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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.

Dear Charlie Sykes,

I know, my friend, that this is a difficult day, but I wanted you to know that you and your mother are in my thoughts and prayers.

I heard you talking about the one-year anniversary of your mother’s death today on WTMJ. Afterwards, I immediately called my dear mother, who I am blessed to have with me, just to talk. I believe you met her one summer at Irish Fest.

I’ve known you for a long time, Charlie, and I was surprised at how you were able to discuss something so personal and so sad on the radio. Your assertion that a child, especially a son, can never prepare for or completely get over such sorrow, I believe is very true.

It is remarkable how you handled the very public story that ensued caused by the despicable, hateful comments of another individual in the community. I was struck by your remarks that people who get nasty forget that individuals like you are not entities. They are real people with real emotions and feelings.

I was heartened to hear that one year later, a great many people who are far more decent still remember and offer their kind words of encouragement and support.

May God continue to bless you, Charlie, your wonderful mother and family.

Boomgaard: Get used to it


There’s no question the initial response to the announcement of “Boomgaard District” as the name for the 27th Street Corridor has been about as popular as an army of ants at a 4th of July picnic.

Don’t like “Boomgaard,” you say?

Are you hoping the name will get dumped by a replacement?

You may just have to get used to “Boomgaard.”

A source very close to the project tells me organizers and planners have spent too much time, study, and research on finding and selecting the name that it’s going to stay, with virtually no chance of reconsideration.

My source insists the decision on “Boomgaard” was not made hastily or taken lightly. Numerous presentations, I am told, were made about the project with the “Boomgaard” nomenclature and well-received to boot.

The selection of a Dutch name is justified, even though the Irish were the first Franklin settlers, because the Dutch name for orchard, “Boomgaard” was deemed easier today, more memorable, unique, and would more readily point back to Franklin if done with a Google search instead of just plain old English, “orchard.” From the press release announcing “Boomgaard.”:

The word "Boomgaard" is Dutch for "orchard," and is significant to both the history and the vision of the South 27th Street Corridor development.

The "Boomgaard" name ties the agricultural economic history of the area to the future economic growth and development. Apple orchards once provided an income for local families in the areas that are now Franklin and Oak Creek. Many of the orchard owners sold their apples along the highway roadside of what is now South 27th Street. The region has a history of settlers living off of the land until the 1970s, when grocery stores became prevalent. In addition, the origin of "Boomgaard" also helps to underscore the Western European cultural influences of the area. In Oak Creek, Polish and German settlers began coming to the area in the 1830s and 1840s, and in Franklin, the earliest settlers were from Ireland in the 1830s, followed by the Dutch in the 1840s and Germans in the 1850s.

Looking to the area’s future, as a strong-sounding word that brings to mind thoughts of progress, momentum and positive energy, the "Boomgaard" name reflects the vision for the area as an attractive center of economic activity. The name also embodies the environmentally friendly vision for the Boomgaard District, which includes protecting sensitive natural features including woodlands, creek and river corridors and wetlands; establishing a system of greenways along streams, woodlands, open spaces, parks, and other natural features and providing walking and/or biking trail connections throughout the corridor.

In a nutshell, the early pioneers planted small apple trees in orchards that eventually grew tall, yielding fruit that fed families. Collaborators on the 27th Street Corridor see those tiny trees as being analogous to the booming growth along the border between Franklin and Oak Creek.

FranklinNOW blogger Greg Kowalski did a good job, being the first to inform citizens of the alternatives to “Boomgaard.” From Greg’s blog:

  • Citygate
  • Twin Corridor
  • Metro South
  • 27 South
The candidate names on the letter I was given were (with quotes being part of Zizzo's rationale in choosing these names):
  • Root River Junction - it "echoes the joining of the two communities of Oak Creek and Franklin"
  • Orchard Station - it "gives the feeling of a small village area, a feeling of nostalgia"
  • Orchard Six - it "incorporates the history of the region with the six miles stretch of land that is the corridor"
  • SouthCorr - it "has a unique ring to it; it sounds like a place people want to be, where things are happening. It's progressive, catchy, and memorable."
  • SoCol - it is "a conjunction of South of College Avenue"
  • 27 Stretch - "the area could easily refer to 27 Stretch as "the stretch."
  • Lower Six - "it's brief, has character, and it's descriptive"


Those all sound pretty dull, actually, to me.

Boomgaard was chosen, according to a Zizzo Group memo I obtained dated 11/27/07 because, “This name came out of an exercise of foreign word searches. It’s a name that began to sound better and better the more we said it. A derivative of the Dutch word for “orchard," (Boomgaard) it conjures thoughts of gardens and flowers, again, giving a nod to the green space of the area. Although we agree that the name is strong without an additional descriptor, combining it with “District” gives it a progressive, metropolitan feel.” (Zizzo, by the way, will continue to do the marketing and public relations for this campaign).

A former Zizzo Group employee told planners that the first week after the announcement of the new name would be the toughest. Maybe he should have said two weeks.

I suspect the people behind the project are strong in their support of Boomgaard, firm in their belief it will grow on the public and at some point be accepted.

For the sake of our communities, I hope they’re right because from what I’m hearing, “Boomgaard” is it.

Johnny Depp films at the state Capitol Friday

Planning on going to the Capitol to sneak a peek of the filming?

Forget it.

Filming for "Public Enemies" will take place inside the Capitol after 6 p.m. Friday, after normal business hours and after the building is locked. The filming will take place in the north wing and the North Hearing Room. Employees still in the Capitol working after 6:00 Friday night have kindly been asked to be quiet and to close doors if they use copy machines.

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There is no excuse for...


Meanwhile, the Madison Police Department points fingers at the 911 folks in Madison.

Those of you have followed my media career know that 99 times out of 100, I support law enforcement.

However, Madison Police don't get as much love from me. They're not the most effective bunch, coming up with zip in this investigation.

Another high-profile case comes to mind.

They couldn't solve this case, until a state employee got involved.

So, how long will it take the Madison Police to find this woman's killer?

Zimmermann's murder remains unsolved.

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The summer movie season

It starts today.

UPDATE: 5/3/08 @ 8:37 A.M.:

The LA Times has a rundown of today's film superheroes, warts and all.

As predicted...

The Milwaukee Journal/Sentinel was busy Thursday covering the Day Without Latinos...

Here is the Journal/Sentinel's coverage of Thursday's National Day of Prayer:



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I know it was for charity, but...

Tons of students at Arizona State University this week literally stripped down to their undies to donate clothes to a local charity. Intentions, laudable, no question about it.

However, the timing was awful.

The Undie Run for Charity began at five minutes before midnight, the night before mid-term finals were to begin.

So, instead of being in their dorm rooms, cramming and studying, here’s what thousands of ASU students were doing…
 Impetuous youth.

Mom and dad, your tuition payments at work.

What happens when older cars don't have to take the emissions test...

Having lived in Franklin for many, many years, the drives to WTMJ, many MPS athletic sites that I moonlight at, and to Madison really add up the miles and do a number on the brakes.

Time for new ones, AGAIN, and my auto technician specialist (brakes guy) told me this.

The change in the emissions program to forego testing old cars is goofy. Many of those old clunkers would flunk the test and be given orders to have certain repairs made so as to return and pass the test. That meant extra $$$ for auto shops.

Not anymore.

How do you think those auto mechanic joints will make up the loss?

Any Franklin restaurants on this list?

Actually, there aren’t any WISCONSIN restaurants to be found, although you may find one with Wisconsin ties.

Here are the 100 highest-grossing independent (non-chain) restaurants in the United States.

Just having fun, or just being really stupid?

North Carolina basketball star Tyler Hansbrough (pronounced HANS-bro) has the world by the you know what.

He will be considered the best college basketball player in the country next season, his senior year. Then he will sign a lucrative contract after being a high draft choice in the NBA.

So why would he risk it all with a potentially freak accident or injury by doing this? (Click Watch video)

Food crisis hits home

A sign of the times in western Wisconsin...

An airfare tax holiday?

John McCain supports a gas tax holiday.

So do I.

It begs the question: What about a holiday for air travel?

I like that idea, too, and when you read this, you'll know why.

Out of their cotton' pickin' minds

Some politicians don't believe gas is expensive enough.

They want you to pay even more at the pump.

Can we say.....crazy?

The death penalty is back

Capital punishment can never be a deterrent unless it’s actually administered.

The death penalty is constitutional and yes, every once in awhile, it’s going to be used, especially now that the U.S. Supreme Court has ended the unjustified moratorium on executions that was based on the theory that a lethal injection was cruel and inhumane.

What these murderers on death row did is cruel and inhumane. They’re fortunate they will never come close to receiving the same type of death sentence they gave their victims.

From the  anti-death penalty NY Times:


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Good for Tony Pipito!

Rather than wait 3, 4, 5, or God knows how many years before he kisses enough rings and goes through enough red tape, Tony Pipito has sad the hell with this…..I’m opening my business.

And he has, and now faces daily fines.

This is why a lot of prospective business owners take one look at Wisconsin and say, why bother? The hell with it. And they go elsewhere.

Kudos to Pipito for saying that he’s had enough and isn’t going to take it anymore.

I hope he has crowds of patrons supporting his new place so he can pay these ridiculous fines if he has to.

The Barking Lot

The Barking Lot

Time once again for what is becoming a very popular feature of This Just In, thanks to my magnanimous, gorgeous, talented wife.

We (but mostly Jennifer) write about anything and everything that has to do with pooches.

Ready, woof, go!

By Jennifer Fischer

Dogs enrich our lives for many reasons:  They keep us company, they protect us, they love us unconditionally.  Dogs have saved their owners from house fires, like Mylo. 

Research has shown that pet ownership can lower your blood pressure.

In addition to all the great “every day” dogs, there is a special group of canines who go above and beyond the bark of duty:  Service Dogs. 

Years ago, I had the pleasure of working with a girl who had severe Cerebral Palsy.  This remarkable young lady was a full-time college student (despite her need to use a motorized wheelchair and many physical challenges.) Kim was a delight to be around.  She had a beautiful Golden Retriever at her side every moment, ready to help when needed.  Her dog wore a special vest to help carry objects and would assist her in many tasks. 

In my current role in the healthcare field, I regularly hear stories about incredible therapy dogs.  Bennie is a rescue dog who survived Hurricane Katrina but was almost euthanized because he could not find a loving home to take him in.  Kari adopted him here in Wisconsin and he has been helping at a local hospital ever since earning his Canine Good Citizen certification.

In between breed events during Westminster Kennel Club dog show, you can see video clips of Angels On A Leash, the therapy dog group associated with WKC.  Then the dogs come out to the ring with their handlers or owners and receive thunderous applause for their generous gifts of love and time.  You can read more about them here.

Two other organizations well-known for their work with assistance dogs are Paws with a Cause and Canine Companions for Independence.

How can you help at the local level?  If you think your dog fits the criteria to become a therapy dog, contact the Wisconsin Humane Society.

The bond between service or therapy dogs and the people they help is incredibly touching and rewarding for everyone involved.  My sincere hope when I become a dog owner is that I can participate in a therapy dog program and volunteer at nursing homes and hospitals.  I know how much joy a dog can bring, and want to share that with as many people as I can.  Especially those who need it the most.

-----Jennifer Fischer

OK. She’s just getting way too good.

Let's take a look at 
Dogs in the News.

1) Not all the news is always so nice. A highway patrolman became the center of controversy when he roughed up a police dog. Hear what his colleagues had to say.

Meet Kirstin Zaspel. She’s a canine behaviorist.

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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...


Sgt. Merlin German (Caution-the link goes to a story about German that has a graphic photo).
Here's more. (Again, graphic photo)

Steven Christofferson

The U.S. Supreme Court

Members of the Central Washington women’s softball team (Make sure you watch the video)


Officials in Madison


Thieves at funerals

A TV thief

Vandals in Franklin


 “A lot of lawmakers are wondering who the hell they woke up with.”
Scott Faber, vice president for federal affairs at the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA). Grocers blame the federal ethanol mandate for rising food costs.  Faber compared lawmakers to late-night revelers who are just beginning to understand the consequences of their actions.

“Wisconsin spent $10,190 per pupil to operate public schools in 2006. A new report from the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance (WISTAX) analyzed these data in greater detail and found that school expenditures here ranked 14th highest among the states and 8.5% above the U.S. average ($9,390). The main reason for the above-average ranking was fringe benefits that exceeded national averages by more than 50%.”
A press release from WISTAX

"Everything we have been calling for is constitutional."
State Representative Jeff Stone (R-Greendale), who has pushed for a photo ID law in Wisconsin. Stone reacted after the U.S. Supreme Court upheld Indiana’s photo ID law, the toughest in the nation. Stone and other Republicans said the Legislature should come into session to pass a constitutional amendment.

"No one has proven to us we need to put more barriers up to have people vote."
Senate Majority Leader Russ Decker (D-Weston) made clear that the Senate won't vote on photo ID this year.

"The way to make sure our reputation is not further sullied is to have a photo ID law passed and in place."
Wisconsin Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner, a Republican from Menomonee Falls, called on Democrats in the state Senate to take up the constitutional amendment immediately.

"There is no reason to impose a photo ID requirement that would do nothing but disenfranchise tens of thousands of voters in Wisconsin, from the elderly to the poor to minorities."
Governor Doyle

“If the First Amendment is meant for anything, it is to protect unpopular political opinions. It is condescending to voters to say, ‘You’re not smart enough to see through negative television advertisements.’”
Christian Schneider of the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute, speaking at a forum at UW-Madison on campaign finance reform.

 “I do believe firmly in the First Amendment. I think everybody has the right to free speech — but you can’t go into a crowded theater and yell ‘fire.’”
State Senator Jon Erpenbach (D-Middleton), speaking at the UW forum. Erpenbach is a strong advocate of campaign finance reform.

“The headline-grabbing claim from Gov. Jim Doyle in March 2005 couldn't have been clearer. At a news conference, Doyle said his administration would save taxpayers up to $200 million over four years through better management of the state bureaucracy under the so-called ACE Initiative. The state would negotiate new contracts to buy goods and services for less money. It would sell off surplus property. And it would consolidate a number of other functions across state government to find savings.

‘Every dollar we save on the office functions of state government is a dollar we can invest in our priorities,’ Doyle said.

But three years later, a review shows the goals outlined by the governor have not been met. His administration quietly killed the initiative last year after faulty projections, unexpected problems and bureaucratic resistance hampered the effort.”
The Wisconsin Associated Press

“If you are in the military, you ought to be able to go into a bar without mommy and daddy. Why, at 18, can you buy a bar, but you can’t drink a beer?”
State Representative Terry Musser (R-Black River Falls). He will introduce legislation that would allow those 19 and older with an active military identification card to purchase and drink alcohol in bars and restaurants in the state. They would not be allowed to buy alcohol at liquor stores.

“We fully support our troops who have dedicated their lives to making sure we are safe and secure, but the Department of Defense does not support a lower drinking age for its people. The results were devastating when the drinking age was lowered during the Vietnam War, with the military losing on average a battalion per year to drunk driving involving those under 21.”
Kari Kinnard, the state executive director of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, said the organization does not support lowering the drinking age for members of the military.

Earlier this year, when I asked Rep. Phil English (R-Penn.) his favorite choice for a runningmate with John McCain. 'Paul Ryan,' he replied, naming his Republican colleague from Wisconsin and fellow House Ways and Means Committee Member and, in the process, giving me a jolt.

Paul Ryan? At 38 and after a decade in Congress from Wisconisn’s 1st District (Janesville-Konosha), Ryan is not exactly a 'household word.' A graduate of Miami Univeristy (Ohio), Ryan worked as speechwriter for Jack Kemp and William Bennett  at their “Empower America” organization, and was then legislative director for Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KA).  Anticipating that incumbent Rep. Mark Neumann  would run for the Senate in 1998, Ryan moved back to his hometown, mobilized a campaign in which he wouild easily win nomination and electon (57% of the vote) to Congress.  As a Member of the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee, he has been a force behind tax cuts and trimming discretionary spending.  Ryan (lifetime American Conservative Union rating: 93%) has also been a strong booster of gunowners’ right, pro-life legislation, and tougher measures on illegal immigration.

Impressive, all right, but the first impression is not ready for presidential politics.  English disagrees.  As he put it, 'Paul is Catholic, from the Rustbelt, and has the economic credentials Sen. McCain needs'  Other Republican backbenchers agree, and talk of Ryan-for-Veep mushrooms in the House GOP Conference."

“I’m flattered. But that and fifty cents gets me a cup of coffee.  I don’t take these things too seriously.”
Paul Ryan’s reaction to talk of John McCain asking him to be his running mate.

"Does he have some political experience? Yes. Do I have enough knowledge of his experience or what kind of a mayor he would be? That alone would preclude me from voting for someone that's that new. None of us know who Steve Taylor is. We haven't seen him in action."
Franklin Alderman Lyle Sohns, on newly-elected Alderman Steve Taylor winning the election for Common Council President. Taylor replaces Sohns as President.

"I would have liked to see (Taylor) make one or two votes before he was elected council president. If the mayor goes on vacation or, God forbid, falls ill, (Taylor) is in charge … The fact that he may not know who the police chief, much less the director of public works, is an issue."
Franklin Alderman Steve Olson

"When I was campaigning, I noticed meetings starting at 6:30 p.m. that were over with by 8 p.m. When you serve, you can start overlooking things. Not to say that the current aldermen have overlooked anything. It's just that when you bring a different perspective, you can start asking some questions that maybe weren't being brought up. It's not that anything's going on that shouldn't be going on, it's just that people still want to know what's going on."
Franklin Alderman Steve Taylor

“There is only one place that taxes come from in the final analysis; taxes come from you and me.  People pay taxes, not companies earning 'obscene' profits, not hospitals, and not oil companies.  Every tax comes straight from the pockets of those who consume.  The other immutable point to remember is that governments do not 'earn' any money.  Every penny a government has is a penny confiscated from its citizenry.”
Blogger Al Campbell of


Victim’s 911 call ignored


National Day of Prayer


This Just In........we have the latest photo of Miley Cyrus.


UW students want an apology for canceled sex toy seminar.

EMEMBER: 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.

Those wacky enviros: The "Pastie Lady"

In Ojai, California, she is known as "Earth Friend Jen."

Folks also call her.......

"The Pastie Lady."


She prances around town in, well, you can see what she's wearing, promoting the healing powers of water.

The townsfolk either love her, or want her locked up.

Authorities are looking into the possibility of public indecency charges and have assigned some lucky devil to examine the case.

Now if she'd just stand on the corner of 76th and Rawson on a warm Saturday morning or afternoon advertising a car wash or carryout pizza, there'd be no problem!

Here's the "Pastie Lady" story  (cue the Twilight Zone music) from the LA TImes:

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Priscilla may be out, but I'm still interested in Dancing with the Stars


I'm still watching, though not as intently, if just to boo and throw things at the TV set at head judge and old coot Len Goldman.

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Should we scrap Milwaukee County government?

The idea certainly has some merit.

Well-known Milwaukee business leader Sheldon Lubar proposed this week that a city-county merger should be examined.

The Milwaukee Journal/Sentinel Editorial Board agrees.

Last year, just a week before my friend and news source, former Milwaukee County Executive Dave Schulz died, I blogged about his ahead-of -the -curve 2002 op-ed piece that dramatic changes needed to be made in county government.

Given the news of the week, it’s worth a re-visit.

Is Franklin a community treasure?

The answer is NO, if you go by the large coffee table book, “Wisconsin Community Treasures,” by Morgan & Chase Publishing.
Wisconsin Community Treasures

Nice book. 

Lots of great color photos and information about the “businesses, people, and attractions that make Wisconsin such a spectacular state.”

Every noted community is in alphabetical order.

So when you get to the  “F's”, we start with Fish Creek. 

Then Fitchburg.


Fort Atkinson.



Hey, is something wrong?

We were skipped and gypped.

Not to worry.

They’ll all come flocking, cameras and reporter’s notebooks in hand once we get that “Boomgaard” deal going.

Tax, tax, tax, tax, tax

Must a tax be the answer to everything?

In Wisconsin, unfortunately the answer is yes.

Oh, wait.

I forgot.

This is not a tax hell.

Disenfranchising boaters

I'm not sure I like this.

After all, wouldn't such a requirement be an obstacle to minorities and the elderly to getting boats?

Oh, the horror.

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Is your editorial board smarter than a 5th grader?

Certainly, the Milwaukee Journal/Sentinel’s readers are a lot more insightful than the bunch writing the paper’s editorials.

Last week, the Journal/Sentinel editorialized (AGAIN) about how awful a photo ID requirement is for voters.

The paper heard about it, and today has printed some of the responses from readers, responses the Editorial Board should pay more attention to:

Your Opinions

From Journal Sentinel readers
Posted: May 3, 2008


Keep an eye on voters

The Journal Sentinel Editorial Board says voting should be easy? ("Voting should be easy," April 29) The vast majority of people say voting should be honest. If voter ID legislation prevents one miscast vote, it is worth the effort. The integrity of the electoral process should be the primary concern.

Jim Szopinski


What's more important: voting or treating a cold?

Gov. Jim Doyle claims "there is no reason to impose a photo ID requirement that would do nothing but disenfranchise tens of thousands of voters in Wisconsin, from the elderly to the poor to minorities" ("Voter ID ruled legal, but state law on hold," April 29).

The people of Wisconsin should challenge Doyle's numbers. Maybe he's counting all the tens of thousands of people who are ill because they can no longer buy common cold remedies without a photo ID.

To follow Doyle's logic, keeping simple cold medications from people is more important than ensuring honest elections.

Amy L. Geiger-Hemmer


Don't promote voter fraud

What appears on the surface to be an altruistic attempt at accommodating disenfranchised voters who are on the periphery of society is nothing more than an attempt by Democrats to benefit from voter fraud. Though my mind tells me I may be about to commit inductive suicide, my gut tells me that the Democratic Party is more likely to benefit from those in society who would commit voter fraud.

I worked for the Chicago Board of Elections in the early '80s while attending college, and I helped unload filled, sealed ballot boxes on election night into the dark recesses of an abandoned warehouse. It would not surprise me one bit to find out that we were actually squirreling away ballots from heavily black and Hispanic precincts in order to turn the tide for the Daley machine.

Voter fraud can affect us all, whether committed by one party against another or within the same party. It also erodes the confidence of law-abiding citizens in the democratic process and nullifies the principle of one person, one vote. Gov. Jim Doyle, the Democratic Party and the Journal Sentinel should be ashamed of their self-serving stance on voter ID.

Gary S. McCammon


Get real; securing a photo ID is not very difficult

I see the Editorial Board feels many elderly are simply incompetent and have no clue how to get a photo ID ("Voting should be easy," April 29). I am 65, which I believe puts me on the elderly side of life. I have had no trouble obtaining a photo ID. I have friends older than me, some in their mid-80s, who have had no trouble obtaining a photo ID. I have been to Florida and haven't heard one person say, "Wow, getting a photo ID is the most difficult thing I've done in my entire life."

According to your editorial, not only are the elderly incompetent or incapable, but so are minorities and the poor. Wisconsin must have the most incompetent residents of any state in the union. All you should need for a Wisconsin ID is a birth certificate or photo ID from another state, and there is nothing left to do but pose for the picture.

Why should it be the state's responsibility to be concerned about someone who has misplaced his birth certificate or is too lazy to get a copy? And why is it assumed that the incompetent and incapable only vote Democratic? Is this a new voting demographic? Are Republicans and independents simply more competent and capable than Democrats? If so, how do you explain President Bush?

John Hart
Oak Creek


My most popular blogs

Most popular


Countdown time.

As I post every Sunday, here are the five most popular of my blogs from the past week:

1) Anonymous posters will sink to any level

2) The Barking Lot (4/26/08)

3) Culinary no-no # 52

4) Hollywood hoping on comic book heroes

5) So let me get this straight about photo ID...

This Just In has issued an APB


Be on the lookout for FranklinNOW blogger Bryan Maersch.

