H 52° L 37°
Cloudy | 15MPH

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.

Got a lotta bloggin' to do..

So much to catch up on so get ready.

A whole bunch of stuff heading your way.

But if you haven't done so yet, check out my previous blog, "FRANKLIN, I TOLD YOU SO."

Getting your helmets handed to you

Remember when I ripped Bradley Tech for running up the score against Washington in football this season?

At least Bradley Tech didn’t pull this…


How did Greg Kowalski get such a great photo of Sendik's?

On his other blog site, blogger Greg Kowalski has displayed a truly wonderful picture taken of the exterior of Sendik’s on their opening day.

I mean that sincerely.

It’s a great picture.

Take a look.

An astute reader of mine also saw that picture, and this reader poses an interesting question: How did Greg get that picture?

The picture is clearly taken from across the street from Sendik’s, at Vulcan Materials.

You will note the fencing along the sidewalk on the Vulcan Materials'  property along Rawson Avenue.

You know what, everybody?

I’m just not going there, ok?

I mean….I’ve thought about this for a long time.

I’m sure that Greg understood Vulcan Materials is private property.

I’m sure that Greg, understanding this because he has such a firm grasp of so many important issues, did not climb and hop that fence.

I’m sure that he did not, in an exuberant pursuit of a picture for his blog, scale that hill.

I’m sure that even before he stepped on that private property, he placed the appropriate phone call to Vulcan Materials.

I’m sure that he identified himself and asked for the proper company official.

I’m sure that he clearly stated his motivation and intention and asked for permission to come onto private property and take that photo.

I’m sure that as a mayoral appointee and current sitting member of a city commission that he would never engage in an act of indiscretion that would discredit him, either of his two blogs, the Environmental Commission, the Mayor, or the city of Franklin.

I’m sure that Greg would never violate a city ordinance just to get a neat picture.

Tenant announcements at Fountains of Franklin


The goal at Fountains of Franklin (which would be a veritable ghost town if not for Sendik’s) was to use the glorious excitement of the opening day at Sendik’s and make some major announcement about new tenants.

But, like every other day for the past gazillion months at FOF, nothing happened.

No dice. No deal. No commitments. No announcement. No surprise.

At the VIP party at Sendik’s the night before the opening, I had a nice long chat with David Hintzman of FOF. Much of what we discussed was off the record and not for publication.

Generally speaking, I can tell you that he offered an explanation, if you will, of why things are taking so long to happen at FOF, a subject I’ve teased FOF about for many months. (Hintzman is fine with my occasional jabs, understanding that I am on record supporting the development, but have just grown impatient). It sounded like the kind of speech that Hintzman used to play blogger Greg Kowalski, who was probably so enamored that Hintzman was actually talking to him that he swallowed everything hook, line and sinker.

Hintzman, in a nutshell, told me that it’s better to wait in order to get something worthwhile. I personally, would prefer that it happen before Haley’s comet.

Without breaking a confidence, Hintzman is quite confident of two high-quality businesses coming into FOF that I can’t specify any further.

Where Hintzman lost me a bit is on the “good things come to those who wait” approach, especially when he told me it would result in garnering tenants that, “nobody else has.”

I guess that explains that new Dairy Queen.

I like Hintzman and want him to succeed. But let’s go. Sendik’s, to the city’s credit, didn’t take very long. But until I see some major progress, I’m sorry, David. I’m going to keep the pressure on.

Those Sendik's prices...

 In my blog listing my observations on the opening of Sendik’s, #7 on my list was:

"Prices. Very reasonable. We'll see if that is just an Opening Day phenomenon."

One of my Sendik’s “insiders” read that and e-mailed me, in part:

“The prices on everyday items are often lower than the store down the street.  The good stuff will be more.”

My take: I don’t mind paying a little more for high quality.

Needless to say, the Sendik’s merchandise is good stuff. When they were out of asparagus stuffed chicken breasts, I had to “settle” for cheddar and broccoli turkey rolls.

Boy was I mad…


From the Sheboygan Press:

County budget down all around

Spending, levy, tax rate all less than '07

By Bob Petrie
Sheboygan Press staff
October 24, 2007

Read more

The tax rate vs. the tax levy

Franklin budgets


One of the common miscues made by reporters when writing about local government budgets is to focus on the tax rate.
 John Neville did it in his article on this website and in the community section of your newspaper today.

Here’s the first portion of Neville’s article:

Franklin city taxes could jump 3.2 percent due to state revenue
By John Neville
Staff Writer
Posted: Oct. 31, 2007

Under Mayor Thomas Taylor's proposed 2008 budget for Franklin, the city's tax rate of $5.57 per $1,000 of assessed property value will increase to $5.75, a 3.2 percent hike.

Read more

A tribute to Sue Huhn

Franklin School Board member Sue "The Tax Loon," "Tax you to the moon," "Up your taxes and up them real soon," Huhn announced at last night's board meeting that she will not run for re-election next April.

Read more

One court hearing affects every child in Wisconsin: Will you make a stand?

Topics talked about on WISN


In June, convicted, but now released sex offender Steven Hanke purchased a home in the 8200 block of South 77th Street in Franklin. Hanke was sentenced to nine years in prison in 1996 for second-degree sexual assault.

Problem: Hanke moved into his Franklin several months after the city had passed a milestone ordinance severely restricting where sex offenders can live. Hanke lives not far from Forest Park Middle School in complete defiance of the Franklin ordinance, and now refuses to move.

The city of Franklin has filed a lawsuit against Hanke in an effort to force him out. A hearing is scheduled this Monday before Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge John Franke in Room 502 of the Courthouse at 1:30.

At stake is not only Franklin’s ordinance, but numerous other laws just like it that were patterned after Franklin’s and are now either in place or being considered in numerous communities around the state.

A large crowd is needed before Judge Franke next Monday to show support for these ordinances.

If Franke rules in favor of Hanke, his decision will literally take the teeth out of restrictive laws and be a huge victory for sex offenders.

To truly understand the magnitude of this issue, some background is in order.


From an earlier blog of mine on Franklin’s top issues:

Franklin has been Wisconsin’s leader in the fight against sex offenders. It has had to be.

Not too long ago, busloads of Franklin residents stormed a public hearing at State Fair Park to protest a special state committee’s thought of building a facility in Franklin to house numerous sexually violent persons. Franklin was considered an ideal location, having the most open space in Milwaukee County.

The loud and strong stand by Franklin residents couldn’t be ignored. The special panel wrapped up its business without recommending any site in Milwaukee County for a sex predator house.

A flurry of activity ensued at the state Capitol. A key piece of legislation was approved and signed into law that killed funding for the facility for sexually violent persons and also disbanded the special committee assigned to find a location for the facility. Another bill signed into law makes first degree sexual assault of a child punishable by life in prison. Both bills were authored by Senator Mary Lazich.

After sailing through the state Senate, a bill requiring that the worst sex offenders in the state be monitored by Global Positioning System or GPS was finally approved after much wrangling in the Assembly and signed into law.

Still, Franklin officials worried that released sex offenders would be dumped in Franklin. Sparking that fear was the state allowing notorious offender Billy Lee Morford to travel back and forth between his northwest side Milwaukee home and Franklin for 18 months without properly notifying Franklin.

After several public hearings and a thorough legal review, the Franklin Common Council late last year approved an ordinance with tight restrictions on where sex offenders could go and live within the city limits of Franklin.

Other communities quickly took notice, with several surrounding municipalities and some out-state either approving or considering Franklin-like ordinances of their own.

The Franklin Police Department has already used the new city ordinance on restrictions to force offenders out of areas they’re not welcome. Several local web sites now feature links to the sex offender registry and the family Watchdog offender map.

So far, no one has challenged the constitutionality of Franklin’s ordinance, or any other Franklin-like ordinance around the state. If they do, they’re in for a battle.

Jim McCarthy, a member of the City Council in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania wrote the following in a letter to the editor in American City and County Magazine. McCarthy was responding to an article that predator protection laws around the country are coming under fire. McCarthy writes:

“As one who has been trying for eight months to pass a law restricting where convicted sexual predators may reside or work in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., my research shows the majority of such laws have already passed court muster. Currently, 30 plus states, and hundreds of local communities, have passed such laws, most of them based on the “original” proposal passed by Iowa, which was upheld by the U.S. Eighth Circuit Court (see Doe vs. Miller), and Ohio's “Distance Marker” legislation, which was similarly upheld as constitutional by federal courts.

In challenges to the Iowa and Ohio laws, the courts have ruled that these laws do not infringe upon a person's rights in that they are a form of civil regulation and not a form of punishment, they are intended to protect children and are rationally related to that end, and they represent a rational argument that prohibiting sex offenders from places children congregate will advance a community's interest in protecting children. Two federal courts have upheld city actions to ban individual sex offenders from parks and recreation areas where children congregate.

There have been some isolated cases where a poorly written law was struck down by courts, but that was because the authors failed to do the research required to make their law iron-clad. It is up to us, the legislators, to make sure “they” do not have access to our little children, whose rights far outweigh the rights of someone who preys on the weakest of our society.”
From my blog on August 16, 2007.

The city of Franklin is to be credited with aggressively going after Steven Hanke in court. Monday’s court hearing is before Judge Franke. Franke is a very liberal judge with a history.

