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, June 23, 2010

Kwame bails out school chief and takes wind out of earthquake's sails

Kwame Kilpatrick is in prison.

OK, nothing new to report, except of course that he's now facing new charges, the charges that much of the area's population has awaited and expected.

According to a story by The Associated Press, Kwame Kilpatrick was indicted on a 19-count federal warrant alleging what sounds like can be summed up in one word: corruption.

Interesting that Kwame's return to the front page occurs on the day that the perverted Detroit school board president continued being blasted while also:

1. Michigan and Canada and parts of northeast US experience earthquake fever,
2. The United States scores a late goal for an exciting finish in the final game of the World Cup's first round,
3. Another round of storms are watched with anticipation towards more power outages,
4. DTE tree trimmers set to strike,
5. A general honestly quoted by a rocknroll mag goes to face the Commander in Chief, and
6. A soccer game ends in exciting fashion.

I think that Kwame will play big on the TV news and of course the Detroit papers, but the earthquake I think is most interesting due to the immediate social media reaction to it. But the stories with biggest impact on our lives deal with weather and the subsequent power outages. The president's firing of the outspoken general also affect lives across the world.

Nice day to be in the news business, though I believe every day is fun. Now to see how everything gets played at 6 p.m., 10 and 11 p.m., and with the front pages.

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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Drew, Mike and the school board prez

I've heard bits of "The Drew and Mike Show" on WRIF-FM, 101.1, the last couple days and each time I've caught them chatting about the problems of the Detroit School Board president, who tried to resign and then rescinded his resignation after admitting he fondled himself in view of a female employee.

Boy, that's a handful to get around, but Detroit's politics continue to spiral out of control. Even Kwame didn't sink this far (I mean by resigning and then trying not to resign).

It's really a shame and I shouldn't joke, but if you can't laugh at this nonsense, you can only cry.

One note I must make though is this: the longtime and popular radio hosts wondered twice if this was some kind of criminal sexual assault.

I don't think it is. However, it sounds to me like it's an indecent exposure, a strange crime in that it can lead to up to life in prison if repeated because a defendant can be ruled a sexual deviant.

But I think that Drew and Mike are on to two things: 1. This Otis Mathis guy shouldn't be wondering about his job, he should be hiring a criminal defense attorney to represent him, if he did what he's accused of doing and apparently has admitted doing. This would a crime. And 2. is he should then be facing a serious charge, not a minor misdemeanor.

Such a shame.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Schools and lottery

I drove across the state this weekend, which allowed me to see billboards and listen to some radio. And I noticed something: The Michigan lottery seems to be trying to promote itself more and it's tying itself to the idea of helping support Michigan's schools.

Bad idea.

Why? From what I've seen in the reader comments on stories and seeing the opinions of teachers and schools, people are angry that they are being asked to pay more. Every story about school budgets and teacher negotiations includes a question, What about all that money from the lottery?

Well, apparently it's not enough, and people don't want to be asked again and again to help out. Districts are lucky if simple renewals pass, so forget about asking for more.

And large banners saying how much money has been given to schools by the lottery only begs the question, Why do they need more?

Well, maybe they do, but the real question is, Does the lottery need more? And, there, the answer is no.

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Friday, June 18, 2010


I've wanted this for a long time. Registration for comments has finally arrived and it was added to our web site just this afternoon. Yes, I hope it will clean up what is said and improve the tone of what people will have to offer.

But that's not why I wanted this. Instead, I wanted better organization within our comments. You readers care about stories and many people are angry about what's happening, whether it is in Washington, D.C., or Rochester Hills or within your child's school. That's why you're reading news about the subject; you care!

Readers are savvy, though, and they sometimes used others' preferred user names to post opposing points of view. That rankled you guys, I've seen and heard.

We here at The Oakland Press want to interact with our readers, too. The story no longer starts and stops with us. It can start with a question from us, and our commenters can provide answers to get a story rolling. The story can expand after it is published, based on what people are saying. This is the hope of our new top boss, Journal Register Company CEO John Paton.

By having registered commenters, we can now better participate in the back and forth with readers, and we will know who is saying what.

We've not changed due to any particular story or issue. I had a nice conversation about Taxpayer, who expressed a concern many felt that this stemmed from a particular issue. I've commented on that story. This has been debated at length and we've decided to give it a try.

I know many won't register because it requires signing up. There's a strong tradition of anonymous commentary in this country. It can continue.

But as much as some people don't want to sign up, many more, I believe, do wish to be heard. You see that on Facebook and Twitter.

On our registration, we need an email address and your estimated age (year of birth; you can't be under 13) to go along with your user name (which we call MEMBER ID).

Join the conversation. Share your thoughts, your opinion, your insight.

Oh, and sign up and get a good user name before it's taken.

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Waivers ruled worthless

Ever sign a waiver to let your child go to a friend's party at Pump It Up?

Well, if you have and have wondered about that waiver, then worry no more. Looks like it's worthless.

A story in The Associated Press reports that the Michigan Supreme Court has ruled they don't protect a company from a lawsuit.

Wonder what that means. Will companies give it up and quit? Or will they look back and see that there haven't been that many injuries and just hope for the best (and maybe just put a little bit of extra money into safety issues)?

