How It Be In The D

August 8, 2008

Kwame Kilpatrick-Leper or Politician?

99 problems

It all started with an email alert on my phone. Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was sent to jail. The funny thing is that it wasn’t directly related to his “sex and text” scandal. It was due to stupidity brought on by his alleged assault on a Wayne County sheriff’s department officer and his trip to Windsor-allegedly because Windsor officials called it. His statement-his flimsy defense given to Judge Giles was not only pathetic, it was ludicrous and downright surreal.

First of all, Kilpatrick gave me the appearance of a kid with their hand caught in the candy jar. First of all, as his trademark, he took no responsibility for anything. These problems that he has were brought upon him by the media. They were out to get him. Kilpatrick further said that he understands the media scrutiny that Giles is under, as he is under similar scrutiny. Really? Most of Kilpatrick’s scrutiny seems to be because of his propensity for deny truth and reality. He would have us think that he’s always a victim of circumstance with no control over his future or any degree of free will.

Second, his explanation  that Windsor officials called the meeting turned out to be completely false. According to Windsor Star,  Cliff Sutts (Windsor’s lead negotiator in the Tunnel deal) said, “We are not tuned in to the conditions of (Kilpatrick’s) bail. Because the meeting was in Windsor, we didn’t know that he required consent. All we knew is that there was going to be a meeting.” Sutts also said stated that the meeting was called at Kilpatrick’s request. Now if, as Kilpatrick told Judge Giles, that he’d never committed any misconduct, that the meeting was at Windsor’s insistence and that he has total respect for the court, who’s telling the truth here? At this point, Windsor ( a very important neighbor) would see to want to keep their distance from Detroit. After alll, I couldn’t blame them. What they probably see is a city that can’t keep it together and has a scandal-ridden mayor that can’t seem to mind common sense.

Thirdly, I was extremely angry when Kilpatrick told Judge Giles, “My sons are watching this proceeding because I asked them to. I told them that I did something wrong.” Now which of many deeds of wrongdoing did he admit to his sons? Was it the original scandal? Was it the assault on a law enforcement officer? Was it the poorly covered up trip to Windsor? If he’s as smart as I think that he is deep down, why on earth would he subject his sons to the trauma of watching their father be sent to jail. Children, especially sons, view their father as a sort of infallible superhero that gives them a sense of safety and stability. I can’t imagine that his sons have that anymore, especially after yesterday’s proceedings. Assuming that what he said is true, then shame on him. Yet again, Kilpatrick’s using his children as a way to garner sympathy from the public. All that I can say is that my fountain has long been dry.

I truly and deeply hope that this is the wake-up call that he’s needed for some time. It’s time that he fesses up like a man and owns up to what he’s done. At this point, I can’t believe that Kilpatrick’s word counts for much. If he’s really trying to as much for the City as he claims, then he must have unshakable integrity. People dealing with him must trust what he says and does. If the lies in his statement to Judge Giles are any indication as to who he is and what he stands for, then he must be removed. How can Detroiters have a mayor that can no longer be seen as anything other than a liar? Detroit needs a better mayor. Detroit needs a better ambassador to the region. Detroit needs a better liaison to the Democratic party. Kilpatrick is none of those. It’s time that we find somebody that is.


July 31, 2008

McCain Plays The Name Game

I have to say that I’m pleasantly amused by the latest round of anti-Obama ads that McCain’s campaign has released. In this latest one, he compared Obama to Britney Spears and Paris Hilton. I thought to myself, “What?! Is he fucking kidding me?” In all honesty, McCain is so out of touch that he probably doesn’t even know who they are. If you remember, up until recently he didn’t even use email. How is McCain smart enough to draw the comparison? Well, he’s not, although his people that came up with his campaign try to be.

This is not the first time that McCain’s campaign has attempted a weak attempt at slinging mud at Obama. The commercial that comes to mind is the one where the commercial mentioned how Obama was against domestically drilling for oil. Even funnier, McCain tried to paint himself as some Republican environmentalist. Whether or not he is, I can’t say. I don’t have the image of McCain as trying to improve EPA regulations, emphasizing the need for alternative/renewable energy sources, etc. However, I do have the image of him as a decorated Vietnam veteran and, seemingly, a supporter for the wars overseas. The commercial was a trivial attempt for McCain to take on Obama’s characteristics and be seen as supporting the very things that Obama has. McCain isn’t young, charismatic and full of health and new ideas. He’s old, stagnant, with unpredictable health and supporting the same way of doing things that isn’t getting things done. You can always gain “experience.” On the other hand, new ideas are often more difficult to come by.