In June of 2003, Franke released one of Wisconsin’s most notorious predators, four-time-convicted child molester Billy Lee Morford, to a home reportedly less than a mile from two schools and a park. Morford was the first sexual predator given supervised release in the city of Milwaukee.

In 1997, Franke granted predator Shawn Schulpius supervised release, contingent on the creation of a plan for housing and monitoring him in Milwaukee. But for more than two years, officials could not find supervised housing for Schulpius in the city. In 2000, Franke reversed himself, saying Schulpius didn't deserve release after all.

This is why a strong showing of support from not just Franklin residents, but citizens from all parts of Wisconsin concerned about the safety and welfare of families and their innocent children is critical at Monday’s hearing.

As I mentioned on WISN last Thursday when I filled in for Mark Belling, according to an article in last week’s Green Bay Press Gazette, “At least 11 Wisconsin municipalities have passed some restrictions on sex offenders, whether residency limitations or restrictive zones where certain types of offenders are not allowed. Twenty-five more are considering similar restrictions, said Tom Smith, a registration specialist with the Department of Corrections.”

All of these ordinances protecting innocent children could be all but rendered meaningless by Judge Franke’s ruling. A caller to my show on WISN said the decision could always be reversed on appeal. Appeals take time, are not guaranteed, and in the meantime, sex offenders could ignore ordinances and move into areas around schools, day care centers, etc.

Will you take a stand for children and against sex offenders?

Will you take a stand for common sense laws designed to protect our most precious citizens?


NOVEMBER 5, 2007

ROOM 502




The safety of every child in Wisconsin is on the line.

Yes, it’s that important.


Where were the looters?

The floods in New Orleans caused by Katrina: the wildfires in California.

Jerry Bowyer has a great column asking, where were the looters in California?

Where were the rapists?

Here’s Bowyer’s column.


Here piggy, piggy, piggy....

In the state of Wisconsin, if I am a licensed gun owner, it is legal to shoot a feral pig, anytime, anywhere.

In fact, the state DNR is encouraging it.

“Shoot them on sight,” implored Brad Koele, a state Department of Natural Resources wildlife damage specialist, in a statement to hunters this week.

But in Franklin, if a coyote is attacking a child or pet in my backyard, I am supposed to, what?

Ignore my weapon.


Clap my hands.



Write a letter to my Alderman.

Utter nonsense.



Too early for Christmas?


Not too early to...

Plan parties

Plan menus

Think about gifts

Start shopping

Buy decorations

Make travel plans


Too early for...

Christmas music on the radio

Salavation Army bell ringers (saw one today)

Read more

Shame on you, Franklin taxpayers

Franklin budgets

As much as it pains me to say this, Franklin taxpayers, you were outdone by your counterparts in the city of Milwaukee who turned out by the hundreds to protest a close to 20% tax increase.

Because of their strong showing, the proposed tax increase was knocked down to single digits, and will amount to just under 7% when all is said and done.

Meanwhile, only a handful of Franklin residents turned up at the School Board meeting on Tuesday night, and what did the School Board do while you were at home watching TV?

They increased………..THEIR VERY OWN TAX INCREASE!!!

I’m sure School Board members, because you didn’t care, laughed all the way home.


When you get your property tax bill in the mail this December, and you’re tempted to get very angry, before you do, look in the mirror.



Fred Keller decides to leave, the editors of this website decide to censor

To say that I am l livid is an understatement.

The decision by editors of this website to delete a comment made in response  by CONSERVATIVE blogger Fred Keller that resulted in Keller quitting blogging is attrocious.

When I attempted to respond on my very own blog tonight, the editors, as of this posting, refused  to allow my comments to be publicized.

I will attempt again, on my very own blog.

If the editors refuse to allow this blog, I will seriously consider, as Fred Keller did, dumping my blog. The losers will be free speech, this website, and you, the readers.

Read more

FranklinNOW management messes up

For those of you just waking up, this website exploded in controversy last night.

I have blogged and commented about it.

Bryan Maersch has commented about it.

“It” is blogger Fred Keller’s decision to quit blogging.

Here’s what happened.

As he promised he would every week, Fred Keller posted on his blog a picture, asking people to write in with humorous captions. It is a common website practice.

This particular picture featured Senator Ted Kennedy.

Fred’s blog was flooded with suggestions.

In the middle of a hilarious and successful blog, another local blogger in curmudgeon style pontificated about how awful it was to bring up drinking and driving issues.

Never mind that Kennedy drank, drove, and killed a woman. This reader didn’t think such comments were appropriate. Fine. He didn’t have to read them and could go back to the warmth and safety of his own boring blog.

Keller, in his own inimitable fashion, responded to the curmudgeon’s comments.

Later in the day, the editor of this website and all the community blogs explained that he deleted Keller’s comments for fear of a lawsuit that the person who issued the comment that prompted Keller’s reply would sue the gigantic Journal Company for libel.

Keller, and I don’t blame him, was angry and resigned his blogging on It is this site’s loss and the community’s.

My take, I hope, is clear. I am happy that I have been treated so well since I’ve started blogging here. I am appalled at how the management here handled the Keller situation and others.

The management fears that the target of Keller’s questionable comment could sue for libel about drinking and driving.

Apparently the management had no problem with a comment left on my blog the day before by a frequent critic identified as, “HAD TO COMMENT,” who, after a day of being ridiculed by my readers on taxes, wrote the following, directed at me and my supporters:

And with that Kevin and his apostles depart from his basement and the great bank of computers they work from all day long. Another hard day tearing apart someone they disagree with under their belts. Remember folks don't drink and drive. DWI is illegal.

The reaction from management hyper-concerned about lawsuits: not a word.

One insinuation is wrong. Another insinuation….not so wrong.

I respect that everyone has been so nice to me. But right is right and wrong is wrong. The management fumbled the ball and lost a popular blogger.

There are no winners here, only losers.



Badger fans aren't happy today

Remember, you can only see today’s Wisconsin-Ohio State game if you have the Big Ten Network. Odds are you don’t.

It has all of Wisconsin fuming. State Senator Mike Ellis, as only he can, protested on the floor of the state Senate this week.

The Badgers are two touchdown underdogs.

Wisconsin isn’t just playing Ohio State. They’re playing a factory.

Maybe it’s just as well the game’s a blackout. This one has the potential of the Badgers getting waxed.



Some apathy

The Milwaukee Journal/Sentinel’s Alan Borsuk should stay out of the prediction business.

This week, he reported about the apathy surrounding MPS issues, especially that proposed 16% tax increase.

Borsuk wrote:

If you wanted to ponder the prospects for educational success in Milwaukee Public Schools, you only needed to walk into the auditorium of the district's central office Tuesday night. With a property tax increase of 16.4% up for consideration, with proposals for substantial changes in educational services as part of what the money would buy, there were close to no citizens present to give their opinions or to show their support or opposition. The room would have been just about empty if you took out the MPS officials and the news media who showed up, expecting a ruckus.

What does it take to stir people? Would that have happened in any suburban district?

It's a speculative question, but let's suggest the answer is no. Opponents of a tax increase that size would have been present in force. Supporters of the increase would probably also have been vocal.

Borsuk then wrote that another hearing would be held.

Officials hope there will be a higher turnout. Don't assume there will be. Apathetic responses from parents and the public are common when it comes to MPS issues.

Some apathy.

Hundreds turned out at the meeting to protest the huge tax increase. Milwaukee School Board members, in contempt of taxpayers and with no regard to the large crowd that attended the meeting, approved a big increase anyway.

Why was that room filled? The print media hates to admit it, but it was the result of the power of talk radio.

Oh, one more thing, Alan. You wrote in your story about apathy, “Would that have happened in any suburban district?”

The answer is yes.

It happened in my community, Franklin, Wisconsin. Only a handful of concerned taxpayers showed up at a budget meeting, and the Franklin School Board robbed us blind again.



The cigarette tax increase won't work

Wisconsin’s cigarette tax increase goes into effect January 1, 2008, raising the average cost of 20 cigarettes to $4.17. At that price, 65,800 more of the state’s children will never start smoking, according to research from the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.

The cost for a pack of name-brand cigarettes at many convenience stores would rise to more than $5.

The cigarette tax hike is not going to work. Just ask those the tax is targeted at: teenagers.

From the Wausau Daily Herald:

Younger teens, those between 13 and 16, are not as likely to change their behavior as prices go up, according to a widely cited 2000 study by MIT economist Jonathan Gruber.
University of Wisconsin Marathon County student Steve Berkelman, 18, said he knows why.

"High school kids pay like a dollar a smoke off of kids who can buy them, so that (increased price) doesn't really affect them," he said. "When you start smoking, you're not concerned about the price."

Overall, Berkelman -- who said he has no plans to quit after the tax increase -- was skeptical about the public health motivations of legislators.

"It's not really helping prevent smoking," he said. "It's just to make money, in my opinion."

Ben Pope, a clerk at the Kwik Trip gas station at the corner of North Sixth Street and East Wausau Avenue, said he has heard some patrons saying they plan to quit.

"My question is, what's the point of doing it if everybody quits?" Pope said, referring to the increased tax revenue the state is counting on.

A group of teens smoking downtown expressed the same sentiment.

"They're being stupid," said Dustin Schade, 16. "If more people quit smoking then they're not going to make any money."