When last seen or heard from over a week ago, he was purchasing a special weather alert radio.

If you see him or know of his whereabouts, please contact this writer.

That is all.

Just a reminder about those rising food costs...

Last night, Jennifer and I dined at the best restaurant in Franklin, Casa di Giorgio.

Jennifer noticed that our water glasses were missing the usual slice of lemon.

No big deal.

Not a complaint.

Just an observation.

The rising cost of food is forcing restaurants to cut back rather than raise prices.

My culinary no-no #37 that spoke out against smoking bans and their negative economic impact linked to an article by the Journal/Sentinel about how restaurants are coping with the increase in food prices.

If you missed it, it’s worth a look.

What happens to that 20% tip you leave at the restaurant?

Mark Belling discussed this on one of his shows this past week.

When you go out to eat, suppose your total bill, including food and drink is $70.

How much do you tip?

If you leave 20%, that’s $14.

But where does the tip go?

There’s no easy answer because there’s no definitive answer.

Does the server get it all?

What about the bartender? The maitre‘d? Host or hostess?


The Chicago Tribune examined how it’s done in Windy City restaurants: 

Tips: Where they go

What a Chicago diner should know about tips

By Christopher BorrelliTribune reporter

May 1, 2008

If your knowledge of tipping stops at calculating 18 percent on a $32 check, if you tend to be more concerned with the environmental footprint your meal is leaving than with the financial welfare of your server—if you just want to, you know, eat— then you probably don't know how that generous gratuity you left tends to splinter, and disperse, and shrink.

To, oh, 14 percent.

Or less. See, when you leave a gratuity, be it $3 or $30 or $3,000, in most dining establishments, you may assume the full amount goes into your server's pocket and is taken home to pay for hair coloring and orthopedic shoes. But, alas, usually, it does not. If you have worked a day in the food-service industry, or paid your way through college waiting tables or even made it a career, this is not earth-shattering news. But consider Chris Tallian.

He's 30 years old, has waited tables most of his adult life. He's worked at the Weber Grill restaurant and Buca di Beppo and ESPN Zone, and he wants you to know most customers don't register their waiter or consider what he's making or the precarious nature of his salary, and that's fine. For the past two years he's been a waiter at Nick's Fishmarket in the Loop. He says the money is good and the management as professional as anywhere he's worked. At the end of the night, however, 1 percent of his tips goes to the hostess, 5 percent goes to the bartender, 13.4 percent goes to the busboys, 26.8 percent goes to the captain, 26.9 percent goes to the back waiter, and 26.9 percent goes to him, the front waiter. In other words, tip Chris $10, he lands about $2.70.

Before taxes.

Which raises the question: How much of my tip actually finds its way to my server?

Quick answer: Depends.

Depends on how expensive the food is, and depends on how big the staff is. Depends on what the management style is, and depends on how busy the place is. Depends. At Harry Caray's Italian Steakhouse, for instance, if you drop a $20 gratuity on a $100 bill (let's assume it's charged on a credit card), the waiter splits off $5 for the support staff. This means, $1 goes to the food runner, $1 to the service bartender (not the guy behind bar, but the bartender working backstage), and $3 to the busboys. Then, depending on the card used (and whether a card is used), Harry Caray's subtracts a percentage to cover processing fees. Then there's the usual income tax. So, you left a $20 tip. Your waiter took home somewhat less than $15.

Shocked? You're not alone.

A couple of months ago, after an outcry from surprised customers, Outback Steakhouse and its parent company, OSI Restaurant Partners (which owns Bonefish Grill and Carrabbas Italian Grill, among other chains), stopped holding its servers in Illinois responsible for credit-card processing fees on their tips. Landry's Restaurants, however, the Texas-based chain that owns the Rainforest Cafe on Clark Street, does withhold a percentage of tips that are put on credit cards, a practice meant to offset processing fees (and legal in most states); last winter, the little-known policy sparked controversy in Ann Arbor, Mich., when staff at the Landry-owned Gandy Dancer complained to local media.

Meanwhile, in March, a San Diego court ruling made restaurant management nationwide sit up straighter: A judge awarded Starbucks baristas in California $100 million in back tips after a class-action suit complained that supervisors were taking a share of the counter tip jar.

That said, here are four practices used by Chicago-area restaurants:


How it works: This tipping model (tweaked, restaurant to restaurant) is the most common in Chicago. Your server breaks off a portion of the tip at the end of the night and doles it out to support: busboys, food runners, sometimes a host, sometimes a captain. (The less support the better—financially—for the server.) Normally, each of the support staff receives a set percentage. At Gibsons Bar & Steakhouse, according to general manager John Colletti, waiters are encouraged to think of their job as a business unto itself. In other words, it pays for a waiter to support the support. And since everything goes through a computer, and most of it on credit cards, it's hard to hide numbers. "I think [the system] works well," said Wayne "Cowboy" Schulz, who's waited tables at Harry Caray's for nine years. "It becomes second nature. Everyone sees everything, and there's really no dark money under the table."

What a diner should consider: Human nature. At Miller's Pub, one of the last taverns in the Loop, it's not uncommon for a server to slip extra money to certain support. (It's not uncommon anywhere, actually.) "But I have no way of knowing how much," said co-owner Vannie Gallios. "Some servers are more generous than others." The more old school the place, the more subjective it can get: "When I worked in a restaurant 20 years ago you were at the mercy of the waitresses," said Darren Tristano, executive vice president of the Chicago-based food-industry consulting firm Technomic. "To this day I defy you to successfully get a bar tab transferred to a table. That's because if it goes to the table, the server may not tip out enough to the bartender."


How it works: Much like the Independent Contractor model with one additional step: When a customer charges his tip, the restaurant must pay a processing fee to the card company. But instead of paying it, the restaurant charges the server for the fee (which tends to be 2-4 percent). Harry Caray's charges servers a portion of the fee, as does Miller's, which fought a class-action lawsuit in 2006 by a former waitress who sued because of the practice. (Miller's won.)

What a diner should consider: "Customer research says people tip higher when they tip on credit," said Tristano of Technomic. "So that's a good argument for management [taking the fee]." According to federal labor laws, it's also perfectly acceptable to pull the processing fee (as long as it doesn't place a take-home salary beneath their minimum wage). But critics, including many successful restaurant owners, wonder where it ends. "I must be living in the Dark Ages," said Dan Rosenthal of Trattoria No. 10. "A processing fee is what you put under the expense of running a restaurant. I mean, why shouldn't I deduct for the cost of lighting the place, too? Start down that road and where do you stop?"


How it works: Tips are thrown into a pool and allocated at the end of the night. You find this in busy restaurants where jobs tend to overlap. Look for it in action on crowded holidays (Mother's Day, for instance). During brunch at Lula Cafe in Logan Square, tips are broken off from receipts and pooled. At the end of brunch, 18 percent of the sales is calculated—18 percent being arbitrary and meant to reflect that not every party leaves 20 percent, said co-owner Jason Hammel. That 18 percent is then pulled from pooled tips and divided out to busboys (20 percent), the dishwasher (7 percent), the runner (7 percent), the bartender (5 percent), and the barista (7 percent). Servers keep 54 percent.

What a diner should consider: The idea of pooling is to build cooperation. But the reality, said Chad Moncher, manager of Nick's Fishmarket, is that pooling can create friction when one cog is not pulling its weight.


How it works: Your server receives no gratuity. Every table is charged a flat service fee, regardless of party size. Rare, but not unheard of. Charlie Trotter's, among the most celebrated restaurants in the world, puts a flat 18 percent fee on tables of six or less (and 20 percent on six or more). Servers are salaried. Their weekly pay isn't guesswork.

What a diner should consider: Under the flat fee, expect great service. In 2005, when Phoebe Damrosch—author of "Service Included," a memoir of her time waiting tables at Thomas Keller's Per Se in New York—heard that Keller was moving to a flat 20 percent service charge, she fumed. Today, however, she wonders if the flat fee, common in Europe, makes a lot of sense over here, too. "It's best for the guest and the industry. The transitory aspect of the job tends to vanish. You get to know the food and take pride in the job. You get professional work out of people rarely taken seriously." (That said, depending on the salary, a waiter might make more at a pricey restaurant where an average check is north of $400 and the tips are big.)

If all of this makes your head spin, remember service does matter. But so do tips.

According to Harry Caray's management, their average waiter makes around $30 an hour in tips. Which is not bad—a waiter can earn a comfortable wage at certain higher-end dining establishments. Still, the majority of waiters are not slinging $42.95 rib-eyes to businessmen with generous expense accounts. According to the Illinois Restaurant Association, the average Chicago server with a 20 percent tip is receiving more like a 15 percent tip after deductions—and probably serving much cheaper food.

"This subject kills me," said Izzy Kharasch, president of the Deerfield-based restaurant consulting firm Hospitality Works. "Because people don't know this stuff. They should when they go out. Say they don't like the food. Rather than complain to management, they take it out of the tip—which would make no sense if they understood how it worked."

What he means is, by federal law, with few exceptions, a tip is owned by the server, and management is not entitled to a piece. But the establishment can set the rules: Some Lettuce Entertain You restaurants, for example, ask waiters to pool tips, while others don't technically require the server to be generous. "But people generally are," said CEO Kevin Brown. "We like a self-governing style." Said Moncher of Nick's: "There's no perfect system. You try to promote teamwork but it's rare everyone's happy with the system they have."

When the economy is bad and money is tight, however, people tend to be less happy—so much so that Michael Lynn, who studies gratuity at Cornell University's Center for Hospitality Research, says he's being regularly hired as an expert witness in tip-based lawsuits. "Which are way up."

So next time, consider: Your waiter is probably getting a tip-based minimum wage ($4.50)—and that's a full $3 below the standard minimum wage (and goes up $.25 in July). The average tip in Chicago, servers and industry consultants say, remains roughly 18 percent, but European visitors still tip less (or not at all, gratuity being less common overseas). And depending on who's calculating that night's tips, and depending on your tip, there may be a lot of tension behind those welcoming smiles.

Bill (the bigot) Maher coming to town

Marquette Warrior writes that American TV is sponsoring Maher's visit.

Not a very smart marketing move.

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Flight 93 Memorial controversy

The design for the proposed Flight 93 Memorial is now the subject of controversy.

Some see Islamic symbols in the design.

Flight 93 was one of the airliners involved in 9/11.

Read about the controversy and the story of Flight 93.

Picture it: The special parade to celebrate the grand opening of the Boomgaard District

Couldn't resist.

Derrick Turnbow has not left the Milwaukee Brewers

He is alive and well, disguised as Eric Gagne.

Elvis probably enjoyed Cinco de Mayo


Elvis hated beer.

He wasn’t crazy about alcohol.

But when he did have a cocktail, his drink of choice was a margarita. (Source: Sirius Satellite Radio, The Elvis Channel).

In the movie, “Fun in Acapulco,” Elvis sang Marguerita, the name of the character played by love interest, Ursula Andress.

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Culinary no-no #53

Culinary no-no's


When I moved to Franklin in the early 90’s, I’m pretty sure I had packed away a possession I kept as a conversation piece.

I received it as a gift from the older sister of an old girlfriend who purchased it in Mexico.

It appeared to be a bottle of tequila with a worm at the bottom.


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Dear Mom, thank you so very much-Sincerely, Tim

Tim Tebow (pronounced Tee-bo) did not make himself eligible for the recent NFL Draft.

Instead, the phenomenal Florida quarterback will return to play for the Gators next season in his junior year.

Florida quarterback Tim Tebow for the end zone for a 23 yard touchdown during the first half of their game against rival Florida State at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Fla.

Last December, Tebow won college football’s most prestigious award, the Heisman Trophy.

     Florida quarterback Tim Tebow holds up the Heisman Trophy after winning the award.

Tebow has enjoyed a great career that will only get better.

He owes a great deal to his parents, especially his mother.

When Tebow’s mother got pregnant with Tim, she was working with her husband as missionaries in the Philippines. The pregnancy was a difficult one, and doctors encouraged Pam Tebow for seven months to get an abortion because the fetus was damaged. They even predicted a stillbirth.

Pam Tebow would have none of it.

Because of her faith, courage, and refusal to abort her son, today Tim is a healthy, athletic, star football player.


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Boomgaard: The gift that keeps on giving


The other day, Franklin blogger Fred Keller commented on my Boomgaard blog where I said the decision to name the 27th Street Corridor is just about set in stone and there’s no turning back from those who came up with the name.

Here’s Fred’s comment:

Kevin, I know your stance on the "Boomgaard" name, and I realize you're just the messenger here, but you used 847 words to justify a decision process by the "Boomgaard Brotherhood" that I can explain with one. Arrogance.

Here’s my response from the “Hindsight is 20/20 file”:

The problem the Boomgaard Brigade brought upon themselves is that they spent a half year developing and working on this nickname via the hush-hush route.

Even though 998 out of 1,000 people, to varying degrees, dislike the name, they’re still gung-ho about it and have no desire to go back to the drawing board.  That is the impression I get.


What they should have done is involve the entire communities of Oak Creek and Franklin in the process from day one along with the Zizzo group that resembles the deer in the headlights adult contestants on this show.

Can you imagine how the populace would have embraced not just the naming aspect, but the concept as a whole?  There would have been an excitement built that would have galvanized both cities.

We need your help!

Lend us your expertise!

Help us name this soon to be successful business district!

But they decided to lock the castle doors while they worked on the Frankenstein monster.

Now the townsfolk are outside yelling and screaming with pitchforks and lanterns.


The rest of the way, be as open as possible!!

That’s my brief answer to Fred Keller’s comment.

I conclude with this.

1) Please read my disclaimer again. In all seriousness, we lose sight of the project at hand. The goal is to take a street sullied with drug-infested motels and transform it into a destination worthy of respect. That’s #1.

2) I know Fred Keller. Fred Keller is a friend of mine. He’s pretty sharp.  How is it that Fred Keller found out in what could be a just a matter of hours or days what the Boomgaard cheerleaders couldn’t uncover in six months?

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Happy Cinco de Mayo 2008

This is a special Cinco de Mayo blog concert featuring wonderful May 5 musical pieces selected just for today. I hope you enjoy as we get you in the Latin mood! (To truly enjoy, don't skip ahead, listen in order, and pretend just a bit that even though you're in the comfort of your own home, you're at a superstar-studded concert. Comprende?)

We open with this 1966 classic TV performace by Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass on ABC's Hollywood Palace. See how many of these great instrumentals you remember.

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Thi$ ju$t doe$n't make $en$e

So, this morning I was at one of those meetings that brought together politicos, businesspeople and officials in higher education.

The details of a research project based on an extensive survey were announced. Without getting into heavy specifics, businesspeople gave directions on the type of skills they were looking for from today’s college students and graduates. All of the usual suspects were mentioned, including basic math, reading and writing.

A member of the audience, a highly successful business manager stood up and said that he would include “social skills” in the list of qualities employers are looking for, especially when it came to basic finance.

And then came the line that had the crowd in stitches.

This businessman said, and he was dead serious, that too many in the college age crowd are incredulous when they learn they’ve overdrawn from their checking accounts.

They wonder how that can possibly be when they still have three blank checks left in their checkbook.

Cellos and violins for Dummies

Apparently, extremely talented players of stringed instruments aren’t smart enough to remember that when they get into a NY cab with their centuries-old, multi-million dollar instruments (why are you walking down the streets and getting into a cab with such a precious instrument in the first place!!), when they get to their destination, they shouldn’t leave the priceless violin, viola, or cello in the cab!!!!

Do you have any idea who Phillipe Quint is?

Of course you don’t.

The guy could play all the parts of a string quartet all by himself, but doesn’t have the brains God gave him to remember that when he sits down in a cab with a $4 million dollar violin, that when he exits same cab, he needs to exit with said violin.

But this Einstein did.

Luckily the cabbie has a conscience.

He returned the $4 million violin.

If you ask me, Quint should give the cabbie a big honkin’ check.

Read about what Quint is going to do, instead, and ask yourself, is this the best he could do?  You think this cabbie gives a rodent’s behind about……….well, just read.

Do I hear a mini tax revolt?

I wholeheartedly support a gas tax holiday this summer.

Some states are headed in that direction.

Wisconsin, that has one of the largest gas taxes in the nation, sadly, is not one of them.

From the NY Times:

May 6, 2008

States Get In on the Calls for a Gas Tax Holiday

SLOCOMB, Ala. — Gov. Charlie Crist of Florida has been fighting to cut 10 cents from the state’s gasoline tax for two weeks in July. Lawmakers in Missouri, New York and Texas have also proposed a summer break from state gas taxes, while candidates for governor in Indiana and North Carolina are sparring over relief ideas of their own.

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Read this, then wash up immediately

In order to fully appreciate this blog, you must view a few classic videos, like this one from the Odd Couple movie.


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Pick up the phone, make the call for Mom

Six out of every 10 people reading this blog who plan to celebrate Mother's Day will go out to eat.

Today is Tuesday.

Mother's Day is this Sunday.

Kids, if you haven't made reservations, do it ASAP.

Mom deserves it.

Do you buy this?

I certainly don’t.  Just look at the source.

Apparently state Senator Tim Carpenter and a group of Republican U.S. Senators also have a problem swallowing the finding of the study.

The Boomgaard Forum

Earlier today, FranklinNOW's Greg Kowalski blogged the following regarding the Boomgaard issue, having received correspondence from NOW Online Editor Mark Maley:


I just wanted to give you a heads up that the following attached has been sent to the mayors and aldermen of Oak Creek and Franklin. Also attached is the transcript of the more than 100 reader comments we received on this topic.
The attached comments and letter were emailed tonight to all officials and will be hand-delivered to the city clerks of both communities tomorrow morning.
Feel free to share any or all of this information with your readers.
Mark Maley
NOW Online editor

Along with that note he sent me the letter he e-mailed both Councils of Franklin and Oak Creek:

May 5, 2008 

Franklin and Oak Creek elected officials: 

For the last 10 days, and - the local community Web sites run by Community Newspapers and the Journal Sentinel - have asked readers to weigh in on the decision to name the 27th Street Corridor the "Boomgaard District." 

Readers were asked to post their comments on a community forum on both NOW sites...and the response was overwhelming! We received more than 100 comments...and they're still coming in. 

I suspect the vast majority of these people are folks who will never show up at a Common Council meeting or call their alderman to express their opinions. So, if it was not for this forum (and the comments posted on local blogs) their voices might have gone unheard. Yet, I think - for the most part - these views are just as valid as those who do attend council meetings or pick up the phone to call their elected officials. 

Because I believe it's important for these voices to be heard, I have taken the unusual step of printing out all comments we received on this topic and making sure it got in the hands of the elected officials of both communities.  

I am well aware that some of the comments in the attached document are made "tongue in cheek," and I'm also aware that most of them are anonymous. But the comments in the attached document are worth reviewing, as they likely reflect the views of thousands of your constituents. 

If you would like to discuss further, I can be reached at (262) 446-6630. 


Mark MaleyNOW Online Editor 


Mark Maley sent me the transcript as well, and going through it, I found the following:

There were actually 93 total comments made on the FranklinNOW forum on the Boomgaard name. Here’s the breakdown:

93 total comments

89 comments were negative or made fun of the name to some extent.
2 comments were supportive
2 comments were indifferent, taking neither side

Of the 89 negative comments:

41 were from Franklin residents
21 were from Oak Creek residents
27 were from residents outside Franklin and Oak Creek or who didn’t give an address

I understand this is unscientific, but I did hear about a week ago that there is more anger and ridicule emanating from the 53132 zip code. The forum responses would seem to bear that out. Some comments were more thoughtful than others, making the percentage discrepancy less lopsided. It's clear some writers were upset while others were laughing and guffawing when they sent their submissions.

This is not a complicated issue. You either like the name or you don't. That might partially explain why the forum had so many respondents.

I do wish there was some way to determine the number of Franklin and Oak Creek residents who are undecided, don't care, or are totally unaware of this item. My guess is the percentage is rather high.

Putting it in perspective, Franklin


Ponder this question.

Here are some of the top Franklin news stories from the recent past.

What do they have in common?

  • Notorious sex offender Billy Lee Morford is allowed to move back and forth between Milwaukee and Franklin with the state failing to notify Franklin
  • Franklin High School voting age students are gathered into a closed door Assembly the Friday before the vote on a $78.2 million referendum where the issue is discussed
  • The Franklin School Board adopts a school tax levy increase of 5.9% after the Board announced it would be 5.6%. It’s learned later that the increase was not the 5.9% announced to the public, but a whopping 11.7%
  • The Buckhorn Christmas tragedy
  • Sex offender Steve Hanke moves into Franklin in violation of a city ordinance. For now, a Milwaukee County Judge has ruled Hanke can continue to live in Franklin close to a middle school
  • Franklin city tax levies continue to go up well above the rate of inflation
  • A citizen panel’s recommendation is ignored, and the Franklin School Board pushes a very unpopular set of referendum questions that include an expensive new high school

Think about the stories on that list.

What do they all have in common?

They’re all controversial.


They’re all very serious.


Here’s something else they all have in common.

To some degree, they are all more outrageous and scandalous than the brouhaha over “Boomgaard,” the name selected to identify the 27th Street Corridor.

Before I go any further:



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Dear Greg Kowalski, Janet Evans, John Michlig, Bryan Maersch, and Fred Keller:

By the way.......

How's that "New Day" working out for you guys?

Earth Day predictions gone wild

More from those wacky environmentalists.

Columnist Walter Williams has dug up some Earth Day prognostications that, well, umm, were kinda off:

At the first Earth Day celebration, in 1969, environmentalist Nigel Calder warned, "The threat of a new ice age must now stand alongside nuclear war as a likely source of wholesale death and misery for mankind." C.C. Wallen of the World Meteorological Organization said, "The cooling since 1940 has been large enough and consistent enough that it will not soon be reversed." In 1968, Professor Paul Ehrlich, Vice President Gore's hero and mentor, predicted there would be a major food shortage in the U.S. and "in the 1970s ... hundreds of millions of people are going to starve to death."

Not even the founder of Earth Day, Wisconsin’s Gaylord Nelson is spared by Williams: Williams writes that in 1970, “Sen. Gaylord Nelson warned, in Look Magazine, that by 1995 ‘... somewhere between 75 and 85 percent of all the species of living animals will be extinct.’”


Here’s the column…

Classy exit on Dancing With The Stars

Tuesday night, R & B singer Mario and Karina Smirnoff were eliminated from competition on “Dancing With The Stars.”

Mario had suffered a groin injury weeks ago. He told his hometown newspaper, the Baltimore Sun that of
ten a dancer won't feel the injury until after the performance because his or her "adrenaline is rushing" so intensely.

As Mario bid farewell, he made these parting comments:

"I've had a great time performing on this show, I've had a great partner, we've had some great competition. ... Len, thank you for all your comments. Ultimately, you've helped me become a better ballroom dancer. And the comment about me being brave and being an inspiration for young people. I want to say that the real brave ones are the young men and women fighting for our country."

Very nice.

Remarkably, Michael Yon writes the stories of Iraq the mainstream press refuses to report

There’s a buzz about former Green Beret Michael Yon’s new book, Moment of Truth In Iraq because it’s an insider account of what’s truly happening that American news consumers simply aren’t getting.
This embedded reporter has spent more time than any other journalist with American marines, soldiers, and special ops teams patrolling the streets of Iraq.

General David Petraeus describes Yon and his new book:

"He's fearless... provides a candid, soldier's-eye view... from the very unique perspective of being there with them for weeks and months at a time... delv[ing] deep into the human component."

Moment Of Truth In Iraq offers untold stories you won’t see on ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN,  or read about in the New York Times. From the inside cover:

·         The American commander fed up with phony Al Qaeda 'documentaries' that showed terrorists shooting at bombed out American vehicles as if they had beaten us in open battle. The commander and his men staged the "bombing" of a broken down truck, then when the terrorists came to put on their act, Navy SEAL snipers killed every one.

