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.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Don't blame the phone

OK, it's a lot of fun to blame texting and phones for distracted driving, and I'm not denying that texting while driving is a problem. Distracted driving as a whole is the problem.

This was a hot topic due to the governor signing the ban into law, something I wonder about but accept without the fire that smokers have shown with the smoking ban.

But for Oprah Winfrey to make a call for cars to be a cell phone free zone is stupid. I do understand that she's talking about drivers, not cars. But just as transportation is the key to economic success in this country, so too is communication.

So, let's push for better communication devices to be used WITH cars and minivans and trucks. Just as Detroit and other automakers saw the need to use satellite radio and iPods, they should take the lead and partner with communication companies.

They should have been doing this already, before laws become necessary. And I wonder how long this law will be relevant. You're allowed to make a phone call but not send a text. But aren't they just about the same for most phones now, clicking through your device to find the right process?

I think distractions should be minimized, but car companies should have the lead in making their vehicles for efficient and safer. They can do it, but we should first encourage them and then let them.

Labels: , , , , , ,

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Crazy crimes, but please, don't abandon the child


Lots of crazy crimes today, including a young man who attacked father with sword, a teenager from Pontiac convicted of first-degree murder who can only flip of the camera to show his true character, and a couple caught trying to fraudulently open a bank account.

The couple was the worst, if the allegations are true, because their crime was relatively minor, but they failed to mention to cops that their 16-month-old baby was at home alone.

For 24 hours, this child waited with only an apple next to him in the crib.

That one is the most shocking.

I can't even imagine the fear this child felt. And if all they had to do was say, my child is alone at home, they would be in one tenth of the trouble they are in now. Selfish or just scared, talk about digging your own hole.

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Entertainment news, I mean, scandals

Two big Entertainment stories today, but both are minor in the big picture. In one, Heather Locklear was cited for an accident and Michael Douglas' son was sentenced to five years in prison for drug dealing.
For Locklear, it doesn't look good, leaving the scene of an accident at 4 a.m. Oh well, we'll see.
For the younger Douglas, Cameron, this court date was the end of an 18-year binge. He was lucky to avoid a decade behind bars, but five years is a long time to spend clean, sober and away from society and family — all for feeding a heroin addiction.
Also in the news was one half of the Harold and Kumar team, this being Kumar's Kal Penn, was robbed at gunpoint in D.C. Will this make him more serious, or could this become a part of the gag the next time the pair seek out White Castle. I'm not sure what time he was robbed.

Labels: , , , ,

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Red Wings on TV

It has been a weird playoff schedule, today starting at 6:30 p.m. (instead of the usual 7 p.m.) and starting out west at 10 p.m. last week.
In fact, it really through me off last week, because I knew that the Wings were in the bottom half of the playoff teams. At one point, we posted a poll asking if readers thought they could make the playoffs, as the longtime kings of Hockeytown lingered in ninth place and looked to be in danger of making the playoffs.
Sure enough, they pushed through until the end of the season and even got to number 5. But I knew they were lower in the standings.
Yet, come the Wednesday start to the season, I was home and turned on the TV at 7 p.m., assuming the Wings were on. They always start at 7 p.m. for the first game of the playoffs, because they've always been at home.
But not this year.
Now, if they can just survive to the second round, something they haven't always done, even when ranked at the top of the league.

Labels: , , ,

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The people speak; Brooks backs down

Wow. That was quick. It only took a few hours for L. Brooks Patterson to back down from his threat to sue the state over its impending ban on public smoking. Early on Thursday, Patterson said Oakland County would not enforce the ban.
By 4 p.m., Patterson had backed down, so quickly that our reporter was editing video from Patterson's Democratic counterpart on the county commission.
That shows just how quickly news and public opinion can be delivered. No more waiting two or three days to see how a proposal sounds. You can find out instantly.
And our readers responded forcefully, commenting furiously and mostly against Patterson.
The longtime county executive and former tough-on-crime prosecutor was stuck in the details and nuances, arguing that this new law was an unfunded mandate and the county's Health Division could never enforce it. In fact, he's a nonsmoker and supports the ban. Oh, but he stepped into it, probably hoping that anti-tax furor could help this effort.
What readers and listeners of radio today heard was a Republican saying he wasn't going to follow a law he didn't like. Ouch. It was like saying, We're not going to enforce drunken driving.
Just two years ago, polls we ran showed about 60 percent of readers were against smoking bans. Then last year, it evened out, and this winter, nearly 60 percent favored the ban.
Today, so far, and it's very early, more than 80 percent said the county should enforce the ban.
People are ready, and they were quick to respond. Luckily, some politicians are still smart enough to listen.