KEVIN COMMENT: Brilliant observation by Dustin Schade. This kid should be in the Legislature.

In fact, Schade said, the state could raise taxes to $50 a pack and it wouldn't change his habits.

"It doesn't matter what price they are," he said. If taxes were higher, "I'd just steal them."

Gno Notinokey, 16, said he had his first cigarette as a 9-year-old and was a regular smoker by the time he was 11. The tax increase will not cause him to stop smoking, he said, because price is barely a factor at all in his decision to smoke.

And from the Wisconsin State Journal:

For Madison resident Ashlee Miller, 15, and four of her friends, the tax arrives too late to keep them from becoming smokers.

And they predict that as Wisconsin’s cigarette tax more than doubles to become the 11th-highest in the nation, their habits won’t change.

Ashlee said her addiction to nicotine -- a jolt she receives by smoking a pack a day -- is too strong to be broken by the tax.

She's already tried weaning herself off nicotine by switching to lighter cigarettes and by leaving some cigarettes at home when she heads to school.

"Then I just gave up, I guess, "said Ashlee, who wishes she could halt her year-old habit because she’s now too short of breath to play basketball.

Ashlee found herself hanging out in the sunshine with her friends in a business parking lot near Memorial High School.

Smoking, she said, is "hard to avoid " when with friends.

Some of those friends: Anthony Watson, 15, who began eight months ago and smokes a couple of cigarettes a day. Sergio Perez, 16, who began at age 10 and smokes 30 cigarettes a day. Victor Shultz, 16, who began at age 14 and smokes 15 cigarettes a day. Alex Renier, 18, who began at age 12 and smokes 12 cigarettes a day.

They said it’s easy to buy their own cigarettes, though in Wisconsin it’s illegal to sell them to people under 18.

Alex and a couple of his friends had heard about the higher tax.

"I don’t like how the government is using tax money to try and control what people do,” Alex said. "People should pay taxes equally. It’s not really fair they’re targeting a specific group. "

The comment by 16-year old Dustin Schade is a beauty. If more people stop smoking or smoke less, where’s the revenue for all these wonderful anti-smoking programs you want to create?





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...


State Representative Mark Gundrum (R-New Berlin)

Lt. Jeff Braley

Iowa Governor Chet Culver, a Democrat

Anyone and everyone who was involved in making Sendik’s Opening Day in Franklin a reality.

Oh, and that guy named Favre


The Milwaukee School Board and MPS Superintendent
William Andrekopoulos

The Franklin School Board. They were telling us for months the school tax levy would go up 5.6%.  They increased their own increase, to 5.9%.  They all must go.

The state DNR and DOC

Professor offers extra credit for flag-burning

Dancing dentist

Sleeping pilots


“He says ’I won’t raise taxes’ and then we’re supposed to be putting an asterisk on it? Don’t make blanket statements on the floor of the Assembly that you don’t intend to raise taxes and then raise taxes. ... It’s absolutely the height of hypocrisy.”
Senate Minority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) on Governor Doyle’s promise that he wouldn’t raise taxes.

"No one in their right mind is going to say a 16.4 percent increase is acceptable."
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, on the Milwaukee School Board’s consideration of a hefty tax increase.

"Are any of you on medication?”

"If I end up paying this, I will lose my house>"

"These property taxes you are putting on these citizens are forcing out the middle class. I've been here 40 years, watching my city die, and it kills me."

City of Milwaukee taxpayers testifying at the Milwaukee School Board budget meeting.

Read more

Why the Badger blackout?

This may not make you feel better about the blackout of the Badger game, but here’s an “explanation” from Madison, issued yesterday.


It's the state's fault....NOT!

For months, we heard Franklin School Board members, primarily Sue Huhn, moan that the big, bad, nasty state of Wisconsin just doesn't give enough aid to schools.

Joel McNally pulled the same garbage during InterCHANGE on Channel 10 last night.

It was the lament of MPS's clueless Superintendent and the Milwaukee School Board this week.

Time for some facts, supplied by my friend George Mitchell who follows education issues very, very closely.

In a guest column in today's Milwaukee Journal/Sentinel, Mitchell writes:

"The news media, the MPS administration and assorted MPS apologists target two culprits: state government and 18,000 low-income students in the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program.

MPS' own data tell a different story. From 1990, when the choice program was enacted, here's a snapshot of MPS finances:

• Spending per pupil, adjusted for inflation: +36.4%

• State aid, adjusted for inflation: +58%

• MPS property tax levy, adjusted for inflation: -22.8%

To illustrate the absurdity of blaming state government and low-income parents, turn the clock back to 1990. If MPS had been told it was going to receive a 36% boost in per-pupil spending and a 58% increase in state aid, district officials and the media would have been on cloud nine. Finally, the resources and extra aid to "help the children" would be forthcoming!"

Mitchell outlines the real reasons MPS is in fiscal crisis. Read his entire column.


Fred Keller and Joel McNally

A few years ago, when the controversy exploded about an ethnic slur Mark Belling said on his radio show, it was a topic of discussion on the Channel 10 roundtable discussion program that I serve as a regular panelist, InterCHANGE.

I mentioned on the air that I’m often asked, “How in the world can you put up with Joel McNally?”

I joked that I had respect for Joel, having read his columns since I was a kid. And that I now read his stuff for comic relief.

Then on a serious note, I said that even though I rarely side with Joel’s far-left views, I would never want his column to be silenced. The more voices, the more views, the better. And so I considered calls to terminate Belling’s program as inappropriate and unfair.

The same holds true for Fred Keller’s blog. Those who disagreed with Fred, those who disliked him, those who are now making fun of him are having a field day, rejoicing in his departure. They have no idea how wrong they are.
 No one wins from Fred Keller’s disappearance. No one wins from Jon Zawacki’s abrupt absence. No one would win if Greg Kowalski suddenly decided to stop blogging.

Was Fred Keller edgy, provocative, compelling, controversial? Yes on all counts. I submit those are great qualities for a community blogger.

Is everyone always going to agree?

Of course not, and it would be wrong if they did and pretty dull, too.

When people disagreed or were angry or upset, what did they do? They challenged Fred.

That was the ideal scenario: blogger writes something interesting and thought-provoking enough to cause reader reaction.

The ensuing give and take wasn’t always courteous, but my goodness, we’re all adults here. Everyone should have been able to handle it.

Now the ideal set-up has disintegrated. You have one less voice, one less round of ideas, one less person to challenge you and make you think, one less person you can spar with.

That’s not good.

Those of you who weren’t fans of Fred’s are happy.

You shouldn’t be.  

Everybody lost, including you.


Notre Dame loses with class and dignity

As difficult as this season has been for Notre Dame fans, they can hold their heads high knowing they are a classy institution with proud supporters who have strong values.

This afternoon, the Fighting Irish lost to Navy in three overtimes, 46-44. The Navy win snapped an NCAA record losing streak of 43 games the Midshipmen had dropped to Notre Dame.

It is now a tradition at Notre Dame, started by head coach Charlie Weis, that the ND football players after the game join the Navy players in front of their band and fans to show support as the Naval Academy alma mater is played. The Navy players then reciprocate.

Compare this classy gesture by a stunned Notre Dame team to the disgusting way Navy was treated at Rutgers earlier this season.


Derek Fisher makes the right choice

Topics talked about on WISN

A few months ago, I blogged and also talked about NBA star Derek Fisher on the Mark Belling program on WISN.

Fisher turned his back on a lucrative playing contract with Utah to retire so that he could spend more time with his very sick daughter.

Fisher’s selfless love and devotion to his family was touching and inspirational. He didn’t rule out a return to the NBA, but only in a city that could provide the medical facilities his daughter so desperately needed.

Now the update. Fisher re-signed with the Los Angeles Lakers, a team he’s played for in the past.

Both he and his little girl are doing well.


My most popular blogs

Most popular

Special note: Last Sunday’s live-blogging on Halloween trick-or-treating was an incredible success, thanks to you, the readers of This Just In…

The overwhelming response was off the charts. But that included numerous blog entries over a three-hour period.  For purposes of this blog entry, I only look at single posts.

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

1) Will Sendik’s open tomorrow?

Franklin, I told you so

3) My apologies to Fred Keller

4) Today, your Franklin school taxes go sky-high

5) Culinary no-no #24


Read more

Johnny Cash answers his front door


Before you continue on to the rest of this post, please look at some or all of this video:

Read more

Culinary no-no #25

Culinary no-no's

When I was in my early 20’s, I dated a lovely gal named Mary Stott. She had a little brother named Jimmy, and when I’d go over to the Stott’s for dinner, Mrs. Stott would always try to entice Jimmy to eat broccoli.

“Jimmy, want to eat a tree?”

And the strategy worked.

Jimmy loved broccoli.

Mrs. Stott used verbal trickery.

Jessica Seinfeld, the wife of Jerry Seinfeld just uses plain old trickery.

As her three children got older, getting them to eat healthy foods became increasingly more difficult. So the clever devil would sneak unappetizing food, the stuff that’s good for you, into items her children would eat.

Jessica Seinfeld has written a new book about her culinary skullduggery called, “Deceptively Delicious.”

Deceptive? You bet.

Delicious? I’m not so sure.

Mrs. S. puts chickpeas in her chocolate chip cookies.

Her website says the book offers mouth-watering recipes.