·         The exploits of the great "Deuce Four" battalion that became the center of a "warrior cult" dreaded by terrorists and revered by Iraqis.

·         Think Iraqi soldiers can't fight? Read about the elite Iraqi SWAT team taking down a terror cell for the murder of four American soldiers and a brave Iraqi guide.

·         Think Americans are occupiers, not liberators, of Iraq? Tell that to the wounded Iraqi interpreter, who, convinced he was about to die, begged his U.S. commander to have his heart cut out and buried in America.

·         Learn why so many Iraqi boys dream of becoming American soldiers. 

Author/columnist Austin Bay wrote about one of Yon’s vignettes:

Here's the situation: Yon was accompanying the commander of the 1-24 Infantry, Lt. Col. Erik Kurilla. A terrorist had shot a young sergeant in downtown Mosul. Kurilla spotted a black Opel and -- playing a professional's hunch -- the chase was on. The three men in the Opel abandoned the car and ran. Kurilla, his command section and Yon (with a camera) left their personnel carrier and gave chase on foot.

Yon picks up the story:

"There were shops, alleys, doorways, windows. Shots were fired behind us, but around a corner to the left LTC Kurilla began running in the direction of the shooting. He passed by me and I chased, Kurilla leading the way. There was a quick and heavy volume of fire. And then LTC Kurilla was shot.

Kurilla was running while he was hit in three places including his femur, which was shattered. The commander didn't seem to miss a stride. He did a crazy judo roll and came up shooting. ... Bullets were hitting all around Kurilla. The young second lieutenant and specialist who were part of Kurilla's crew that day were the only two soldiers nearby. Neither had real combat experience ... the interpreter had no weapon. I had a camera. ... I screamed to the young soldiers, 'Throw a grenade in there!' but they were not attacking. They didn't have grenades ... or the combat experience to grasp the power of momentum. Help arrived in the form of one man: Command Sergeant Major Prosser. Prosser ran around the corner, passed the two young soldiers, who were crouched low, and me, and started firing at a man inside who was trying to shoot Kurilla with a pistol. Prosser shot the man at least four times with his M4 rifle. But the American M4 rifles are weak. The man just staggered back, regrouped and tried to shoot Prosser. Then Prosser's M4 went black (no more bullets). Prosser threw down his empty M4, ran into the shop and tackled the man. I saw the very bloody leg of CSM Prosser inside the shop. He appeared to be shot down and dead. I saw Prosser's M4 on the ground."

Yon picks up Prosser's rifle, grabs a magazine, fires three wild rounds attempting to save Prosser as four more soldiers arrive. Yon writes: "Prosser wasn't dead, he was fighting hand to hand while the terrorist was trying to bite Prosser's wrist, but instead he bit into the face of Prosser's watch. Prosser subdued him by smashing his face into the concrete. The combat drama was ended, so I started snapping photos again."

Quite a piece of prose -- terror, courage, physical combat action, choices bad, good and maybe made palpable and immediate in the fearsome detail of direct experience. 

Yon’s book cover is a famous photo of a soldier caring for an Iraqi girl killed after a suicide car bombing.

Cover Image

Michelle Malkin has more on that incredible photo.

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Obama WILL raise taxes

Now here’s a real shocking news bulletin.

This afternoon, Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama unequivocally promised to raise taxes.

“I will raise CEO taxes,” Obama told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on “The Situation Room.” 

 “If you’re a CEO in this country you’ll probably pay more taxes,” Obama said. Obama speculated his CEO tax rates “won’t be prohibitively high, you’ll pay roughly what you did in the 90’s when they were doing fine.”

Obama promised to eliminate the Bush tax cuts and implement what he called a “middle class tax cut.”

Blitzer asked Obama to define “middle class.”

Obama answered, “You know, I think the definitions are always a little bit rough” and said “if you’re making $100,000 a year or less, then you’re pretty solidly middle class…On the other hand, if you’re making more than $100,000 and certainly if you’re making more than $200,000 or $250,000, you’re doing pretty well.”

Now we know what the guy has meant all along when he’s said it’s time for a change.

Here's the interview with Obama on CNN. The discussion on taxes begins at 4:00 into the interview.

(H/T: Amanda Carpenter,

Related material: The Obama spending meter. You guessed it. It's off the charts.

This was long overdue

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A voice like "warm butter and syrup being poured over wonderful buttermilk pancakes"

Eddy Arnold died today.

Arnold was a country music legend, an innovator, a true gentleman.

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The best album cover?


Last year marked the 25th anniversary of the compact disc or CD.

Small in size, convenient, easy to track, and better sound quality……..these qualities make the CD invention a wonder of technology.

The bad news is that the advent of the CD meant the virtual disappearance of a lost art, the great album covers.

A fascinating pop culture debate would be what is the best album cover of all-time.

You’d certainly get a lot of votes for Sgt. Pepper.

Honey by the Ohio Players, too.

If you pose the question to Dolores Erickson, she’d answer in a heartbeat with no doubts whatsoever as to her choice: Whipped Cream & Other Delights by Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass.

She calls it, “the world’s most famous album cover,” and she may be right.

Mind you, Erickson is far from objective.

Erickson happens to be the woman on the cover.


Yep, that's Dolores in all her glory.

She appeared on many other album covers in the 60's, like this one.....

But it's the Whipped Cream cover that got Erickson all the attention.

Imagine that.

Not too long ago, there was even a re-issued re-mix of the album for its 40th anniversary with a new cover (and model).

Here's a more contemporary picture of Erickson holding the Herb Alpert LP and the first album she appeared on, Nat King Cole's 1960 release, "Wild is Love."

The Seattle Times reported in 2005:

Erickson was friends with Alpert and Jerry Moss, cofounders of A&M Records. So she was a natural when photographer Jerry Whorf, who had shot the Nat King Cole album, got the assignment for "Whipped Cream." They had Erickson flown out from New York for the shoot in Whorf's Los Angeles studio.

"I thought, 'Just another job,' " Erickson recalled.

Whorf draped a sheet over her lower body (she was three months pregnant) and slathered her mostly with shaving cream. Actual whipped cream was used only on her head.

Erickson got about $1,500 for the day's work, typical of what she was earning in those days.

Whorf gave her the outtakes, in which the shaving cream had dripped to reveal a little too much flesh.

"My husband was very conservative. I tore one up. It was too much." She saved the other outtake, which she now sells for $50, autographed.

"Whipped Cream" sold more than half a million copies, was in the top 10 for 61 weeks and won four Grammy awards (though not for best album cover).

This is all wonderful nostalgia, but where am I going with it?

The Orlando Sentinel is running a poll, asking readers to choose the worst album covers.

I've looked at the lengthy list and they're all really bad.

But in my view, none were as bad as this....



The word "curdle" suddenly comes to mind.

You can vote at the Orlando Sentinel's website.

This Wisconsin family needs a makeover

Are you familiar with the ABC-TV program, “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition?”

Extreme Makeover: Home Edition is an Emmy Award-winning ABC reality television series in which a family's house, including all rooms, exterior and landscaping, is made over by a team of builders and designers in 7 days while the family goes off on vacation.

Before I go any further, read the news about John Klang, then come back.

The Klang residence is now in need of repair, and it’s a finalist for that makeover on national TV.

The Capital Times reports the Klang family needs votes from the public in order for that to happen. However, in the comments section that follows the article, someone writes that you shouldn't vote and gives reasons why.

Whatever......good luck to the Klang's.

Read the story from the Capital Times

It's sex discrimination, I tell you

How many liberals or liberal organizations will make a stink about this?

Famous restaurants: Congrats to one, farewell to another

The same day the Journal/Sentinel gives proper attention to a famed restaurant, the paper buries a story about another restaurant on the site of another famous restaurant that has closed.

And Congressman Paul Ryan's proposal on immigration is a problem....

Abusing handicapped parking spots

It has bothered me for years: People who abuse handicapped parking spaces.

Might I say that includes the motorists who don’t have a handicapped card AND those that do that STILL abuse the parking spots.

At one time, I toyed in my own mind with the suggestions that businesses that had handicapped parking spots be allowed to police their own lots and actually issue tickets, relieving local authorities from being called to intervene.

I never went public with the idea, until now.

It would never work. Can you imagine the owner of a restaurant, sending a busboy out to issue parking tickets?

Well, I meant well.

In the 90’s when I worked at WTMJ, one of the many hats I wore was to research, write, produce and voice my own radio commentary Monday-Friday in morning and afternoon drive.

One morning, I went off on people who abuse the handicapped spots. How dare these supposedly able-bodied people, I editorialized, park right next to the front door and get up and stroll right in, sans canes, walkers, or breathing devices.

Proud of myself for voicing a genuinely authentic concern for the real disabled, I was unprepared for a letter I received a few days later.

It arrived handwritten in a manner that mirrored the same penmanship taught to me by Sister Solongia in the 4th grade in Catholic school. It just had to be from an octogenarian, I thought, who wrote to tell me how much she loved my commentary.

Not quite.

I had no business, she wrote (I do remember it was a female) passing judgment on the people in that car with the handicapped sign.

The letter writer scolded me for getting upset because I had to park further away.

And then came the coup de grace. The woman admitted to seeing me often on TV.


I could stand to park further away and walk a greater distance to shed some pounds, she finished her love note to yours truly, apparently unaware that television adds 10-15 pounds.

Laurel Walker of the Milwaukee Journal /Sentinel is too liberal for my taste.

But by golly, she nails it here.

Think you're safe in the suburbs...

I’ve been involved in broadcast journalism for, as of this month, 30 years.

For years and years and years and years, in the Milwaukee television market, you could always count on stories topping the 10:00 news about murders, armed robberies, violence, fires, etc. in the city of Milwaukee.

One could argue that 98% of the viewing audience didn’t care if a gas station was held up on 12th and Ring. If a TV station had film or video, it was leading the 10:00 news.

Not anymore.

Watch the 10:00 news in 2008 and it’s no longer a lock the lead story is about a shooting in Milwaukee’s inner city.

Thursday night, here were stories that either led or were top stories at 10:00:

In Cudahy...

In Slinger...

It's the same when you pick up your paper.

In Germantown...

In West Bend...

I am not suggesting that the above referenced areas or Franklin are anything like the worst crime-infected sectors of the city of Milwaukee.

What I'm saying is, there is no place in America where you are guaranteed safety.

Not when bullets were fired years ago into the White House.

Franklin, at the very least, could you close your garage doors during the day so as not to invite crime?

Liberalism: "Utopian promises for whiny adult children"

A new study out this week concludes the painfully obvious: conservatives are a much happier group than liberals.

Why are they always so sour, moaning and groaning and wailing and gnashing teeth, even during good times?

For the answer, and some brilliant insights into the “woe is me” world of liberalism, we turn to Lyle H. Rossiter, Jr, MD. Rossiter, Jr. is the author of The Liberal Mind: The Psychological Causes of Political Madness. He received his medical and psychiatric training at the University of Chicago and served for two years as a psychiatrist in the United States Army. He is currently in private practice in the Chicago area.

In December 2006, Rossiter Jr. wrote a column bearing the same name as his book. Here’s an excerpt:

What the liberal mind is passionate about is a world filled with  pity, sorrow, neediness,  misfortune, poverty, suspicion, mistrust, anger, exploitation, discrimination, victimization, alienation and  injustice.

Those who occupy this world are “workers,” “minorities,” “the little guy,” “women,” and the “unemployed.”

They are poor, weak, sick, wronged, cheated, oppressed, disenfranchised, exploited and victimized. They bear no responsibility for their problems.

None of their agonies are attributable to faults or failings of their own: not to poor choices, bad habits, faulty judgment, wishful thinking, lack of ambition, low frustration tolerance, mental illness or defects in character.

None of the victims’ plight is caused by failure to plan for the future or learn from experience.

Instead, the “root causes” of all this pain lie in faulty social conditions: poverty, disease, war, ignorance, unemployment, racial prejudice, ethnic and gender discrimination, modern technology, capitalism, globalization and imperialism.

Here is the entire column with more good stuff.

Then last week, Rossiter Jr. unleashed another insightful, dead-on piece about how modern day liberalism pitches itself:

Modern liberalism is still selling what it has always sold: utopian promises for whiny adult children.

You want health care? No problem. Just label it a need, and you will get it, because you must have what you need, and the government must therefore give it to you. It doesn’t matter if you can’t afford your own health care. Modern liberals gladly promise it to you anyway — at someone else’s expense.

You want a college education but your grades aren’t good enough? No problem. With affirmative action, liberals first label your desire a need, then see to it that you get unearned access to a college while someone more qualified than you gets bumped.

You want a job, but you have fewer skills than your competitors? No problem. With affirmative action, liberals declare your desire a need. The liberal agenda then gets you a job at the expense of someone with more skills than you have.

Worried about the energy crunch? No problem. Liberal bureaucrats will legislate what kind of light bulbs we use and regulate our home thermostats from their offices so we don’t use too much energy. We need liberals to manage our lives.

Remember, it is the government’s job to take the stress out of your life because life is already too tough. Who can reasonably ask you to be responsible for yourself, to assume life’s risks, to take the consequences of your actions, to hold yourself accountable? What do they think you are, anyway — a mature adult? Let’s get fair. You didn’t sign on to the burdens of real freedom. You signed on to Liberal Land’s promises of ease and safety. You applied for the Big Dole, cradle to grave.

Here’s that column.

I’d like to top Rossiter Jr., but I can’t.

What's a stay-at-home mom worth?

Try close to $117,000.

I'm not so sure, Greg


FranklinNOW’s Greg Kowalski writes again about the “Boomgaard” issue, this time saying after a conversation with Franklin Mayor Tom Taylor, “Mayor Taylor sent the name back to the 27th Street Steering Committee.”

Greg is insinuating, implying, or flat out reporting that the entire naming issue has been reversed, and it’s back to the drawing board.

I’m not so sure that’s right because that’s not how government works.

The Steering Committee approved the name.

The mayors of Franklin and Oak Creek endorsed the name.

The Franklin Common Council voted unanimously to approve the name.

The Oak Creek Common Council voted to approve the name.

Mayor Taylor alone cannot unilaterally issue a “do-over,” no matter how badly some want it to happen.

The Franklin Common Council just authorized bids on a new fire station. If I don’t like the color of the building or the way the roof looks and can convince others that they, too, have reservations, is the Council’s action voided?

I would caution Franklinites to be careful what you wish for. Do you really want to start all over and give the Zizzo Group six more months and pay them to come up with something else that could be even less desirable than “Boomgaard?”

I don’t want anyone getting false hopes that “Boomgaard” has suddenly been trashed. I don’t believe that’s the case.

And don't forget, Franklin.......perspective.

Saturday on This Just In...

Is this young girl.........

one of my heroes or villains of the week?

Find out in Week-ends.

And better half Jennifer takes you inside the Barking Lot.



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...


Lee Frangquist, Al Johnson, Gary Lapp, John Dederich and Joe Raisleger

John Challis

Dale Davis


William Earl Lynd

Amanda Morgan Leppert and Toby Lee Lowry

Brenda Thiel

Guadelupe Gutierrez-Juarez

Texas teenagers

Pennsylvania state Senator Vincent Fumo (D-Philadelphia)

Code Pink protesters

Hugh Hefner

The New England Patriots


"People make mistakes. People in a very stressful job make mistakes. We've told you what they are; we've told the public what they are. We hope no mistakes happen every day in the 911 center. Can I guarantee that? No. Can I work on opportunities to limit mistakes? Yes."
Dane County 911 director Joe Norwick, offering a public apology seven days after telling reporters "there's nothing to apologize for" regarding how his department handled a 911 call made from Brittany Zimmermann's cell phone around the time she was murdered. Norwick expressed his "sincere sympathy to the Zimmermann family" for his department's mishandling of the 911 call and to "the public and media for any misleading statements I made."

"The two questions that kept coming to mind after the loss of this mother and her two children were why this person went home after his third DUI conviction and why he still has his 3-ton killing machine in his possession."
State Representative Joel Kleefisch (R-Oconomowoc), reacting to the crash caused by drunk driver Mark Benson that took the lives of Jennifer Bukosky, 39, her unborn child and 10-year old daughter, Courtney Bella. Two days before the accident, Benson appeared before a Waukesha County judge on a third drunken driving offense. He was sentenced on April 23 to 75 days in the county's work release jail, but was given until May 9 to report there, with orders not to drive in the meantime.

“What's the big deal? Nuns don't get a free pass when it comes to voting.The fact that the convent will get photo IDs for the elderly nuns shows that it can be done. If an individual is capable of going to the polls and casting a vote, the person is capable of getting a proper ID. If the 98-year-old nun doesn't want to get an ID, then she doesn't have to vote. Every American has an interest in making sure that elections are clean.”
Wisconsin blogger Freedom Eden, after a group of nuns wasn’t allowed to vote in Indiana’s primary Tuesday because the sisters failed to produce a photo ID.

"I think food inflation has got to go up. Everything that uses wheat, everything that uses corn, everything that uses corn syrup has got to go up."
C. Larry Pope, president and chief executive of Smithfield Foods Inc., the world's largest pork producer.

"This subsidized (ethanol) program - paid for by taxpayer dollars - has contributed to pain at the cash register, at the dining room table, and a devastating food crisis throughout the world.”
U.S. Senator John McCain, joining other GOP Senators calling for curbs on ethanol production.

"The time has come to end the taxpayer subsidy of ethanol that was started 27 years ago to get this industry off the ground and on its feet. Well, it is well on its feet now. It has never made sense to me to turn food into fuel.”
Wisconsin Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Menomonee Falls)

“The world has changed dramatically for the airline industry. This is probably a bigger shock to the airlines' systems than what happened after 9/11. This is going to bring some very fundamental change in the industry in terms of its size, its shape and its character, especially if these phenomenally high fuel prices continue for any length of time.”
Scott Dickson, senior vice president and chief marketing officer at Oak Creek-based Midwest Air Group Inc., which operates Midwest Airlines, on the rising cost of fuel.

“To create just one gallon of fuel, ethanol slurps up 1,700 gallons of water, according to Cornell's David Pimentel, and 51 cents of tax credits. And it still can't compete against oil without a protective 54-cents-per-gallon tariff on imports and a federal mandate that forces it into our gas tanks. The record 30 million acres the U.S. will devote to ethanol production this year will consume almost a third of America's corn crop while yielding fuel amounting to less than 3% of petroleum consumption. In December the Congressional Research Service warned that even devoting every last ear of American-grown corn to ethanol would not create enough ‘renewable fuel’ to meet federal mandates.”
The Wall Street Journal

"Sen. Obama's support among working, hardworking Americans, white Americans, is weakening again.”
Hillary Clinton, who was then accused of being racially insensitive.

“The point is that if it becomes necessary to cut ... then cut! That's what responsible budget managers do, from coast-to-coast, in the private sector, which does not have the luxury of coercively adding revenue (read: raising taxes) or resorting to the kind of accounting legerdemain that is a staple of government.”
The Beloit Daily News, editorializing about the state budget revenue shortfall of $652.3 million.

"Often these ads misrepresent the facts and scare voters by talking about criminal, not civil, cases, and everything is subordinated to a sound bite.  They're what french fries are to nutrition - fattening, but not helpful.  It's important that the judiciary be completely independent. Unfortunately, three-fourths of Americans are not familiar with this concept."
Retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra day O’Connor speaking in Milwaukee. O’Connor said Wisconsin Supreme Court judges should be appointed, not elected.

"The general mood is that some people were disappointed that was the outcome of the animal. It was neat to have cougar back that once was an animal of Wisconsin."
Tim Lizotte, wildlife supervisor for the DNR in the Waukesha-area, expressing disappointment that a cougar that once roamed southern Wisconsin was shot and killed in Chicago last month. Sounds like the DNR would prefer that the cougar still be around, possibly stalking and killing.


First it was the botched 911 call in Madison. Now, the Madison Police have to defend how they handled a murder investigation.


Wisconsin Congressman David Obey calls for a pullout from Iraq


The Milwaukee Brewers and their six-game losing streak. A legitimate story, true. But even though I’m not a fan of manager Ned Yost, if you were thinking about firing him, you’d better be ready to accept his replacement.

And just who would that be? Who’s available in early May? You'd have to select from inside the organization.

These losing streaks are part of baseball. The problem is this team isn’t playing up to its potential. But it is awfully early.


He should have stayed in bed.

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.

The Barking Lot

The Barking Lot

Welcome to another edition of The Barking Lot, our weekly installment where I turn the reins over to my dog-loving wife, Jennifer.

When other bloggers have asked me how I choose topics, I’ve told them I go with what is interesting to me, much like how I select show topics on WISN. If Jennifer had her very own blog, she’d write about dogs 98.6 % of the time, which would be normal for her.

Everyone knows she wants a dog more than a trip to Hawaii or a Rolls Royce (that’s not so normal). If and when we get one, I fear that my place in the hierarchy around here will slip behind Jennifer, the dog, the TV, microwave, cars, refrigerator, stereo equipment, etc.

I’m not joking. That dog will be treated like royalty. Take a look at what Jennifer writes about today:


OK, I admit it.  I am a “girly girl.”  I LOVE being pampered.  I truly enjoy going for massages, facials, pedicures, you name it.  I have commandeered four of our five large shelves in our linen closet for all my jams, jellies, and miscellaneous goos.  Kevin has taken me to many amazing spas.  From the award-winning Sundara Spa in Wisconsin Dells to SpaHalekulani in Hawaii (honored with the coveted Mobil Four-Star rating, the highest bestowed in the Mobil Travel Guide, "America's Best Hotel & Resort Spas") I have been to some prime pampering places.  In a hectic and stress-filled world, I find it is important to relax and recharge on occasion.

Admittedly, a Golden Retriever doesn’t need to worry about his big presentation to a new client, and I’ve yet to hear about a Dachshund who is concerned about paying her mortgage.  Most Shih-Tzu’s are more focused on what is in the treat jar than what is in the checking account.  Still, don’t our four-legged family members deserve some pooch pampering?

Have you thought about taking Fido for a facial, or Max for a massage?  Sound more far-fetched than a Frisbee throwing contest?  You’d be surprised.  Dog spas are more than just a fancy term for a traditional grooming service.  They cater to your canine in the same way their owners are at similar humans-only locations.

Despite news reports and analysis of an economy in the tank, consumers continue to put their pets at the top of their budgets. 

Before you toss this idea out with your latest chewed-up slipper, read about the International Association of Animal Massage & Bodywork. 

Want to learn how to spoil your spaniel at home?  Plenty of opportunities for that, too.

So the next time you’re pawing through the phone book looking for a day spa and deciding whether to choose deep tissue, Swedish, or hot stone massage for yourself, why not turn to Lassie and ask her what SHE would like?  
---Jennifer Fischer

Now why'd she have to go and mention I've been in a spa???? More on that some other time...we're talking dogs here and that means we have come to that portion of The Barking Lot where we examine:


1) Remember the dog food scare of 2007? Many dog owners gave up on dog food and started feeding their pets right off the dinner table. offers suggestions on people food you shouldn't feed to Fido.

2) You've heard of banning cell phones and text messaging while driving. Get a load of this...

That's it. Tune in again next week. Same dog day. Same dog blog.


Boomgaard: Suppose we start over...


Let’s suppose for a moment that Franklin had a magic wand that could instantly erase everything that’s transpired thus far about naming the 27th Street Corridor the “Boomgaard District.”

No six months of extensive research.

No suggestion of the name, “Boomgaard.”

No Franklin Common Council vote.

No Oak Creek Common Council vote.

No ridicule on the blogs.

Poof! Back to square one.

That would, no doubt, please a lot of people.

However, it might be too late for that.

Please allow me to present another perspective.

Wisconsin has a great deal of difficulty attracting new business. We have one of the worst business climates in the country, according to the nonpartisan Tax Foundation in Washington D.C. that puts out an annual ranking of such measures: 

“Wisconsin ranks 39th in the Tax Foundation's State Business Tax Climate Index. The Index compares the states in five areas of taxation that impact business: corporate taxes; individual income taxes; sales taxes; unemployment insurance taxes; and taxes on property, including residential and commercial property.”

