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This Just In ...

Kevin Fischer is a veteran broadcaster, the recipient of over 150 major journalism awards from the Milwaukee Press Club, the Wisconsin Associated Press, the Northwest Broadcast News Association, the Wisconsin Bar Association, and others. He has been seen and heard on Milwaukee TV and radio stations for over three decades. A longtime aide to state Senate Republicans in the Wisconsin Legislature, Kevin can be seen offering his views on the news on the public affairs program, "InterCHANGE," on Milwaukee Public Television Channel 10, and heard filling in on Newstalk 1130 WISN. He lives with his wife, Jennifer, and their lovely young daughter, Kyla Audrey, in Franklin.

Culinary no-no #3

Culinary no-no's

For the past couple of Sundays, I’ve blogged about food combos that simply don’t work, culinary no-no’s.

The inspiration came from my wife, who occasionally likes ketchup on a brat. Also, everybody likes to eat, right?

Read more

Week-ends

Week-ends

A look back at the people and events that made news the past week. Week-ends is a regular weekly feature of This Just In...

HEROES OF THE WEEK

John Smeaton

Derek Fisher

Jill Stevens

Dennis Walters

Diavonnie Lofton


VILLAINS OF THE WEEK

The Milwaukee County Board. My friend Brian Fraley broke this story on WISN this week and, as you see here, on his blog.

The person who stabbed LaShanda Calloway to death at a convenience store in Wichita, Kansas, and the people in the store who did nothing to help her as she was on the floor, bleeding to death. Disgusting.


QUOTES OF THE WEEK

"I respect the jury's verdict. But I have concluded that the prison sentence given to Mr. Libby is excessive."
President Bush, after he commuted the sentence of Scooter Libby. Bush commuted Libby's 30-month sentence after an appellate panel Monday rejected Libby's request to delay the start of his jail time while he appealed his March jury conviction. In announcing a commutation that experts did not expect so soon, Bush said Libby will still have to face "harsh punishment," including a $250,000 fine, two years probation, and damage to his reputation and family suffering.


"Taxpayers are definitely getting ripped off by the tribe on this. That money is owed to the taxpayers. It should have been paid long ago. They should at this point pay it back in full with interest."
Assistant Assembly Majority Leader Mark Gundrum (R-New Berlin) after the state ended its fiscal year without a payment from the Ho-Chunk Nation for its casino operations - pushing that tribe's unpaid invoice to more than $70 million. The tribe counters that it doesn't owe anywhere near that amount because a 2004 state Supreme Court ruling greatly diminished the value of its casino agreement with the state. The dispute has cost taxpayers $837,355 in legal bills so far.


"There's no doubt that I'm not a fan of light rail, and I doubt that's going to change significantly because of this trip."
Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker. Philanthropist Michael Cudahy took to the skies with a planeload of local leaders, this time to check out the light rail and streetcar systems in Portland, Ore., and Denver in hopes of finding a solution to this region's transit problems. Cudahy announced plans to use his private plane to fly Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker and Tim Sheehy, president of the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce, to visit the two cities this week. The mayor has called for using $91.5 million in long-idle federal transit aid to build a 3-mile modern streetcar loop around downtown and to create two new Milwaukee County Transit System express bus routes. Walker - who has consistently opposed light rail, streetcars and rail-guided electric buses - wants all of the federal cash spent on express buses.


"I am telling you all, we aren't going to take this. We are just going to act as naughty as (prosecutors) are.”
Former Milwaukee Alderman Mike McGee Sr. McGee, father of the jailed alderman, called his son's incarceration unjust, and promised to run again if his son is removed from office.


“This would be the greatest moment in the history of American sports.”
ESPN color analyst Richard Shea, describing the finals seconds of American Joey Chestnut’s victory over six-time winner Takeru Kobayashi in a record-setting triumph in the national hot dog eating contest. Shea’s comment was an outrageous exaggeration. Shea is President of the International Federation of Competitive Eating.


OUTRAGE OF THE WEEK

The Milwaukee County Board wants a pay raise. If there was ever a group that didn’t deserve a pay raise, it’s this bunch.


MOST UNDER-REPORTED STORY OF THE WEEK

Governor Doyle, who supposedly despises Big Oil and Big Tobacco, invests heavily in both.

Still waiting for the Journal/Sentinel Pulitzer Prize winners to figure out this is news.


MOST OVER-HYPED STORY OF THE WEEK

The National Hot Dog Eating Contest.

An American beat the defending champion from Japan. So what!

