Saturday, March 22, 2008

POLITICS: THE SIDE SHOW THAT THINKS IT'S THE WHOLE CIRCUS!

Hey Crabby:

I just wanted to tell you that I’ve been reading you for about a year and I think your advice is fabulous. It speaks from the gut rather than the heart…the latter, never a reliable appendage for solid thought. Anyway, a while back you had some stuff about a Detroit Mayor who’s in it up to his eyeballs. I was fascinated by the scandal but don’t see much of it on the news anymore. PS – I live in Hawaii. Anyway, just wondering if you could get readers like me up to snuff and thanks.

Malikaya in Honolulu



Dear Grass Skirt Gal:

Thanks for the praise. It’s always appreciated. With respect to both the gut and the heart – I would hope I touch my readership on both levels, though I respectfully leave that for others to decide.

Not much new with Kwame Kilpatrick – the mayor of Detroit. Since I last reported in this column, the mayor’s approval rating – according to a recently conducted independent poll is 97% in favor of his stepping down from his job; something Kilpatrick absolutely refuses to do despite the fact that all but one of his city council members believe that the recent scandals have irreversibly damaged the city’s credibility for outside investments.

The mayor has hired himself several high priced attorneys and an even hirer priced spin doctor to launch his comeback. Will all the smoke and mirrors work?

So far, the answer seems to be – no! Various religious and business leaders in the community have raised their voices in protest – including the Union representing Transit City workers – all in favor of the mayor’s resignation.

To be perfectly honest with you, I’ve never encountered a guy like this before; so utterly misguided in his bull-headedness that he actually blamed the media for their ‘lynch mob mentality’ in exposing his foibles in print and on the air as part of his ‘State of the City’ address.

Now that takes guts!


Even the state of Michigan’s Attorney General Mike Cox has called for Kwame’s resignation but to no avail. Legally, no one but the state governor – in this case, Jennifer Granholm, can actually depose the mayor from his office. Will she do it?

She may not have a choice if Prosecutor Kim Worthy decides to file criminal charges against the mayor for his…uh…‘alleged’ indiscretions. I think there’s enough evidence compiled to support a charge of perjury though I suspect Worthy is waiting until such time as more evidence will lead to weightier charges. If that happens, Granholm will surely have to remove Kilpatrick from office. After all, affairs of the city (no pun intended) can hardly be run from a prison cell.

Let’s just put Kwame into context for a moment, shall we, and compare his scandal to that most recent debacle involving New York’s Governor Eliot Spitzer. Spitzer was practically flogged by the press for Pretty Womaning it with $4000 of his own money and high class whores. His penitents - an immediate apology and a resignation.

Mayor Kilpatrick is accused of perjury, spending ‘city tax dollars’ on private pleasures for him and his family and is suspected at some level of involvement in the mysterious murder of dancer, Tamara Greene shortly before she was to be called as a star witness in the now infamous ‘Whistle Blower’ lawsuit.

Aside: Interestingly enough, a former city clerk – now retired – claims to have seen an official police report that alleges the Mayor’s wife, Carlita physically assaulted Tamara Greene at the Mayor’s home with a ‘wooden object’ on the night that the Mayor claims no such party at the Manoogian Mansion took place.

Miss Greene sustained injuries and was attended to by paramedics. This city clerk (who shall remain nameless herein because she has since gone on record as saying that she fears for her own safety) was so civic minded that she immediately telephoned her local unit of Crime Stoppers to report her news after the Mayor’s scandal broke in the press.

The clerk called Crime Stoppers twice. Crime Stoppers went on record with the local media as saying they had no documentation to sustain the claim that this clerk had in fact called. Afterward, the clerk was able to produce two unique and traceable confirmation numbers to prove that she had. Clever gal. I hope she lives to tell the tale in court.

While the Mayor’s involvement in Ms. Greene’s death has yet to be proven – the other charges pending would topple most fat cats from their political throne. Yet King Kwame sits atop his without any great shame.
According to him, everyone else is at fault for his woes and problems. It’s a media thing, a race card played badly. He’s just as pure as the driven snow – only he’s drifted!

Anyway, this story is far from over though it’s anybody’s guess where the final pile of manure will land. One thing is for certain, Kilpatrick’s initial branding by the Democratic Party as a ‘rising star’ is over. He’s a falling star.

If you’re interested, Wikipedia.org has an exceptional chronology of this mayoral debacle that – if you have the time – will provide far more details than I ever could herein. Here’s the link.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kwame_Kilpatrick

Yours truly,
The Crabby Critic






Dear Crabby:

I was wondering what you thought of the most recent Barack Obama scandal involving Rev. Jeremiah Wright?

