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, June 28, 2011

Misspoke...about John Wayne, so what?

I just don't get it. Someone, yes a presidential candidate announcing their candidacy, misspeaks about a long-dead Hollywood star. Sure, John Wayne is one of the biggest stars, but remembering where he was born more than a century ago while giving a speech is not a big deal.

And playing gotcha this way backfires, if people think that talking, writing, blogging, pontificating about this would change minds. No, it makes people feel sorry for her.

Now, I am more interested in misstatements on or about financial issues, such as receiving federal money for a family farm while boldly saying that you don't receive such help. That could be something, but if you link it together with a slip about John Wayne's birthplace, then the financial statement gets lost in what is really a petty attack. Must not be that serious, if they're lumping it together with John Wayne. More gotcha, lacking completely in any substance.

This attack (I'm using the word her supporters or general media-haters) on Michele Bachmann (read the AP story here) only helps her, I'm afraid. I don't like her ability to misstate facts about the war in Libya or oil drilling permits, but those substantial, true policy mistakes get lost when making fun references to John Wayne and John Wayne Gacy. It appears that the Fox News host, Chris Wallace, asking about her being a "flake" (a great moment of morning political talk news, I feel) has now swayed how others cover her.

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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Detroit budget

Hey Detroiters, guess what, I don't know the details of all the budget fights, but I have a single thought about the process: Go with the budget that cuts the most!

Why? Well, it's only going to get worse, and the longer you delay the cuts, the more difficult it will be on down the line. The city's schools are already run by the state-appointed emergency manager, just as the City of Pontiac is run.

With a dwindling population base, massive unemployment and almost non-existent property values, Detroit's budget woes are only to worsen in coming years — until someone on the private side invests money to build some industry and provide some jobs. City, county and school jobs cannot maintain an economy, as we learned in Eastern Europe.

It's only going to get worse for all us in Michigan, it seems, so to get through this recession (or this slow-to-develop recovery), we must cut what we can now in order to figure out what we can live with and what we can live without in coming years.

When revenues go up, the budgets can be expanded or any new taxes can be ended.

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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Soft on crime? Juvenile defendant protected by system

Wow. A 17-year-old is basically gutted, stabbed to death, on a West Bloomfield street.
West Bloomfield is a nice community, only a couple of other homicides in the past decade, one case involving domestic violence and the other still a mystery (a woman killed in her garage on Saturday morning).
Click here to read the story about the killing of Jonathan Rickman, 17.
It's a shocking crime due to the violence and the scene, a quiet neighborhood street. But it also is shocking because police say a 15-year-old acquaintance of the victim is the suspect.
What is surprising to me is the extent that leaders in Oakland County are going to protect the accused. The young man is charged with open murder.
I know everyone is presumed innocent, but we live in an open society and we are allowed to know what the state is doing. When the juvenile court referee (essentially, a judge) David Barnes ordered reporters to not name the accused, otherwise barring them from the open courtroom, that seemed to reach too far in protecting the accused killer.
I know the referee can bar photographers, so in allowing them in, he can ask or demand that they not photograph the accused; that's fair, because the camera does not have a right to be in the courtroom (yet!, but that's a different beef).
We can debate whether the prosecutor's office is soft on crime or appropriately sensitive in not charging the youth as an adult, instead leaving it up to a judge down the road. That's the right of the prosecutors in determining charges.
However, the entire handling of the case gives the appearance of caring more about the young man who, according to police, stabbed another human being to death. Used to be, we would see who the culprit was and we would be debating whether it was fair for a 14-, 15, or 16-year-old to face life-in-prison without parole, because they were charged as an adult.
And in Oakland County, traditionally the people, especially the voters, like the tough-on-crime model. We don't approve of stabbing people to death on our neighborhood streets.
Pictured: Referee David Barnes

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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Ouch, headlines bring pain

Ok, these two headlines active right now on the are bringing back painful memories.

First is the obvious kick to the gut of everything decent in public life: Sam Riddle, convicted of corruption and serving time for his role in a bribery scheme in Detroit and Southfield, will be teaching an ethics course in federal prison.

Second is one that hurts the heart, as Matt Millen — he who boldly led the Lions through their darkest decade in what has been a half century of mostly misery — is declaring that many NFL teams would be interested in Ohio State's troubled QB, Terrelle Pryor. Avoid him like the plague if Millen would be interested!

Oh well, at least I can read Kwame Kilpatrick's autobiography and fell better about myself as I watch society wash down the drain.

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