This isn’t the Olympics. It’s not even a sport. Or has gluttony and making a complete pig of yourself suddenly become synonymous with athletic competition?

Live Earth also fits into this category for the week.


STRANGEST, MOST UNUSUAL STORY OF THE WEEK

Irish bookie loses on the wrong Al Gore.


REMEMBER: Your suggestions/nominations for any of these categories every week are welcome, especially for HEROES OF THE WEEK. If you know of anyone in the community deserving of recognition, please e-mail me.

Week-ends

Week-ends

A look back at the people and events that made news the past week. Week-ends is a regular weekly feature of This Just In...

HEROES OF THE WEEK

State Assembly Republicans for passing a no-tax-increase budget.

Milwaukee Country Supervisors who voted down a plan to increase the county sales tax.

The Philadelphia Phillies during a rain delay in Colorado came to the aid of the grounds crew. Seeing a member of the Coors Field grounds crew flung 10 feet in the air, then swallowed by a tarp was enough for the Phillies. Click on “Phillies help with the tarp” to see video.

Kyle Coenen of Franklin High School.


VILLAINS OF THE WEEK

Governor Jim Doyle, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, Milwaukee Common Council President Willie Hines Jr., Milwaukee Police Chief Nannette Hegerty and Milwaukee Fire Chief Douglas Holton for blasting the state Assembly’s no-tax increase budget.

All of the so-called Republicans in Congress who have adopted the Russ Feingold/cut and run philosophy concerning Iraq and are turning on the President, pushing him to set a timetable for troop withdrawal and abrupt changes to our military strategy.

The Colorado Rockies. If you watch the Philadelphia Phillies come to the rescue in the HEROES section, only one Colorado Rockie player reportedly came out to help the home team grounds crew. Where are the other Rockies’ players?



QUOTES OF THE WEEK

“I don’t think Congress ought to be running the war. I think they ought to be funding the troops.”
President Bush striking an aggressive new tone on Thursday in his clash with Congress over Iraq, telling lawmakers they had no business trying to manage the war, portraying the conflict as a showdown with Al Qaeda and warning that moving toward withdrawal now would risk “mass killings on a horrific scale.”

An "extreme, irresponsible" document.
That’s how Governor Doyle described the state Assembly’s budget that does NOT increase taxes….extreme and irresponsible.

"If you don't think that fire and police are priorities for your budget, where are you spending the money?"
Assembly Speaker Mike Huebsch, after Milwaukee officials said they would have to cut fire and police services under the state Assembly’s no-tax increase budget.

"A 30 cent jump in one day? For what?"
Bob Moeller, as he filled his car at the Phillips 66 on Highway 100 and W. Layton Ave. in Greenfield. The station had raised its prices to $3.49 a gallon from $3.19 earlier in the morning, which prompted one angry customer to yell at the cashier and threaten not to pay his full bill according to the Journal/Sentinel.

"It's predominantly African-American kids playing up there. It looks so offensive. It sends a message that you are not welcome here. It is regretful that my child had to see that. I want a future for my child that is better than the past."
Henry Hamilton III, a longtime Brown Deer resident, who is filing a complaint against the Brown Deer School District for attaching “The Club” to basketball rims on the playground at Brown Deer Middle School.

"We were having a number of people coming in after hours and using our basketball area for activities that we felt weren't the best thing to do. We recently had a situation where students leaving the court were robbed. One day we had some gunshots."
Blake Peuse, the principal at Brown Deer Middle School said the move to place Clubs on the baskets - they were installed about two weeks ago and might be taken off sometime next month - wasn't meant to offend anyone.

”Bye, bye plane.”
19-month old Garren Penland. He and his mother were booted off a plane after a flight attendant became upset when Garren kept saying "Bye, bye plane" as the aircraft prepared for liftoff.


OUTRAGE OF THE WEEK

Milwaukee Alderman Mike McGee Jr. makes over $71,000 a year, and qualifies for a public defender, meaning you and I help to pay for his defense.


MOST UNDER-REPORTED STORY OF THE WEEK

As Senator Lazich pointed out in her blog, the Senate Democrats’ universal health care plan would create huge deficits. The senator handed out copies of a Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance report at a meeting of the Senate Health Committee this week. Several committee members and the two invited guest speakers had not seen it or heard about it.

The Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance (WTA) has done some projections on the cost of the Senate Democrats’ plan, Healthy Wisconsin (HW), if the plan were to begin in 2007. The WTA reports:

“Based on 4.6 percent annual wage growth projected by the Wisconsin Department of Revenue, HW revenues would increase from $15.2 billion in 2007 to $23.9 billion in 2017. If (the consulting group that worked on the government health plan), the Lewin Group is correct and health costs grow 6.5 percent per year, plan expenses would reach $28.4 billion by 2017. If costs grew eight percent, similar to recent increases in the existing state employee plan, spending would reach $32.8 billion.

Since the result would be deficits of between $4.5 billion and $8.9 billion, if the state HW (government) plan were to remain solvent, total payroll tax rates now set at 14.5 percent would have to rise to between 17.3 percent and 19.9 percent over the next decade.”



MOST OVER-HYPED STORY OF THE WEEK

All of the flak over Miss New Jersey Amy Polumbo.

Seems to me Vanessa Williams, who did a lot worse than Polumbo, had to give up her Miss America crown many years ago. She only went on to enjoy a lucrative, popular career. Yeh, they really showed her.


STRANGEST, MOST UNUSUAL STORY OF THE WEEK

A little wine, some cheese, a hooded robber.


REMEMBER: Your suggestions/nominations for any of these categories every week are welcome, especially for HEROES OF THE WEEK. If you know of anyone in the community deserving of recognition, please e-mail me.

Week-ends

Week-ends

A look back at the people and events that made news the past week. Week-ends is a regular weekly feature of This Just In...

HEROES OF THE WEEK

Stacy Derebery

Mika Brzezinski of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” program.

State Senator Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay). One day after attending the funeral of his granddaughter whom he had accidentally driven over when she ran behind his car as he was backing up, Hansen was at his desk on the Senate floor for the scheduled state Senate session. He could have stayed away, given the very brief Senate calendar. But instead, he was at the capitol, made an adjournment announcement in honor of his granddaughter, and then asked all Senators to stand in a moment of silence. I can’t imagine what Senator Hansen must be going through, or how this will affect him the rest of his life. I give Hansen (audio of Hansen on Senate floor) credit for attending the Senate session when it was certainly understandable if he would have chosen to take a leave of absence.

Returning Wisconsin National Guard troops.
Good stuff.


Jerry Mehalopoulous of Sheboygan.


VILLAINS OF THE WEEK

Geese. And more geese.

The punks who keyed all the cars at the Waukesha County Fair.

Former Milwaukee Police officer Joseph Schabel. Once thought to be a good guy, we now learn he lied about his actions the night Frank Jude was beaten. It’s very good that Schabel is off the force.

Michelle Rendino of Syracuse.

Alaska Congressman Don Young, a Republican, for yelling on the floor of the House that taxpayer funding was, “My money, my money.” He’s more than sadly mistaken. It’s OUR money, and Don Young needs to be tossed out of office for failing to understand that.

Nebraska judges



QUOTES OF THE WEEK

”She truly was our little princess, she is truly our little angel today.”
State Senator Dave Hansen (D-green Bay) on the floor of the state Senate this week. referring to his granddaughter who was accidentally killed when she ran behind Hansen’s car while he was backing out of a driveway. Hansen asked that all 33 senators stand in a silent tribute to his granddaughter, who would have been two years old this week.

"I intend to veto the things that I don't agree with."
Governor Doyle, on the state budget. God help us.

"I need to do everything I can to make sure that every person in the state of Wisconsin has access to the same benefits that I have, as a legislator.”
State Senator Kathleen Vinehout (D-Eau Claire). In a glowing piece in the Milwaukee Journal/Sentinel, we learned that Vinehout turned down insurance for her family when they moved to Wisconsin. Vinehout and her family went without health insurance for 23 months. In September, Vinehout's husband called from a hospital emergency room in Wabasha, Minn., where physicians said their son, Nathan, needed surgery to remove his appendix. Nathan had the surgery, and is fine. The hospital first billed them $15,000 but settled for about $10,000. His parents refinanced the farm's mortgage to pay it. Now, because Vinehout had a choice and made the wrong decision, a bad decision, she feels it’s the state’s obligation to insure everyone and is pushing a $15.2 billion universal health care plan.

"Senator Vinehout's story is heartfelt. But their plan is completely misguided. They've decided to blow up a health care system that is the best in the nation."
State Senator Ted Kanavas (R-Brookfield).

