Sing along with me now: When will they ever learn? Oh when will theyyyyy ever learnnnn? Detroit’s mayor becomes approximately the millionth public official to learn that it’s not the crime, it’s the cover-up. The Free Press FOIAs his text-message records and discovers a rather mundane game of hide the salami going on between the country’s first hip-hop mayor and his chief of staff. Which is tawdry, but only tawdry, until you consider that the denial of said affair under oath was the centerpiece of a lawsuit brought last summer against the city, one that led to a number of whistle-blowing cops swallowing a $9 million canary. I won’t bog you down with details, which you fans of public-official ugly-bumping can look up yourselves; it’s a complicated story and the Freep provides a million links. Just absorb the takeaway lesson: Sometimes you have to stop lying, even if it’s really, really embarrassing.
Also, this: If you really have the rank to pull, you shouldn’t have to pull it. The chief of staff, pulled over for speeding in 2004:
The cops say she pointedly asked them: “Do you know who the (expletive) I am?” before calling Detroit Police Chief Ella Bully-Cummings. Beatty later acknowledged calling the chief from her cell phone, but denied pulling rank on the officers. She was never ticketed.
Someone needs to teach these folks: You sit silent and take the ticket. Then you hand it to your close personal friend, the chief of police, who makes it disappear. Is there any sentence that looks worse in the cold light of morning than “Do you know who the (expletive) I am?” Don’t think so.
Reading this story reminds me of the olden days, when reporters staked out love nests with long lenses. I guess another takeaway lesson is: Everybody leaves tracks. It’s just a question of what form they take.
Speaking of the cold light of morning, the sun is blazing on new snow outside, which fills the house with light and casts every dog hair into sharp relief. I should be cleaning, but I’m not. (Obviously.) Instead, I’m making preparations for the next emergency I might face, by adding Mary-Kate Olsen’s number to my speed-dial:
The masseuse who discovered the body of Heath Ledger in a Manhattan apartment on Tuesday twice called a friend of his, the actress Mary-Kate Olsen, before calling 911, New York City police officials said on Wednesday.
I suppose it’s a side effect of the preposterous spotlight even D-list celebrities find themselves in that when an ancillary member of the support staff finds another human being unconscious, unresponsive and not breathing, her first impulse is to call an actress rather than 911 — when in doubt, think: Damage control! Or maybe not. Maybe what we have here is a young woman of rather spectacular dimness. Or just confused. It doesn’t sound like it would have made much of a difference, but still.
A final note: I’m sucking Brian Stouder’s tailpipe on this, but so be it: Of all American presidents, probably none is more-studied than Abraham Lincoln, and yet there’s always something new to learn about him. “Did Lincoln Own Slaves? And Other Frequently Asked Questions About Abraham Lincoln” is the new book by Lincoln scholar Gerald J. Prokopowicz (pictured), and he’ll be reading and signing January 28 at Border’s in Grosse Pointe.
Gerry teaches at East Carolina University, but spent many years in the private sector, as resident scholar at the Lincoln Museum in Fort Wayne, which is where I came to know him. But he has a local connection, too — he moved to the Shores in ninth grade and his mother still lives here. So if you’re one of my few local readers, stop by Monday night at 7, and I’ll see you there.