January 9, 2016 - by Jim Neff
The Neff Zone
NEWS AS ENTERTAINMENT
Sometimes news is just news, but sometimes news can also be a source of entertainment. Many times all it takes is the patience to let a story unfold and if you do that developments can get pretty entertaining.
Take the Flint water fiasco, for example. Flint Journal columnist Andrew Heller has called this “the biggest case of mass poisoning in the history of Michigan.” Serious business indeed, but now Governor Snyder has apologized for the mess and vowed to find a fix. Notes Heller: “And all it took to spur him to that welcome and most unusual moment of action was months of screaming followed by a tsunami of local, state and national media attention followed by an announcement that federal prosecutors are going to investigate.”
This is certainly a tragedy, but the entertaining part is just underway as Governor Snyder, the three emergency managers who were in charge of Flint during this mess, and scores of administration-appointed minions and bureaucrats try to wriggle out of any blame. Given the fact that the state's attempt to privatize its prison food service is an ongoing boondoggle, it appears that the main goal for everyone is to avoid experiencing that menu first hand.
Speaking of staying out of the hoosegow, the situation in Oregon where a self- appointed militia came to the aid of a pair of admitted lawbreakers is pretty entertaining. The lawbreakers want to use federal land (owned by you, the taxpayer) without paying rent to make money for themselves. This would be like you wanting a home on Lake Cadillac, so you opt to build at Kenwood beach.
Next, we learn the guy leading the anti-government charge, Ammon Bundy, borrowed $530,000 (from the government he says he hates) through a Small Business Administration loan guarantee program. In case you don't know, these government loans are "to aid small businesses which are unable to obtain financing in the private credit marketplace."
Finally, supporters of Bundy put out a call for aid with a mailing address to which you can send donations. So, this anti-government movement is dependent upon that same government to make sure the mail is delivered by the U.S. Postal Service in a timely manner. You just can't make up this type of entertainment.
(www.mlive.com/opinion/index.ssf/2016/01/oregon_bundy_militia_wildlife.html, www.i100.independent.co.uk/article/oregon-terrorists-dont-plan-siege-very-well-put-out-plea-for-snacks-and-supplies-ZJglh9sRjx, and www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/armed-pathetic-and-hungry-how-the-oregon-militants-revolutionary-plan-went-sideways-20160105.)
Maybe that Oregon militia should see if Donald Trump needs help securing the border - against Moroccans. That would seem to be a good fit. You see, in Trump's first TV ad, a video shows “hundreds of people swarming the border.” As Politifact observes, however: “The only problem is that the footage actually shows Moroccans trying to get into Spain, not Mexicans trying to cross the U.S. border. Our verdict: Pants on Fire!” Nothing like flaming pants and sprinting Moroccans for pure entertainment bang for your buck, eh?
Sports news is often entertaining. As you know, I have no use for the current college football bowl system. It does my heart good to learn that much of America agrees with me. Bowl bigwigs decided this year to create a “new tradition” - playoff games on New Year's Eve. Says Yahoo Sports: “ The decision to contest the College Football Playoff semifinals on New Year's Eve was a spectacular failure...the 45 percent ratings decline...was a swan dive off a cliff onto the rocks of arrogance, ignorance and indifference to the lives and interests of casual fans...the conference commissioners had become so accustomed to shoveling inconvenience down the throats of the paying customers that they figured they'd swallow this one, too.”
Sport Illustrated added: “And if there is one thing we've learned over the years about the conference commissioners who run college football, it's that they care little about the greater good of the game if it means losing dollars from their own wallets.”
Overall, the entire slate of bowl games experienced a television ratings decline of 36 percent from last year. It should be entertaining to hear “the powers that be” explain how this is anything but a disaster for college football.
Finally, it's always entertaining to come upon a news item that reveals something you did not know. Have you ever heard of auto-brewery syndrome? It seems a New York woman was charged with a DUI when she “blew a blood alcohol level more than four times the legal limit.” Case closed, right?
Well, the judge dismissed the charges after being presented with evidence the woman suffers from auto-brewery syndrome. “Also known as gut-fermentation syndrome, this rare medical condition can occur when abnormal amounts of gastrointestinal yeast convert common food carbohydrates into ethanol.” People with this rare condition “can function at alcohol levels such as 0.30 and 0.40 when the average person would be comatose or dying.” This might be the definition of "entertaining yourself." (http://q13fox.com/2016/01/01/auto-brewery-syndrome-woman-says-her-body-brews-alcohol-gets-dui-charge-dismissed/)
Jim Neff is a local columnist. Read Neff Zone columns online at www.CadillacNews.com and www.NeffZone.com/cadillacnews.