“The Senate Democrats evidently aren’t content with raising taxes on gasoline, buying a home, selling a home, owning a home, downloading music, getting sick or living in a nursing home. Now they want to tax you for being successful and doing a good job at work. Senate Democrats want to make sure that if you do well, they get a piece of the action. Republicans think that success should be rewarded and encouraged, not punished and taxed.”
Senate Minority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, calling the senate Democrats’ $15.2 billion government-run health care plan the “Success Tax.” Fitzgerald says it would punish Wisconsin workers every time they received a pay raise or a promotion by forcing them to pay more for the same health care coverage.

”What this does is make little ghettos of sex offenders that not everyone would be happy to live next to."
Milwaukee Alderman Terry Witkowski, who voted in committee against a proposed ordinance to limit where sex offenders can live.

"Nobody wants a sex offender in their neighborhood. Unfortunately, there's 22,000 sex offenders in the state of Wisconsin, and I'd much rather know where they live than not know where they live."
Milwaukee Alderman Michael Murphy, who supports an ordinance to restrict sex offenders in the city of Milwaukee.

"I don't want Milwaukee to be a magnet for sex offenders."
Milwaukee Alderman Tony Zielinski noted that Franklin, Glendale, and Menomonee Falls have enacted similar ordinances and other suburbs might follow.

"Alderman McGee is a good man and a wonderful brother. He is not a thug. He is a warrior of justice and an advocate of the poor and voiceless."
William Muhammad, minister of Muhammad's Mosque No. 3, speaking at a rally in support of Alderman Michael McGee, Jr.

When Barack Obama said we should have sex education in kindergarten, Mitt Romney responded.

"On the downside, winter is tough, and there's not great ethnic diversity."
Money Magazine, ranking Middleton, Wisconsin as the best place to live in America, had to also admit there were some drawbacks.


OUTRAGE OF THE WEEK

Former Milwaukee Police officer Joseph Schabel lied for two years. On the witness stand this week, he admitted he stomped Frank Jude in the head with his foot. (See VILLAINS OF THE WEEK). Our police force has no place for officers like Schabel, who gives the rest of the department a bad name.


MOST UNDER-REPORTED STORY OF THE WEEK

Lots of stories in the news this week about abuse by Catholic priests. But as I predicted not too long ago, you didn’t hear a peep about this.

MOST OVER-HYPED STORY OF THE WEEK

The new Harry Potter installment. It’s a book for cryin’ out loud!


STRANGEST, MOST UNUSUAL STORY OF THE WEEK

80-year old woman enters home to find intruder, sitting on the toilet, and proceeds to ask him, “How long are you going to be?”

From the, ‘YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME” file: Uhh, excuse me your honor, but I can’t come to court today, or any day for that matter because…..I’m afraid. Here are the details.


REMEMBER: Your suggestions/nominations for any of these categories every week are welcome, especially for HEROES OF THE WEEK. If you know of anyone in the community deserving of recognition, please e-mail me.


DON’T WANT A BIG INCREASE IN YOUR SCHOOL TAXES? CONTACT FRANKLIN SCHOOL BOARD MEMBERS NOW.

Week-ends

Week-ends

A look back at the people and events that made news the past week. Week-ends is a regular weekly feature of This Just In...

HEROES OF THE WEEK

Returning members of the 1st Battalion 121st Field Artillery Wisconsin Army National Guard.

The New Berlin School Board that approved a school tax levy increase of only 0.9%. Are you paying attention, Franklin School Board members?

Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker who will, for the 3rd time, veto a Milwaukee County Board-approved measure to force a referendum on a county-wide sales tax increase.

Franklin High’s summer baseball team that made it to the state tournament quarterfinals.

Woman in Denver who used a clever tactic to flee her captors

Ohio judge Michael Cicconnetti

TV Land and the people of Hawaii



VILLAINS OF THE WEEK

Thieves at Holy Hill

Lemonade stand bully in Oshkosh

The 10 Milwaukee County Board Supervisors who voted to approve an advisory referendum for next February’s ballot calling for a one-cent sales tax increase, in essence, a $120-million tax increase……because, as you all well know, we just aren’t taxed enough around here.

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett. It’s easy to criticize the Milwaukee Police Department in a week that saw guilty verdicts in the Frank Jude Jr. beating trial. But it’s quite galling when Barrett, who has done nothing to fight crime in the city of Milwaukee, makes negative comments about the department. And as I pointed out filling in for Mark Belling Friday, Barrett says he will veto a proposed ordinance that would restrict where sex offenders can live in the city of Milwaukee. Under the ordinance, sex offenders could only live in about 1% of the city limits, meaning 99% would be sex offender-free. Barrett says he feels sorry for the districts where sex offenders could live. Brilliant. So he’ll veto the ordinance, and 100% of the city will still be open to sex offenders. Meanwhile, one municipality after another around Milwaukee and around the state is passing a restrictive ordinance similar to Franklin’s.