Franklin and Oak Creek are now attempting to attract new business to the 27th Street Corridor. That wouldn’t be an easy task under normal circumstances. The mission has just become more difficult given the torrent of negative publicity we’ve been receiving.

We’ve heard the reasons the name Boomgaard was chosen. I’m on record opposed to the name. My opposition is in the form of a loud, “You’ve got to be kidding” chuckle, not a scream for “60 Minutes” to fly here.

Boomgaard was chosen instead of orchard, in part, because planners wanted to convey an international feel. The visionary goal of this project that seems to have been lost by many people is to attract international businesses and investors. Credit must be given to those involved for lofty, high expectations of billions of dollars in economic impact.

Imagine one of those potential international investors picking up the Journal/Sentinel, or reading one of the blogs, or Googling “Boomgaard.” Think about what that investor sees.

The Milwaukee Journal/Sentinel reports today, “At last week's Franklin Common Council meeting, one woman chastised aldermen for spending her tax dollars on a name derived from ‘a homosexual red-light district in Holland,’ repeating an unsubstantiated claim that's circulated online.”

The unsubstantiated claim was made by an anonymous individual who’s darkened the Franklin blogs in the past with slanderous comments made about me and blogger Fred Keller whom I have a lot of respect for. In this day and age where you can say anything about anybody or anything on a blog, this anonymous unfettered individual did just that.

Here’s what’s so surprising. The person’s reputation for irresponsible comments should have sent a signal to check out his claim thoroughly. The remarks could have even been temporarily deleted from blogs until verified. Instead, they were left up to stir up even more controversy, controversy that has turned the discussion about this project into tabloid talk at the supermarket checkout line.

Potential tenants pay attention to this stuff, folks. They don’t wander into an environment where they perceive they might be treated with hostility.

I also want to mention Ted Grintjes, the suddenly maligned chair of the 27th Street Steering Committee.

I don’t know him that well, but I know of him. Franklin owes a lot of gratitude to him for his work in getting Northwestern Mutual Life and Wheaton Franciscan here. I would remind everyone that this man is a volunteer, giving countless hours of his time and expertise. I do hope he doesn’t get frustrated and continues on because if he should step away, and I’m not suggesting that’s a possibility in any way, shape, or form, Franklin would be hard-pressed to find a replacement with his institutional knowledge, or volunteer time for that matter.

I imagine we could reconsider this whole mess, toss Boomgaard out, and try to come up with something else. While that might lead some to pop open the champagne, it would also send a message to the business community and others that we really don’t have a clue as to what we’re doing.

We’ve all poked fun at the Boomgaard name, including yours truly, more than once. How long are we going to stare at the spilled milk and talk about it before we move on?

My guess is my thoughts will fall into two categories:

1) They will be mischaracterized.

2) They will be in the minority.

My point is this.

While we have crusaded against Boomgaard in the name of fiscally sound and open government, the damage might have already been done.

The Internet is now plastered with stories, quite frankly, that make us look foolish, led by the entire red-light, homosexual nonsense perpetrated by an anonymous individual who should never have been taken seriously.

People want to “send it back” when it comes to this project?  Guess what? This entire project may have been sent back because we used too much tunnel vision instead of thinking about the big picture.

Yeh, we sure showed them, didn’t we.

Happy Mother's Day!

I think about my dad.


Try everyday.

He left me and my family too early.

But in the 25-plus years I had my father, we jammed in 50 years worth of doing everything together.

That only makes his loss to me just a bit less painful. The immense quality time we shared is little consolation for his time on Earth being struck down so prematurely.

I have been blessed for what I am sure all of you reading would say you also enjoy, and that is having the greatest mother in the world.

The blogs all too often can become a cesspool of personal attacks and evil hatred. I wish somehow that we all could meet one another to see that we are all human and possess positive qualities that would almost assuredly soften the malice that exists in the blogosphere. My detractors would disagree, but my mother raised two marvelous sons who, if they have any redeeming qualities, and I say they do, they got them from an incredible mother who means the world to her humble son who could never repay her for all the love, devotion, and sacrifice she has given.

God bless you and thank you, Mom. I owe you everything. Please forgive me that I couldn’t begin to set the scorecard even no matter how hard I tried. I’m pretty sure Dad sends his love, too.

On this Mother’s Day, musically speaking, are there any great Mother’s Day songs?

That depends who you ask.

If you ask me, there are.

Shall we begin with the most influential song in music history?

And guess what?

It just happens to be about Mama…

Read more

My most popular blogs

Most popular

Countdown time.

As I post every Sunday, here are the five most popular of my blogs from the past week:

1) Putting it in perspective, Franklin

2) Boomgaard: The gift that keeps on giving

3) Culinary no-no #53

4) Happy Cinco de Mayo 2008

5) Dear Mom, Thank you so very much-Sincerely, Tim


Read more

$10 million...


Big time.

Food news

This Thursday, May 15, the Greenfield Sendik's at 79th and Layton has its Grand Opening at 10 a.m.

The same day, the Johnsonville Big Taste Grill will be in the parking lot at the Franklin Pick 'n' Save from 3-8 p.m. raising money for charity.

I saw the Big Taste Grill at Polish Fest years ago. It's impressive.

Culinary no-no #54

Culinary no-no's

A glazed donut and latte at Dunkin’ Donuts.

A McDonald’s Big Mac and fries.

Spicy fried chicken meal at Popeye’s.

Simple question………do these items have few or many calories?

Let's see.

Donut and latte at Dunkin’ Donuts: 350.

The Big Mac and fires have 790.

The Popeyes’ meal will get you 1100.

You more or less knew all that.

And you didn’t need me to tell you.

But in New York, certain restaurants, like the ones mentioned above, must post the number of calories for each item on their menu boards or face fines beginning in July.

Yes, there are food police.

Pencil-pushing inspectors are now barging into restaurants, clipboards and cameras in hand, handing out citations. They’re doing it in typical bureaucrat fashion, humorless and threatening.

Enforcement is inconsistent.

One inspector may say the calorie warning is fine.

Another might look at the sign and say it’s not
BOLD enough.

Certainly we can figure out if a quarter pounder is loaded with calories.

Do we really need the government to dictate to businesses that they must plaster their menu boards with calorie totals?

I say no-no.

Read the NY Times story:


Paul Rivera, the manager of a Dunkin’ Donuts on Park Avenue South, indicating the number of calories in a drink the shop serves.
Published: May 6, 2008

5 Restaurants in Manhattan Get Citations Over Calories

To read previous Culinary no-no’s, please click CULINARY NO-NO under my TAGS section.

Even the liberal NY Times is down on ethanol

The New York Times

May 11, 2008

Rethinking Ethanol

The time has come for Congress to rethink ethanol, an alternative fuel that has lately fallen from favor. Specifically, it is time to end an outdated tax break for corn ethanol and to call a timeout in the fivefold increase in ethanol production mandated in the 2007 energy bill.

Read more

Your restaurant helping just got smaller

Last Sunday, I blogged about efforts by local restaurants to deal with rising food prices.

A few days later, ABC News reported that it's happening all across the country.

What's worse than appointing judges?

Following Michael Gableman’s victory over Louis Butler in the state Supreme Court election April 1, there was a loud hue and cry to strip decision-making away from voters and appoint state Supreme Court Justices. Some suggested having the governor do the appointing or some other panel of politicians.

Of course, had the liberal Butler won, there would be no such talk.

As bad as the idea of appointing justices is, there’s a system that, I submit, is worse. It’s in place in Johnson County, Kansas where lawyers select state court judges. That could change in November when voters in the county decide whether to keep or get rid of the process.

Phyllis Schlafly, a national leader of the pro-family movement and a nationally syndicated columnist writes in her most recent column:

“A judicial activist on the Wisconsin Supreme Court felt the wrath of voters in April when he became the first justice ousted by voters there in 41 years. Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle, who had appointed him, called the negative campaign for that seat a ‘tragedy,’ but the real tragedy is when voters have no say-so in combating the judicial tyranny. Many important issues face state court judges in addition to school funding. Same-sex marriage was decided by only one vote in the highest courts of five states. It's unlikely that any judge elected by the people would declare the Pledge of Allegiance unconstitutional, as some life-tenured federal judges have done and could do again.”

She’s right.

Liberals always talk about how they hate disenfranchising voters, except in instances when they can hand-pick the activists who legislate from the bench.

Voters in Kansas need to vote to give themselves the right to vote.

Derek Fisher, don't let the boos get to you

Topics talked about on WISN

One year ago this very month, I blogged about and devoted a WISN radio segment to Derek Fisher, at that time a hero with the Utah Jazz.

Now a member of the Los Angeles Lakers, Fisher has quickly become a villain in Utah.

It’s extremely unfortunate that fans lacking class in Utah have reacted to Fisher in a despicable fashion. They're far too short-sighted to understand Fisher chose Los Angeles, not because he wanted to stick it to Utah, but because Los Angeles afforded access to medical professionals his daugher desperately needed.

Fisher, as my blog from a year ago reported, selflessly gave up millions of dollars so he could be closer to his young daughter and get the proper medical attention she required for what amounted to cancer in her eye.

The story is in the forefront one year later because the former Utah playoff hero ended up signing with the hated Lakers who are now playing against Utah in the current round of the NBA playoffs.

Fisher talked about the shoddy reception he got in Salt Lake City with ESPN. Click the link here, then click on the video.

Last week, the Desert News reported:

The update, as of Monday:

"Medically, Tatum is doing great," Fisher said. "We continue to, obviously, watch very closely. But for intents and purposes ... doctors feel there's no cancer cells, or a threat to her life.

"The tumor's still there, because of the treatment we chose, which allows her to keep her eye. So as long as the tumor's there, there's always a chance of the cancer coming back. That's why we have to watch so closely."

Tatum's Los Angeles doctor is an ex-colleague of her surgeon, which Fisher said "really gave us the confidence that, 'OK, if we can't be in New York, this is the guy we want to see.' "

"The tumor in the eye she experienced — they start like a pin mark on a paper. That small," he said. "So if you aren't watching closely, and if you're not dealing with doctors and medical people that have seen this for 25 or 30 years, and know exactly what to look for, you could miss something. We never want that to happen again.

"But she's doing great, and prayers and support and love have been tremendous. I don't know what more we can ask for, as a family."

Here's more from the Salt Lake Tribune:

Kragthorpe: Derek Fisher's hardest day, Jazz fans' greatest cheer, came a year ago, today

By Kurt Kragthorpe
The Salt Lake Tribune
Salt Lake Tribune
Article Last Updated:05/09/2008 01:04:27 PM MDT
Telling the story of the emotion-filled day when he agonized about losing his infant daughter and winning a basketball game, Derek Fisher remembered everything about the feelings, fears and satisfaction he experienced. 

He completely forgot the date: May 9.

Only when someone pointed out how today would be the anniversary of the events that began with Tatum Fisher's initial, successful cancer treatment in a New York hospital and ended with her father's triumph at EnergySolutions Arena did the convergence hit home. Exactly a year later, he would be coming back to Salt Lake City, facing his old Jazz teammates in a playoff game.

"Wow," he said.

Fisher inspired the Jazz's overtime defeat of Golden State, providing one of the greatest memories in the team's history and receiving one of the arena's loudest, warmest welcomes after he arrived from the airport and checked into the game late in the third quarter, barely pausing along the team bench.

Eventually, his only shot of the game, a three-pointer at a critical stage in overtime, helped secure the win and created what Sports Illustrated would label the NBA's signature moment of 2007.

"It was life in a day," Fisher said this week, standing on the Lakers' practice court. "You think about all the good and the bad and the cheers and the tears and everything that happens in your lifetime. . . . To feel the threat of losing someone you love so dearly to then being able to go out and do something you love so dearly, the game of basketball, to juggle both of those in the same day was really remarkable."

At the moment Fisher showed up, Andrei Kirilenko was playing point guard, because starter Deron Williams was in foul trouble and reserve Dee Brown was at a hospital, having injured his neck in a first-half collision.

Fisher played the last 3:18 of the third quarter, then returned for the final 1:13 of regulation and stayed through overtime. He had not even touched a basketball for three days, but finally felt comfortable enough to drill a shot from the left corner that boosted the Jazz's lead to six points in OT. The shot gave his day a perfect ending and convinced him forever that the positive thoughts and prayers of fans helped make it all happen.

So just imagine the celebration a year later, when Fisher returns to play in front of those fans.

Uh, maybe not.

If the greeting is anything like the reception for Fisher during the Lakers' two regular-season visits, it will feature more jeering than cheering.

"Our fans . . . man, I hope they don't boo him the same way they did," said Jazz forward Carlos Boozer.

You loved him then. You hate him now? 

The reaction is understandable, to a degree. In July, when Fisher succeeded in having the Jazz and the NBA free him from his contract and later signed with the Lakers for about two-thirds of the $20.5 million remaining on the original deal, citing how Tatum's medical needs could best be met in Los Angeles, this was my question:

Do you back him unconditionally? Or do you wonder how much of this was calculated?

It was clear in November when Fisher came back as a Laker that "calculated" was trumping "unconditional" among Jazz ticket-buyers. He was booed every time he touched the ball, and he was stunned.

"I didn't expect to be cheered or revered as a hero of any kind," he said this week, "but I didn't necessarily expect that reaction."

The feelings expressed that night - and to a lesser degree in March, when Fisher returned - play deeply into Utahns' resentment of the Lakers. If he had signed with a team in another of the cities his New York-based doctor recommended for accessible treatment of Tatum, such as the New York Knicks, Memphis Grizzlies or even the L.A. Clippers, the emotion would be reduced.

Anybody but the Lakers, in other words, especially now that they've become good again and Fisher is among the reasons for their improvement.

His absence has also accelerated the Jazz's growth, making room for guards Ronnie Brewer and Kyle Korver. It's just that now, at the most important time of the year, he's hurting them. In Wednesday's Game 2 victory, Fisher scored 22 points on 7-for-10 shooting.

Asked if facing Fisher in the playoffs makes him second-guess owner Larry Miller's accommodation of him, coach Jerry Sloan said, "Larry made the decision; we've supported that decision."

Fisher obviously has no misgivings about the move. Tatum, who will turn 2 on June 29, is improving as a result of a procedure she has undergone every four weeks at Children's Hospital of Los Angeles. To deal with retinoblastoma, a rare form of cancer lodged behind her eye, her parents disdained the generally accepted method of removing the eye. The cancer is gone, following a year of treatment, Fisher said, but she is being closely monitored.

Fisher's career, which he described as "at risk" when he left the Jazz, is thriving. His regular-season statistics as the Lakers' starting point guard - including 43.6-percent shooting, 40.6 percent from three-point range, 11.7 points - were career highs or close to them. He contributed to longtime teammate Kobe Bryant's MVP season, he's credited as a stabilizing influence on young teammates and he's contending for a fourth NBA title.

The Jazz, to whatever degree of annoyance they may present, are temporarily in his way. So are their fans, whose feelings Fisher addressed by saying, "I don't know if there's anything I could even do or say at this point that would change that. . . . You just want what's best for your family and the people you love at that time, and how people respond is really secondary or maybe doesn't have a place at all."

It would be naive to believe Fisher could not have known that rejoining the Lakers was a possibility, when he asked for his contractual release. It would also be very cold to think this was just a shrewd basketball move that happened to help his daughter, which is how the ESA crowd came across during the regular season.

"I think if you were to pull each of the fans aside, maybe outside of the arena, and ask them, they recognize what he did and can appreciate someone going through that," said Jazz center Jarron Collins.

Anybody who was in the building last May 9, even while knowing only part of the Fishers' story at the time, could never forget what happened.

You loved him a year ago. You can't hate him tonight.

On the anniversary of his legendary game, Fisher deserves to hear cheers when the Lakers' starters are introduced. 

Or how about just an absence of boos, for that brief moment?
* KURT KRAGTHORPE can be reached at To write a letter about this or any sports topic, send an e-mail to

A year to remember 
A lot has changed since Derek Fisher's memorable day a year ago...

May 9, 2007
Fisher's day begins with his daughter's initial, successful cancer treatment in New York and ends in Salt Lake City, where he inspires an overtime playoff victory against Golden State, providing one of the greatest memories in the team's history.

July 19, 2007
Signs a three-year contract with the L.A. Lakers for about two-thirds of the $20.5 million remaining on his Jazz deal.

Nov. 30, 2007
Gets booed every time he touches the ball in his first game at EnergySolutions Arena since leaving the Jazz for the Lakers. He scores three points in Utah's 120-96 victory.

March 20, 2008
Gets booed again, to a lesser degree than in November, at ESA as the Lakers prevail 106-95. He scores 11 points.

May 9, 2008
Returns to the ESA for Game 3 of the second-round playoff series - exactly one year after what Sports Illustrated labeled the NBA's signature moment of 2007. 

Like the New York Yankees, the Lakers are a glitzy, tradition-laden franchise that sports fans love to hate.

Even if you despise the Lakers, you have to be pulling for Derek Fisher, and especially little Tatum.

(NOTE: The Lakers won the first two games of the best-of-seven series, but Utah came back to win the next two in Salt Lake City. The series is tied at two games apiece)


There is no "Boomgaard" red light district controversy


Franklin blogger Fred Keller laid that ugly, vicious rumor to rest in a blog today, although he had to go to, I’ll just say, “unusual” means to get the answer he was looking for.

It is extremely unfortunate that an anonymous individual with a reputation for spreading lies and posting ridiculous, disgusting comments was allowed to blow this out of proportion on some of the Franklin blogs, leading a resident to raise the issue at a Common Council meeting and the Journal/Sentinel to print it.

This unreliable and irresponsible individual may have done irreparable harm to the 27th Street Corridor project.

His comments are not welcome on my blog. They really don’t belong on any of the community blogs and I would challenge my blogging colleagues to do what I have done and refuse to print his garbage.

Please join me in praying for Robb Edwards

I've been blessed to meet many wonderful people in my career.

One of the nicest, most decent individuals I've had the extreme pleasure to know and work with is Robb Edwards. He and his lovely wife, Vicki have been dear friends for many years.

I am deeply saddened to learn that my former colleague at WTMJ suffered a heart attack today and will be undergoing bypass surgery.

Robb, who is the public address announcer for the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park is a great guy with so many supportive friends in his corner pulling for him.

His pleasant voice and dedication to his trade have pleased millions of listeners in his tremendous career.

God bless you, my good friend and a speedy recovery so you can return where you belong....behind a microphone, bringing smiles to everyone who hears you.

I guess that Steering Committee meeting wasn't so tough to attend after all

Thanks to Franklin Alderman Steve Olson, every single Franklin blogger, including those who are suddenly tripping over each other to champion open government, were informed about the details of today's 27th Street Corridor Steering Committee meeting at Oak Creek City Hall.

Not good enough, some wrote.

It was set to begin at 4:00 p.m.

How can anybody get to these meetings, for pete's sake! least two bloggers did.


Is Oak Creek Mayor Dick Bolender....

The 2008 version of George Petak?

Yes, first he loved the name, "Boomgaard."

Now, a la  Bill Clinton, with finger in the air to gauge the wind, and USA TODAY in hand to read the latest polls, he' s suddenly opposed,

Wal-Mart haters won't like this

It seems despite the rough economy, Wal-Mart is doing just fine thank you, enjoying 1st quarter profits.

You mean to tell me that when the economy is struggling, that consumers starved for deals and bargains will turn to….GASP!!!!!......Wal-Mart………….. to save some of their hard-earned money?????

Of course they will because more money in their wallets is more important than how many trees or bike stands Wal-Mart has put up.

Now this news drives the Wal-Mart haters (primarily liberals) nutso since they are repulsed by a large corporation that creates jobs and economic development actually making money. Forget the fact that people enjoy shopping at Wal-Mart and benefit from the experience. Wal-Mart is evil!

Apparently not.

Could it really be 10 years already?

But it’s true.

Ten years ago today, we lost a legend, Francis Albert Sinatra.

Recently, USA Weekend paid tribute.

The Wall Street Journal chimes in, as does the USA TODAY.

The LA Times reports the anniversary is big business.

Enjoy the Chairman of the Board.

Read more

John McCain, in his own words

Thirty-five years ago today, U.S. News & World Report ran a first-person account written by John McCain about his five and half years in captivity as a POW in North Vietnam.

Badly injured after being shot down, McCain was forced to endure unbearable conditions.

McCain’s story can be found on the U.S. News & World Report website. Here are a few excerpts:

Some North Vietnamese swam out and pulled me to the side of the lake and immediately started stripping me, which is their standard procedure. Of course, this being in the center of town, a huge crowd of people gathered, and they were all hollering and screaming and cursing and spitting and kicking at me.

When they had most of my clothes off, I felt a twinge in my right knee. I sat up and looked at it, and my right foot was resting next to my left knee, just in a 90-degree position. I said, "My God--my leg!" That seemed to enrage them —I don't know why. One of them slammed a rifle butt down on my shoulder, and smashed it pretty badly. Another stuck a bayonet in my foot. The mob was really getting up-tight.

I remained in solitary confinement from that time on for more than two years. I was not allowed to see or talk to or communicate with any of my fellow prisoners. My room was fairly decent-sized—I'd say it was about 10 by 10. The door was solid. There were no windows. The only ventilation came from two small holes at the top in the ceiling, about 6 inches by 4 inches. The roof was tin and it got hot as hell in there. The room was kind of dim—night and day—but they always kept on a small light bulb, so they could observe me. I was in that place for two years.

In those days—still in 1968—we were allowed to bathe every other day, supposedly. But in this camp they had a water problem and sometimes we'd go for two or three weeks, a month without a bath. I had a real rat for a turnkey who usually would take me out last. The bath was a sort of a stall-like affair that had a concrete tub. After everyone else had bathed, there usually was no water left. So I'd stand there for my allotted five minutes and then he'd take me back to my room.

They took me out of my room to "Slopehead," who said, "You have violated all the camp regulations. You're a black criminal. You must confess your crimes." I said that I wouldn't do that, and he asked, "Why are you so disrespectful of guards?" I answered, "Because the guards treat me like an animal." When I said that, the guards, who were all in the room—about 10 of them—really laid into me. They bounced me from pillar to post, kicking and laughing and scratching. After a few hours of that, ropes were put on me and I sat that night bound with ropes. Then I was taken to a small room. For punishment they would almost always take you to another room where you didn't have a mosquito net or a bed or any clothes. For the next four days, I was beaten every two to three hours by different guards. My left arm was broken again and my ribs were cracked.

Here is the entire story about a bona fide American hero.

Supervisor Borkowski holds Town Hall meeting

Milwaukee County Supervisor Mark Borkowski, whose district includes part of Franklin, holds a Town Hall meeting Thursday, May 15 from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the Greenfield High School Auditorium at 60th and Layton.

Great news about Robb Edwards

Here's the update.

They never had a class like this when I went to school

A lot of people my age I’ll bet would love to go back and relive their college experience.

I remember my college days at UWM as not being very provocative or exotic.

They’re not supposed to be after all.

Part of the time, I worked at WUWM where I did a lot of reporting/anchoring on serious, controversial stories. Those days were spent in the spartan station facilities in the basement of the Fine Arts Building on campus, a far cry from the state of the art studios the station enjoys today.

I recall economics classes in Bolton’s large lecture hall, with all 500 seats filled.

And other classes in non-descript typical college classrooms in typical college buildings like Chapman, Cunningham, Enderis, and Curtin Hall’s.

Never did I have an experience like students at Randolph College in Virginia.

Last month, I named the school as one of my VILLAINS OF THE WEEK in one of my Week-ends blogs. Here’s why.

That’s not a course parents should waste their kids’ tuition on.

I would, however, have been in a mad dash to register for a class a friend of mine in Las Vegas told me about.

But, let’s be real. This would never be a course offering at UWM.

PETA's not happy

Have you ever had foie gras? 

