Home > Uncategorized > My latest FATZ column: Things I’m starting to suspect

My latest FATZ column: Things I’m starting to suspect

My latest “From A to Zowie” column sent to the Beeville Bee-Picayune

By Richard Zowie
Special to the Bee-Picayune
As we approach half a year into the Obama Administration, there are some things I’ve been suspecting lately.
One: President Obama knew exactly what he was doing when he chose Joe Biden to become his running mate.
Many of us have laughed lately at the crazy comments of Vice President Biden, whether it’s been saying nobody should fly during the much-ballyhooed swine flu crisis, joking that his boss President Obama is a deer in the headlights when his teleprompter isn’t working or leaking the location of the vice president’s bunker. Some have started to wonder why Obama chose Biden as his running mate when he could’ve chosen Hillary Clinton, John Kerry or even that brilliant Democratic statesman, Sean Penn.
I’ve wondered that, myself. Biden was said to have lots of experience and a handle on foreign policy. But when you consider his erratic, unpredictable gaffes, one has to wonder.
I think Obama’s logic can be summed up this way: insurance from impeachment and assassination. Consider this pseudo conversation:
Reporter: Mr. President, there have been rumors that you will be impeached and some white supremacy groups have talked of assassinating you. Are you seeking council over this?
Obama (after laughing himself to tears for five minutes): Why? Anyone who tries to remove me from office is crazy. I mean, would you want Crazy Joe leading this country?
Reporter: Well, I thought you chose him because of his exper—
Obama: Actually, that was a rhetorical question. Nobody in their right mind wants him to be president. I mean, if I ever have a late night and need something to keep me going when a triple espresso and Red Bull won’t work, all I have to think of is Joe with his hand anywhere within an area code of the brief case with all the launch codes.
The media, meanwhile, treats Biden as a harmless comical diversion. This, of course, means they have a lot of apologizing to do to former Vice President Dan Quayle.
Two: When non-stories are the lead stories, you know a paper’s desperate for news.
If an autopsy’s ever done on journalism, I suspect the cause of death will be gross mismanagement by people who wouldn’t know a noun from a verb.
Especially if we’re talking about newspapers like the Flint Journal. This once-daily paper is now down to three days a week in its print version and is otherwise online only. Those I know who’ve worked there say the newspaper has been killed by incompetent editors. (The infamous “Bandit” edition of the Journal is a stellar example). Basically, the same thing that ails General Motors: take a useless employee and “punish” them by moving them into a management position. Bad management makes for even worse decisions.
Right now, Flint is dealing with deficits, urban decay, crime and people moving out of state due to the abhorrent economy we have here.
So, in the June 17, 2009 issue of the Journal, what was the lead story?
Rush Limbaugh saying Flint should be “bulldozed.”
Genesee County (where Flint is) treasurer Daniel Kildee took Limbaugh to task, telling him he didn’t know what he was talking about and how dare he make thoughtless comments.
Righteous indignation can be great, unless it’s misplaced. Reading over the article and over the transcripts from Rush’s show, it looks like Journal reporter Ron Fonger just grabbed comments out of context and wrote the article. After all, why let the facts get in the way of a great news article?
Earlier that week on Limbaugh’s show, a caller from Flushing, Mich. (a Flint suburb) called and talked about the crime in Flint and how the city could deal with crime and save money in the process by bulldozing the decrepit houses and buildings nobody lives in or uses. Limbaugh had referenced a story that called for the bulldozing of 40 percent of Flint for these reasons. Later in the transcript, Rush does say bulldoze the whole city, but if you examine it you can clearly see it’s said tongue-in-cheek—something Limbaugh is notorious for doing.
Folks, I live about 30 miles outside Flint and have been there countless times. While Flint bears some sentimentality since it’s my wife Jennifer’s birthplace, I go there these days only when absolutely necessary. Frankly, there are indeed lots of places that could stand to be torn down to give drug users and dealers, gangs and other unsavory people fewer places to congregate.
What’s more, the headline and story was done in white print on a black background with red used in the headline. For a newspaper that’s done buyouts, layoffs and is cutting back to thrice weekly print editions, that seems like a frivolous way to spend money on what amounts as an entertainment section story. I understand when the editors of the Journal decided to go with this as a lead story, there was much consternation in the news room …
Three: Within the next 20 years, Iran will go through a revolution that’ll make the French Revolution pale in comparison.
We remember from the French Revolution that both King Louis XIV and his wife Marie Antoinette were beheaded as the country deposed the monarchy. Some say the younger Iranian generation is getting very fed up with how the Islamic regime rules the country. Is it possible someday soon we could see current president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad publicly executed and portraits of the late Ayatollah Khomeini and the current Ayatollah Khamenei spat or urinated upon?
Richard Zowie grew up in Beeville and now works as a writer in Michigan. His column’s blog is at www.fromatozowie.wordpress.com, and he can be reached at richardzowie@gmail.com.

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