I never bought the mandated waiver if you wanted to go. If something was faulty or negligence leads to equipment failure, then a waiver shouldn't overrule that. But, of course, with Pump It Up parties, which I love, I've never worried about my children's safety. I do know about certain laws of physics, such as gravity and a child's ability to find a way to fall.

Boo-boos happen, but lawsuits don't necessarily have to follow.

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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Good job your honor, but....

Good job on keeping Kwame Kilpatrick in prison and not allowing him to utilize the boot camp program.

But now his lawyer claims prison stint should be enough to cover the million-dollar debt.

Might have a point, but it seems like his lawyer is setting up His Dishonorable for a first-time parole rejection. "If you're not planning to pay and abide by parole-probation conditions, then we're not paroling you." I can hear it now.

Also, I think he'll still have that debt on his record. He may not pay it, but it should stay with him. He doesn't care about his reputation, his criminal history, and his public image, so why should he care about his credit rating?

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Friday, June 11, 2010

Kwame and boot camp

Only if they let reality TV in to film, I declare!

Actually, I like the idea of the disgraced former mayor staying in prison for at least 18 months, but boot camp is a real possibility.

And I know that our official editorial stance is that Kwame Kilpatrick not be given an early release through the boot camp program.

The state, though, relies on boot camp as a way to keep beds open and costs somewhat down. All I know is Mr. Kilpatrick should be treated the same as other inmates.

If the state would naturally put someone like him into boot camp, then they should do, as long as they follow standard procedure. And if the judge gets a say, then the judge should make the decision. However, if the state would normally not send someone at his age to boot camp, then he should absolutely stay in prison for at least 18 months.

Nothing special for their newest minor celebrity. Remember, Dr. Jack Kevorkian served ten years out of his 10-to-25 year sentence for murder. I know it was murder, but again, he was more of a political figure. He was paroled once he was old enough to not be a threat and he was not granted early release despite health problems and his advanced age.

I don't think boot camp would add anything to Kilpatrick's character, and I would be surprised if he refused reality TV cameras, finding him to be more like Illinois' Rod Blagojevich (who thirsts for whatever fame and money he can grab) than Dr. Kevorkian.

Monday, June 7, 2010

If It Was My Home - Visualizing the BP Oil Disaster

If It Was My Home - Visualizing the BP Oil Disaster

This was an interesting look at the Gulf oil spill, and centering the map at our office's zip code in Pontiac had the spill almost reaching three of the Great Lakes. If I had centered in Waterford Township, I probably would have gotten into Lake Michigan.

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Thursday, June 3, 2010

Oh Tom Hanks

What happened to 'There's no crying in baseball!'?

I guess it's allowed for umpires and Cubs' fans.

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Bad call, good reaction

Hey, Jim Joyce blew the call, costing the Tigers' Armando Galarraga a perfect game.

Big deal.

I know it is really a big deal, and it might force baseball to accept what century this is and utilize the technology that the rest of society uses. And if they could get their beer colder, that would help, too.

But it was just a bad call. Mistakes happen and every game could be a perfect game, until pitchers start walking batters, giving up hits or watching their teammates commit errors. That's what makes the perfect game so mythical. Yeah, Galarraga got screwed, but he showed true class to step up and accept the umpire's apology.

And Joyce showed real class by immediately recognizing the error in his call. Too bad he didn't bring the group of umpires together and say, hey, did I blow that? And perhaps one would have said, yeah, it's on the replay and he's safe. (The baserunner, Jason Donald, knew what happened before anyone else, putting his hands onto his head when he realized he was safe). They could have overturned it in the huddle.

But they didn't. I don't think baseball should go back and change the result. They had the chance then.

Everyone makes mistakes, and the mistakes are typically made worse when someone tries to hide or justify their slip up. When I covered courts, I saw many people who were caught doing something wrong and only made it worse by lying (fraud, lying to police), running (fleeing cops), or even assaulting or killing someone as they struggled to get away.

Standing up right away and saying, hey, I blew it, comes from someone well grounded. And I was happy to see Joyce had done that, admitting he missed it later in the night on a radio interview.

Practically speaking, he got in front of the story. But he had to. He couldn't wait until he left town and sometime this weekend quietly admit it.

Instead of changing the results of this game, MLB should just add instant replay. Right now. It's easy. Everyone can do it, why not baseball's billionaires? But now that the politicians are getting involved, I'm very tired of this story.

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Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Good news for auto industry

I'm not saying this because I need a new car this month, but I'm happy to hear that the auto industry appears to be recovering.

Today, the auto sales reports for May came out for all the automakers, and at one point, I left individual stories about the big three as our top three stories. It was only for a short while, but I liked the trend. (In fact, leasing or buying a car might be harder — make that, more expensive— if sales are going up.)

The photo is a screen shot of the mid-afternoon front page of our website,

Will this continue? Probably not as a steady increase but likely with some dips and rises. Overall, though, I'm happy for any good news on the economic front. Now if they could just fix the oil spill.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Chinese violence

After a recent wave of attacks on schools and school children, a Chinese news agency reported today about an attack on a court and its judges.

Well, at least the violence is moving out of the schools.

However, I don't want to be too light about violence. The story does indicate something that is very American, the dangers during the destruction of the marriage. Apparently, this guy went to the court to avenge a wrong committed by the courts in handling his divorce three years earlier.

Same thing in the US, I'm afraid. They worry about security during murder trials or for jurors, but it's really the family courts that have to be careful. Domestic violence can leave the home and enter public places.

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