 Chicago restaurants again will be able to serve foie gras, such as this seared Hudson Valley variety, now that the ban on the dish has been repealed.

Read more

Remember this, one year ago today?

So, those of you who fell for did that gas boycott work out?

The next battle in the voter ID war

The eyes of voter ID supporters and opponents are on the state of Missouri this week. On this issue, legislators in the appropriately nicknamed “Show Me State” reportedly will support a constitutional amendment on voter ID.

This amendment would be even tougher than Indiana’s strict photo ID requirement that was recently upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court. If the Missouri Legislature approves this constitutional amendment, and voters statewide approve it in a referendum in August, Missouri voters will be required to show proof of citizenship when registering to vote.

Arizona is the only state to have such a requirement, but the New York Times reports 19 states are considering the idea, due to the rising concern over illegal immigrants attempting to cast ballots.

The Missouri House has already approved the amendment. The Senate must approve the amendment before the session ends Friday in order for the measure to go to voters in August. If the measure fails this week, there are reports the governor may call a special session of the Legislature to work on the amendment.

Read more in the New York Times.  



The Franklin Common Council did NOT take any vote during closed session at its March 18, 2008 Common Council meeting pertaining to the 27th Street Corridor, and that includes the name “Boomgaard District.” (See G-14 on Page 4)

I discovered that information today during a teleconference with Franklin City Attorney Jesse Wesolowski and Franklin Alderman Steve Olson, both of whom were behind closed doors during that closed session.

Wesolowski told me during the teleconference that because he represents the Franklin Common Council, he could not violate attorney/client confidentiality. However, he said that any Common Council member who wished to discuss what happened in closed session could do so.

“I think he (Kevin) wants to know if a vote was taken,” Wesolowski said to Olson.

Olson replied immediately that he had no trouble answering that question.

“No vote was ever taken,” said Olson on "Boomgaard" or anything else.

Olson also told me that he has known Wesolowski since 1991 and he has never known Wesolowski, whom he called a “stickler,” to ever violate the Open Meetings Law.

This is why the nickname could be referred back to the Steering Committee for further study so easily. There was no vote by the Franklin Common Council to officially reconsider.

I believe City Attorney Wesolowski and Alderman Olson.

Erroneous blogs, fueled once again by unsubstantiated rumor and opinion rather than fact on this “vote” of which there is no record of ever taking place have led to other erroneous discussions in reader forums and on talk radio. Stirring up controversy just to prop oneself up and accumulate blog hits is irresponsible.

Believing earlier blogs to be true, I did post in a few of my entries that the Franklin Common Council voted in support of the name, “Boomgaard.” This information is not true. I regret that I wrote it in some of my blogs on this topic and retract those statements and encourage other bloggers to do the same.

I also believe the Franklin Common Council is on solid ground having gone into closed session.

Please direct your attention to Page 18 of the “Wisconsin Open Records Law Compliance Guide” written last year by Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen. Look at #4 under the section, “When is it permissible to convene into closed session?”

Let’s review:

The Franklin Common Council, I believe went into closed session legally on March 18, 2008 to discuss the 27th Street Corridor.

NO, I repeat, NO vote was taken on the name “Boomgaard” or any other matter.

Thus, there was no violation of the Open Meetings Law.

The fact that no vote was taken allowed the "Boomgaard" matter to be referred back to committee.

Once again, someone tried to pass off wild speculation as fact on these blogs. It turned out to be false, leading me to wonder what other opinions that we've been fed are inaccurate. I doubt we’ll get an apology or retraction from that individual.

This doesn’t change my position that has been mischaracterized so I’ll repeat it once more. I don’t like the name “Boomgaard” and the public should have been given an opportunity to be involved in the naming process, an invitation they would have accepted with great enthusiasm.

However, there is no justification to continue to report that the Franklin Common Council voted in closed session to support the name “Boomgaard,” and in doing so, violated the Open Meetings Law.

They did no such thing.

That’s a fact, something I hope to read more of in future blogs on this topic.

Tonight on InterCHANGE

The panelists will discuss these topics tonight on InterCHANGE on Milwaukee Public Television Channel 10 at 6:30 (the show is repeated Sunday morning at 11:00):

Philanthropist Joe Zilber’s gift of fifty million dollars over the next ten years to a handful of yet to be determined poor Milwaukee neighborhoods, unsolved murders in Madison, and the state budget repair bill.

I will be joined on the panel by regulars Gerard Randall and Joel McNally.

Kathleen Dunn of Wisconsin Public Radio, who like yours truly was one of the original panelists over 11 years ago has decided to take some time off from the program and may return at a later date.

Saturday on This Just In....

It's our weekly installment of Week-ends.

Is this guy....

A hero of the week?

A villain of the week?

Or something else?

And you're going to have to be pretty smart to be up for wife Jennifer's edition of The Barking Lot, Saturday on This Just In....

Read more

It costs nothing to say "Thank You" to a service member

The Paralyzed Veterans of America says on its website:

“Our country is grateful to our nation’s military service members, both active duty and veterans, for their dedication, courage, accomplishments and sacrifices to protect our everyday freedoms. We salute our nation’s military service members for their service to our country and have designed resources to allow you to honor and support them. Spread the word within your communities.”

The PVA offers you a chance to send a free e-card to a veteran or service member.

Saturday is Armed Forces Day.

What a great idea to sacrifice just a few minutes to send a message to a fine American to say thank you and brighten his/her day.


Help WISN help our troops

As many of you know, I fill in often for talk show hosts at Newstalk 1130 WISN.

The station is observing Saturday, Armed Forces Day by holding a collection drive at the War Memorial for much-needed items for our troops.

Please consider and be generous if you can.

Thank you!

"This music has no expiration date"

This past week marked the 10th anniversary of the death of Frank Sinatra.

In my opinion, it’s disheartening that the milestone didn’t get more attention.

However, it is very encouraging that because of his legend and great body of work, there are stars of today and future up and comers that will strive to keep the man and his music alive.


Read more

This one's for Apollo

Read more

Missouri Voter ID update

I blogged this week that the Missouri Legislature may give voters the chance to vote on a constitutional amendment that would require proof of citzienship in order to register to vote.

The MIssouri legislative session ended Friday.

Here's what happened.

Franklin police....

Along with some Franklin residents will be happy to hear this.

Not every graduate is mature

Just ask Phyllis Schlafly.
Now I can certainly understand why these so-called young adults would behave the way they do at one of the most important occasions of their lives.

After all, Phyllis Schlafly writes about such horrible, disgusting topics like how the government spends all those wonderful tax dollars, illegal immigrants, and what's happened to teaching history.

The future of our country apparently believes that Schlafly's views should never, ever be discussed or printed.

Why, that would amount speech.

That's what four years of college being taught and brainwashed constantly by liberals does to our youth.




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...


Frank Fabiano

Strangers at a soccer game

Oscar Pistorius........future Olympian?

Jennifer Sharpe


Roy Jackson

Deadbeat parents

Bus driver attacker

Charles Williamson

Jamar Hornsby

Bakery burglars


"The United States pulling out of Iraq or pulling out of the Middle East or not maintaining a forward presence would send all kinds of signals throughout the Middle East.  And it would shake everybody's nerves, and it would embolden the very same people that we're trying to defeat.”
President Bush, in an interview published in

“Why is it tough sledding for Republicans? Public revulsion at GOP scandals was a large factor in the party's 2006 congressional defeat. Some brand damage remains, as does the downward pull of the president's approval ratings. But the principal elements are the Iraq war and a struggling economy.”
Former senior adviser to President Bush, Karl Rove, in a Wall Street Journal op-ed piece.

"I have some news for Senator Obama. Talking, not even with soaring rhetoric, in unconditional meetings with the man who calls Israel a stinking corpse, and arms terrorists who kill Americans will not convince Iran to give up its nuclear program. It is reckless to suggest that unconditional meetings will advance our interests. You know it would be a wonderful thing if we lived in a world where we don't have enemies. But that's not the world we live in.  And until senator Obama understands that reality, the American people have every reason to doubt whether he has the strength, judgment and determination to keep us safe."
Senator John McCain, speaking to a conference of the National Rifle Association in Louisville.

"Some seem to believe we should negotiate with terrorists and radicals, as if some ingenious argument will persuade them they have been wrong all along. We have heard this foolish delusion before. As Nazi tanks crossed into Poland in 1939, an American senator declared: 'Lord, if only I could have talked to Hitler, all of this might have been avoided.' We have an obligation to call this what it is –- the false comfort of appeasement, which has been repeatedly discredited by history."
President Bush, speaking before the Knesset on the 60th anniversary of Israel's statehood.

"After almost eight years, I did not think I could be surprised by almost anything George Bush says. He accused me and other Democrats of wanting to negotiate with terrorists and said we were appeasers no different than people who appeased the *** before World War II."
Senator Barack Obama at a campaign event in South Dakota.
(Note: This website will not print a certain word from Obama's quote. The word refers to Hitler's Party)

" The more people they get on, the better."
Citizens for a Safe Wisconsin co-president Sandy Maher-Johnson, on GPS tracking of sex offenders.

"You have been reported to DOR as a person who recently purchased cigarettes where the cigarette use taxes and sales taxes . . . due may not have been paid.”
From a warning letter sent from the state Department of Revenue Department to more than 1,000 Wisconsin smokers who bought cigarettes from Internet vendors, telling them to either stop buying them that way or pay the $1.77-per-pack state tax that took effect January 1.

"We can (and must) act quickly and decisively to support programs that work, replace those that don't, bring proven and promising solutions to scale, sustain them long enough to gain traction and provide them with sufficient resources to get the job done.”
Philanthropist Joseph Zilber, announcing he will give $50 million over the next 10 years to poor city of Milwaukee neighborhoods.

“Only a handful of black leaders move away from racial demagoguery to challenge their communities. Bill Cosby is one of them. In a recent speech at an Atlanta high school, Cosby ripped the apathy that grips many blacks when it comes to the devastation in their own communities:

"The mother’s on crack cocaine. Pass the salt. That girl’s baby has no father. Pass the salt. Oh, he shot him in the head? Pass the salt. We look at failure, and we’re like, ‘Pass the salt.’" So said Cosby before going on to blast other blacks who tell him to stop speaking of these things. "That’s crazy," he said. "There are black people who have to walk around this dirty laundry."

In Milwaukee, there is no equivalent of Cosby. Here we have Junior McGee. The leading black newspaper columnist is terrified of confronting black sociopathy. The only Milwaukee black leader ever heard to confront problems of criminality and family instability is Sheriff David Clarke, and his comments are often criticized.

How is Joe Zilber’s $50 million going to be spent? On more basketball courts? Social workers? Condom giveaways?”
WISN’s Mark Belling, on Joseph Zilber’s announced gift of $50 million to city of Milwaukee neighborhoods.

“Just once, when the state is facing a deficit, we'd like to hear someone — anyone — say, ‘OK, to fill this deficit honestly, these are some things we'd have to consider cutting. If we cut this and this and this and this, that'll get us to $500 million, not just for this budget but hereafter, too.’ Just to see what that would look like.”
The Appleton Post-Crescent, ripping the state budget repair bill.

“Legal or illegal? That's the question I'm currently wondering about in regards to the closed session votes taken by both Franklin and Oak Creek on March 18th, 2008.

I'll also note that Franklin's Common Council voted UNANIMOUSLY on the name in closed session as well on March 18th, 2008. Therefore, if the Journal Sentinel and Mark Belling state that Oak Creek violated the law, then Franklin officials did as well. Some residents I've spoken to have told me that State law provides reasoning for votes in closed session if (and ONLY if) coming out into open session would have made the closed session discussion pointless. Ultimately, I think this deserves to be decided on by the Milwaukee County District Attorney's office. I'm simply no longer comfortable sitting here and having credible sources on both sides defend their spots. In cases like this, that is why there is a District sort out the junk and make decisions.”
FranklinNOW blogger Greg Kowalski in some of his blogs this week, reporting that the Franklin Common Council voted in closed session on the nickname, “Boomgaard” for the 27th Street Corridor.

“I think he (Kevin) wants to know if a vote was taken,” (Franklin City Attorney Jesse) Wesolowski said to (Franklin Alderman Steve) Olson. Olson replied immediately that he had no trouble answering that question. “No vote was ever taken,” said Olson on "Boomgaard" or anything else.
From my blog Thursday, relating a teleconference I had with both Wesolowski and Olson on whether the Franklin Common Council had voted behind closed doors as Greg Kowalski charged several times on his blogs. Kowalski’s opinion wasn’t fact. Kowalski was wrong. Bringing in the DA wasn’t necessary. All it took was a few phone calls to get to the truth.


On Thursday, California’s Supreme Court on a 4-3 ruling legalized gay marriage in the state. The ruling trumped a state law, known as Propsotion 22, declaring that only marriages between men and women were legal. In 2000, 61% of voters in California approved Proposition 22. This week, 4 judicial activists supplanted their view for the will of the majority of California voters. If they want to legislate, these guys should take off their robes, get off the bench, and run for the state Legislature.


The Associated Press reported this week:

"The budget balancing plan the Senate passed Tuesday would still leave the state nearly $1.7 billion short three years from now. The nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau delivered that news to Republican state lawmakers in two separate briefings just before the Democratic-controlled Senate voted 17-16 along largely partisan lines to pass it. Only state Sen. Tim Carpenter, D-Milwaukee, broke party ranks to vote no."

Then why did this fiscally irresponsible plan even come up for a vote? And why did so many legislators vote in favor?


The Dream Ticket, Obama and Clinton?

Not gonna happen.


Pampering cows is good for business.

Talk about cutting back on gas.....this guy is really sacrificing.

Next time, just steal some bags of peanuts

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.

Stupid quote of the week

I don't have such a category in my Saturday blog, Week-ends. If I did, former Republican Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee would be a contender this week.

Huckabee has this reputation for having a neat sense of humor. But he certainly wasn't funny at the NRA Convention this week in Lousiville.

During his speech, a loud sound could be heard. That's when Huckabee offered this beauty:

"That was Barack Obama. He just tripped off a chair. He's getting ready to speak and somebody aimed a gun at him and he -- he dove for the floor."

The Washington Post called it, "awkward."

Bad things can happen when politicinas stray from the script.

Barack Obama knows that very well.

The Barking Lot

The Barking Lot


In my first installment of The Barking Lot, I talked about my two childhood dogs, Sugar and Skippy.  I said that Skippy was smarter than some people I know.  I attributed her genius qualities to the fact that she could fetch a particular toy when told to, was easily trained not to go in my bedroom, and every morning when I said it was “time to put my face on” she would march in the bathroom before me, and lay down in front of the sink while I applied make-up. 

Sugar, on the other paw, would chase a paper plate around the kitchen trying to lick up the last crumb of a tasty treat.  (Skippy would place one paw on the paper plate while she was eating and easily remained stationary.  No one in our family taught her to do this, she just “knew” it made sense.)  Sugar had a pretty limited vocabulary.  She did, however, always manage to know the phrases, “Do you want a beef stick?” and “Do you want a Liv-a-Snap?”  I think any canine worth their weight in kibble learns at an early age the family lingo for treats. 

After researching canine intelligence for this blog, I have learned that my precious pooches followed the patterns that animal behaviorists have recognized for a long time.  There are many schools of thought when it comes to brainiac Border Collies (or any other breed for that matter.)  A basic dog-lover like me feels that the next big game show to hit the air waves should be “Are You Smarter Than A Field Spaniel?”  At the first sign of above-and-beyond intelligence we want to see if we should change Rocky’s name to Einstein. 

I’m not sure I agree with MSN’s ranking an octopus over an Old English Sheepdog but I will admit that when it comes to figuring out Fido, I have a lot to learn. 
---Jennifer Fischer

Thank you, Jennifer.

My turn again.

That means it's time for DOGS IN THE NEWS, canines that made headlines the past week.

1) Cudahy wants to ban pit bulls.

2) A puppy mill mom and her pups are still at an Oshkosh shelter.

And finally,

3) It was not the Lizard Man.

UPDATE on 5/18/08:

Jennifer and I know a wonderful woman who has become the foster mom of a one-year old German Shepherd named, “Heidi.” Her owner passed away, and our friend is temporarily taking care of Heidi while she seeks someone to buy her.

Heidi has all her papers, shots, and has a good temperament.

If you’re sincerely interested in giving Heidi a good home, contact us via e-mail at, and we’ll put you in touch with Heidi’s foster mom. Thank you.

That's it for this week.

Just remember, folks....
Dogs need weekends, too.


Read more

Nope, it ain't Franklin

Relocate America is out with its annual list of rthe best places to live in America.

A Wisconsin city made the Top Ten.

Any guesses?




La Crosse?



West Allis? (Stop choking!)


None of the above.


Here are the Top Ten and the entire list of 100 cities.

Your next visit to Lake Geneva just got a whole lot quieter

If this is the worst of their problems, Lake Geneva doesn't have much to worry about.

From the Chicago Tribune:

Lake Geneva cracking down on motorcycles without mufflers

By Emily S. Achenbaum

Read more

Run, Scott, run!

Scott Walker would be a tremendous governor.

Imagine, taxing and spending under control.

No gimmicks with the veto pen.

No raids of this fund or that fund.

A far friendlier business climate.

Photo ID.


Walker hints at GOP governor bid

Stevens Point - Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker said today he is considering a 2010 bid for governor, but downplayed the notion that any such campaign is imminent.

Walker ran briefly for the Republican gubernatorial nomination in 2006, stepping aside for then-U.S. Rep. Mark Green (R-Green Bay), who lost to Gov. Jim Doyle.

Walker, a former Republican member of the Assembly, won a second full term as county executive in April. During the campaign, he resisted calls to promise he would complete the term.

"I've not been shy about the fact we need a new governor," Walker said in an interview this morning. "I think the governor, particularly when it comes to the economy, has a lot of failed programs and broken promises."

He added: "There's no doubt in our mind, as much good as I can do for the people of my county, I could do even more if I could put the state back to work again."

Walker is attending the state Republican Party convention, where he has received a prominent role. He spoke this morning at the party's prayer breakfast. He will speak to the full convention later this morning, the only local official to get such a role.

Walker said he has no timetable to decide, but noted: "Decisions like this won't officially happen until after the (fall) election cycle."

My most popular blogs

Most popular

As I post every Sunday, here are the top five most popular of my blog entries from the previous week:

1) Your restaurant helping just got smaller

2) Culinary no-no #54

3) Even the liberal NY Times is down on ethanol

4) Food news

5) Week-ends (5/10/08)

Juuuuuuuust missing the top five: Boomgaard-Suppose we start over

Culinary no-no #55

Culinary no-no's

Name that food, as described with the following phrases by individuals who tasted it for the very first time:

It’s very dark

It's almost black.

It's the color of wet mud

Looks like toothpaste rather than cream

It’s too sweet

Since their inception 96 years ago, Oreo cookies have been a phenomenal success in America, with over 419 billion sold. But they’ve never been sold in Britain, until just recently.

In the land where cookies are referred to as “biscuits,” there, of course, is a long-standing tradition of taking one’s biscuit and dunking it.

In tea.

What about milk?

Have you lost your crumpets?

That would be a British culinary no-no.

The Brits dearly love their biscuits, dating back to the time laborers had to manage a cup of tea and two, at best, biscuits to dunk during short ten-minute breaks.

Now Kraft has launched an all-out advertising blitz, promoting America’s favorite “biscuit” in Britain.

What’s been the response?

The Brits don’t like it.

With noses scraping the ceiling, Brits doubt this new (to them) Oreo can measure up, be worthy to be incorporated into the rich tradition of dunking a sturdy “biscuit” at tea time.

The British tabloid, the Mirror writes, "It comes as no surprise that the Yanks would try to snatch the biscuits from our mouths and replace them with a tackier piece of inferior confectionery. Let's face it, they've colonised every other aspect of our lives so successfully that we no longer go to shops but malls. Those gaudy, neon-flashing cathedrals to Satan, filled with Gaps, Wal-Marts, Hollywood Bowls, Starbucks and a thousand junk-food 'drive-thrus'. We have to take a stand. We can't allow Kraft to do what they've already done in China and monopolise the market with their best-selling cookie."

Now this takes a lot of chutzpah coming from a people that have no business acting like culinary snobs.

They don’t like Oreos?

Keep in mind the Brits have given us such gastronomical delights as:

Steak pie

The Blue Anchor flagship steak, mushroom, and sausage pie

Meat pie

The classic meat pie. This healthy specimen got a bit banged up from the oven to the plate!


Weetabix - A staple of British life - Shown in

Shepherd's pie

Blue Anchor Shepherd's Pie with Peas and Carrots for color

Read more

It's the churches' fault

One of the guys I usher with every week at Sunday Mass is a grumpy curmudgeon who never greets me with, “Good morning.” Upon seeing me walk into church, sourpuss huffs and puffs his way over to me and  immediately launches into a litany of complaints about anything and everything: the weather, gas prices, politicians of both parties, the strange looking guy in the last pew, etc, etc.

Two weeks ago, he had a legitimate beef. The owner of a home in a rundown city of Milwaukee neighborhood, my ushering partner (a retired senior citizen) was upset upon learning that his reassessment showed an increase of $12,000 in the value of his property, even though not a single improvement has been made.

Given his penchant for arguing, it’s no surprise he went to City Hall to let off steam where he says he talked to “some woman.”

During their discussion, which had to be a load of laughs for the City Hall bureaucrat, the usher was told his taxes and fees were so high because you have these churches in town that don’t pay anything, so it’s citizens like my fellow parishioner who have to make up the balance.

I realize I’m getting details of the conversation second-hand, but the general gist of what the bureaucrat said, as related by the usher, seems plausible.

I mentioned to the usher that I found it interesting that the excuse-making bureaucrat who used churches as scapegoats for the city’s inability to hold down taxes didn’t blame people on welfare or other have-nots for the plight of the “haves.”

Spoken like a true bureaucrat. City of Milwaukee officials from the mayor on down can’t act responsibly when it comes to budgeting. Then they resort to one of the oldest tricks in the book, jacking up assessments unfairly, and blame it on those evil freeloading churches.

That bureaucrat ought to be ashamed of herself.

I thought the governor couldn't use his veto pen like that anymore


When Governor Doyle creatively used his veto pen, again, on Friday to make changes in the budget repair bill approved narrowly by each house of the Legislature, the move had Wisconsin voters scratching their heads.

They legitimately asked if they had done away with such crafty vetoes when they voted overwhelmingly on April 1 in favor of a constitutional amendment to do away with the Frankenstein veto.

How could Doyle do what he did?

Let’s review.

Here is the question most of you voted, “Yes,” back on April 1:

"QUESTION 1: Partial veto. Shall section 10 (1) (c) of article V of the constitution be amended to prohibit the governor, in exercising his or her partial veto authority, from creating a new sentence by combining parts of two or more sentences of the enrolled bill? "

There was a fair amount of reporting by the news media prior to the April 1 vote that while there would be changes, Wisconsin’s governor, regardless of party affiliation, would continue to enjoy great veto power.

In January, The La Crosse Tribune wrote this:

"But even if an April referendum banning the practice is approved, Wisconsin’s governor still will have the strongest veto power in the country, an expert on state government said.

A ban on the Frankenstein veto would prohibit Wisconsin’s governors from combining disparate words and phrases from different sentences to stitch together new sentences in spending bills — and create new laws the Legislature never intended.

But governors would still be able to:

·  Reduce spending amounts by eliminating numbers (striking a zero, for example, to cut an appropriation from $100,000 to $10,000);

·  Reduce spending amounts by writing in lower figures;

·  Effectively change policy in new laws by striking words within a sentence, or cutting whole sentences within a given budget item.

'Wisconsin still will have the most powerful veto (if the Frankenstein veto is banned), which makes the governor extremely powerful,' said Ed Miller, a political science professor at University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point."

How did Governor Doyle use his veto authority last week?

