The nature of New Year’s is to look at things in a positive way, but truth be told, it’s a lot more fun to tee off on those most deserving of our wrath, ridicule and pity.
So now, Freindly Fire’s most deserving Losers of the Last Year:
How do you criticize a man whose stroke of good fortune made him the real American Idol for several generations of Americans? Not easily. But Freindly Fire has never stroked egos to make nice; the sad truth is that Dick Clark’s time has come and gone. His continued presence on ABC’s New Year’s Eve program is an embarrassment to the network, and, whether he knows it or not, a humiliation to Clark.
His incoherence is a morbid fascination for millions, to the point where viewing Clark’s gaffes has itself become a New Year’s Eve tradition. He was fantastic in his prime, and his courageous comeback was admirable. But let’s face it. One last go-round would have been more than enough inspiration for people with debilitating conditions. The prolonging of Clark’s once-proud career has made him the butt of tasteless jokes, unfortunately validated by his woeful countdown to the stroke of midnight.
Even talentless host Ryan Seacrest looks uncomfortable trying to understand, let alone converse, with Clark. Like an aging athlete whose time to hang it up is obvious to all but himself, Clark is trying to maintain a relevance that is simply impossible to achieve.
To salvage whatever’s left of his dignity, please, ABC, pull the plug on Dick Clark.
Teachers Unions, Trial Lawyers, Taxers and Tea Party Critics
Throughout Pennsylvania and nationwide, all four spent millions this campaign season — and all got shellacked.
For the first time, more candidates than not took a hard-line stance against unchecked lawyer greed, fat union contracts, organized labor’s outrageous demands, and increased taxes. And the fiery Tea Party made sure those issues remained at the forefront of the election cycle.
The result? Hard to say. Despite their vanquishing, none of the losers is going away anytime soon.
Facing a brand new phenomenon called accountability, teachers unions will use their unlimited campaign war chest (obtained through forced dues) to dig in hard against pension reform, school choice and public education funding cuts. Trial lawyers will continue to write big checks, since tort reform threatens their very survival (and the number of Mercedes in the driveway). Taxers will again try to handcuff the Marcellus Shale natural gas industry by imposing job-killing extraction taxes and fees, and Tea Party opponents are looking to prove their nemesis to be a One-Hit Wonder.
However, special mention in this category goes to State Representative and House Democratic Campaign Chairman Mike Gerber of Montgomery County, who, just one month before the election, arrogantly boasted, "We will hold and maybe even expand our majority." In fact, under Gerber’s watch, the Republicans gained 13 seats (and the majority) despite being outspent by $1.3 million. With that kind of predictive accuracy, maybe he should be a weatherman.
Filling in as host for Sean Hannity on FOX, Carlson said that Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick should have been executed for killing dogs in his dogfighting operation.
What a buffoon.
Does he really believe that? Common sense would say "No," but he appeared deadly serious.
Look. What Vick did was heinous and inexcusable. But he served his time, and appears to be penitent. How he behaves moving forward will tell a lot about whether he is truly sorry.
But Vick isn’t the issue. Carlson’s cheap shot to gain a brief bit of fame is.
Equally as pathetic was Carlson deriding President Obama’s decision to thank Eagles’ owner Jeff Lurie for giving Vick a second chance. Carlson’s rant demonstrates why the media is so scorned by the American people.
With all the legitimate issues with which to differ from the President, why would Carlson criticize Obama for his phone call discussing redemption? Because wannabes like Carlson, despite all their posturing about how pure, conservative and Christian they are, really only care about themselves and the headlines they can generate.
Issues and ideology take a backseat to vain ambition, even when that means injecting oneself into the story. And every time irrelevant issues like this get raised, meaningful debate about what really matters takes a hit.
Since shills like Carlson impugn the credibility of real conservatives, FOX should make him their fire hydrant. And hell, come to think of it, even Dick Clark would be an improvement.