Labels: , , , , , , , ,

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Long day

Long day with lots going on. We had a fire at Rochester High School (a suspicious trash can), a late-breaking report of a homicide in Pontiac, a pair of home invasion arrests in Troy (way to go Troy PD; you got em before they could get away), accused cross burners and an accused DVing teen pleading to charges, and stagnating unemployment.
Oh, and the Tigers lost a close one.
Something I thought would be the most humorous but turned into the most distressing was finding the online video rants of a man accused of a road rage shooting in Farmington Hills. I would be so pissed off to have gotten shot by someone who seems so nutty, but in the end, it was depressing to listen to it.
Hopefully tomorrow's news is a little more cheerful.

Labels: , , , , , ,

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Top story

Wow, let's hear it for volcanoes.
A story about the discovery of the world's deepest volcano vent is the most read story of the day today — by far. It came from The Associated Press.
Good for science, and the comments show that people interested in this stuff are reading it. A couple early comments wondered why this was the most popular story, and the rest of the comments seem to answer that.
And they have not resorted to simply blaming global warming on this and turning into a simple-minded political debate.
I think some of the negative comments were deleted out after people clicked the report abuse button. It's nice to see what people are reading and it's nice to know some people out there have a thirst for knowledge.
But as the father of a 5 year old, I also know that volcanoes are simply cool.

Labels: , , , ,

Monday, April 12, 2010

Oh, the comments

We constantly debate our policy on allowing online comments with our stories. Currently, we rely on readers to report abuse and we do not require registration nor do we pre-monitor the comments before they are posted.
But a New York Times article sheds light on the fact that many papers are revisiting their policies.
That is refreshing because I don't see an easy answer to the problem. Too much registration (asking for phone numbers and such) will turn people away.
We want to provide an open forum for people to say what is on their minds. And you can see how people really feel about something by the comments. Often, though, it can be ugly.
Out of the muck, I've seen many good things: information coming out from breaking stories, insight into how the community feels about a topic (oh, smoking in public places, I never knew you were such a hot subject), heartfelt condolences over losses, anxieties about economy and the impact on families' lives, and how residents in one area feel about other areas.
Too often, though, it can be racist and crude. And those commenters will either drive away people seeking thoughtful insight and healthy debate OR they will drive away the open forum.
So let's see where this goes and I'll continue to explore what we can do to improve this.
Oh, and I love the concept of ranking comments by the insight and thoughtfulness of the commenter, as the Washington Post is exploring. Like Facebook and Twitter, it will certainly encourage healthy debate. Hooray for technology.
These are not going away, so it is our job to make sure it's done as well as possible, and readers are now part of the stories. We can't change that; we shouldn't change that. But we'll encourage it by giving them a better, and easier, way to participate.

Labels: , , , , ,

Friday, April 9, 2010

Tiger is back, win or lose

I must say I'm sick of the 'dramatic return' to Augusta story about Tiger Woods. Yes, he took a little time off from golf. Yes, he's had some headaches.
But let's get real; he wasn't gone that long. In baseball, he missed spring training. In football, he missed camp.
No biggie.
He only plays the Majors anyway (well, ok, he's out there more, but he skips a lot of tournaments to focus on the big ones; and that' s fine, because he is THE STAR).
But it was sickening to watch him fight the media as his sex scandal grew and it was pathetic watching him grovel and snivel his way through the apologies and lame press conferences. Even the first two five-minute interviews were a sham, it appeared.
But then he took questions at Augusta. And he was back. He looked natural. He looked comfortable. (And by back, I mean, back to his old self when it comes to interacting with the public, which was never touchy feely or very personable.)
There's a difference between being back in the public eye and back on the golf course. He was never gone from golf. It's not like he took a year or two off. Numerous sports figures have left and returned, missing significant time for injuries or premature retirements. (Or, they've returned from retirements they should have stayed in).
Tiger is back from a few months off -- mostly the off season. Big deal.
But he is back from being a wimpy whiny pampered star and it back to being a fierce athlete who is comfortable with who he is.
And no matter my opinion of his personal life, it's good to see the best golfer playing his game.

Labels: ,

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Power of an image

A shout out to The Blog Prof for this bit of video about the photogenic Hillary Clinton. I'm sure all politicians and people (except for Lady GaGa) could be blushed by their appearance in a photograph snapped unexpectedly, but she seems to give plenty of ammo. Of course, perhaps it's the public's strong feelings about her that lead to so many bad photos.

The former First Lady and one-time presidential candidate (and current Secretary of State) allows photographers to get her at her worst. When posting stories about the election campaigns, the AP regularly had very funny photos of her, which I believe were not completely intentional.
She often looked pained or post-surgical while shaking hands and offering wowwed expressions.
I tried to make sure I didn't pick on her, but I couldn't ignore the most interesting photos.

Labels: , , , ,