I am not naïve here. I know that in politics there’s mudslinging. There has been since probably cavemen gathered in groups to protect their mutual interests. Nothing has changed. One person wins while the other loses. Precisely how this happens is always different. While we don’t allow actual assassination, we do allow character assassination. This latest instance is the best and perhaps funniest one of all because this really is something that honestly can only roll off of Obama’s back. If McCain is so experienced and tries new things, then why not discuss the issues and arrive to new solutions?

July 30, 2008

The Last Lecture-Best Gift to Give

Yesterday, I watched the ABC Primtime special The Last Lecture: A Celebration of Life, which was a tribute to Randy Pausch. For those that don’t know, the recently deceased Pausch was a professor at Carnegie-Mellon that was given a diagnosis of terminal pancreatic cancer. What made him more than just another cancer victime was “The Last Lecture.” According to Pausch, Carnegie-Mellon has a custom where professors give a yearly lecture where they discuss a topic of their choosing. In this particular case, he gave a lecture that on the surface were a series of lessons that centered on how to live and achieve dreams. The punchline was that the lecture was a gift to his three young children. Somehow, video for the lecture made it to Youtube and became a huge sensation. Subsequently, Paush co-wrote with Jeffrey Zaslow “The Last Lecture.” This book has also became a runaway success.

When I recently heard about his death, I was tremendously saddened by his loss. I didn’t cry but felt a tremendous sense of loss. A person who made a huge contribution to the world and changed it for the better died. Pausch did it all along during his life in the way that he lived his life. He lived in the moment and took risk in order to achieve success. Pausch spread this message to his friends, family and everybody taht encountered him. Now, when he delivered “The Last Lecture,” it became a distillation of the message the he lived. Whereas others learned this by watching how he lived, we either saw his message online or through some of his TV appearances.

As I watched the special last night, I had a hard time holding back. It really made me think about how I’ve lived my life and I came to a realization. I have been living my life as a coward-living in fear and for what? What have I been afraid of? I’m still relatively young, have excellent health and have full control of my faculties? If I have all of this, then why haven’t I done more? To be honest, I couldn’t come up with a good answer. The simple answer is that I need to do more.

The sad reality is that we don’t realize how we haven’t lived up to our full potential except when confronted by ours or others’ mortality. It’s not just the process of dying but in dying with dignity in a way that the person lives in the present. Once that any of us realize that we’re dying or at least that our time is up, then we’re most present and “living in the moment.” Whether it’s from receiving a terminal diagnosis or being a soldier with death all around, death rather than scaring that individual gives them a sense of tremendous calm. When you know what to expect, then what is there to fear?

I hope that this entry gives you a tremendous sense of not just what kind of man Pausch was but, most importantly, the message that he spread. It’s a message that we should keep alive constantly and remember always. Otherwise, we’re condemened to complacency and stagnancy. I’m not suggesting that anybody develop a death wish, but just remember the lesson. When looking at fear, they’re usually insignificant when comparing it to the overall big picture? So if this is the case, why let fear stand in the way of moving forward?

July 29, 2008

The Wooden Robot Otherwise Known As John McCain

Here’s my thing about John McCain. Is it me or is everything that he’s talking about revolving on the fact that he served in Vietnam and was captured? Furthermore, is it me or does he only seem to talk about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan? One of the biggest things that he attacks Obama on is the fact that he never visited Iraq. Then, he attacks him for visiting Iraq. Well, which one is it?

Also, everyone talks about McCain’s “experience.” No shit. The man is old and has been in Congress for a long time. Anybody that has been in Congress as long as him (longer than Obama) will have experience. Does it necessarily make him better qualified or mean that he would be a better President? I’m not so sure. Can’t really say either way.