State Senator Kathleen Vinehout (D-Alma). Remember she couldn’t afford to buy health insurance, leaving her and her husband in a quandary when their son needed an emergency appendectomy later. Now we learn that at the same time she claims her family couldn’t afford health insurance and that’s why we need universal health care in Wisconsin, she lent her own election campaign thousands of dollars. Supporters of this boondoggle continue to be disingenuous.



QUOTES OF THE WEEK

Noted Milwaukee defense attorney Gerald Boyle joined me live on WISN Thursday shortly after the verdicts were announced in the Frank Jude beating trial. Boyle defended fired officer Jon Bartlett who was acquitted of all but one charge in the state trial, but found guilty on both counts this week in the federal trial. When I asked Boyle if he was disappointed, Boyle said no, and in the epitome of candor said that he told Bartlett after the state trial that he was lucky the jury ruled the way it did.


"I would have to think twice about staying here. Even as a resident, I would be giving that very serious thought."
Steve Scaccia, president of Freedom Plastics, Janesville, on the Senate Democrats’’ universal health care proposal. He said the government should not be able to save money by putting the burden on Wisconsin residents and businesses. Scaccia thinks the proposal will make Wisconsin the highest-taxed state in America, allow illegal immigrants to receive health care and encourage uninsured people to move to Wisconsin. He believes it also would discourage businesses from operating in Wisconsin.

” Wisconsin took a mid-July hit in the second annual Forbes magazine ranking of “the best states for business,” placing 44th out of 50 - barely ahead of auto layoff capital Michigan, Katrina-battered Louisiana and everyone's stereotypical image of Appalachia, West Virginia.

While not as harsh as the Forbes rankings, Wisconsin came across as somewhat lackluster in the Fortune Small Business.com survey of best places for small business (27th) and CNBC's Top States for Doing Business (33rd). Under the heading of “thank goodness for small favors,” Wisconsin did not place in the bottom 10 in the Tax Foundation's 2007 state business tax climate index - but it was 38th out of 50.

The mediocre-to-worse business rankings are still cause for concern, however. They consistently portray Wisconsin as being unfriendly to business, which is a perception that can be hard to live down - even if the reality is changing. Business leaders should talk about what's right about Wisconsin and political leaders must stick by policies that position the state for competitiveness.”

Tom Still, president of the Wisconsin Technology Council.


"We have given more favorable treatment to the beer industry than any other in this state. Everybody's so afraid of the beer tax and beer industry."
State Representative Terese Berceau (D-Madison), whose bill to increase the beer tax in Wisconsin has gone flat.

"It's (beer) one of our icons. You don't go lobbing stones at our icons."
Jerry Apps, who has written a history of Wisconsin breweries, on the proposed beer tax increase.


A “little midget man who knows (nothing) about baseball."
San Francisco Giant Barry Bonds describing sportscaster Bob Costas.

"As anyone can plainly see, I'm 5-6 1/2 and a strapping 150, and unlike some people, I came by all of it naturally."
Bob Costas, responding to Barry Bonds with a jab of his own.



OUTRAGE OF THE WEEK

Senate Democrats and others pushing universal health care were all smiles this week, touting a new survey they claim demonstrates overwhelming support for their $15.2 billion government health care proposal. They claim a whopping 69% of the public supports their crazy idea.

Take a look at the last page of the survey. The survey was conducted June 12-14, but the Senate Democrats’ plan wasn’t formally announced until June 25, and even then not everyone was clear on all the details in the massive plan. How could Joe in Waupaca being surveyed on June 12th know fully and truthfully what he was being asked out? The bogus survey is a complete sham and lacks any credibility.


MOST UNDER-REPORTED STORY OF THE WEEK

See outrage of the week.


MOST OVER-HYPED STORY OF THE WEEK

This.

The off-beat hype is everywhere.


STRANGEST, MOST UNUSUAL STORY OF THE WEEK

Ballooning festival in New Jersey is counting on a virgin to insure good weather.


REMEMBER: Your suggestions/nominations for any of these categories every week are welcome, especially for HEROES OF THE WEEK. If you know of anyone in the community deserving of recognition, please e-mail me.


DON’T WANT A BIG INCREASE IN YOUR SCHOOL TAXES? CONTACT FRANKLIN SCHOOL BOARD MEMBERS NOW.

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