No, not the people, but the position in which they find themselves because government has grown on such a massive scale under both Republicans and Democrats. We now have bankruptcy-level debt, pension bombs, a healthcare fiasco, labyrinthine bureaucracies and bailouts for Wall Street fat cats.
Yet with all the government intervention, the people are no safer; in fact, their economic and physical security have never been in greater peril.
With no southern border wall, illegal invaders continue to enjoy unfettered access to America, leaving a wake of destruction in their path. Jobs are lost, wages depressed, crimes increase, and the culture is forever altered. And when the federal, state and local governments coddle these lawbreakers, respect for the rule of law goes out the window.
However, all that will pale in comparison to when a terrorist saunters across the open border with a suitcase nuke.
And the complete lack of an independent energy policy has left the people bent over the (oil) barrel of nations that don’t exactly have Americans’ best interests in mind — despite the fact that the United States has more energy resources than the entire Middle East combined.
But the people have no one to blame but themselves. Remember just two years ago when gas was $4.50/gallon, fuel tanks were being siphoned dry, and there was an outcry for offshore drilling and nuclear power? Where was our resolve to see those things through? Nonexistent.
Prices dropped because the economy tanked, and Americans quickly forgot that pain. Well, the economy is still in the toilet, yet gas is approaching $3.50, and the former CEO of Shell just predicted $5 gas by next year.
Trying to resurrect a moribund economy with skyrocketing fuel prices is most definitely a losing proposition.
University of Pittsburgh
Pitt recently fired football coach Dave Wannstedt, and, on December 16, hired Mike Haywood as his replacement. On January 1, Pitt fired Haywood.
Why the musical chairs? In Wannstedt’s case, it was simple: he didn’t win enough games. No issue there. But not so with Haywood.
He was arrested on a domestic battery charge involving the mother of his child, and was canned immediately by the University. So much for due process.
Admittedly, it’s not an easy position for the Pitt football program — trying to maintain continuity and effective recruiting amidst negative headlines and a cloud hanging over the coach.
But some things are infinitely more important: loyalty, fairness, and the one Pitt so callously forgot about: that innocent until proven guilty thing. Aren’t these the values our institutions of higher learning are supposed to teach? Or are they just classroom theory, never to be practiced in real-world situations because they require effort and backbone?
The cowards at Pitt didn’t even have the common decency to meet with Haywood face-to-face, instead putting out a press release of his firing. What class.
And what happens if the charges are dropped or turn out to be fallacious? What if Haywood is acquitted? The fact that a man’s reputation and livelihood hang in the balance is obviously of no consequence to the Pitt braintrust.
Kind of reminds you of how Duke University treated the men’s lacrosse team after they were charged with rape: their season immediately cancelled, openly chastised by their professors, and treated like pariahs by the University.
Duke jumped the gun, just like Pitt. And as it turned out, the accuser lied, the prosecutor was dirty, and the players were innocent. But hey, never let the facts get in the way of covering your derriere, especially when an Ivory Tower university might actually have to practice what it preaches — and teaches.
Shame on Pitt for becoming yet another in the long list of universities to worship at the altar of political correctness.
* * *
One can only hope that some of this year’s Losers graduate from the list, while others (especially the "Four T’s") make it their permanent home. But through it all, there is one common thread: common sense, backbone, and a stiff resolve are the best ingredients to avoid being one of the Biggest Losers Of The Year.
Chris Freind is an independent columnist, television commentator, and investigative reporter who operates his own news bureau, www.FreindlyFireZone.com.Readers of his column, "Freindly Fire," hail from six continents, thirty countries and all fifty states. His work has been referenced in numerous publications including The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, foreign newspapers, and in Dick Morris’ recent bestseller "Catastrophe." Freind, whose column appears nationally in Newsmax, also serves as a guest commentator on Philadelphia-area talk radio shows, and makes numerous other television and radio appearances, most notably on FOX. He can be reached at [email protected].