I just wish that if McCain is going to pump himself up and cut Obama down that he would make a real attempt at pushing the other issues. Other issues are mentioned in his commercials, although I feel that they are half-hearted attempts. The commercials that stick in my mind are those that mention his past military service.

I am not at all trying to take anything away from his military service or disrespect him. I just think that he should make more of a concerted effort to talk about other issues. This country is more than just the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. What else can he offer us beside his war record and “experience”?

July 8, 2008

I Can Drive 55

Filed under: Op-Ed — adlv2006 @ 10:19

During this period of struggling to pay our gasoline bills, we are looking for ways to save or at least to lessen the hurt. It appears that the Michigan legislature is looking into some of them, which would involve new possible legislation.

Last Wednesday (July 2nd), myfoxdetroit.com reported that State Rep. Aldo Vagnozzi urging Congress to lower the national speed limit to 55 mph. Also, detnews.com (July 2nd) likewise reported that Gov. Granholm suggested at a press conference that the State should look at lowering the speed limit. Both suggestions on lowering the speed limit follow what news channels lately have discussed regarding the difference that driving slower has on mileage. By dropping from 65 mph to 55, drivers can recover about 4-5 mpg, depending on the vehicle.

While I recognize the positive effects of driving at a lower speed, I’m a little suspicious regarding the need to have legislation order it. Right now, Michigan is hurting. Jobs seems to be lost left and right. Residents are leaving for better opportunities out-of-state, which reduces the tax base. I’m not saying anything new. What is new is my feeling that the real reason for bringing down the speed limit is to increased the number of speeding tickets; thus, generating revenue for the State.

I now choose to drive slower because it is my personal choice. Also, I was never much of a fast driver to begin with. As I’m making the adjustment, I’m realizing that the only real reason that I went up to 70 mph is because I felt that I was in a rush. In the end, the time that I supposedly saved didn’t help me when I went to the gas pump.

To be honest, what could really make a difference in helping drivers save money isn’t legislation to bring down the speed limit but in changing traffic lights’ timing. I can’t tell you how many times that I’m in front of a light that just turned green, begin to accelerate and then have to decelerate because not just the next light but the light after is red. A green light quickly following by a series of red lights doesn’t make any sense! Factor in people in front of me that can’t drive and it adds up to stop-and-go driving. The sudden stops and starts isn’t just a nuisance but probably eats up more gas than speeding does.

I applaud our legislators for looking at all of the options. However, it seems that the only option getting any attention is lowering the speed limit. It seems to make sense but, in the end, I think that there are all the wrong reasons involved with this. Lowering the speed limit isn’t going to change the behavior of drivers that are prone to speed anyway. These people don’t care. What will make a difference is in changing the timing of traffic lights. If you’re going to have a red light, then have it be following at least two green lights. This would give drivers an opportunity to stop but, also, lessen the effect of stop-and-go driving. Maybe the reason that we feel so rushed is because we’re trying to make up for the time that we’ve lost due to traffic lights.

January 23, 2007

Am I My Brother’s Keeper?

One of the things that I’ve noticed about our modernized, individualistic society is the lack of consideration for those around us. Look at cell phones. When those lovely Nextel phones came out with the “chirp” function and were cool…at first. I knew a few people that had one. However, they quickly became annoying when the owners set the volume too high, forcing us to listen to their innocuous conversations. How could we not? They never bothered to lower the volume.

In addition to people talking on their cell phones, there is also the matter of how they also drive at the same time. At present, I work out in Detroit’s East Side. As a suburbanite, I was used to people using their blinkers and obeying traffic lights. However, once that I started working at my current job, I started seeing people blowing red lights. People will drive around as theylook for a parking spot and talking on their cell phones. Effectively, making them clueless about their surroundings.

Unfortunately, these examples of inappropriate cell phone use bring up what I feel is our problem-society’s overemphasis on the individual. We must move away from the belief that the world revolves around us. Yes, turn that damned phone down because everybody hears your business. If you’re driving and talking on the phone, you’re most likely going to be distracted. You’re not half as good at doing both as you think. Also, try to stop on a red light. If you don’t, are you ready to face the potential consequences of doing so? Yes indeed. I am my brother’s keeper.

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