Faoud in New Jersey


Dear Politico-Watcher:

I think Wright is all wrong.
I also believe that Obama’s spin doctors made a gross error in judgment by suggesting to the media at large that Wright’s comments were taken ‘out of context’ – an utterly moot point, since the ‘context’ of Wright’s remarks is a pulpit inside a house of God in which vicious rhetoric was meant to insight anger, hatred and anti-Americanism from his congregation.
Wright’s ‘context’ was set in neither the right time nor the right place to spread big-mouthed/closed-minded evil!
Besides, whatever happened to the separation of church and state?

The fact that Obama has gone on record as saying he could no more disown Wright as a spiritual guide than he could walk away from black people is a rather disturbing statement that ought to be raising more than a few red flags inside the Democratic Party and elsewhere amongst the popular vote.

Red Flag #1: Obama claims that he never heard his pastor spew such foul hate-mongering readily depicted in the sound bytes we’ve all had a chance too often to hear. That’s a curious statement coming from the man who wants to be your next President.
Obama and his family have been regular attendees at Wright’s church for over 20 years.
It seems to me that anyone going that steady to a place of worship would likely have tuned in to at least one ugly sermon of hell fire and brimstone from the pulpit by now – especially since there are so many of them readily available on You Tube!

Will any of this muckraking damage Obama’s credibility?
Not according to recent polls which still have Obama leading Hilary Clinton by a narrow but nevertheless evident margin.
Red Flag #2: Obama’s a smart cookie. But hiring Wright as an advisor on his campaign committee was not smart at all – even before the scandal involving Wright broke in the news. Obama had to know that somewhere, someday Wright’s past would come back to haunt him in the public arena – especially with all the taped evidence to condemn his actions.
Red Flag #3: Michelle Obama’s statement, that for the first time in her life she feels like an American resonates a big problem with me. Aside: to my readership I would appreciate someone informing me exactly what exactly ‘feeling’ has to do with ‘being.’

Either the Obamas are American through and through or they’re not.

Either they embrace the constitution and principles of the country or they don’t.

You can’t feel your way around the prospect of ‘being’ President of the United States.
It’s not a state of mind. It’s a state of the union and a huge responsibility and an afforded respect in carrying on time-honored traditions that have made the country great.

If Obama can’t even step up to the plate and admit that having Jeremiah Wright as his spiritual advisor was akin to asking the anti-Christ for Holy Communion, and furthermore, that to place Wright on his political campaign was a colossal misstep, then in my ever not-so-humble opinion Barack Obama certainly isn’t up to the challenge of disseminating ‘truth, justice and the ‘American way’ throughout the land as its commander and chief.

Yours truly,
The Crabby Critic



Dear Crabby:

Call me crazy, but I live in Windsor and think I saw you on the six o’clock news the other day. Did I, or was I just drinking the weird Kool-Aid?

Jessica in Windsor

Dear Jessica:

You did and regrettably I wish I hadn’t agreed to putting both feet in my mouth at the same time with the local press. ‘Context’ is everything and the points made by yours truly and showcased in my thirty seconds of fame on CBC’s Channel 9 were grossly spun in a direction I had no desire to entertain.

A bit of background needs to be covered here for everyone else who doesn’t live where you and I do. I recently attended our Mayor Eddie Francis’ State of the City address – an extremely abysmal speech in my opinion.

Most disappointing for this life-long Windsorite was listening to the Mayor’s incongruous rhetoric, as paper thin as a Barak Obama speech. Mayor Francis called for every constituent to “change the conversation” a catch phrase he repeatedly used that was meant to suggest Windsor’s most recent decline and lack of prosperity was largely due to its own residents bashing the city in public with blame and bad thoughts.

Never mind that our Mayor spoke of the loss of 10,000 manufacturing jobs, yet chose to focus of his entire state of the city address on stimulating more manufacturing jobs. Let us be honest, blunt and fair. Manufacturing has already departed for the halcyon plantations of Mexico, Bangladesh, Taiwan, China and so forth – where labor is cheap and the quality of life cheaper still.

Why employ a Windsorite at $25 an hour when a Cambodian toiling in deplorable sweatshop conditions can do the same job faster, cheaper and without any complaints that his/her civil rights in the workplace are being violated?!?! No union. No defense.
Other oddities in the Mayor’s speech included the recent acceptance of a plan to construct a retirement home that will eventually employ 50 people. Sorry if, after being told of the 10,000 who lost their jobs, if I don’t get overly excited about the meager 50 who’ll benefit from this new project.

