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, March 31, 2009

More old news

Of course, Madonna has returned to the news, again trying to adopt a
baby in Malawi.

That's gotten old, too.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Thanks, Brooks

I know I'm tired of the Cobo Hall story, but it is really the in-
fighting within the city government of Detroit, where the council has
battled the mayor over controlling the facility and paying for the
needed repairs, that has worn me out.
But today Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson took it up
another level, challenging the region with a promise that his county
could host the North American International Auto Show if it could not
return to Cobo.
This is a promise that would be kept, even if it had to be done quickly.
Things get done around here. Sometimes, that's good; sometime, it's
bad as some would like to debate an issue longer rather than see it
implemented. But an Oakland County auto show can get done.
His is an administration that looks for results, not long-discussed
plans. Perhaps, that's because the planning gets done and does not
devolve too often into a political fight with lengthy trips to courts.
The reaction to Brooks' promise to bring the auto show here has
completely changed the scope of the Cobo fight. For years, back when
then-mayor Kwame Kilpatrick preached that the auto show would leave
the region without a new Cobo (never mind the residents fleeing
without police protection or decent schools), the fear was losing the
auto show.
Detroit and the Michigan auto industry could never survive such an
upheaval, many preached.
With a single rant, Brooks just took that argument off the table.
Cobo can fend for itself with its Detroit management and oversight.
The auto show will live on.
And then the dog show can move, too.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The U.N. did what?

For years the U.N. played off to the world that it held the reasonable minds needed to keep the world safe, playing off the distrust people felt about George W. Bush and his we'll-go-it-alone administration. This view was bolstered when the previously-believed-to-be-a-straight-shooter Colin Powell presented the evidence of weapons of mass destruction, which have not been found and are confirmed to not exist.
Now that America has a president who says he wants to and will earn the world's respect and return America to its position as most admirable nation in the world, the U.N. goes and does something downright particular.
Actually, it is one group within the United Nations, but the human rights body within the international coalition may have just pushed the anti-U.N. movement to new heights (and this comes after some city councils across the nation have gone so far as to pass anti-U.N. local laws, symbolic of what, I wish not to directly address).
The Human Rights council voted for a resolution that would ban criticism of religion, perhaps partially inspired by those Danish cartoons about you know who. I don't even want to end up near their s--t lists. 
While this will give great fodder for those like Bill Maher, it will outrage most Americans, I believe. We love to criticize. Just look how readers reacted to a Catholic bishop who dared criticize the Tigers' Opening Day being on Good Friday
(As for that one, I say it's only a baseball game. It's not election day was placed on someone holy calendar. Skip the game; there's 161 more -- and if the Tigers can get it going, maybe even a dozen or so more than that.)
And what is criticism anyway? In plenty of Muslim countries, people get arrested or killed for thoughtful analysis of policies that are based on religion. 
While this resolution is really only a recommendation, it hurts the efforts of the U.N. to help nations with food, with science, with humanitarian relief, with political conflicts.
If this is where this particular council was going, Bush was right to abandon it. I wonder if we had stayed participants if we couldn't have kept some crazed initiative like this from even reaching a vote. 
It will only hurt, and to the nations and people who dislike us and feel this is necessary, they will on day see that this kind of restriction on the freedom of speech, thought and expression will only hurt.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Who cares?

Who cares said:

"I think we have all spent too much time and energy worrying about Kwame, Christine and their million dollar affair. It is over by keeping her in jail she is actually costing everyone of us more money. Let the woman go free and start over. Not taking sides either but he who is withiut sin cast the first stone."

This comment came from a reader, responding to the Christine Beatty story, or the update on Beatty from the continuing saga of Kwame Kilpatrict, Detroit's ousted and disgraced mayor.

Lately, there are several stories that tire me. Cobo is one, only because I wish they'd stop talking about raising taxes to fix/improve Cobo when the Detroit water system could use a billion dollar fix up as well. Every time TV news reports a water main break, I wonder why they don't jump to a Cobo story and ask the question, which one's repair would more widely impact the region.

Of course, the back and forth between the surrounding counties (led by L. Brooks) and the Detroit City Council makes for entertaining news, it's frustrating that the issue gets overtaken by old racial stances and longtime political battles.

Also, the mother of the octuplets is getting tiresome. That's just depressing because it's turned into one of those stories that cable and morning TV follow religiously just so that people can be outraged and pile onto the woman. Don't really care about her and what she's enduring, and I really don't care about the public versus private funding thing, as many public expenditures of money puzzle me, so I refuse to dwell on a single case. Now that Dr. Phil is on the case, when I see ads with her face, I feel fatigued.

(Even the AIG bonuses story is getting old; anger over one small piece of a giant puzzle is cute, considering these people are charged with fixing an entire company and they're piling onto a single expenditure. Maybe they should have scrapped any and all bailouts if they were going to be so sensitive about it; or, maybe they should have paid better attention at the beginning and taken their time to do it right.)

Other stories that are so old: Rush versus the world, the Silverdome (just demolish it please and give the property away to be developed, if you can't see fit to sell it), anything about Britney Spears or that crowd, Kwame and his shenanigans, and anything involving TMZ or Nancy Grace. Can you believe that they've yanked Anna Nicole Smith from the grave for a new round of legal battles? Oh my.