Mouth-watering, hey…

Chicken nuggets with broccoli or spinach or sweet potato or basil.

Chocolate cake with beets.

Blueberry oatmeal bars with spinach.

Macaroni and cheese with butternut squash or cauliflower.

Scrambled eggs with cauliflower.

C’mon, this isn’t child abuse, but it’s mean.

You were a kid once. Tell me you would have been cool with this.

It would have been barf city had I been forced to eat brownies with pureed beets.

What’s wrong with, “Hey Jimmy, you’ve got to eat your veggies. They’re good for you. They’ll make you strong and healthy. You want to grow up to be just like Kevin Fischer, don’t you?”


Maybe skip that last line.

This is, for the lack of a more sophisticated term, yucky.

This isn’t an episode of M*A*S*H* where Radar is sneaking Colonel Potter’s horse, Sophie her pills stuffed into an apple. These are your kids!

You wouldn’t put carrots and beets on a Happy Meal, would you?

I don’t care if she is Seinfeld’s wife.

Deceptively Delicious ain’t.

Read more



Read more

It was Kismet

Kevin's favorites


Several years ago, my lovelorn friend Jim had just started dating a new gal. Somewhat the nervous type…okay, a really nervous type, Jim asked me if I would just materialize at what turned out to be only his second date with the young woman.

The plot was this: The date was on a Friday night. Jim would take his date to the Dan Jansen festival. I would arrive at the festival after my Channel 10 taping of InterCHANGE, and the two lovebirds would “bump” into me at one of the beer tents.

And so it went.

There I was, the only lunatic at the festival wearing a suit and tie, all by myself, at a beer tap.

Suddenly, out of the blue, there was Jim and………………….his date!

“Hey, look over there. It’s Kevin Fischer. What a surprise! Imagine running into you here!”

“Jim! What are you doing here,” I replied, confident we had completely pulled the wool over the poor girl’s eyes.

Jim’s date had this look on her face that seemed to say, “Uhhhh, what in the world is going on?”

I proceeded to walk around the grounds with the two who said about 8 words in an hour. After snarfing some brew at the Hooter girl’s beer stand, I figured that things weren’t going well, and that Jim was on his own to boost his confidence.

I left, predicting that I’d receive a phone call the next day from Jim that his date ended the evening telling him, “You’re a nice guy, but ………………”

I was wrong.

Jim made another date, a pretty important one.

At the time, I was helping Jim with his business on the side…….wedding and miscellaneous party DJ.  We had a gig to do music at a surprise 50th birthday party. Jim invited his friend, Michele, but Jim invited some folks, too: his parents, to meet Michele.

It was Michele’s turn to be nervous, so, to keep her confidence intact and have moral support, she invited her best friend to accompany her.

Jim, meanwhile, found out about it and asked me to be on my best behavior to Michele’s friend.

“I’m always on my best behavior,” you silly fool!

Jim danced with Michele, I danced with Michele’s friend and the night went smoothly.

There were other highlights, but suffice to say that Jim asked Michele to marry him, Michele said yes, I was best man at the wedding and Michele’s friend stood up alongside me as Matron of Honor.

That’s how I met my future wife, Jennifer, Michele’s best friend.

I am a strong believer that certain events transpire for a reason.

Jim and Michele got married on November 4, 2000. November 4th is Michele’s birthday.

It was because my good friend Jim had the good fortune to meet Michele and the good sense to propose to her that I was able to meet my lovely bride who has made me so very, very happy.

So, to my dear friend Michele Kaluzny, today I say:

Happy Birthday!

Happy Anniversary!

And Thank You!


What would you do to protect the life of a child?

Would you make a personal sacrifice?

Would you be willing to give up some of your free time?

Would you take an hour or two off of work?

Would you drive downtown?

Would you sit in a courtroom and observe a hearing?

What if I told you that it wouldn’t cost you a dime, just a little bit of your time?

Would you take some time out of your busy life and your hectic schedule to devote it to an effort that means the safety and welfare of every child in Wisconsin?

Then think about joining your friends, neighbors and fellow concerned citizens tomorrow to show support for ordinances in Franklin and other Wisconsin municipalities that protect our children from sex offenders.

Is it worth it?

Is it worth an hour or two?

As the signs all over Franklin say:



(Franklin’s tough sex offender ordinance)



My sympathies to Kathleen Dunn

Some people have asked me why Kathleen Dunn didn’t appear on Channel 10’s InterCHANGE this past weekend.

Kathleen was in Chicago tending to her ailing father. He passed away Sunday at the age of 93.

I had the pleasure of meeting him a couple of years ago when he sat in the studio during one of our shows.

Kathleen has been a dear, sweet friend of mine for many years.

My deepest sympathies to you and your family, Kathleen. May God bless your wonderful father.

If any of you would like to offer words of sympathy or support to Kathleen, you can e-mail them to me and I’ll make sure she gets them, or you can write in the comments section here on my blog.

Thank you.

As we approach Veterans Day...

Let's not allow this to happen here.

Or this.

Franklin's lawsuit against Steve Hanke: UPDATE

Judge John Franke has decided to sleep on his decision in Franklin's lawsuit against sex offender Steve Hanke and will announce his ruling at 10:00 tomorrow morning.

Franklin is suing to evict Hanke who is in violation of the city's tough ordinance restricting where sex offenders can live. Hanke purchased a home in Franklin several months after the ordinance took effect and is now living near a middle school.

That means there is still time to send a respectful opinion to Judge Franke at  414- 278-4955.

The general e-mail for the Milwaukee County Court system:

Address your e-mail to Judge John Franke.

I am told today's courtroom was packed, with about 60 people in support of the Franklin ordinance, and about 5 people supporting Hanke.

Read more

Can't wait to hear the excuses they come up with about this...

Journal Sentinel circulation slips

Circulation of the Sunday edition of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel slipped 2.6% from a year ago, while daily circulation dropped 4.4%, a report released today shows.

Sunday circulation averaged 390,840 for the six months that ended Sep. 30, down from 401,379 a year earlier, according to a report by the Audit Bureau of Circulations. Sales of the Journal Sentinel's Monday-through-Friday editions averaged 220,676, compared with 230,871 during the same period in 2006.

An analysis of the data by The Associated Press showed that nationally, Sunday circulation for newspapers fell 3.5% while daily circulation was off 2.6%.

In the ABC report released today, 112 major newspapers - including the Journal Sentinel - for the first time began reporting new print and online audience measurements. Newspaper circulation has steadily declined as readers and some advertisers have migrated to the Internet, but the industry contends its online readership is growing significantly.

The new data show the "reach" of print editions, which is the number of people who read a newspaper instead of how many buy it. The report also establishes a benchmark by reporting, for the first time, a newspaper's online readership and the combined audience from print and online.

The Journal Sentinel's print readership was 1,103,459, reaching 64.9% of its market, according to the ABC report. Average monthly online readership was 357,150. The combined print and online audience was 1,164,089, a figure that takes into account some people who read both the print and Internet versions.

Read more

Scott Walker to the rescue?

While you were on the job today, working hard to try to keep up with living in our tax hell, the Milwaukee County Board was voting to increase your taxes.

The Board voted 14-5 to approve the Milwaukee County budget that increases taxes by 3.8%. County Executive Scott Walker had proposed a 0% tax increase budget.

The Board also voted to approve pay raises of 4% for supervisors.That vote was 12-7. The raises would  go into effect after the April election, raising supervisor pay to $52,080 next year and $52,704 starting in 2009.

The two supervisors representing Franklin on the Board, Mark Borkowksi and Paul Cesarz both voted against the budget and the pay raise.

Good for them!

I think it's time for Walker to bring out the veto pen.


All eyes are on wacky West Bend

Franklin budgets

Tomorrow, voters in West Bend decide on a $119-million school referendum.

If approved, it would be the largest referendum in the history of the state of Wisconsin.

School officials from all over the state are watching. School officials in Franklin aren’t just watching, they’re licking their chops.

If voters in conservative West Bend (remember, this is the same community that helped toss out my former colleague, Senator Mary Panzer, electing Glenn Grothman by a 4-1 margin) pass this referendum, you won’t be able to find lobster bibs big enough to soak up the drooling from the Franklin School Board.

Can you imagine the sheer delight of Sue Huhn, who though having announced that she won’t run again, is almost assuredly hell-bent to do some serious taxing and spending damage before she’s through.

Franklin taxpayers, you voted loudly and strongly on April 3rd. The Franklin School Board didn’t listen to you. Oh they were stung alright. But if you think they were going to take their ball and go home, guess again. All they did was go back to the tax and spend drawing board, waiting for the next time to stick it to you.

It started with their increase of their own school tax levy increase. And it won’t end until they come up with another costly school referendum.

That time could come very soon, especially if West Bend goes insane tomorrow. If the referendum is approved, Franklin will use that vote as their rationale to come back again with another sizeable tax increase. You can almost hear the Board members sitting around a table, chomping at the bit. “Why, if they can push that baby through in West Bend, we can get these suckers here to pass one, too! Isn’t that right Steve?”

Cue to Superintendent Steve Patz to nod his head in approval.

“Yes indeed, school board members. Whatever you say, school board members.”

So, if you’re a Franklin school administrator, official, school board member, or just part of the school machine, you are desperately cheering for West Bend voters to say YES.

