in horror story

It's a grisly story the it featured the best comment from a law
enforcement official about a criminal. It's something I often wonder
about, and a Louisiana sheriff said with perfect understatement and
The story is in our Cops and Courts section and it is about something
I almost think I'd never hear about in current events: A KKK
initiation ending with a killing.
Entitled "Police: Woman slain as she tried to leave KKK rite," the
story featured this quote from St. Tammany Parish Sheriff Jack
Strain: "The IQ level of this group is not impressive, to be kind."
He later went on to assure the public they should not be worried
about additional violence from this group, calling them "these kooks."
The KKK group apparently dubbed itself the "Dixie Brotherhood," and
one expert from the Anti-Defamation League on such groups commented
that "some of these guys are just crooks, sociopaths," instead of
highly organized haters.
Covering courts, I've seen some surprising associations among
criminal elements and I am not one to believe everything is highly
organized and planned, whether drug groups or media conspiracies. In
fact, typically something is not organized but instead just comes
together when a group of yahoos gathers, whether a drunken brawl, a
poorly hatched murder plot, or anything involving youths — especially
when breaking into cars or trying to get a party started.
But apparently the KKK still exists, we're just lucky it doesn't thrive.
And, though such violence and hate is frightening, we're lucky to
have a sheriff who tells it like it is and puts it in perspective.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

JJ and Lynne sing the blues

So with Detroit radio again changed with the departure, or canning,
of the J.J. and Lynne in the Morning show on 94.7 WCFX-FM, it is
interesting to see what the reaction will be.
I imagine people will not be happy to see such a longtime fixture as
the team led by Jim Johnson departing so abruptly, even if many are
desiring change.
The politics of local radio remains a fascinating realm, with
corporate America clashing with local identities.
We saw a larger version of this earlier in the year when Drew Lane
finally left WRIF and his longtime partner, what's his name, Mike?,
as their wildly popular morning show imploded with sudden rumors and
uncertainty. But that was a long time coming, as Drew had been off
the air long enough to feed a whole assembly line of rumors and
potential scandals.
I'm curious of WCFX will liven things up by bringing in the other
team let go a while back, Demenski and Doyle. Or will they go with
more music.
Personally, I occasionally listened to the 94.7 team and I would stay
tuned for old stories about rock's glory years. But there was too
much talk, and 94.7 was my go-to when the 101.1 guys went on and on
about something stupid, because at least JJ and Lynne would play some
Drew and Mike at times held my attention but Janet Jackson's boob and
the subsequent fall out forced them to spend too much time talking
about reality TV and I lost interest fast.
I like music in the morning or else news.
I've got my iPod in the car so radio is mostly off unless I'm stuck
in traffic and looking for something interesting to distract me.
And in my wife's car, I've got Sirius satellite radio and, when I'm
driving that, I never click to local radio.
So, like so many industries aged veterans are being forced out,
perhaps for the Simpsons-like robot team.
Either way, I don't really care.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Political ads not hated

Ads on television or radio always annoy as a rule, but there are a
few out there that inform, entertain and even make me chuckle without
the typical fast forward on the DVR or switch of a station.
Political ads have always been the worst, and the political robo-
calls are the absolute worst form of communication (I compare it to
shooting a gun through a window to announce that I'm outside.)
But a shout out goes Oakland County Clerk Ruth Johnson and Oakland
County Sheriff Michael Bouchard for their recent ads and calls.
For Johnson, it is her daughter singing a little song and then
telling listeners to vote for her mom for county clerk. Some here in
the office say it's annoying, but it's no more annoying that
listening to someone complaining. To me, it's cute and different.
Then I got a call from the sheriff, who left me a message as it was
the kids' bathtime. I might have felt differently if I had picked up
while waiting for the baby to fall asleep, but as a message, it was
harmless. What I liked was that it was Bouchard himself, apologizing
for these dreadful calls. But, he said, he has to do it because the
situation is important and it's almost at the end. He quickly goes
through the issues of shrinking budgets and effective management.
I liked that he didn't have his wife or buddy call and I liked the
nervous haste in his voice.
I think these ads worked for these two incumbents, and perhaps the
most effective trick for both Johnson and Bouchard — neither
mentioned they were a Republican.