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.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

What is up with Michigan?

OK, a tackle from the University of Michigan looks to be the top pick
of this weekend's NFL draft.
Not much other good news coming out of the state, though Jake Long
now faces the possibility of being labeled a major bust, part of what
happens when you are number one.
The rest of the news is still downright horrible.
Forget the fiasco with the delegates not being seated because our
state's party leaders lacked the foresight to see the value of a
later primary and a need to work with the national party. Who are we
to tell national leaders how to manage their programs, when we cannot
even keep our own house in order. Just look at the mess we have here
in our mittens.
We are tops in unemployment, near the top in prison spending, our
baseball team is near the bottom of the American League standings,
and, according to the Michigan Women's Commission, we rank 47th in
pay equity.
In Michigan, women earn 69.8 cents for every dollar earned by a man,
prompting women's groups to take their complaints to Lansing. (Good
luck, seems like problems only go to Lansing to get made worse.)
Of course, the high unemployment is not helping this matter, as
workers are seemingly at the mercy of employers to keep the jobs that
they have.
A better economy would improve the job market, giving employees more
power in seeking better-paying jobs.
I'm not sure how legislation would police this, but it is one more
reason for leaders to focus their work and energy in improving the
When will we get any news that is really good, meaning an improved
quality of living for residents of this state?
I'm not holding my breath.

Monday, April 21, 2008

One year later LaCalamita on trial

It has taken a little more than a year, but Anthony LaCalamita III is
now on trial.
Some cases go quickly to a jury, sometimes as fast as a couple months
for run-of-the-mill cases. But high profile or controversial cases
can take a couple years, especially if there is an issue of mental
illness and the subsequent competency and criminal responsibility arise.
So let's hear it for Oakland County Circuit Judge Rudy J. Nichols,
who has had his share of high-profile trials and cases involving
mental illness.
LaCalamita, 39, is accused of buying a shotgun after getting fired
from his job at a Troy accounting firm, returning to the office a few
days later, and killing a receptionist and injuring two executives.
He is charged with first-degree murder, and if convicted, he must be
sentenced to life without parole.
According to accounts this morning, his attorney — Jerome Fenton —
told the jury that LaCalamita is not guilty by reason of insanity,
and the case will rest on the analysis and understanding of expert
witnesses: psychologists and mental health professionals.
Not much of a whodunit, but this will require jurors paying close
attention to the details of the case, both before, during and after
the shooting; understanding of the mental health issues; and a
comprehension of the law and legal explanations of what is defined as
Most impressive, so far, is Judge Nichols ability to get the trial
underway in such a timely manner. He is one of the judges with a
tight control of his courtroom, helped with capable and professional
staff, who know what needs to be done to keep a case moving.
Picking such a jury in about two hours is an almost amazing feat,
especially because this shooting was one of the biggest news stories
of 2007.
Though jurors may have heard of the shooting, they must keep an open
mind when it comes to making a decision on the case.
The case will take time, as witnesses have much to explain and
attorneys have much to probe. But Nichols will keep the case moving
and will not get bogged down in needless delays, appreciating the
time taken by jurors as well as everyone else whose jobs brought them
to this trial.
Consider this: In the federal criminal trial of well-known attorney
Geoffrey Fieger, attorneys spent Monday through Thursday of last week
picking jurors, and they still had much more work to do this week.
Nichols, who has been a judge since 1991, had his jury listening to
opening statements before lunch and witnesses testifying after the
lunch break.
He is off to a great start.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Harry Potter and the everflowing tears

Harry Potter apparently made reading cool, but this ongoing lawsuit
in federal court in New York is undoing everything that may have been
cool about the little wizard that wowed so many millions of readers
and now movie-goers.

U.S. District Judge Robert Patterson Jr. urged best-selling author
J.K. (Joanne) Rowling and meek Christian school librarian to settle
their lawsuit, which was filed by Rowling and Warner Bros. as she
attempts to halt Michigan native Steven Vander Ark's attempt to
publish an unauthorized lexicon about everything Harry through
Muskegon publisher RDR Books.

Accounts of the trial have shown all involved to be rather pathetic.

Vander Ark, 50, cried as he recounted how his love of the Harry
Potter stories prompted him to spend years studying them and
compiling tidbits of facts for a Web site, which is the basis for his

"This has been an important part of my life for the last nine years
or so," Vander Ark said, choking on his words as he wept, The
Associated Press reported. He said he only wanted to celebrate
Rowling, The AP reported.

Rowling, not to be outdone, likewise broke down and wept during the
trial, complaining that the anxiety of his case has drained her of
her desire to write. She has stopped writing her next novel.

Writing her own encyclopedia, which may take two or three years,
Rowling testified, according to The AP, that she may not be able to
finish it if Vander Ark's book is published. "I'm not at all
convinced that I would have the will or the heart to continue with my
encyclopedia," she said, noting that profits of that book would be
given to charity.

She said the closest she could explain the importance of the
characters was to compare them to her children and that writing the
books as a single mother on welfare saved her, The AP reported.

Judge Patterson seemed fair, as he will decide this case. He warned
them that appeals due to some untested copyright laws could keep this
case alive, encouraging both sides to reach a settlement.

I'm impressed that he didn't jail them for contempt.