If you’re a poor, lowly Franklin taxpayer who’s been screwed over time and time again and you don’t want school officials dipping even deeper into your pockets, you’d better pray they vote NO in West Bend tomorrow.

And we can't forget the CITY of Franklin budget

Franklin budgets

The public hearing on the city of Franklin budget is tonight at 6:30 in the Common Council chambers.

The Council is a good bunch and they talk a good game. Now it’s time to act.

PREDICTION: I have a bad feeling. I don’t see this Council passing a budget that is at or below the rate of inflation.

Obey-itis: Foot-in-mouth disease

Wisconsin Congressman David Obey has a national reputation of shooting his fool mouth off without thinking.

He did it again today, addressing the National Press Club when he said U.S. soldiers in Iraq are “running out of people to kill.”

That's Obey's take on the good news that violence in Iraq has decreased.

Amanda Carpenter has more details, and you can see video of Obey embarrassing himself one more time.

*BREAKING NEWS: City of Franklin vs. Steve Hanke*

Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge John Franke has ruled against the city of Franklin's lawsuit against sex offender Steve Hanke who, for now, will be allowed to live in his Franklin home 600 feet from a middle school.

Franke ruled against current law, innocent familes and children, and sided with a convicted sex offender.

This legal battle is far from over.

More details later.

In the meantime, as I always say, elections matter.

Remember John Franke.

Franke rules against Franklin

In ruling against the city of Franklin’s lawsuit to try to evict convicted sex offender Steve Hanke, Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge John Franke used a lot of legal mumbo jumbo to justify his decision.

Let’s cut through all that and focus on the key points to keep in mind:

1) Clearly Franke could have and should have ruled in favor of Franklin. I submit that no appeal would have overturned his ruling. Hanke is in clear violation of a constitutional ordinance.

2) Once again, the rights of a convicted criminal are paramount to those of law-abiding citizens.

3) Hanke ignored the mountain of evidence and studies that show offenders like Hanke are likely to re-offend.  One of my sources at the Courthouse wrote me the following, summing up what Franke said in court on this part of the ruling:

The judge spoke at length on the issue of assessing risk – what is the risk of injury if the injunction is not granted? While there is a “chance” of child assault, it is too difficult to apply recidivism statistics to one individual without expert witness. The risk over a short period of time is very small. Hanke committed his crime against someone with whom he had a very long-term and close relationship, thus lowering the chances that he would assault a child at random.

That is an absolutely outrageous assertion for this judge to make, essentially minimizing and trivializing the potential danger that is real.

4) Franklin lost in a big way today. As this case drags on, and it will for some time, possibly until August of next year, it allows Hanke to remain in his Franklin home, 600 feet away from a Franklin middle school.

5) Franke sent a loud message to other sex offenders that it’s ok to challenge and defy laws established to restrict where these perverts live.

6) This is another example of why people lose faith and trust in their government and legal system.

7) Franke has now in three major cases involving dangerous sex offenders. Every time he has ruled in favor of the criminal.

God forbid that Hanke assault another child, but if he does, it’s on Franke’s hands.

Taking some time off

I’m headed away for awhile, in need of some R & R. While I’m away, please check in daily because I have pre-blogged some entries.

The culinary no-no’s will still be posted, but because it’s such a time-sensitive effort, Week-ends will be on hiatus, too.

I’ll return the week of November 18th.

Thanks for your continued support and do behave while I’m gone.


The tax revolt is alive and well!

Are you paying attention, Franklin School Board members?????

West Bend referendum soundly defeated

West Bend - Voters in the West Bend School District rejected a $119.3 million school building referendum by a 62.6% to 37.4% margin in Tuesday's special election.

The proposal, which included the construction of three new schools and the renovation of others, was defeated in each of 9 communities within the 105-square-mile district.

The unofficial count with all districts reporting was 9,291 voting no to 5,542 voting yes.

Voter turnout was about 48%.



No Habla Ingles? That's's your hunting license

 My friend and colleague at, Jo Egelhoff did some digging and apparently rules and regulations the DNR puts out about hunting mean very little.

Why read them if you don’t have to!

Think that’s bad?

Help wanted at the DNR?

Please apply if you can help wanna-be hunters who don’t speak English.

Your tax dollar at work.

FranklinNOW has become two blogs in one

Since the management of these sites decided to allow readers to offer feedback, it’s my observation that the implementation of the comments section created two separate blogs.

You have each individual blogger writing in his/her own style. Then the community is afforded the opportunity to react.

The comments have taken on a life of their own, ranging from complimentary to unsportsmanlike conduct.

Generally, the vast majority of the comments have been the kind that don’t need to be sent to the “BLOG COMMENT GRAVEYARD.”

Readers must understand that if they bite, the blogger has every right, and is going to bite back.

I’ve been struck by the calls to tone it down and be nicer. They seem to come from individuals who don’t mind tossing the mud around.

It’s this spirited feedback that I believe has generated great interest, so much so that readers check in, not just to read what Kevin and Fred and Bryan and Mary are offering, but also to read how others will respond. Whose skin did they get under this time?

The pattern usually goes like this: blogger writes about a topic that grabs attention, reader takes issue and expresses his/her sentiment, another reader takes issue the response, and back and forth they go. Suddenly, like a soap opera, you have one or more sub-plots cooking all at the same time, in effect, two blogs in one.

Most chuckle at the verbal pro wrestling. A small minority gets so taken aback that they clamor for turning the blogging fisticuffs into an ice cream social. Don’t buy it.

When I worked at WTMJ Radio in the 90’s, our news department made a conscious decision during the O.J. Simpson trial to produce on a daily basis in-depth reports on various legal angles, often utilizing the expertise of local attorneys and analysts.

Our phones rang. Get that stuff off the air, they yelled. We’re sick and tired of that junk over and over again, they hollered.

The reality was the public was interested in the case, the public was following it, and they wanted more, not less coverage. Ratings went up during this period.

The same is no doubt true for the fireworks on this website. With rare exceptions, I find the spirited commentary to be welcome. Personally, I believe those who strongly disagree with me do me a favor and a disservice to their cause(s). And for the most part, like those who slow down to view the aftermath of a traffic accident, readers love the give and take on our blogs.

Of course, more civil debate is also welcome. But even those who have moaned that the climate gets too nasty never leave. They keep coming back to read, and comment, more.

There is, in my view, a major drawback.

When you have two or maybe more blogs going on the same blog (if I can put it that way), the theme of the original blog or topic can be lost in the swirling myriad of all-over-the map comments.

This can be corrected, but it will require greater discipline on the part of bloggers who should rarely take action while moderating. They can and should urge readers to stay on topic, and yours truly is just as guilty of dropping the ball as anyone else.

So has morphed into not one, but two blogs. If handled properly, that will be a win-win for readers.

The "petition"

In my recent blog on how citizens can participate in government, I mentioned five ways they could increase their involvement.

Apparently I neglected the new trend that’s all the rage in our fair city, and that’s the PETITION!

Now one could argue that simply signing a form is one of the easiest (or laziest) ways to get involved. But it seems that when you don’t get your way and you’re mad as hell and just can’t take it anymore, the best solution is to run to Kinko’s and run off a bunch of petitions, pass them around and beg for signatures.

So, I thought I’d get in the game and draw up my very own petition. Not formalized yet, my petition would look something like this:

I respectfully request the following, in no particular order:

1) The sun will shine every day.

2) It will only rain at night, when I’m asleep.

3) It will only snow on Christmas Eve while I open my presents, and even that will only be a dusting.

4) Leaves will never fall or blow onto my grass.

5) Little elves will bring my groceries weekly to my front door.

6) The girl at McDonald’s will say to me, “Have a Nice Day,” only if she really means it.

7) There should never be a line at the DMV.

8) Brett Favre will never retire.

9) There should always be an open bar stool at the Cheesecake Factory.

10) Wine corks will never crumble.

11) Geese will never leave presents on my driveway or lawn.

12) Any Franklin elected official who votes for a tax increase must relinquish his/her first-born.

13) Ka will start a delivery service.

14) Franklin police officers will tell speeders they pull over to, “Try not to do that again.”

15) No one in front of me in line at Pick ‘n Save or Sendik’s will be allowed to wait until the check-out person gives the final total to then pull out a checkbook and start writing.

16) My favorite radio stations will not be allowed to play commercials all at the same time.

17) Ditto…my favorite TV stations.

18) I get a dollar every time someone says any of the following to me:
“Don’t you just want to smack Joel McNally?”
“What’s Mark Belling really like?”
“Hey, are you that guy….?”

19) Every kernel in microwave popcorn will pop.

20) As punishment for her dismal career, Sue Huhn must pay my Franklin school taxes for the next twenty years.

Any takers?


Sheriff Clarke, where are you?

Time is ticking away, and as I write this prior to leaving for some R & R, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett remains without a serious challenger.

That is astounding, considering the vulnerable Barrett is ripe for the picking.

The conventional wisdom is that Barrett has a huge war chest, and that frightens potential challengers who prefer to run for the city of Milwaukee’s top job in 2012.

In reality, a strong candidate could give Barrett a run for his money. The right candidate could knock him off. That person, I believe, is Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke.

The most critical issue the city confronts is violent crime. On that front, Barrett has failed miserably.

Whenever a violent crime blitzkrieg breaks out, Barrett has managed to be out of town, being quoted at some seminar by the New York Times.