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported Saturday:

“Doyle's vetoes were the first since voters slightly limited his powers on April 1. Voters approved a constitutional change that ended the 'Frankenstein veto' by saying that governors could not strike words from two or more sentences to make new sentences.
But the governor still may strike individual sentences or parts of sentences and erase individual digits and string numbers together in one sentence. On Friday, Doyle used the 2, 7 and 0 from a reference to the years 2007-'09 to order $270 million in spending cuts by July 1, 2009.

Those cuts were much deeper than the $69 million for which lawmakers called.”

Remember, the governor, according to the approved constitutional amendment, is prohibited from “creating a new sentence by combining parts of two or more sentences of the enrolled bill.”

Take a look at what Doyle actually did.

As you can see, Doyle got around the prohibition my making edits in the same sentence.

It may look and sound stinky.

But the Legislature took the appropriate action in passing the constitutional amendment in two consecutive legislative sessions, and voters made the right call by voting, “Yes.”

An example of how Wisconsin hates business

My wife dragged, I mean accompanied me on an afternoon drive to Cedarburg Saturday afternoon.

In addition to the obligatory gift shops, we strolled past the new Silver Creek Brewpub with its beer garden nestled right next to, and I do mean right next to the Cedarburg Creek.

Outdoor tables were filled with patrons enoying the lagers, ales, and 70-degree weather.

The brewpub made me think about a blog I wrote two weeks ago about businessman Tony Pipito who decided he was going to open his Italian villa-themed cocktail lounge/restaurant on Silver Lake in violation of local ordinances, risking daily fines.

The Milwaukee Journal/Sentinel has written a follow-up.

Pipito has, indeed, opened Club Porticello and citations with hefty fines are now being issued.

Read more

If you follow the FranklinNOW blogs closely, read this carefully

This one requires some insight on your part.

It helps if you're a regular visitor to the blogs on this website.

I’m going to link you to a blog written by a concerned citizen in Caledonia.

For those of you who read the FranklinNOW blogs regularly, read the Caledonia blog carefully.

As you read it, see if any parallels come to mind between the Caledonia blog and anything you know about the blogs right here in Franklin.

Here you go.

Yes that is an interesting opinion piece in the Business Journal about Boomgaard


I truly enjoyed reading Greg Kowalski’s blog that excerpted a Milwaukee Business Journal opinion piece critical of the name, “Boomgaard.”

The piece was written by John Murphy, Executive Director of Howl Fire.

Howl Fire is in the public relations and communications business.

So is the Zizzo Group that came up with the name, “Boomgaard.”


That would make Howl Fire a competitor of the Zizzo Group, now wouldn’t it?


It would seem to follow that Howl Fire would stand to benefit from publicly criticizing the Zizzo Group.


Take a look at who works for Howl Fire.

Why, it’s my friend and former colleague from WTMJ, Jeff Fleming.

Now would you look at that.

Fleming is the public relations director for Howl Fire.

I'll bet he offered some suggestions on that Business Journal piece.

And it just so happens that Fleming once worked for…………… the Zizzo group that is now his competitor!


Connect the dots, ladies and gentlemen.

Hey, I’m just sayin’.
UPDATE ON 5/19/08: John Murphy of Howl Fire who wrote the anti-Zizzo piece was an employee of Zizzo Group Advertising & PR up until April of last year.

It's official: Franklin bloggers are obsessed about Boomgaard




I think that assessment is accurate.

During the week of Sunday-Saturday, May 11-17, there were many, I mean a lot of blogs about “Boomgaard.”

Let’s go to the BOOMGAARD SCOREBOARD: Who wrote ‘em and how many?

GREG KOWALSKI:  11 (out of the 13 blogs he wrote the entire week)






That’s 27 blogs on Boomgaard last week written by Franklin bloggers.

Now, is there anything wrong with that?

Absolutely not.

I’ve said it often, especially to other bloggers who’ve asked me about topic selection that you write about what you’re interested in or passionate about.

Here’s what I find interesting.

During that same time period, how many Boomgaard blogs appeared on OakCreekNOW?

After all, this is the hottest topic ever in the history of Franklin and Oak Creek, isn’t it?

Congress needs to investigate.

Governor Doyle should call in the National Guard.

Mark Belling and Charlie Sykes even talked about it on their radio programs (and because they did, suddenly, we really like them).

Local pols are lying. (Even though we don’t know who, what or when, we’re going to blog it anyway).

They met behind closed doors and VOTED, THEY VOTED, EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM, FOR BOOMGAARD (well, not really, darn it).

So, how many blogs did the OakCreekNOW bloggers write last week on this potential Pulitzer?


How can that be?

Don’t they realize how scandalous this story is?

There’s no way of knowing, but it makes we wonder if people in Oak Creek don’t really care or aren’t as bent out of shape as the Franklin folks. Maybe Franklin folks aren’t all that angry either. We have anecdotal data, but certainly nothing scientific.

Belling and Sykes?

They were smart to bring it up because it’s a great talk radio topic, not because of any earth-shattering scandal, but because the name Boomgaard does warrant immediate giggles and sneers. As a talk radio host myself, any topic that can heap some ridicule and create laughs will get air time. (If either host hinted at a controversy, it was because of false information they read on one or more of the blogs).

As far as a scandal goes, I’d love cold, hard facts and evidence that we’ve had government malfeasance.

So far, we know poor judgment was made in selecting a PR firm with a dubious track record that came up with a name that’s highly questionable.

We asked why the public wasn’t let in on more of what was going on. We got answers. We don’t like the answers we got.

Should the entire affair been handled differently?

Of course.

But how many times are we going to put on our Boris Karloff masks and yell, “BOOMGAARD….BAD!”

Probably a lot more.

Because Franklin bloggers (some more than others) are obsessed.

Buckhorn update

The controversial Buckhorn Inn has applied for a Class B liquor license.

The tavern will be discussed at the Franklin Common Council meeting this Tuesday.

Item G.20 on the agenda:

Buckhorn Tavern practices and operating procedures investigation in relation to reports pertaining to State of Wisconsin vs. Eddie Lynn Keck, Milwaukee Circuit Court Case 2007CF006262; License Committee Authorization.

The action item is:

A motion to authorize the License Committee in its discretion to issue a summons and preside over a hearing pursuant to the applicable provisions of Wis. Stat 125.12 following receipt and review of a recommendation from Special Counsel which may require such actions in the matter of the Buckhorn Tavern practices and operating procedures investigation in relation to reports pertaining to (the above court action).

This item is procedural in nature. It merely grants the License committee the authority to hold a hearing and issue summons. 

Roger Pyzyk, the City Attorney of Greenfield is the special counsel appointed by the Franklin Common Council to review in an unbiased manner. The Franklin Common Council authorized up to $5,000 from the City Attorney’s special counsel budget to fund Pyzyk’s services.

Maybe, just maybe, those wheels of justice that move so slowly are now in motion.

I'd love to hear the Buckhorn representative explain before the License Committee the rationale as to why their license should be renewed.

The background.


Today I’m announcing the 2nd Best Dining in the Franklin-area Survey, with the winners to be chosen by you, the readers of “This Just In.”

Inspired by similar surveys conducted by Milwaukee Magazine and, I’m out to engage readers in a public service to showcase the best in our community.

This project comes at a time when there’s a buzz about future retail developments in Franklin and the anticipation of bigger and better things to come. My goal is to recognize and acknowledge the quality establishments we have in and around Franklin.

The success of this endeavor depends solely upon your input and participation. Feel free to pass this along to others you know. The more votes cast, the more representative the survey will be. There are over 20 categories with some news ones to cast your votes in. Here are the rules and guidelines, followed by a ballot you can copy and paste and send to me to have your vote counted.


1) The survey is open to anyone, no matter where they live.
2) One vote per person per category. There is no limit of voters per household. (If 4 people live in a household, 4 separate votes will be allowed.)
3) Deadline for entries will be Saturday June 14, 2007.
4) Copy and paste ballot (see below) and e-mail to me. The link to e-mail me is next to my photo on my blog.
5) You do not have to vote in each category. You may vote in all categories or the categories of your choice.
6) You can vote for the same place in more than one category.
7) Please feel free to add any comments about your selections that may be included in the final story.
8) Selections must be limited to restaurants in the Franklin-area. For purposes of this survey, that includes Franklin, Greendale, Greenfield, Oak Creek, and Hales Corners.
9) I will post a winner and a runner-up for each category.

Thank you for participating.


Best place for appetizers

Best appetizer (menu item)

Best Bakery

Best Breakfast

Best Lunch

Best Burger

Best Coffee Shop/Café

Best Décor

Best Desserts

Best Fish Fry

Best Frozen Custard

Best Patio

Best Pizza

Best Romantic Restaurant

Best Seafood

Best Steak

Best Subs/Sandwiches

Best Family-Friendly Restaurant

Best Asian

Best Italian

Best Mexican

Best Bar Food

Best service


Top two restaurants (names or types of restaurants) you’d like to see open at Fountains of Franklin, or anywhere in the city for that matter.

Another pitch for weather radios

I have blogged that Franklin doesn’t need to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to overhaul its warning sirens.

Concerned citizens simply need to make a modest purchase of a weather alert radio.

But don’t take my word for it.

Listen to these guys.


Are you ready to play?

It’s time once again for another This Just In edition of:


Are you ready?

Well then, let’s play!

Today’s Final Jeopardy category is:


Now, you know how this works.

In a moment, I’ll give you the Final Jeopardy clue.

You will have 30 seconds (if you play fair, that will be when the music runs out) to come up with an answer and remember, players……… your answer must be in the form of a question.


Here’s your clue.


Good luck! (please click)


OK, time’s up.  Today’s Final Jeopardy category is IN THE NEWS.


The correct Final Jeopardy answer is:


What is 30 million tons.


Many, many years ago, my mother worked with two other women in the lunchroom of a Catholic grade school. They could tell you horror stories about the waste.

There is no reason why anyone on the planet should go hungry, and yet, the world finds itself in the midst of a food crisis.

The New York Times has more.



Keep it down, Franklin

Nice weather will soon be here. That means plenty of idiots barreling down the street, car windows down, blasting God-awful music at ridiculously ear-splitting levels.

The Milwaukee Common Council voted 12-1 today to approve a six-month pilot program that will allow citizens to report noise violations. Citizens can report the violator’s license number to police along with the date and time of the offense. The offender would be sent a warning letter and charged up to $100 for each violation.

What about Franklin?

Franklin does have a noise ordinance. The Franklin Police Department informs me that if you violate the ordinance, the forfeiture is $109.00.

The website notes the following from November 1997:

“The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that the Common Council in Franklin, Wisconsin approved an amendment to the city's noise ordinance that give police officers greater discretion in deciding noise violations. Police officers will be able to issue a citation even if the decibel level of the noise doesn't violate city noise standards, the article says.

According to Mayor Frederick Klimetz, the intent of the ordinance changes is to give police increased ability to respond to noise complaints, the article reports. For example, an officer could issue a citation for noise at a late-night party even if a decibel meter check shows that the noise level is not in violation of the ordinance. Klimetz said the police officer will have to determine whether the noise level is disturbing the peace and quiet that is reasonably expected and customary at the time of his investigation. Noise citations carry fines of $50 to $200, the article notes."

I'll bet some would find this to be more harsh than having to pay a fine.


Irresponsible reporting?

Tonight on the Milwaukee Brewers telecast, announcers Brian Anderson and Bill Schroeder blasted the blog, Badger Blogger.

Badger Blogger wrote yesterday that a source close to the Brewers claimed Ned Yost would be fired before the day was over.

It didn’t happen.

During tonight’s broadcast, Anderson said Yost was “steamed” about the report. Schroeder called the blog post, “irresponsible reporting.”

The Journal/Sentinel's beat writer for the Brewers also expressed anger (We know his employer never makes a mistake).

 This is unfortunate. While some blogs get high marks, far more are based on opinions that aren’t based in fact. Those blogs make it more difficulty for the blogosphere, in general, to achieve credibility and respectability.

Badger Blogger is not an irresponsible blog. It is one of the best around that has done excellent work for a long time.

I believe Badger Blogger had a source. The source was wrong.  At least, yesterday that source was incorrect.
 I am of the opinion the under-achieving Brewers aren’t going to any playoffs as long as Yost is the manager. Owner Mark Attanasio will run out of patience if the Brewers don't start playing up to their capability. The hope is that three million fans will go through the turnstiles this season at Miller Park. That won’t happen if the Brewers are mired near the bottom of the division.

And Yost won’t be able to survive.

Yost could very well be fired. It just didn’t happen yesterday.

In my book, Badger Blogger is still pretty doggone good.


Not every graduate is mature: UPDATE

Last weekend, I blogged about how students at the Washington University graduation ceremony disrespected conservative Phyllis Schlafly,  all because she was being awarded an honorary degree.

Here’s an update.

Karin Agness, a first-year law student at the University of Virginia writes in a column on about the noted individual who wanted to read onstage the citation given to Schlafly:

Even more striking about this controversy is that Trustee Emeritus Margaret Bush Wilson volunteered to read the citation to award the degree.  Wilson was the first woman of color to serve as the national chair of the NAACP, the second woman of color admitted to practice law in Missouri and is a prominent civil rights attorney.  She volunteered to read because of her strong belief in the importance of free speech.”

I love it.


Clinton smashes Obama in Kentucky


Obama  35%

Barack Obama may very well be the Democrat nominee when the dust settles. But he and the Democrats have a major, major problem.

Once again, Obama has demonstrated he can’t capture white, blue-collar, rural votes.

Not even close.

He got his hat handed to him.

Keep fighting, Hillary!


Activist judges at it again

This time, in Virginia.

A federal appellate court in a 2-1 ruling shot down the state’s ban on partial birth abortion, claiming it was more restrictive than the federal ban that has been approved by the U.S. Supreme Court.

That’s right.

Even though the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that a ban on partial birth abortion is unconstitutional, two judges have inserted their will in place of the highest court in the land.

They’ve also substituted their judgment in direct opposition to the Virginia Legislature that passed the Partial Birth Infanticide Act of 2003.

The Virginia House voted 77-27 in favor of the ban. The Virginia Senate voted 27-12 in support. That translates to 73% of the Legislature favoring a ban on partial birth abortion.

The overwhelming majority of Americans, including pro-choice supporters believe in a ban on this barbaric procedure.

But two judges felt they knew better.

Very sad.


How about a nice tall glass of urine?

Would you drink toilet water?

It’s a preposterous question.

Yet this seems to be one of the latest trends in technology in general, in water-purification to be more specific.

In one of the most beautiful and pleasant cities in America, a pilot program to purify sewage water and return it through household faucets is planned in San Diego.

That’s icky enough. The cost really stinks.

The San Diego Union-Tribune reports:

“A full-scale 'toilet to tap' system would cost San Diegans an incredible $4.5 billion. Indeed, reusing sewage water for potable purposes is the most costly form of water on the planet. According to city water department estimates, recycling sewage water for drinking would cost $1,882 per acre-foot. This is more than three times the cost of imported water from the Colorado River or the Bay-Delta, which is priced at $515 per acre-foot. Even desalinated water is cheaper, at $1,400 per acre foot. Significantly, 'toilet to tap' supplies would be more than twice as costly as the 19,000 acre-feet of reclaimed irrigation water that the city currently wastes at the North City Water Reclamation Plant." loves the idea.

This is an incredibly horrible concept that poses tremendous public health and safety hazards.

Think about what ends up in that raw sewage that is transformed into drinking water.

Prescription drugs.

The San Diego Union-Tribune editorializes that an Associated Press five-month long investigation found sex hormones, antibiotics, mood stabilizers, anticonvulsants, and other drugs in the drinking water in major cities. San Diego’s drinking water contained, “ibuprofen, a pain reliever; meprobamate, a tranquilizer given to mental patients; and phenytoin, a drug to control epileptic seizures."

These drugs get into drinking water through human excrement or they’re flushed down the toilet.

How incredibly irresponsible is making toilet water into tap water? The National Research Council says it should only be done as a last resort.

Here are more details from the San Diego Union-Tribune.

The toilet-to-tap strategy isn’t being implemented just on this planet.

We’re taking the idea into space.

This is about as crazy as it gets.



The desperate search nationwide for relief at the gas pump

The numbers keep changing.


And up.

And up again.

And up some more.

Fullerton and Ashland

A BP gas station at Fullerton and Ashland Avenues in Chicago sells regular grade for $4.49 per gallon Monday. Chicago tops the nation for highest average gas prices at $4.07 per gallon of regular unleaded. (Chicago Tribune photo by Michael Tercha / May 19, 2008)

Many states around the country are trying to provide some assistance at the gas pump as the summer driving season unfolds.

There is the much-talked about idea of a gas tax holiday and debit cards for motorists.

While states desperately search for ways they can control potential relief for motorists who are ready to drive their vehicles into bodies of water, you can forget about any such help in Wisconsin.

A gas tax holiday?

It’s been suggested before, and has gone nowhere.

Attempting to throw a roadblock in front of contributions to the state’s Transportation Fund via curtailing the gas tax would never fly today, given Governor Doyle’s immediate transformation into Pavlov’s dog whenever he gets the chance to raid the Transportation Fund to use those dollars for something totally unrelated to roads and cars.

Thank goodness a group of Wisconsin legislators is pressing Congress to do something about the mandated boutique gas we have to purchase in southeast Wisconsin.

But I fear it’s a sure bet relief at the pump in Wisconsin this summer is next to impossible.

So what does that leave us?


Hey, Jennifer…… about a drive to downtown Cudahy this weekend?

I hear Packard Avenue is lovely this time of year.

Read more about the relief states are considering here.


Ald. Sohns' stunt misses the point, big time

Boy, I guess Franklin bloggers really got under Franklin Alderman Lyle Sohns’ skin.

Based on information posted by blogger Greg Kowalski, Sohns thought he was such a clever devil at Tuesday night’s Common Council meeting by releasing property tax records of Common Council members and Franklin bloggers.

If he was attempting to make some news bulletin dramatic point, the guy failed miserably.

Let’s back up just a bit.

I haven’t said a word about a private meeting I had with Sohns not too long ago. But I’m compelled to write about it now, given his goofy stunt Tuesday night.

Another Franklin blogger and I met with Sohns and Alderman Steve Olson to discuss the pledge signed by Mayor Tom Taylor to hold the property tax levy increase to 3 %. Our hope was that the two aldermen would agree to the same pledge.

I like Alderman Sohns and respect him. But to be honest, on more than one occasion at this meeting where he said he would not support the pledge because it just couldn’t be done, he condescendingly spoke to me on budgets as if I didn’t know the difference between a dollar bill and an electric shaver.

He riddled me with one excuse after another about why holding the line on taxes was impossible.

He also presented me with a copy of the last city of Franklin budget and a rundown of the property tax records of some of the Franklin bloggers.

Seeing the bloggers’ numbers made me chuckle and react with a big, fat, “So what!”

What I told Sohns that day is just as true today, the day after he staged his meaningless theatrics.

The issue isn’t what my taxes or Greg Kowalski’s or Janet Evans’ are.

I didn’t give up my time to meet with Sohns and Olson to lobby for my own personal tax break.




Sohns has voted in favor of raising the city property tax levy over 5%, beyond the rate of inflation, and has also voted to increase spending at a rate higher than that.

He claims holding the line is just too tough. Raising taxes, I guess, is the only solution, again.

And yet he tries to scapegoat the bloggers to make what point?

That taxes aren’t so bad?

I’m sorry, but if Sohns thinks my taxes aren’t that bad, he’s out of his cotton pickin’ mind.

His attitude is also troubling, that the only way to budget is to tax and spend, tax and spend, and won’t even seriously consider a 3% ceiling.

My goodness.

Can you imagine if we asked Sohns to cut 3%?

He’d go into orbit.

Now, will he be a budget hawk during budget deliberations?

I sure hope so.

But I have to wonder after what he pulled.

Lyle, did you feel really good holding up our tax records last night?

Was your chest puffed out to Oak Creek?

In your Frank Burns-like attempt at leadership, you proved nothing, Alderman.

You’re better than this.

Get serious about working with Mayor Taylor to give Franklin residents the relief they deserve and cut these stupid stunts.


Paul Ryan nails it

Entitlement spending is killing our country.

Just a little over a year ago, I blogged what I truly consider to be a must-read: where and how your tax dollars are spent in Washington.

Today, is it any wonder Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan is creating such a buzz, even being mentioned as a Vice Presidential candidate?

Ryan is the future of the GOP, as evidenced by his announcement of visionary reform measures to save America from itself.

He outlined his plans in a Wall Street Journal opinion piece.

Ryan makes incredible sense.

Will there be enough Republicans to join him along with some Democrats to implement these much-needed measures?

Probably not.

So the country continues to spend itself into oblivion.

Keep fighting, Paul.

Keep fighting.


Those annoying robo-calls

Did you get one or several during the spring election campaign season?

If so, did they drive you nuts?

Robo-calls, those pre-recorded political telephone messages have people screaming bloody murder.

There was a bill in the last legislative session to add robo-calls to the Wisconsin Do Not Call List.

Another bill would have banned them altogether in Wisconsin.

Hold the phone. The bills went nowhere.

Efforts in other states have been more successful.

Watch and listen for a ton of these to invade your household later this year. And when the Legislature returns in January, right off the heels of elections galore, you can bet robo-call legislation will be back, too.


A dairy approach to political science

Have you seen this one floating around the Internet?


Tough tourism talk from Trixie

I stumbled across a new local blog authored by a woman with two passions: sports and the Badger state.

She admits she has spelling problems, but makes up for it with an unabashed love for Wisconsin that she’ll fight to the death defending.

Any out of state visitors headed here for the holiday weekend?

Trixie has some advice about as subtle as a two-by-four to the face.

This week on InterCHANGE


Here are the topics this week on InterCHANGE on Milwaukee Public Television Channel 10, Friday night at 6:30, Sunday morning at 11:00:

1– Milwaukee Crime / Chief Flynn.

Mayor Tom Barrett and Police Chief Edward Flynn will announce proudly that crime in nearly all categories fell in the first three months of the year here.  Chief Flynn is also expected to say that crime in Milwaukee is simply not as bad as people think it is, and that the perception is much worse than reality.  I’ve been told he is also soon expected to announce in the not too distant future a major restructuring of the department.  Is crime down because Chief Edward Flynn was the right guy for the job, or is crime down because it snowed like hell all of January, February, and March?  Is it way too early too tell if the approach that Flynn is taking is working?  Is Flynn as visible as he should be?

2 – Oil Prices.

With the continually climbing price per barrel of oil, are we about to see some major changes in our lifestyles?  As demand for oil from China and India increases, will there be enough for the United States?  Will gasoline become a luxury here?  Will this force a change to allow more drilling and refineries in the United States?  Is it fair to rip American oil companies for such high profits when they actually supply just a small percentage of the oil we need?  Is it fair for the oil companies to sell the oil they produce here to other nations that are willing to pay the highest price?  Will this dramatically change the face of the auto industry?  Of the airline industry?  Will mass transit become the travel mode of choice for commuters, even in a city like Milwaukee?  Is this just a temporary spike in prices?  Will we just get used to paying higher prices?  Is a big part of the reason that prices are so high because of the taxes we pay here in Wisconsin, and the mandate that we use expensive to produce reformulated gas in this part of the state?

3– Obama vs. McCain.

So it looks like it will be Obama vs McCain fighting it out for the next six months?  Will Obama mania carry over to the general election?  Will the young people who are so enamored with him turn out in such force to offset the always guaranteed turn out of older Americans?  What will the battle focus on?  The economy?  Experience?  The War in Iraq?  Age and health?  Will it make much difference who each candidate selects as a running mate?

There is no liberal media bias: Chapter 746, 823

The Presidential election is over 5 months away and one of the nation’s many objective correspondents is already laying the groundwork that Barack Obama could have the election stolen from him.


Boomgaard: Another perspective

Franklin’s Man of the Year offers a viewpoint on Boomgaard rarely heard.

It’s in the weekly paper edition of FranklinNOW.

Whether you agree or not, it’s worth a read.

Not enough cash in Franklin

The state of Wisconsin has one.