Now here are stories that I think are worth following: the economy, the markets, the state of newspapers and journalism, the use of the Internet to provide news, the Lions and Tigers, crime stories, terrorism, food safety, and skiing accidents.

Of course, news we like is directed by our interests, our careers and our personalities. I just get sick of the pack mentality that the media follows.

What stories are you sick of?

Monday, March 16, 2009

Leno in the news

Jay Leno is keeping his famous mug in the news, first with the free
shows in Detroit, errh, I mean, at The Palace of Auburn Hills, and
now by landing perhaps the biggest star in the land, President Barack
Obama, as a guest this week.
Obama, whether you like him or not, is the new president and he is in
charge of trying to fix this economy. He also can comment on the fine
line he treads of giving the bad news to make sure everyone knows
where we are and of being the cheerleader in chief as confidence is
needed to help get this going in the right direction.
Leno's star is certainly shining brightly, which is good for him as
he is leaving his comfort zone of late night comedy at NBC and
moving into the realm of prime time, shortly to take over the 10 p.m.
weeknight slot with a new show.
Trying anything new on TV can be shortlived, as networks are the
least shy about giving up and canceling shows that underwhelm.
Leno has a lot going for him: He is a positive force with good
reputation; his style of humor goes over well with crowds; his show
may struggle but it is cheap to produce, when compared to the high-
priced dramas that typically fill the 10 p.m. time slot; and he has
history on his side in that night time hosts benefit from longevity.
Plus, now he will always have a place in our hearts for his double
helping of generosity in coming to Michigan.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Can you change the name of a building?

Sears Tower is no more, according to a story by The Associated Press.
No, no economic downturn news, forcing owners to abandon and raze the nation's tallest building, long celebrated in Chicago. No, no terrorism or natural disaster bringing it down.
The 110-story building will be called the Willis Tower, as Willis Group Holdings, an insurance broker in London, is becoming a new tenant, moving 500 employees there and occupying 140,000 square feet of office space.
Wonder if they have an inside scoop on the Olympic bid?
But back to the point of what's in a name.
Seems like it will be hard to change people's habits with something this significant.
I still hear people call DTE Energy Music Center near Clarkston by its former name, Pine Knob.
"It'll always be Pine Knob to me," my colleague Shaun Byron said recently.
I've actually used DTE in recent years, though it took me years to forget Pine Knob.
Stadiums across the land have surrendered their historic names for corporate identities, such Enron or Citibank.
People eventually get used to the changes, but I never lived in Chicago, but even as a child in Tennessee, I knew of the Sears Tower being the tallest building in the U.S.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Feel our pain

It's not how we wanted to find sympathy, but more people are
experiencing what we in Michigan have felt for a few years now.
Unemployment numbers show more states are hitting double-digit
percentages of their workforce not working, according to a recent
story by The Associated Press.
The bigger picture calls for a possible 10 percent rate for the
nation by the year's end, but a more narrow look shows that maybe
more leaders will express some sympathy to our plight instead of
taking cheap shots at us, or our lead industry, the automakers.
Four states are now above 10 percent, where we have been for a while
now. In December, we were the only state in double digits; one month
later, California, South Carolina and Rhode Island have now joined us
in what is really a symbolic problem. Eleven percent is only a little
worse than 9.8 percent, but in an economy that requires confidence,
that extra digit is a big deal.
I'm not sure if this is true, as I was a youngster then, but I
remember a teacher once noting that under Reagan, employment
calculating was changed to bring the military into the population,
helping drop the then-unemployment rate over 10 percent to single
Of course, we can't play number games now, (or can we?) but I'm
afraid the numbers will continue to grow higher.
But maybe at least they will stop saying, Let the auto industry fail.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

First impressions can be wrong, Kronk fighter's death showed

Either way it was a sad story, but the anger bubbling through early
now must give way to simple grief.
Boxer Mickey Goodwin, 51, died after suffering a stroke and then
falling down a flight of stairs at his home.
Initial reports were that the boxer, who finished his career with a
40-2-1 record, had been beaten to death, based on injuries he had.
According to an Associated Press story, Mr. Goodwin fell and then
showered and went to bed. He later died.
I know whenever anything occurs, there is a desire to get the
information as soon as possible. It's human nature to want to know,
and it's human nature (and business sense to newspapers and other
media outlets) to want to tell something.
But here is one reason why the police like to hold on and wait for
the full story before stepping forward with a story. Appearances can
be deceiving.
This happens often with car crashes, wanting to know a cause of death
before ruling on a crash. Was it suicide, was it an accident, was it
reckless, was drinking involved?
Sometimes, a motorist has a heart attack or diabetic situation and
then crashes.
Sometimes, a death that looks to be natural turns out to be neglect
or homicide.
Medical examiners can do amazing things when they poke and prod
inside a human body, but that takes time. Sometimes it is difficult
to wait or easy to assume something, even when there is no official
confirmation, just rumors.
For Mr. Goodwin, the death is tragic either way, but the anger that
comes with violence can overcome remembering all the good that
someone has done and laughing at all the happy memories of a person's