Worse yet, Barrett has no significant plan or vision to aggressively combat crime. His solution is to bring out the bookmobile, hand out Summerfest pamphlets to gang members, and blame guns.

When outgoing Police Chief Nan Hegerty, herself a major disappointment, said Milwaukee suffers from a societal crisis, Barrett disagreed claiming there was no crisis. That begs the question of how many crimes and dead bodies it would take before Barrett’s eyebrows would move.

Sheriff Clarke has fought crime his entire life. Whenever the subject has come up during my fill-in stints on WISN Radio, Clarke has called in to blast Barrett. When I’ve pressed Clarke on running for Mayor, he has been evasive.

Barrett has dropped the ball in other areas.

Last week, he ripped the Milwaukee School Board for proposing a monstrous tax increase. Barrett, of course, was right, although a blind squirrel would have gotten that one correct. What Barrett doesn’t tell you is that he was responsible, in part, for MPS’s ludicrous plan.

The School Board proposed a 16.4% increase, but the increase actually would have jumped several percentage points because of a tax collection error in 2006.

As the Journal/Sentinel has reported, “An error a year ago at City Hall that left $9 million off the MPS tax levy gave people, in effect, a one-time break on bills issued then. But bumping up the levy this year to the base it was supposed to be at last year will make this year's total school tax collections increase by about 13%”

The error took place, where? At City Hall? And who’s in charge?

Remember the many problems that surfaced under Barrett’s Election Commissioner, ranging from unprocessed registration cards to undelivered ballots to unrecorded votes?

How about 20,000 registration cards that were not processed, a problem Barrett first learned of the day before the November 2006 election. That led to a late-night scramble to organize them and get them to the polls.
On Election Day, 238 absentee ballots were not delivered to the polls before they closed. They were counted late, only after the city sought and received special permission from the state. An unknown number of people who asked for absentee ballots never got them. The Journal Sentinel reported that, “About 1,200 votes came from invalid addresses and city records showed a gap of about 7,000 votes between the number of people recorded as voting and the number of ballots cast.”

And yet Barrett opposes photo ID.

David Clarke can unseat Barrett. The mayor’s popularity has waned among south side blue-collar Democrats. Conservatives who put Barrett in office feel betrayed, believing the liberal Barrett has done nothing for them. Meanwhile, liberals have told me they think Barrett has been too conservative. How, I’ll never know. But if liberals and conservatives are both angry, that doesn’t bode well. Barrett’s support in the black community, I am told, is fragile.

Despite Barrett’s money and a Barrett machine, the signs all point to a tough re-election fight if Clarke, who knows a thing or two about winning elections, would enter the race.

My understanding is that Clarke has been in serious discussions with his top campaign people. If he’s thinking about it, he better get his toes out of the water and dive in……real soon.




Liberal Democrats suffer from a disease that only they appear to be afflicted with: taxoholism.  They just can’t seem to fight it or help it. Liberal Democrats are taxoholics.

Janet Hook of the Los Angeles Times reports:

All of the major Democratic presidential candidates would allow President Bush's tax cuts for wealthier households to lapse. Most support raising the cap on income subject to Social Security taxes. Some want to raise taxes on capital gains and other investment income.

On Capitol Hill, a leading Democrat -- House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles B. Rangel of New York -- has proposed an additional tax on wealthy people and a levy on hedge fund managers to help pay for easing the tax burden on the middle class.

Rangel’s “Mother of All Tax Hikes” would raise taxes by $3.5 trillion over ten years.

The tax and spenders are going to use that tired old argument that the wealthy don’t pay their fair share, so they need to be soaked. That argument might work on a bumper sticker, but it’s factually bankrupt.

This is manna from heaven for Republicans and political suicide for Democrats who apparently have forgotten two words: Walter Mondale.

A political history lesson is in order. Let’s turn the back to 1984:

Read more

Week-ends has the weekend off

Normally on Saturday morning, I feature what has become a popular feature on This Just In… Week-ends.

While I’m enjoying some time off, the time-sensitive Week-ends is also on hiatus. The feature will return Saturday, November 24.

In the meantime, I invite you to check previous postings of Week-ends. I am planning a special year-end edition of Week-ends on December 30. You can help me compile my year-end list by looking at previous installments. Just click, “Week-ends” in my tabs section.

E-mail me your nominations or feel free to come up with your own suggestions.

The "List"

Who is the most influential conservative in America?

Who is the most influential liberal?

Here is the list of the top 100 in each ideological category, prepared by the Telegraph.

Very interesting.


My old grade school makes the news

One of my favorite columnists, Patrick McIlheran of the Milwaukee Journal/Sentinel recently visited my old grade school, St. Anthony’s on the near south side.

It was a very good school when I attended.

Today, St. Anthony’s is in the choice program and appears to be, I’m happy to say, doing very well.

Culinary no-no #26

Culinary no-no's

The holidays are rapidly approaching.

A lot of people will be sending, and receiving long-distance gifts, usually of the edible variety.

That means fruitcakes, candy, popcorn tins, glazed fruit, meats and cheeses.

Not everyone on the receiving end will be doing cartwheels.

So, you get a baked good in the mail from Aunt Hazel that looks like its true and more effective purpose would be a doorstop.

Do you feed it to Fido?

The mailman?

Another relative you’re not crazy about?

Or does the disposal get to swallow?

After all, Aunt Hazel will never know, right?

I should toss it, shouldn’t I?

This particular culinary conundrum was cataclysmic enough for one reader to pen a letter of concern recently to DEAR ABBY:

DEAR ABBY: Every year I receive baked goods from a friend who lives across the country. They are petrified by the time they arrive. About the same time, I get food baskets containing highly processed food and waxy chocolate candies (heart attack inducers, I call them) by mail-order from several family members. I have never eaten this kind of food. I throw it all right in the trash. It bothers me to be wasteful, but I don't want the stuff, and it's not suitable to give to a shelter. I have asked repeatedly that any gifts to me be donations to charities of their choice. It doesn't matter what I say; I keep getting stuff I don't want. Any ideas how I can get my message across without being perceived as rude or ungrateful? -- PIQUED IN PALM DESERT

Even before I saw Abigail’s response, the obvious answer jumped out at me.

DEAR PIQUED: You have already gotten your message across. Your friend and family members have chosen to ignore it. Your name is probably part of a long list that is routinely submitted to these mail-order companies every year -- and removing it may take more effort than these people are willing to exert.

Even though you have never eaten "this kind of food," plenty of others do. Rather than letting it go to waste, offer it to friends, neighbors and co-workers. Don't just throw it away.

Because one man’s fruitcake is another man’s tiramisu. Or something like that.

If the option isn’t Bon Appetit, then you find someone else to take Aunt Hazel’s display of hospitality off your hands.


1) Ketchup on a brat
2) Green peppers on pizza
3) The dirty martini
4) Fruity brats
5) A Bloody Mary after dinner
6) Women “manning” the grill
7) Eating pizza at Festa Italiana, brats at German Fest, or tacos at Fiesta Mexicana. (Be adventurous. You can have those items anytime).
8) Eating a cream puff as though it was a hamburger.
9) Taking your own bottle of sauce when invited to a barbecue.
10) Touching the grill if you’re a guest at an outdoor barbecue.
11) Coaching the host on how to grill.
12) Some regional flavored ice cream… black licorice.
13) Taking the husks off before you grill corn on the cob
14) Being afraid to chill red wine
15) Pizza on the grill
16) When serving exotic or strange dishes to guests, do not tell them exactly what it is. Instead, use a more inviting term (caviar) rather than being blunt (fish eggs).
17) In late summer and early fall, this time of year, don’t buy zucchini. Somehow, someway, you will find zucchini or zucchini will find you.
18) Showing disrespect to your restaurant server.
19) Eating out on a Monday night.
20) Pumpkin beer.
21) Mail-order turkey.
22) Grilled cheese is just for kids.
23) Dining in the dark.
24) Ketchup on spaghetti
25) Sneaking healthy foods into treats to get your kids to eat it.

God bless our veterans

On this Veterans Day, I share with you the final words of the Veterans Day speech delivered by President Reagan at the Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial on November 11, 1988:

Now before I go, as have so many others, Nancy and I wanted to leave a note at the wall. And if I may read it to you before doing so, we will put this note here before we leave:

``Our young friends -- yes, young friends, for in our hearts you will always be young, full of the love that is youth, love of life, love of joy, love of country -- you fought for your country and for its safety and for the freedom of others with strength and courage. We love you for it. We honor you. And we have faith that, as He does all His sacred children, the Lord will bless you and keep you, the Lord will make His face to shine upon you and give you peace, now and forever more.''

Thank you to all our veterans for serving our country, today and every day.


Thank you for not voting

Like death and taxes, it’s an absolute sure thing.

It happens every time there’s an election.

Sanctimonious editorial writers pontificate that everyone of voting age should get out and cast a ballot.

It’s your right!

It’s your duty!

You must vote!

Guess what?

I don’t agree.

Personally, I don’t want every Tom, Dick, and Harry voting, and I said so, right here on this website in one of my very first blogs.

In February, I wrote:

Would it be nice if more people voted? Of course. But I'm not all bent out of shape when voter turnout is low.