Now the city of Franklin is suffering from the same illness.

It’s called a budget revenue shortfall.

No need to overanalyze, ladies and gentlemen.  A budget revenue shortfall occurs when incoming revenues are not enough to cover committed government spending.

Now how in the world does that happen?

How is it that a unit of government doesn’t have enough dinero to pay for all the goodies it promised?

That too is simple.

This ugly fiscal scenario is created when said unit of government SPENDS too much.

Much like when the average Joe has a balance much higher than zero on his Visa card.

Franklin’s budget revenue shortfall could reach $500,000.

That’s half a million shingles, folks.

There are some possible solutions:

1) The knee-jerk instant remedy most often used by elected officials in this predicament: Raise taxes.

2) Borrowing or bonding

3) Spending cuts

4) A combination of all of the above that might even include more spending (Ask Governor Doyle about how to pull that off).

Mark me down for option #3.

Controlling spending is the first and best way to lowering taxes.

When I last saw the alderman who’s the talk of the town these days, Lyle Sohns laughed at me when I said the city of Franklin spends too much.

A half-million dollar revenue shortfall.

No one’s laughing now.

Basel Ryan makes the Sports Section

Not BASIL Ryan......


Good work, Basel!

An example of how Wisconsin hates business: UPDATE

Take a look at this photo.

It's a picture of a restaurant/cocktail lounge that is causing controversy in Oconomowoc.

Some residents along Silver Lake say this building will, according to the Milwaukee Journal/Sentinel, "degrade the lake environment."


That sure is an ugly looking thing.

Blight, I tell you.

Property values will plummet.

Probably usher in a criminal element to boot.

Besides, the DNR says it shouldn't be so close to the water, then by God, how dare a businessman try to advance the local economy. Let's just let the building rot to hell.

Thank goodness the local bureaucrats came to their senses and granted variances so Club Porticello can open legally.

Now the daily fines against the owner need to be dropped.


Is Yost toast?

The Brewers have not had a good week.

Badger Blogger wrote that manager Ned Yost would be fired earlier this week. It didn't happen. In a classy move, BadgerBlogger apologized.

The Milwaukee Journal/Sentinel, which is never, ever, ever wrong, and has actually reported on stories that broke in the blogs first, arrogantly dismissed bloggers as being inferior to those horrible dressers/ lousy tippers that write for newspapers.

Now a NATIONAL WEBSITE is questioning if the Brewers should dump Yost.


Saturday on This Just In...

Hero of the week?

I don't think so.

But this guy does make Week-ends.

And Jennifer has the Memorial Day weekend edition of the Barking Lot....

Sometime Saturday morning.

Thanks for checking us out.

"The only time I had a similar feeling was when I photographed the pope"


How do you lose a bunch of famous Elvis photos?

George Kalinsky didn’t exactly lose them.

He told the Elvis Channel on Sirius Satellite Radio that photos he took of the King simply wound up in a file for over 35 years.

Kalinsky was working as the photographer at the legendary Madison Square Garden in June of 1972 when Elvis played his concerts there. 

Pictures he took have now materialized and are the subject of a new exhibit at Graceland that opened today.

Elvis performs at Madison Square Garden in June 1972.

Prior to those 1972 shows, Elvis gave a rare news conference. Here are some excerpts. Note the atmosphere, more buzz and excitement than any Presidential press conference:

Read more

Sunday night, Channel 10, 7:00

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Franklin, how can this be?


FRIDAY, May 23, 2008, 1:53 p.m.
John Neville

Panel OKs outdoor dining for restaurant

One of Franklin's newest and most popular sit-down restaurants won approval for outdoor dining.

Gus Hosseini, owner of Gus' Mexican Cantina, 6514 S. Lovers Lane Road, will soon add a 1,020-square foot outdoor dining area to his restaurant.

The Franklin Plan Commission unanimously approved a site plan amendment at a meeting Thursday night allowing construction of the patio to accommodate an additional maximum of 56 seats.

How can this be is right?

We have not studied this for two or three years.

What will the outdoor chairs look like?

Will they be aesthetically pleasing enough?

What color will the chairs be?

Will I be able to bicycle from my house directly to the outdoor seating?

Will there be plants near the outdoor chairs?

What about trees?

How many trees will be planted near outdoor seating?

What kind of trees?

Was the DNR consulted?
 Did Gus meet all of the 478 permits?

Can customers smoke at the outdoor seating?

How many seats will be designated non-smoking?

What happens if the wind blows the smoke into a nearby backyard?
 Do we need to set up barriers?

What happens if someone spills hot sauce on the sidewalk and birds or insects get in to the hot sauce? Could this be unhealthy for them?

Has the Planning Commission fully reviewed the impact on animals, birds, etc., from spilled Mexican food? Why weren’t there a dozen public hearings on this matter?

Why weren’t the Franklin bloggers informed about this?

Is there some huge conspiracy going on here?

How much tax money was spent considering whether chairs and tables could be placed outdoors?

Are the chairs going to be manufactured in Amsterdam?
 If so, does Mr. Grintges get a cut?

Were there any teleconferences held about this?



Was the Zizzo Group involved?

I’ll bet they were, even though I have zero proof, I’m still going to write about it on my blog.

Did they get paid for this decision?
 How much? And when?

Was it behind closed doors?

I’m going to sign on my computer and contact the DA’s office, then Governor Doyle and the National Guard.

Next thing you know, every restaurant in Franklin will want to have outdoor seating in the summer.


UPDATE ON 5/24/08

Some readers e-mailed me a few more questions about this issue:

Were the plan commissioners wearing ties or golf shirts?

Were they sitting up in their chairs or leaning back?

Were they speaking in the microphone or looking at the mayor?

Will the Environmental Development Commission list the addition of the outdoor seating as an accomplishment?

Will the Commission arrange a party there in celebration of the chairs?


The Barking Lot

The Barking Lot

The Barking Lot is a weekly blog about anything and everything to do about dogs, written primarily by my wife Jennifer. Here is her Mmeorial Day weekend edition:


This weekend, in the midst of your brats and burgers, your beers and your wine coolers…  While you are grateful for that extra day off and contemplating ways to make the most of it, think about WHY you actually have that bonus day.  Memorial Day isn’t some Hallmark-created holiday, it is a day to honor all the brave men and woman who have served our country.

Many people feel that there is not enough done to recognize the fearless dedication of our soldiers, past and present.  I am one of them.  So how often do you hear about another special group within the armed forces? 

“Their training is intense; their working conditions are deplorable; their lives are always on the line; and in at least one case, namely Vietnam, their rewards were non-existent. This profile describes the most innocent and vulnerable of combat veterans-our Nation's War Dogs.”

In my April 19th edition of The Barking Lot, I wrote about Smoky the War Dog.  She was just one of the many canine heroes throughout history  that have served their country along with their human handlers.

Look at the joy and pride on these men’s faces during the dedication ceremony of the War Dog Memorial:  

United States War Dogs Memorial Dedication
New Jersey Vietnam Veterans’ MemorialHolmdel, New Jersey Saturday, June 10, 2006



Read more



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...


All of our veterans, and those heroes who died serving our country.

Anthony Rueda…........Milwaukee firefighter

Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan

State Senator Jeff Plale and state Representative Jeff Stone

Jon Lester


Those arrested in drug busts in Franklin and Oak Creek

Cemetery vandals

Jeffry Polak


Hillary Clinton makes reference to RFK when asked why she’s still in the race. This link contains video, her comments and reaction from Barack Obama.

"We don't have enough capacity right now to deal with it -- and it's not just the troops. We only have a certain number of them and if they are all in Iraq, then its harder for us to use them in Afghanistan."
Barack Obama incoreectly telling a crowd in Missouri that Arabic translators deployed in Iraq are needed in Afghanistan. Afghans don't speak Arabic.

"We have to be able to depend on this service for the livelihood of people in this county. I don't believe that that has been the case. There has been a pass made on making financial commitment and other resources to this center."
Madison resident Don Severson, commenting at a public hearing on Dane County’s 911 system. Some local officials and residents have raised questions about the 911 system after an operator was accused of mishandling a call from the cell phone of a University of Wisconsin-Madison student who was later found dead.

“We’re working it hard. I know we’ve had some assistance from Mother Nature, but we’re also working it hard. But most people won’t believe it because they watch TV.”
Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn on figures showing decline in violent crime in the city of Milwaukee in the first three snowy, cold months of the year.

“Gov. Jim Doyle's partial vetoes of the budget repair bill shaved $12 million off the state's structural deficit compared to what lawmakers had approved, according to the Legislative Fiscal Bureau. The budget repair bill lawmakers approved left a structural deficit of $1.694 billion heading into the 2009-11 budget. LFB Director Bob Lang said the net result of the governor's vetoes left a $1.682 billion shortfall.”

"This will require more than doubling the average tax burden of the past 40 years just to keep the government afloat. Continuing down this path will eventually strangle our economy."
Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan in an op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal, noting that Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and other government spending will consume 40% of the economy by the time his three children - ages 3, 4, and 6 - reach his age. Federal spending is now about 20% of the economy and the three major entitlement programs account for nearly half of that.

“Lawmakers cannot continue with the same tax and spend policies that have failed Wisconsin families. If lawmakers in Madison don’t see soon that their current policies hurt small businesses and Wisconsin families, we will create an environment within this state that drives business away. This will lead to less tax collections from state government, and ultimately budget deficits. In order to collect the same amount of tax revenue, lawmakers will have to increase the same taxes that drove businesses out in the first place. It’s a vicious cycle that needs to be ended now before it’s too late.”
Americans For Prosperity Wisconsin Director Mark Block commenting on a report that Wisconsin experienced the fourth largest over-the-month percentage decline in employment between the months of March and April, losing 13, 600 jobs.

I also pulled the assessment records for six of the bloggers. The percent increase 4.3 about half the consumer point price index."
Franklin Alderman Lyle Sohns, proudly displaying the porpoerty tax records of Franklin bloggers at a Common Council meeting this week. By the way, the most current rate of inflation is 3.94%.

I think we’ve been doing a great job. I don’t know how you’re going to pull this 3% rabbit out of a hat.  For three years in a row."
Sohns, at the same Council meeting, speaking to Mayor Taylor about his pledge to keep the city prioperty tax levy increase at no more than 3%.

"Your tax levy for property taxes has gone down over the last five years."
Franklin Alderman Tim Solomon.

It’s almost every day that you turn on the news and you hear the price of gas went from $350 to $3.75 to $3.80 to $4.00 a gallon and now we’re hearing that it will go to somewhere around $8.00 a gallon.  All of our constituents are getting hit by this.  Their all getting hit with major increases in health care and out of pocket costs and the price of bread has gone up the price of flour everything has gone up.  They will be coming to you because there’s a few people that were just elected like me that went out there and talked to all of the, well a lot of people of the community; the only thing I heard really, there was  a lot of things, but the only thing I really heard was taxes.  And while we have based our budgets on the growth and we say well O.K. we’ve got this much this year and we’ve got that much this next year, every community in Wisconsin, every community across the United States, is going to be tightening their belt, every business is going to be wondering how they’re going to service.  And your constituents are going to be calling you, our constituents are going to be calling us, and saying, 'Do not raise my taxes needlessly.'  They’re going to be saying, 'Well, maybe we don’t need that service.'"
Franklin Mayor Tom Taylor

"Well I campaigned.  When I was campaigning obviously taxes, taxes, taxes, it was what I heard all the time.  And you go to the little old lady, that cost of gas, the cost of groceries, the cost to heat her house, and they see 5.7... or 24% or 22% for 4 years.  This is ridiculous.  This is not what we should be doing.  And my thought, is I didn’t sign a tax pledge but I’m not going to vote on a budget that’s over 3%.  The Mayor can send one to us and we can do what we want, but at a committee level I won’t vote for it.  And if I won’t vote for it at the Finance Committee I’m not going to come to the Common Council meeting and vote for it just to go along.  Maybe I'll be the one rebel."
Franklin Alderman Steve Taylor. (HT to FranklinNOW blogger Janet Evans for recording the Commoncouncil quotes and supllying them in one of her blogs).


This is why the feds say Wisconsin is still in violation of ozone standards?


again wants to soak the taxpayers. And you have nothing you can say or do about it.


American Idol.


This experiment has been flushed. 

Mexican donkey jailed.

When you’re in a hitting slump, turn to, Victoria’s Secret?

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.


How about a nice tall glass of urine: UPDATE

Earlier this week, I blogged about the ridiculous concept of turning toilet water into tap water. has an update, asking whether drinking urine can save your life.

Read to find out the answer, although you probably know…

Jeff Wagner lays the smackdown on the AG

My friend Jeff Wagner at AM620 WTMJ (A former candidate for Attorney General) says the current officeholder, J.B. Van Hollen, the only GOP bright spot in November 2006, can forget about a 2nd term.

Read Wagner's blog.

This would have looked good....

At Fountains of Franklin.

Yes I know Sendik's is just a half mile away.

Competition is good, very good.


Belling on Zizzo

In case you missed this in Mark Belling's column in the Waukesha Freeman this week...

"The silly name change at Carroll College University School Institute Academy is a lot like Marquette’s fiasco when it tried to change the name of the school’s sports teams to "Gold." That was the brainstorm of Marquette board member and public relations agency owner Anne Zizzo. She’s back with another preposterous name and this time taxpayers are paying her for it.

The communities of Oak Creek and Franklin are trying to develop South 27th Street and are paying Zizzo’s group more than $250,000 to help with the marketing. As the first installment of her quarter-million dollar project, Zizzo has come up with a name for the street: Boomgaarden. It also makes "Gold" sound good. Leaders of the two communities, much like the Marquette board a few years ago, rubber-stamped Zizzo’s idea. They’re being forced to reconsider because, and this will sound very familiar, the public is ridiculing the name and is furious about it.

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Great holiday e-mail...

It comes from a Sendik's worker:

"I’m probably working all weekend.  I’d rather be off. 

A lot of Americans are serving in other parts of the world and also will be working all weekend.  Monday our nation will be picnicking and enjoying a day off.  I’ll be thinking about the people who have died while protecting my freedom to work or just enjoy a weekend like this.  It’s unfortunate that between now and Monday we will have a few more outstanding Americans to memorialize.  I want to thank them, their families and all the others.

For me if something bad happens at my job, it’s a broken jar. There aren’t any IEDs going off."

Well said.

Why doesn't Franklin....

Have an official Memorial Day ceremony?

If someone knows, could you please send a comment.


Happy 63rd Birthday, Priscilla Presley!


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My deepest sympathies to Dan Jones

As many of you know, Dan Jones is the host of Milwaukee Public Television Channel 10's InterCHANGE that I appear on every week.

Dan's father passed away Thursday night. A death notice will appear in Sunday's Milwaukee Journal/Sentinel.

Dan, my thoughts and prayers are with you at this difficult time.

It could only happen in the Army


Underneath the Army helmet is none other than Pvt. Elvis Presley as he arrived in Friedberg, West Germany, in October 1958.
Underneath the Army helmet is none other than Pvt. Elvis Presley as he arrived in Friedberg, West Germany, in October 1958.
Kansas City Star

On this Memorial Day weekend, remember Elivs was a great American, and a veteran.

During his stint in the Army, the greatest and most famous entertainer in the world served as a chauffeur.

From the Kansas City Star:

Fort Leavenworth deputy commander honored

Jack Walker, deputy to the garrison commander at Fort Leavenworth, doesn’t want to be known as the man Elvis Presley chauffeured.

Indeed, Walker’s 50-year career in the federal government earned him special recognition Thursday from Fort Leavenworth Commander Lt. Gen. William Caldwell.

Walker, 74, oversees the post’s day-to-day affairs. Before starting that job in 1985, his lengthy army career included a stint in 1958 at Fort Hood, Texas, where the young Presley drove Walker while undergoing basic training.

“I hope I have done something that warrants more on my tombstone than, ‘Elvis was his driver,’ ” he said.
Kansas City Star, 5/22/08

Oh, I don't know. Sounds pretty cool to me.

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The worst baseball promotion....


U.S. Senators hypocritical on gas issue

Top executives of the five largest oil companies testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee this past week on Captiol Hill.

As expected, the executives blasted the CEO's for their industry's large profits while gasoline is headed towards $5/gallon.

One of the attackers: Senator Diane Feinstein (D-California).

You have "just a litany of complaints that you're all just hapless victims of a system," Feinstein told the executives. "Yet you rack up record profits ... quarter after quarter after quarter."

Other members of the panel berated the executives, demanding to know what their incomes are.

Isn't that interesting.

Over half of the members of the U.S. Senate are millionaires, inlcuding our own Herb Kohl, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and the second-wealthiest U.S. Senator who told the executives, "We can only conclude that the oil markets have failed."

Senator Feinstein, who found herself in a tizzy, reportedly has a net worth of between $49- million and $109-million.

The Senators who grilled the oil companies' top brass are the same stubborn bunch standing in the way of ways to offer relief at the gas pump in the form of more drilling, building more refineries, getting rid of ethanol mandates, and relaxing the Federal gas tax.

The state of Wisconsin makes a bigger percentage profit on the sale of gasoline than Exxon and Mobil. The same holds true for McDonald's. Why weren't Jim Doyle and Ronald McDonald called to appear before their Royal Highnesses, the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee?

Investor's Business Daily published a great editorial last Thursday that says, in part:

"As for those massive oil profits, Democrats want to slap Big Oil with a 'windfall profits tax.' In fact, since 2002 the U.S. oil and natural gas industry has earned about 8.1 cents per dollar of sales — exactly the same as all U.S. manufacturing, excluding autos. Not much of a windfall."

Big Oil is a scapegoat for the the keepers of the Ivory Tower on Capitol Hill. In reality, as Investor's Business Daily editorializes, the filthy rich Senators should be sahmed of themselves.

Here's the entire editorial.

My most popular blogs

Most popular

As I post every Sunday, here are the top five most popular of my blog entries from the previous week:


2) I thought the governor couldn't use his veto pen like that anymore

3) It's official: Franklin bloggers are obsessed  about Boomgaard

4) Yes that is an interesting piece in the Business Journal about Boomgaard

5) An example of how Wisconsin hates business

Culinary no-no #56

Culinary no-no's

Do you know anyone who likes salmon?

I do.

This person eats salmon a lot.

Try five times a week.

If you know someone who loves salmon, do not buy them this book for Christmas:

Bottomfeeder: How to Eat Ethically in a World of Vanishing Seafood by Taras Grescoe.

Canadian author Grescoe is wild about seafood, any and all kinds. He’s embarked on a long, world-wide mission to update the state of the seafood industry, everything from the Filet-O-Fish at McDonald’s to freshly caught and served seafood at 5-star restaurants.

Jennifer Jacquet writes in, the website for Tyee Books, “Bottomfeeder
investigates some of the biggest problems with fishing: corruption, overfishing of top predators, bottom trawling, illegal fishing, and the wasteful habits of bycatch and the fishmeal industry.”

The findings are not too appetizing. reports the bad news includes, “Oceanic dead zones that, because of pollution and overfishing, can no longer support organic life; salmon farms polluted by pesticides and disease; ruthless bottom trawlers with nets that can destroy entire ecosystems.”

“In a world of globalized seafood, following the trail from your fork back to the hook or the pond can lead to some pretty ugly places,” writes Grescoe.

Grescoe told in an interview, “North Americans are quite conscious about their health, and fish is amazing for your health. There are theories out there right now that early hominids' brains were able to grow because they had a source of omega 3 [fatty acids] in their diet that is only possible with a shore-based diet. In North America we consume a lot of fish, but we eat the bad fish. Eating these fish disrupts the food chains in the ocean and creates a situation where there are all these strange trophic cascades. All of a sudden there are more jellyfish in the ocean, more bottom feeders. We're changing the very nature of the oceans.”

There are heavy overtones of environmental consciousness in Bottomfeeder (frankly, I never feel guilty about anything I eat), but there’s also plenty of culinary advice about what to and what not to eat when it comes to the ever-growing popularity of seafood. You be the judge if Grescoe is too alarmist.

Here’s Grescoe’s interview with

To read previous Culinary no-no’s, please click CULINARY NO-NO under my TAGS section.


Grilling out this holiday weekend? It'll cost you more

"The backyard barbecue is where you'll see the most impact from the government's decision to subsidize the use of food to put fuel in our cars. From the ketchup to the paper plates, these are the things that are going to cost you a lot more than they used to. And this is just the beginning. Next year, it'll be even more expensive just to stay home and make burgers."
Carol Tucker-Foreman, food policy expert at the Consumer Federation of America.

Tucker-Foreman says high-fructose corn syrup can be found in most items at a backyard bbq. 

Yet another reason to hate ethanol.

According to the Associated Press, "The price of an average barbecue -- with burgers, hot dogs, beer, soda, condiments, salad, paper plates and lighter fluid -- could run families about 6% more than last year."

Let's take a closer look:

Prices for barbecue fixings

Cookout favorites 2008 price 2007 price 1-year change

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Ted Kennedy and my cousin

Like many Americans, I was saddened to hear the news that Senator Ted Kennedy has a malignant brain tumor.

Ted Kennedy

I’m old enough to remember the assassinations of JFK and RFK. While I don’t believe Ted Kennedy comes close to having the same stature of his brothers, when news of the brain tumor hit, you put politics aside. You must feel great empathy, especially given the tremendous grief and suffering the Kennedy family has had to endure.

At about the very same time I heard the news about Kennedy, I learned that one of my cousins, just a few years older than me, who had suffered a major stroke was diagnosed with a brain tumor. The tumor is treatable, but not curable. He has less than a month to live.

This Memorial Day weekend, I went to the VA to see him. Past the veterans in wheelchairs, I made my way to the 8th floor, the “waiting to die” floor as it’s called at the VA.

There are swirls of emotions you feel as you look at a once healthy, stocky, happy-go-lucky guy who is now helpless.

I must admit the VA is clean and the care my cousin is receiving is top notch. There is someone in his room with him 24 hours a day to do everything, even hold his hand if necessary.

I stayed for over an hour and talked, mostly with my cousin’s wife and the medical personnel. My cousin called me by name several times and extended his hand for a handshake when I walked into the room. After that, I’m not sure he knew who I was or that I was even in the room. Finding the right words for conversation is virtually impossible.

I tried very hard not to cry, and I almost pulled it off…….until I got outside the VA and walked to my car.

Back in the early 80’s, I anchored WUWM’s live coverage of a major announcement by Wisconsin Governor Lee Dreyfus. I have blogged about this before, but it’s relevant again.

For over 25 years, a phrase Dreyfus said in his speech, for whatever reason, has remained with me.

“I am not cavalier about time,” Dreyfus said as he announced he would not run for a second term.

“I am not cavalier about time.”

No one should be.

Life can be stripped away anyplace, anytime.

Numerous clichés also come to mind. You know, ones like living each day as though it’s your last. But does anyone really do that?

And can you imagine the daunting challenge of simple everyday management, knowing you have a fraction of a calendar left?

Every Memorial Day weekend, I spend time relaxing, grilling, spending time with family and what not.

I’m not sure what’s left on my dance card, but whatever time I have, I’ll never forget my Memorial Day weekend trip to the VA.

God and war

Where is God amidst the horrors of war?

Where is God in the midst of war?

Where is Christ during the horrors of war today?

Legitimate questions on Memorial Day 2008.

Chuck Colson tackles them in this column.

Don't forget this group on Memorial Day....

The children of our troops.

Elvis = ubiquitous

If you go to see the new Indiana Jones movie, it should come as no surprise that Elvis is prominently featured.

The King is everywhere.

If you don’t want to be spoiled, stop reading so you’ll be surprised in the theater.

If you can’t wait, read on.


Elvis in the new 'Indiana Jones' Soundtrack: The new Indiana Jones movie premiered this week during the Cannes film festival. The first 3 movies were made several years ago and are set in the 40s. Director Spielberg’s main character, played by Harrison Ford, is aged and the movie is now set in the 50s. It may not be a surprise that we hear a song from Elvis, "Hound Dog" on the soundtrack! Actress Teri Garr previously reported that Spielberg told her that Viva Las Vegas was one of his favorite movies!