Harry Potter may inspire legions to read and buy movie tickets. I've
never read the stories, but when my daughters are older, I will
likely get them copies to read.

But I wonder if all the tears and boo-hoos stem really from love of
beloved characters or a love of potential incomes. Like the boy
wizard, these two cry-babies should grow up and work out their dispute.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Lions schedule

With their home season opening against the Brett Favre-less Green Bay
Pakers, the Lions' 2008 regular season schedule was released on Tuesday.
Well, one thing we know, odds are I can already schedule what I'll be
doing during the NFL playoffs — watching other teams play towards the
Super Bowl.
An uninspiring off-season has eliminated any excitement for football,
something not common for me. Could the Ford's be losing that eternal
optimism Lions' fans have held for decades?
I was about three rows from the Pontiac Silverdome's ceiling the last
time the Lions won a playoff game, my first pro football game.
What a memory, but, as a Lions fan, that's all I have to inspire me.
And 1991 was a long time ago.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Tiger's loss is our loss, too

Midway through the afternoon coverage of Sunday's final round of the
Masters at the Augusta National, Tiger Woods looked ready to make a
Fresh off a birdie, he needed a short putt to continue up the
scoreboard but missed it.
With that, Trevor Immelman became the man, though the chances of him
coming to play the PGA Championship at Oakland Hills in August on the
verge of a Grand Slam are not inspiring massive media bookings in the
Detroit area.
This season was billed as the one in which Woods, who has already
gotten a "Tiger Slam," could threaten to win all four major
tournaments in a single season.
But all the early-season hype has vanished with Immelman's win.
It was a tournament my father-in-law, Hugh M. Diamond, would have
loved. Unfortunately, he died last weekend after a thankfully short
battle with cancer.
Knowing Mr. Diamond's love of golf, I joked that we should have had
the Masters playing at the visitation at the Potere-Modetz Funeral
Home in Rochester on the opening day of the tournament.
If Woods had pulled out the win on Sunday, adding to his legacy with
a come-from-behind victory as well, you could bet that Oakland County
would have been buzzing at the possibility of hosting what could have
been a historic PGA Championship.
Host to the 2004 Ryder Cup, Bloomfield Township's Oakland Hills
County Club's south course would have been buzzing with excitement
with golf's superstar on the verge of what was once thought to be
unattainable, winning all four majors.
I covered the Ryder Cup, and even though the Americans were trounced,
the golf was great, the crowds large and excited, and atmosphere
electric. I would have loved to have seen that multiplied by a
thousand, something that Tiger's pursuit of a Grand Slam would have
The pre-tourney hype would have been huge; the media throng would
have challenged the Super Bowl's. Merchandise was sold today as a one-
day special at the country club, but image how much gear would move
if golf's — really, sport's — biggest star was nearing history.
Alas, that is not the case, and Tiger is indeed just human — at least
until next season, unless he can give TV a come-from-behind Sunday
win during the U.S. Open or British Open.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Perfect weekend

OK, so the weather will not be perfect this weekend, but what a
weekend to have some time to spend indoors!

Not only are the Tigers finally winning, but the Red Wings are
finally playing games that count for something.

So watch out this Saturday afternoon, as you can watch the Red Wings
play their second game against the Nashville Predators at 2 p.m., the
Tigers play in Chicago at 1 p.m., and the Masters golf tournament.
Need more? There's the Frozen Four championship on Saturday night,
and then the Pistons play the Raptors on Sunday afternoon.

And that's not all. CBC excels in its Stanley Cup coverage throughout
the weekend, so keep an hear open for Canadian coverage of the games.

Enjoy, and soon enough you'll be able to play golf and get to that
yard work.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Of course

After clearing out my backyard on Saturday, one thing about spring did dawn on me slowly: allergies.
Oh yes, the sniffles started midway through my work, but the annual annoyance is something I can handle.
They'll get worse in the coming weeks and then one day I'll feel better, and summer will be right around the corner. Hopefully, the Tigers will have won.
Who knows? Maybe today is the day, or else Matt Millen will have to start calling sports radio stations to offer his two cents.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Smile with spring

Here it is, finally.

It was a long winter, darkened with a seemingly non-stop barrage of
bad economic and tiring political news. The Lions sank like a stone.
This weekend, we should have our first fabulous spring day, highs in
the 50s and 60s with sunshine.
And that is the best news of all.
Sure, the Tigers are 0-3, the Lions are readying to ruin another
draft, and the Red Wings are poised for trouble, having won the
President's Cup.
So why not take a trip to the Detroit Zoo in Royal Oak, leaving
Gorcyca versus Perry, Granholm versus the economy, Hillary versus
Obama, and Bush versus the media behind for a while?
Yes, there is spring work to be done outside. Yes, a new Stones movie
is hitting theaters. Yes, the top four teams in the nation are
squaring off Saturday night in the Final Four.
But I'm eager for fresh air and sunshine. So I'm getting the double
stroller out of the minivan, grabbing a plastic bag with the leash,
and I'm stepping outside with no jacket.
Next week, the Dow will still bounce, the economy will continue to
stumble, and Democrats will debate whether Hillary should remain in
the race. But that is far off and a distant consideration.
And just in case it becomes a classic, I'll DVR the Final Four.