Last Tuesday, when very few people went to the polls, their votes actually had more clout, carrying more weight. Ideally, I'd much prefer a lower turnout of more educated, informed, concerned voters. That's more desirable than people voting a certain way because their spouse is, their teacher told them to, they just saw an ad on TV the day before, someone looks better or nicer, "let's give someone else a chance," "He's been in awhile so he must know what he's doing," and you get my point.

Here’s my entire blog.

Along comes W. Burt Prelutsky, the author of Conservatives Are from Mars (Liberals Are from San Francisco): 101 Reasons I'm Happy I Left the Left to offer the same view.

Goulet & Elvis/ Who's left?


When Robert Goulet died a couple of weeks ago, it made me wonder:

Of the truly great singers, who’s left?

Goulet’s rich, almost perfect voice was a fixture on many television variety shows in the 60’s and 70’s, and as long as there were night clubs, he’d never be unemployed.

But now he’s gone, and again, the question is, who’s left?

Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, Nat King Cole, Ella Fitzgerald, Judy Garland, Sammy Davis Jr., Dean Martin, Perry Como……they’ve all passed on.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but there’s only one true classic vocal star left: Tony Bennett.

Sprinkle in a few others like Andy Williams and Steve Lawrence and the answer is clear that a generation of singing stars has sadly almost faded away.

Is there a stable of fresh, young talent ready to step in and take their place? Not really.

Michael Buble. Steve Tyrell.

But the days of Sinatra, Sammy and Dean are over. And nobody can replace them.

Goulet and Elvis

When I heard the news of Goulet’s death, being the big Elvis fan I am made me recall the often told story about Elvis shooting out his TV whenever the smooth voice of Goulet came on screen.

What was the deal?

There is a self-proclaimed Elvis expert on the Internet named James Warner. Someone recently put the question to Warner about Goulet and Elvis:

James Warner
Date: 10/24/2007
Subject: Robert Goulet

Why did Elvis dislike Robert Goulet? I have heard he spent a good deal of money on TVs because he shot his TV every time Robert Goulet was on it.

Dear Scott,
I have been waiting for someone to ask THIS question!
It's a good story! Elvis disliked Robert Goulet for two reasons; his monotone, boring, corpse-like stage presence AND something that happened while Elvis was in Germany.

Elvis was dating a woman named Anita Wood. Anita worked with Goulet on his entertainment show or something and was an extra. While Elvis was in Germany, Goulet sent him a letter...basically saying, "Don't worry, Elvis. I'll take good care of Anita while you're gone!"

That's why Elvis used his .357 "remote" to change the TV channel, Scott. Upon finding Goulet on a channel, he took a .357 out of his boot, shot the TV out and  reportedly said aloud, "Get that s&#t outta' my house!"

The TV is currently on display at Graceland. It was found a few years ago in the attic above his father's office.

Thanks for the questions, Scott. That was fun to answer.
Just let me know if I can help again.


The story is flat out false, and this fraud who claims to be an Elvis aficionado should give up his gig instead of proliferating fairy tales and lies.

What better way to get to the truth than to go to the source himself.

On August 14, 2004, right in the middle of Elvis week, Goulet was in Memphis and sat down for an interview with Christopher Blank of the Memphis Commercial Appeal newspaper:

The 70-year-old entertainer Robert Goulet is in Memphis to play King Arthur in "Camelot" at the Orpheum Theater through Sunday. Since it's Elvis Week, we asked Goulet about his part in a well-known anecdote about Elvis: The king of rock and roll was known to aim a gun at his television when he saw something there that displeased him.

THE COMMERCIAL APPEAL: And now I've got to ask you what my colleagues say is going to be the hardest question.

GOULET: I'm not Jewish. I'm not gay.

CA: No, those are easy.

GOULET: (Laughs.)

CA: You know Memphis is an Elvis town and you factor into a local legend.

GOULET: When he shot the television set? He also shot 50 other people. They told me that he had about a hundred sets in the basement. And he'd shoot the damn thing out - you know he was on pills and he didn't know quite what he was doing and he'd BANG! and they'd look at each other and say, "Get another set!" They mention me all the time. I don't know why. I remember once we sat together backstage for two hours. And he was a charming, delightful, delightful man. And at one point I said, "That's a beautiful ring you have there." He said "You like it?" I said, "It's beautiful!"

He took it off his hand and put it on mine. He gave me his ring. And years later all the jewelry I had in my house - I trust everybody. I was brought up to believe that you cannot steal, cheat or lie and I've been stolen from, cheated or lied to all of my life. And so jewelry - who needs it? But this one was something special to me and it's gone.

CA: Somebody took it?

GOULET: I hired a guy to take care of my house when I was gone. I'm so naive it's ridiculous. 'Cause, you know, when we hire people today we do a background check. I didn't do that. . . . I was in Dallas doing something and I got a call from LAPD (Los Angeles Police Department). "We have a Stutz Blackhawk, silver, with gold trim with RGG license plate?" I said "You have it? How do you have it?" "Well, we saw this guy going through Watts driving this car with the window open throwing out hundred dollar bills." He had taken all my jewelry and everything else I had of import and taken my car and driven it down to L.A. But all my good stuff is just gone, finished. It's all part of dying.

CA: So tell me a little more about the Elvis connection. We write so much about Elvis here. What was your reaction when you heard he'd shot the TV?

GOULET: The point is I knew he was not himself so therefore it wasn't anything to do with me. He shot out Mel Torme. He shot out Frank. But I get all the credit.

Robert, you were really cool!

Read more

OK, let's play FInal Jeopardy

Back by popular demand, it’s time for another This Just In edition of:


Yes, I know we haven’t played it in awhile), but I think you’re really going to enjoy today’s contest.

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 COLLEGE SPORTS.

The Final Jeopardy clue was, THE SLAB OF BACON.

The correct Final Jeopardy answer is:


What was the name of the trophy the Wisconsin Badgers and Minnesota Gophers played football for BEFORE they played for Paul Bunyan’s Axe?

From the University of Minnesota website:

The series between Minnesota and Wisconsin ranks as the longest in Division 1-A football; and “Paul Bunyan’s Axe” has the history of one of college football’s fiercest rivalries emblazoned on its six-foot long handle. The first game in the series, a 63-0 Gopher victory in 1890, is printed on the handle near the axe’s head. The results of every successive game line the handle in red ink. There have been so many games that the scores scroll up and down the width of both sides of the handle, and school officials have now resorted to writing scores on the narrow edges of the six-foot shaft.

By 1930, “Paul Bunyan’s Axe” wasn’t even created, although the rivalry had already reached feverish levels. The 1906 game was canceled by President Theodore Roosevelt, who had decided to cool off heated college football rivalries, because of injuries and deaths on the field. In 1914, Minnesota faced the Badgers for the Gophers’ first Homecoming game; likewise, Wisconsin hosted Minnesota for the Badgers’ first in 1919. Between the years 1923 and 1925, the teams battled to three straight ties.

To symbolically capture the amazing atmosphere of the annual match-up, Dr. R. B. Fouch of Minneapolis fashioned a bacon slab out of black walnut to serve as the traveling trophy that he hoped would compare to the well-known “Little Brown Jug,” which Minnesota and Michigan played for every year. The “Slab of Bacon,” first played for in 1930, had a football carved on top inscribed with an “M” or “W”, depending on how you held it. The idea was that the winning team would “bring home the bacon.” 

But in the early ’40s, the Slab of Bacon became the “Missing Slab of Bacon.” Peg Watrous, who was the president of Wisconsin women students at the time, relates that she and her counterpart from Minnesota were to have a symbolic exchange after the game, whereby the trophy would be awarded to the winning team. Minnesota won, but in characteristic fashion, a post-game melee broke out on the field, with students and spectators running crazy over the field. Watrous couldn’t find her counterpart and was left “holding the bacon,” as it were. “I have no memory of what happened after that…The whole thing was a dud, as I feared it would be,” Watrous remembered good-humoredly, “and someone in charge probably hid the bacon.”But the two teams had to play for something, so in 1948 the Wisconsin W Club instituted “Paul Bunyan’s Axe” as a trophy more befitting the grand rivalry between the two schools.

The Slab of Bacon was back in the news in the summer of 1994, when the long-lost trophy was found after a Camp Randall Stadium storage room was cleaned out. Wisconsin officials estimated that it had been missing since 1945; yet the scores of every Wisconsin-Minnesota game from 1930 through 1970 were printed on the back of the slab. It is one of those Twilight Zonesque mysteries that remains unexplained and contributes to the legend of Minnesota’s and Wisconsin’s “Border Battle” rivalry.  

The Badgers play at Minnesota this Saturday for Paul Bunyan’s Axe. Who can forget the fantastic finish between these two teams in 2005 in Head Coach Barry Alvarez’s last game against the Gophers. 


Read more

Illegal aliens doom the Democrats

Even though illegal aliens can’t vote, they may have already decided the outcome of next year’s Presidential election.

As improbable as that may sound, it is plausible.

For the longest time, liberal Democrats strategized that the war In Iraq was their ticket to the White House. For years, never offering their own plan to fight terror, their constant drumbeat was the war was bad, the war was immoral, the war was failing, etc., etc., etc.

The mantra did create a tsunami at the polls last November, but put Democrats in a position that they are uncomfortable and have a great of difficulty with: governing.