From a review posted on

Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull has done nothing to dilute the integrity of Spielberg and Lucas's classic hero. Indeed, although Indy's showing some creaking bones and doesn't crack a whip quite as elegantly as he used to, this is a slick, fun film that has by no means sacrificed the fast action beats of the first three.

Even by the franchise's own standards, this is off to a quick start, opening in 1957 with a procession of army vehicles being pursued by teenyboppers. Elvis’ "Hound Dog" is on the soundtrack, but the biggest surprise is the look of Indy 4. Beautifully shot by Janus Kaminszki, the style here is pastel-hued 50s, and the structure of the film follows suit.

This blog is about Janet Evans

Yes, that Janet Evans.

The Janet Evans.

Of FranklinNOW fame.

Now, I have no idea when Janet will see this blog or where she'll be.

I can just imagine what her reaction will be.

When first seeing the title, "This blog is about Janet Evans," the response could be any of several.

Oh no!

What the hell is this?!

What is Dimples, (or that jerk, bozo, nut) up to now?

Janet's eyes are probably rolling.

Steam might be coming out of her little nostrils.

Well, actually this blog is not just about Janet.

It's also about Marjorie Pagel.

Yes, that Marjorie Pagel.

Of FranklinNOW fame.

Oh my God!

Fischer can't be serious.

He's going to blog about sweet, kind, dear Marjorie Pagel.

Why, that no good slime ball!

Here it comes.

He's not going to stop there.

You just know he'll point his poison keyboard at Greg Kowalski.

Bryan Maersch, duck!

You're not safe, either!

Actually, this blog isn't about Greg or Bryan.

But it is about Janet.

And Marjorie.

And a whole bunch of other women, including state Senator Mary Lazich.

Yes, that state Senator Mary Lazich.

And my wife, Jennifer.

So this can't be too terrible, can it?

Janet, Marjorie and Mary have something in common.

No need to over think this.

Yes, that is exactly it.


A recent release of a new social media benchmark study of more than 6,000 women by BlogHer, in conjunction with Compass Partners, shows that 36.2 million women actively participate in the blogsophere every week, with 15.1 million publishing and 21.1 million reading and commenting.

68% of this BlogHer community is concentrated in the 25 to 41 age group (the GenXr's), compared to 42% for the general blogging population. Together, the Millienials and the Matures account for only about 10% of this community. Two thirds have completed college, and 46% earn over $75,000 compared to only 25% of the general community.

Online Women Demographics
  General Population  BlogHer Women
Married/Living together 62% 77%
Number in HHD 3.2 3.2
Have children at home 46% 58%
Employed full time 34% 45%


High school graduate or less 20% 4.8%
Technical or trade school graduate   5% 3.0%
Some college/university 40% 25%
Graduated from college/university 22% 37%
Some post-graduate work  5% 10%
Masters or doctorate degree  9% 20%

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Robb Edwards is going great!

I spoke with my dear friend Robb Edwards today, legendary Milwaukee broadcaster and Milwaukee Brewers Public Address Announcer who had a heart attack not too long ago.

Robb sounded great and is in great spirits.

He wanted me to tell everyone how grateful he is for the many cards, letters, e-mails, phone calls, fruit baskets, and flowers he has received from well-wishers.

“I was overwhelmed,” Rob told me.

Robb hopes to be back behind the microphone at Miller Park for the start of next week’s series with the Arizona Diamondbacks beginning Monday, June 2, but more than anything in our ocnversation today, he wanted to make sure his many supporters knew how thankful he was.

It was great to hear his voice and that he’s doing so well. Robb is a class act and I'm honored to call him my friend.

Speaking of the Brew Crew…
 Milwaukee ranks 23rd out of 30 teams in this week’s MLB power rankings by

Yes, I look forward to and enjoy reading the weekly power rankings.
 This week, Fox sends some love Ned Yost’s way, defending the Brewers skipper:

Talk of Ned Yost being toast is starting to build. Yost wasn’t the one who signed Eric Gagne, though. Nor can he be blamed for Prince Fielder having just six home runs or Yovani Gallardo going down for the season. It may just be a lost season, and the Brewers should leave it at that.

The roof is closed as the hated, yes, HATED Atlanta Braves are in town.

Brewers, go out and KILL THE BRAVES!

Thank you, thank you very much!

Kevin here.

This has been an incredible 24 hours.

To learn that I will be a father for the first time, sharing my first child with the most wonderful woman God could ever send my way is one of the best experiences of my life.

The outpouring of support has been tremendous. The comments to my blog, along with many private e-mails and phone calls have been very touching. I can’t begin to tell you how much they mean to me.

I have a million and one blogs I want to do, but I will hold off for a day or so as I bask in this happiness.

Those of you who are parents, and know all too well what I’m about to embark upon, please forgive my indulgence if I call upon you for help and advice.

Your kindness since this announcement will never be forgotten. Thank you, and please dear God, if it’s a boy, give me whatever it takes to play full court basketball and playground football again. If it’s a girl, may every boy that rings the doorbell be Eddie Haskell, and mean it.

Now, my lovely wife and mommy-to-be Jennifer has some thoughts:

The three of us want to thank you very, very much.  Or maybe the FOUR of us.  After all, twins run in both of our families!

To say we are excited is an understatement.  I can’t begin to put in to words what this moment in time means to me.  Bringing a life in to this world… a life created with a husband I love more than life itself, is a blessing like none other.

If one of the many baby websites I’ve visited already is correct, Baby Fischer will greet us around February 1st.  My birthday is in February too, so I can’t think of a better birthday present!

I’m sure Kevin will share MANY stories as the months go on…  How I’m eating us out of house and home, etc.  So, thanks in advance for reading and sharing this magical time with us. 


Kevin, Jennifer, and Baby (Babies???) Fischer!

Why not Fountains of Franklin?

WEDNESDAY, May 28, 2008, 11:26 a.m.
By Tom Daykin

Barbiere's may replace Il Mito on Virginia

Barbiere's Italian Inn may be replacing the closed Il Mito restaurant in the Walker's Point neighborhood, Barbiere's owner Mark Dempsey said today.

Dempsey wants the former Il Mito location, 605 W. Virginia St., as a second location for Barbiere's, 5844 W. Blue Mound Road. Dempsey said he's been in discussions with the building's owner, Tannery Remnants LLC, and had a tavern license approved by the Common Council for that location.

Il Mito, which features Mediterranean cuisine, opened in 2000. It closed in part because of litigation between Tannery Remnants and Il Mito owner Michael Feker that resulted in an eviction order against the restaurant, said Brad Hoeschen, Feker's attorney. Feker continues to operate his other Il Mito restaurant, which opened in 2006 at 6913 W. North Ave., Wauwatosa.

Oh, wait.

We're holding out for an IHOP.


Barack "Gaffeman" Obama

Remember how the left and their paid assassins in the media persecuted Dan Quayle over this:

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The 2008 Muzzle Awards

From the website

“Since 1992, the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression has celebrated the birth and ideals of its namesake by calling attention to those who in the past year forgot or disregarded Mr. Jefferson’s admonition that freedom of speech ‘cannot be limited without being lost.’”

The center does so by handing out its annual Muzzle Awards.

Here’s the 2008 list.

Some will sound familiar. I’ve blogged about a few in the past. Some have popped up in my Week-ends feature, like Judge Jeffre Cheuvront.


He's baaaaacck!!!!

Remember Semaj Booker?

Having gotten away with all kinds of juvenile crimes, it’s no surprise the little devil tried it again.

This time, those clever TSA workers (the oh-so friendly sleuths in the airports) caught Booker.

Think he’s learned his lesson?



Alberta Darling fires back

Remember all the despicable junk the Democrats started to spread not too long ago about state Senator Alberta Darling that she was too old, too sickly to run for re-election to the state Senate? 
 It has to go down as one of the most disgusting tactics ever employed by Democrats in this state.

Talk was that Senate Majority Leader Russ Decker was behind the sleazy assault on Darling. Darling, by the way, could embarrass Decker or her opponent, Sheldon Wasserman in any Olympic-type event.

Darling got her chance today on the floor of the Senate to fight back at the gutter-politics attack when she used a great sense of humor retort after it was announced that Decker recently celebrated his 60th birthday. Yes, ladies and gentleman keeping track of people who are too unfit to serve in the Senate, the man who may have orchestrated a slimy assault on Alberta Darling because she had the misfortunate of having breast cancer surgery (ahh, the warm compassionate left) got to hear this from Darling on the Senate floor today during adjournment honors.
 Click WATCH:

 Watch | Listen

Then move your cursor 51:40 into the video feed where Darling speaks directly to Decker.

Good for you, Senator Darling!

(No, you won't find this anywhere on the Journal/Sentinel website)

G-O-O-D L-U-C-K...



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Remember these TV shows?


One of my tags over on the right side of your screen is labeled, “Nostalgia.”

Go ahead.
 Take a look. 

See it.

Right in the middle of the pack.


At the risk of setting off a barrage of old fogey alerts, I readily admit to often reminiscing about those good old days.

Many times, the memories revolve around music.

I play no musical instrument. I do not possess the talent my brother has who, in the 60’s, strapped on a candy apple-red Fender Stratocaster, playing in bands at gigs where go-go girls danced in cages right next to him on stage.

But I am a music lover that has marveled at pop stars of the 60’s and 70’s. In those days, you heard them on radio and then saw them on television.

Television in the 60’s provided ample opportunity to see your favorite stars on Shindig, Hullabaloo, The Ed Sullivan Show and The Hollywood Palace, not to mention dozens of variety shows.

The 70’s showcased these stars in late-night hours on Friday, usually after Johnny Carson or some other post-10:00 news fare. On NBC, it was the Midnight Special. On ABC, it was In Concert. Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert was a syndicated vehicle.

I love watching the old clips of those great programs. Over the summer months, I will share some of my favorites as we relive those thrilling days of yesteryear. Starting this Friday night at 11:30, join me in musical time travel. I’ll call the blog something cool and trendy like, Friday Night Live.

You, of course, can read/watch anytime you wish, but to capture the flavor of what it was like for those old Friday night shows, it’s best if you stay up a little late, click on at 11:30 and rock out.

We’ll do our best to keep the blog a bit more interesting than just tossing up some videos.

Any requests?

Didn't these guys win a Pulitzer?

They tell us they did everyday.

And then they post this on their website:

We want your ideas

If you're reading this, we want to hear from you.

Reporters and editors at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel are working to keep you updated on breaking news, upcoming events and all the important happenings in the area. We can cover a lot of things. But we can't be everywhere.

So if you see news happen, or happen to know of news (or just have an idea for a forum topic), send us an email at Or call the tip line at 414-224-2919.

And they need help from the masses to find news?

I would suggest reporters scratching their heads for ideas merely look to all these community blogs for good stories.

That would be too easy.

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Friday night on InterCHANGE

Here are the topics up for discussion at 6:30 Friday night, repeated Sunday morning at 11:00 on Milwaukee Public Television Channel 10:

1– Milwaukee Police Deployment.

The Milwaukee Police Department is going to create a new Neighborhood Task Force by grabbing 200 officers from various divisions, putting them in uniforms, and deploying them on an as needed and where needed basis.  They will be headquartered at the old 3rd District Station on West Vliet Street.  Everybody seems to think it’s a great idea, aldermen, community folks, the union.  If so, why hasn’t it been tried before?  Is this new approach exactly what Milwaukee needs?  How can you take people out of the vice squad, detective bureau, motorcycle bureau, etc. and not have those areas hurting for manpower?  Is this in effect creating another district, by opening up a station that years ago they promised would be sold?

2 – Bush Book.

Former White House Press Secretary and Bush insider Scott McClellan comes out with a new book that basically calls Bush and the people around him a bunch a liars for misleading the nation about the War in Iraq.  When someone so close to the President says these things can you simply dismiss him as a “disgruntled insider?”  McClellan says Bush and his closest advisors mislead the public to further their belief that war was necessary to create a strong democracy in that part of the world, whether Iraq had anything to do with September 11th or not.

3– Summer Tourism Jobs.

Every year business owners in Door County and Wisconsin Dells complain that its tough to find enough people to fill the summer job spots.  They bring people in from Mexico and even eastern Europe, but that is getting more difficult and expensive to do.  With so many unemployed black teens in Milwaukee, why can’t they figure out a way to use them to fill the job spots? Have efforts to do that failed because the Milwaukee kids aren’t hard workers?  Is it because the business owners don’t want to put up with the problems and/or perceived problems that come with hiring central city kids?  Is it because the mostly white tourists and business owners, like their vacation areas to be mostly white as well?

S. 27th Street Corridor gets an award

I kid you not.

And in this case, there's no committee to refer the name back to.


It's not just the gas, it's all that traffic

Drivers across America are getting angrier and angrier, for a variety of reasons:

“The first IBM Commuter Pain Survey released today shows a substantial number of drivers in U.S. metropolitan areas are fed up with longer commutes, higher fuel prices and increased pollution and are seeking to reduce the daily toll on their emotional well-being and wallets. “

For example:

  • $4.50 per gallon gas is driver “break point”
  • 35% have cancelled a vacation trip in the last month due to anticipated traffic
  • 63% say traffic has gotten worse
  • 27% have “turned around and gone home”

Here are more details on the survey.

In other words...

Take your pick at completing the above sentence:

Hold on to your wallets.

Stick 'em up.


Just hand over the money and no one gets hurt.

You knew we were gunnin for ya, dintcha?

It's for the children.

It's an

Fiscal responsibility? What the hell is that?

Friday Night Live


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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...


Aaron Kampman

Hilary Bilbrey


Nancy Pelosi

German parents

Gerhard Witte

Irene Rodriguez

Mary Benz

John Serwe

Richard Crain

Paul Gonzalez

Milwaukee Alderman Robert Bauman



There are miserable creatures like you in every administration who don't have the guts to speak up or quit if there are disagreements with the boss or colleagues. No, your type soaks up the benefits of power, revels in the limelight for years, then quits, and spurred on by greed, cashes in with a scathing critique.

In my nearly 36 years of public service I've known of a few like you. No doubt you will "clean up" as the liberal anti-Bush press will promote your belated concerns with wild enthusiasm. When the money starts rolling in you should donate it to a worthy cause, something like, "Biting The Hand That Fed Me."

Another thought is to weasel your way back into the White House if a Democrat is elected. That would provide a good set up for a second book deal in a few years.

I have no intention of reading your "exposé" because if all these awful things were happening, and perhaps some may have been, you should have spoken up publicly like a man, or quit your cushy, high profile job. That would have taken integrity and courage but then you would have had credibility and your complaints could have been aired objectively. You're a hot ticket now but don't you, deep down, feel like a total ingrate?
Dole's personal e-mail to former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan. McClellan has published a book critical of the Bush Administration.

"I really don't believe it was a put-on. I always thought she felt 'This is mine. I'm Bill's wife. I'm white. And this is mine. I just got to get up and step into the plate,'" he said. "And then out of nowhere came, 'Hey, I'm Barack Obama.' And she said, 'Oh damn, where did you come from? I'm white. I'm entitled. There's a black man stealing my show.'"
Father Michael Pfleger, in a controversial sermon he made at U.S. Sen. Barack Obama's church. Pfleger spoke about Obama's rival, U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton and her tears as she felt the Democratic nomination slip away.

"I am deeply disappointed in Father Pfleger's divisive, backward-looking rhetoric, which doesn't reflect the country I see or the desire of people across America to come together in common cause." 
Barack Obama's reaction to Pfleger's comments.

“Senator Obama, when will you finally visit Iraq?”
Vets For Freedom.

"I would be very surprised if I did.If there is a credible threat, we'd be stupid not to provide protection to anybody who the threat is targeted at, but right now we have no such thing, and I don't think that we will."
Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen saying he probably won't bring a security unit to protect him at the Republican National Convention.

"We are not speaking ill of Ms. Witte. Quite the contrary, we are expressing our anger at what happened to her and our frustration with the reality that others in Wisconsin will share the same fate all because we are one of two States who have yet to trust its law-abiding citizens.Seriously, decent people, like Elisabeth Witte, who feel a very real and very rational need to protect themselves should have the right to do so. Had Ms. Witte chosen to carry a gun, I highly doubt she would have gone on a shooting rampage with it. People need to get over their irrational fear of guns. A gun is an inanimate object. A gun becomes an instrument of evil if, and only if, the person behind it chooses that path."
Blogger Shepherd's Laxative, responding to criticism of bloggers who suggested that MSO member Elisabeth Witte who was murdered in a parking lot by her ex-husband could have survived if Wisconsin had a conceal carry law.


Nancy Pelosi


Milwaukee Aldermen are clueless about our rotten business climate.


"Sex and the City"

Big time.


Denver man wants to create an "extraterrestrial affairs commission."

Coming out of the closet.

 And this is strange, unusual, and very, very stupid.

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.


The Barking Lot

The Barking Lot

By Jennifer Fischer

When I started this blog, my only intentions were to inform, enlighten and entertain.  No heavy stuff here:  Nothing political, controversial or “deep.”

Since I am a Conservative, I share most of the views and stances Kevin takes on his pieces on This Just In.  Those views include feeling that prisons should be just that:  PRISONS.  A deterrent for possible future criminals, a punishment for current ones.  Prisoners should not have a nicer TV than I do, a better workout facility than Bally’s, or tastier food than something you’d see Rachel Ray whip up.  In some extreme situations, quite frankly I don’t care if they are afforded even the basic human rights.  But I will step away from this point of view for just a brief moment.

Awhile ago, I saw a special on AnimalPlanet about prison dogs.  I have to say I was extremely impressed at the programs that linked prisoners with dogs who would otherwise be euthanized at local shelters.  The beauty of these programs, I feel, is not in rehabilitating prisoners.  I’m really not sure that is possible.  The beauty lies in the fact that these dogs were facing their OWN death row until they were taken in by a foster parent inmate.  These dogs go on to be adopted by families or better yet, are sometimes given to people with disabilities who need the help of service animal. 

Safe Harbor is one of the many prison dog programs throughout the United States.  They were founded in August 2004 and are proud of their success stories. 

Women’s prisons also participate in canine rehab programs, such as Second Chance For Life in Hernando County, Florida:

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Other animals in the news

At first, I was a little surprised to see this on the Journal/Sentinel's website today:

Watch out for deer, state urges

It's summer, not fall, but the state is urging motorists to look out for deer on roadways during June, saying the summer month has ranked as the first- or second-worst month for dear crashes in four of the last five years.

During this time of year, deer frequently dart onto roadways looking for places to give birth, and yearlings wander out after separating from their mothers, according to Dennis Hughes, chief of safety programs for the state Patrol Bureau of Transportation Safety.

Hughes said deer crashes between May and August tend to occur between 8 p.m. and midnight. "So, you need to be particularly diligent at night," he said.

Motorcyclists are especially vulnerable because deer collisions can be fatal for motorcycle drivers and passengers. Motorcycles were involved in 10 of the 14 fatal deer crashes in 2007, he said.

Last year, law enforcement agencies reported 17,977 deer vs. vehicle crashes last year, according to the state Department of Transportation. Dane County had the most with 1,025, followed by 714 in Shawano and 655 in Waukesha counties. In Shawano and Green Lake counties, more than half of all reported crashes last year involved deer, the department said.

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If it walks like a liberal and talks like a liberal...

On last night’s edition of InterCHANGE on Channel 10, Joel McNally scoffed at Gerard Randall and my criticisms of sellout Scott McClellan, the former Press Secretary to President Bush who has written a scathing book about the Administration, now that he’s longer on the team.

In his feeble attempt to fight back on last night’s program, Joel pulled out the debate gem that just because McClellan wrote something that Gerard and I didn’t agree with, then we assume McClellan must be a liberal.

Well, he sure sounds like one to me.

Big deadline today for the Boy Scouts, but the press is ignoring it

My boss, Senator Mary Lazich, has a very busy schedule that occasionally necessitates that I fill in for her at certain events. One of Senator Lazich’s favorite duties is to attend Eagle Scout ceremonies and present fine young men with official state of Wisconsin plaques honoring their achievements.

I can see why the senator loves those special ceremonies. They restore and strengthen our faith in our young people and the future of our great country.

At some recent Eagle Scout ceremonies, I reminded those in attendance that the wonderful organization of scouting is under attack and needs support more than ever. For evidence, look to the City of Brotherly Love where a scouting controversy has erupted.

In Philadelphia, the Scouts have used a city facility for over 80 years, paying only a dollar a year in rent. The Scouts have been told they now have to pay market value, $200,000, or get out. The deadline is today, May 31. The city solicitor said the Scouts must renounce their policy on excluding openly homosexual scoutmasters or leave the facility they have rented since 1928,  a facility the Scouts actually built and gave to Philadelphia for nothing.

The Scouts have filed a lawsuit to fight eviction.

And yet, the media is ignoring this story.


Columnist Robert Knight explains.

Here's more.

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Warmth, compassion, harmony, unity

The Democrat Party of 2008

Supporters of Hillary Rodham Clinton protested Saturday as the Democratic Party’s Rules and Bylaws Committee met in Washington to discuss seating the Michigan and Florida delegations. (NY Times)

UPDATE ON 5/31 @ 9:30 PM

Supporters of Hillary Rodham Clinton protested a vote by Democratic officials to seat Florida and Michigan delegates with half-votes.

From the NY Times:

To jeers and boos that showcased deep party divisions, Democratic party officials approved a deal Saturday to seat delegates from the disputed Florida and Michigan primaries with half a vote each, dealing a blow to Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton.

The deal, reached behind closed doors and voted on publicly in a raucous meeting of the Democratic National Committee’s rules panel, would give Mrs. Clinton a net gain of 24 delegates over Senator Barack Obama — but fell far short of her hopes of winning the full votes of both delegations.

From This Just In:

Only in the Democrat Party could there be the practice of one man=half a vote.

Watch this woman, Harriet Christian, after she's tossed out of the Rules & Bylaws committee meeting on Florida and Michigan. 

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Pick 'n' Save goes Republican

Fully embracing a popular conservative philosophy, and taking notice of Sendik’s down the road, the Franklin Pick ‘n’ Save has decided to compete head on by offering free samples of anything and everything to shoppers.

Today, you had your choice of hot dogs on buns, cheeses, cold veggies, dips, bagel chips, soda, wine, ice cream, fresh bread “baked daily” according to the friendly voice over the PA, and other items I probably didn’t see.

I’ve been shopping at the Franklin Pick for over 16 years. I’ve never seen anything like it.

Yes, competition is a good thing. Just ask the hungry hordes at Pick ‘n’ Save today.

Sure I remember Harvey Korman

Here's my nostalgic bone flaring up again.

Many bloggers are writing about their remembrances of Harvey Korman who died this week.

My first experience with Korman was in the mid-60's, though I probably didn't know it was Korman at the time.

He's in this video clip:


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The latest chapter in the saga of Obama's church or, Obama: the gift that keeps on giving

“I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community. I can no more disown him than I can my white grandmother – a woman who helped raise me, a woman who sacrificed again and again for me, a woman who loves me as much as she loves anything in this world, but a woman who once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street, and who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe. These people are a part of me.”

Barack Obama speaking in Philadelphia in March of this year about the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, the former pastor of his church.

Today, Obama, the same man who threw his grandmother under the bus for Reverend Wright and Obama's church announced that he was leaving that church.

Great column in Sunday's MJS: MPS Board

After the April 1 Supreme Court election, there were cries to have Supreme Court judges appointed rather than elected positions.

Wonderful. Let's take the right to vote away from citiziens.

Now there's word that Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barett and a Milwaukee alderman want the city to have greater control of the Milwaukee Public Schools. Do they want the MPS School Board to be an appointed board? That would be a horrendous idea, a local school baord with no accountability to the taxpayers and voters.

Barrett can't do the job he was elected to and now he wants to be MPS Superintendent?

Barbara Miner points out how bad this idea really is.

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