Tragically, another retirement home in our city does not make Windsor a retirement community – just a sad derelict of what I consider shameless ‘prisons for the elderly’ – where anyone over the age of 60 is segregated to a gated community and pretty much forgotten while they wait to die. You want a retirement “community?!?” – then take a good look at Miami. It’s that and so much more.

The Mayor also mentioned how welfare recipients finally went off the dole into retail jobs. I would like to take this opportunity to ask the mayor when was the last time he held a ‘retail’ job and was able to support a wife, children, house and car with those earnings?

Or is it simply that in the Windsor of tomorrow, “after the conversation has been changed”, that we will all be driving rickshaws and bicycles in some park infested utopia where everyone sings Kumbaya while facing that other Mecca in the West – Toronto!
My dismay rose as Mayor Francis continued to tout manufacturing. “We need to get the Ford deal done” - his exact words.

My question was “Why?”

It is high time that our City Council wake up to the realization that Windsor’s love affair with the automotive industry is – sadly – at an end. It behooves me not one ounce of pleasure to make such a statement. Windsor’s bread and butter has been ‘cars’. But to simply ignore the fact that GM, Chrysler and Ford are a dying breed in our midst is like telling someone with AIDS and brain cancer that they ought to have a Coke and a multi-vitamin to get them back on the road to good health.

A deal between the City of Windsor and Ford Motor Company is a band-aid solution at best. It will keep a skeleton crew of highly skilled workers employable for another 3-5 years until a contract dispute sends the company packing to greener/cheaper pastures in Tennessee, Mexico or elsewhere. Let’s be reasonable – Ford can’t afford high priced labor!
I also heard a lot about building a bigger airport to service planes on route from Toronto to Chicago – per say, and the construction of another bridge to the United States so that more traffic could pass to and fro en route to destinations unknown.

Great – more truck traffic/more pollution. More people going from Toronto to Detroit and waving goodbye as they drive overhead.

Still no re-stimulating our lagging local economy. The only economic stimulant in that package will be for the Bridge Commission’s toll collection and McDonald and Harvey’s trade in burgers for the gridlocked truck drivers.

The Mayor’s speech was big on asking “how do we keep our people here”, answered haphazardly enough with the response that we ship out all of this city’s viable breadwinners to some Godforsaken parts out west but encourage them to leave their families behind in this city – thus ensuring that the City of Windsor reaps the tax dollars from both property, trade and business from this exodus.

I heard NO talk of bringing enticing job prospects to THIS city. Rather I heard a lot about how the Mayor’s office was in the process of brokering an arrangement with companies out west so that if one of the newly departed ‘loved ones’ wanted to attend another ‘loved one’s birthday or funeral in this city an allotment of time and possibly financial aid would be afforded the weary traveler on his return. How quaint, gosh and anti-community can you get?!?!?

I have a reply for Mayor Eddie Francis to his question of ‘how do we keep people here’ – if he’d care to hear it.

You keep people in Windsor by making Windsor a destination, not a pit stop to somewhere else. You create a tourist Mecca on par with Clifton Hill in Niagara or the strip by the CNE in Toronto. One Casino and a bunch of bike trails DO NOT a TOURIST DESTINATION MAKE!

They don’t even MAKE GOOD BUSINESS SENSE!!!

You make Windsor an exciting place to be – period!

You DON’T BLAME the Federal Government for refusing to pour more money into a dying pile of bull and then encourage modest anarchy from your constituents who are encouraged to write angry letters to their members of parliament on mass!!!

You don’t put up silly billboards around town encouraging citizens to get proactive when they’ve been used to top heavy municipal “we’ll do it on our own – thanks” for at least 5 generations.

You don’t look without – flying to Germany and so forth – to attend ‘motivational’ conferences that just talk the same blasted rhetoric I heard in the Mayor’s speech!

You look within! Tragically, I found NO WITHIN in the Mayor’s speech. Instead, I perceived a gutless city administration with hollow weary promises and no guts to look beyond the Big Three; no solid plan to do anything other than make it easier for more people with better prospects elsewhere and the good sense God gave a lemon and the wherewithal to leave Windsor for good! How utterly sad, tragic, misguided and misinformed!

“Need to change the conversation?”
I think Windsor needs to change its plan of passivity into REAL ACTION – FAST! All these points were made to the CBC reporter who interviewed me.
Regrettably, she chose to air none of them. I was not amused!
Yours truly,
The Crabby Critic


@The Crabby Critic 2008 (all rights reserved).

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