The Democratic Party thrives on failure. Success blows up their playbook. Democrats must have poverty and welfare and homelessness to bolster their cries for more taxing and spending to fund ineffective social programs. They must hold the impoverished down, otherwise their “Great Society” philosophy goes down the drain. In essence, they are “poverty pimps.”

Democrats privately were hoping to ride another year of negative news media reports and polls about the war into the elections, expecting more voter backlash against Republicans.

Spoiling their plan was what Democrats fear and hate the most: success. The surge in Iraq is working. Violence is down, a revelation even the news media has begrudgingly started to pick up on. The public is catching on, isn’t stupid, and understands. And Democrats are now frustrated because the U.S. is winning in Iraq.

So what issue has replaced Iraq in the minds and fascination of Americans?  Try illegal immigration. Democrats may have stumbled so badly on this one that they may never recover.

New York Governor Elliot Spitzer did the party no favor when he advocated giving driver’s licenses to illegal aliens. Almost three out of every four New Yorkers polled think Spitzer is off his rocker.

When Hillary Clinton was forced to address Spitzer’s idea during a debate, she took more positions than John Kerry before finally clarifying the next day that she did support driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants. Some pundits think Hillary’s dead. If she’s not, she did receive a few more nails in the coffin.

The vast majority of the American public is fed up with illegal immigration. Local and state governments from one end of the country to the other are enacting laws to combat illegal immigration, especially the granting of government programs and services.

Republicans are seen as tough on illegal immigration, opposed to amnesty; Democrats are seen as just the opposite.

“Iraq bad, illegal immigration good” has backfired, to say the least.

Now what?

Republicans want to starve Grandma?

Republicans want to kill your dog?

Republicans hate everybody?

That stuff just doesn’t resonate.

I guess they’ll just campaign on the issue they always do:


Hunting is not that dangerous! Now you take fishing......

Hundreds of thousands of deer hunters will be in the woods very soon, armed with powerful weapons.

Gun control advocates, and I deal with a pair of them every week on television, love to shout and scream, “IT’S THE GUN, THE GUN, THE GUN….THERE ARE TOO MANY GUNS….WE GOTTA GET RID OF MORE GUNS!”

Using the brilliant logic of casting aspersions on the inanimate object, it stands to reason that if you get such a large concentration of individuals in a concentrated area heavily armed with powerful rifles, that there would be unspeakable carnage.

True, if we were talking Milwaukee’s inner city.

How many people will actually get seriously injured this hunting season? Seven? Eight? Nine? Ten?

For all the gun control nuts, the truth is that it’s more dangerous fishing, golfing, bowling or playing pool than hunting.

HT: Dad29

A personal message to one of my youngest fans

This blog is dedicated to Emma Irene Kaluzny.

Emma turns a whole big wonderful glorious three today.

Thank you, Emma, for reading.....or at least looking blogs!


Uncle Kevin and Aunt Jennifer 

Read more

Where is Week-ends?

Normally on Saturday morning, I feature what has become a popular feature on This Just In… Week-ends.

REMINDER: While I’m enjoying some time off, the time-sensitive Week-ends is also on hiatus. The feature will return Saturday, November 24.

In the meantime, I invite you to check previous postings of Week-ends. I am planning a special year-end edition of Week-ends on December 30. You can help me compile my year-end list by looking at previous installments. Just click, “Week-ends” in my tabs section.

E-mail me your nominations or feel free to come up with your own suggestions.

Kill and grill

On this opening day of the deer hunting season, good luck and be safe everybody.

As a tribute to the men and women in bright orange, I bring you the words of the man who says it better than anyone else when it comes to hunting: Ted Nugent.


Hunters helping the hungry: the sharing of sacred flesh

unday, April 01, 2007

Well, the dust has settled and the gutpiles have all been vultured up and recycled by God's perfect tooth, fang and claw design. So let the grand American BloodBrother party erupt!

For more than 20 years now, some great hunting families — including ours — have stalked, ambushed, killed, gutted, hugged, dragged, skinned, hung, butchered, marinated, cooked up, seasoned, celebrated and served up more than 250 million perfect, hot, pure, yummy, high-protein meals of sacred venison to our fellow Americans in need.
That's right: 250 million, again, from another annual, perfect, natural season of harvest.

With our magnanimous Hunters for the Hungry, Sportsmen Against Hunger and the Hunters and Farmers Feeding the Hungry programs, we have delivered the finest, healthiest rocket fuel for the mind, body, heart, spirit and soul to homeless shelters and soup kitchens across the land.

Most importantly, it's happened without the guaranteed ineptitude and waste of government bureaucrats meddling with a simple neighborly deed.

Hallelujah and pass the garlic-and-butter BBQ sauce, baby. God bless American hunters, the best Americans there are.

As the Nugent family joins this heartfelt celebration of such irrefutable wildlife management upgrade and success, the self-evident truth of conservation, "the intelligent, responsible wise-use" reality rages on.

In this information tsunami day and age, who doesn't know that there are more deer in North America than ever before in recorded history?

Who could possibly not know that from just the five states of Texas, Georgia, Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, hunters kill more than 2.5 million whitetail deer nearly every year?

Who isn't aware that venison is the healthiest, most natural, maximum-nutrition organic food on God's good green earth?

Wait till you get a full-on bellyaching laugh reading letters to the editorfrom the politically correct denial-cult buffoons claiming that these are that crazy Nugent's "opinions."

Facts are facts. Deal with them. Nothing goes better with a perfect meal of venison than a good laugh provided from an animal rights clown.

We really enjoy comedy with our meals. Excuse me while I howl hysterically at the hunter's moon, and pass the delicious grilled backstraps to my friends, baby. Perfect.

I glowed with pride that cold winter day when I ladled out the scrumptious, hearty venison goulash to the homeless families on the not-so-mean streets of Detroit.

Working with my fellow Safari Club International members and our own Ted Nugent United Sportsmen of America and a few other hundred or so volunteer sporting organizations, we prepared huge vats of this delicious chow for some of my down-on-their luck American neighbors.

We were eager to share such quality food with people who otherwise were forced to scrape their next meal out of a back-alley dumpster, as mandated by anti-hunting fanatics who banned the sharing of wild-game meat in some states.

Fortunately, the antihunters have been exposed for the soulless punks they are. Now every state admits and supports the universal, self-evident truth that wild game meat is the best food there is.

We graciously have accepted a humanitarian award from the Salvation Army charity.

Cool. Americans have always done the right thing when our neighbors are in need.

Across the nation and right here at home in Central Texas, every imaginable hunting, fishing and trapping organization is working together to surpass the 250 million-meal mark soon.

Locally the dedicated professional butchers at Fulton's Quality Meats in Waco and are good connections to help out.

We share a lot of this sacred flesh with the families of U.S. military heroes who have lost a loved one in the war on terror, so the donations go straight to the heart and soul of what everybody of goodwill and decency supports.

Make no mistake. In this culture war here at home, those who have a problem with hunting must by all logical conclusions have a problem with venison, which makes them the enemy of this perfect Hunters for the Hungry program.

The line in the sand has been drawn. Remember the Alamo. Me? I'm going deer hunting and get me some meat for people who need and appreciate it. Venison: more perfection from God's pantry of nature, and lots of it.

For more information on how to help needy American families, visit, HFTH at and, Caritas of Waco foodbank at 753-4593 or call the Texas Hunters for the Hungry hotline at 800-942-9767, extension 506.

Ted Nugent is a Waco-based musician and television show host.

ENCORE: From Nugent’s column, “Today's parents are raising wimps and zombies.”

That kids can't even carry a pocketknife to school anymore is an indictment to a societal negativity and denial that does much more harm than good.

Hell, in my youth, millions of kids brought guns to school for ROTC marksmanship drills and during the hunting season, and nobody was getting shot.

Discipline at home and at school was the guiding force then. Today, we're worried about "feelings" and arresting kids for carrying butter knives and aspirin.
God help us all.

So drag that kid away from the TV set. Get them a bow and arrow. Take them to the woods.

Teach them how to make a campsite and make a fire.

Turn them on with the healing powers of nature and the soulful joys of challenge and independence.

It will cleanse their souls and strengthen their bodies and minds.

Ted Nugent.......a great American.


Culinary no-no #27

Culinary no-no's

Childhood obesity rates have tripled since the 1970s.

News bulletin: Guess what’s to blame?

Read more

I'm back....

No more sun.

No more sandy beaches.

No more mai-tai's served by young women from exotic places who have exotic first names.

And no sympathy from any of you, I'm sure.

A lot to write, but a lot to catch up on.

Welcome Janet Evans! You seem to have caught on quite well to this whole blogging deal. Keep up the good work.

Goodbye Fred Keller. I will miss your thoughtful and sometimes edgy posts a great deal. Don't be a stranger, my friend and fellow freedom fighter.

Thanks to all for reading my pre-written posts while I was gone.

So look out everybody and hold on to your socks!

I'm back and rarin' to go!


Read more


Oh, this is a beauty!

As you may know, I’ve been out of town and just saw this story on this website:

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 14, 2007, 3:18 p.m.
Stefanie Scott

Residents to be heard on failed referendum

Franklin Public Schools will be holding Be Heard meetings in December as a way to get resident input on district issues.

Meetings will be held at 6 p.m. Monday, Dec. 3, at Robinwood Elementary School, 10705 W. Robinwood Lane; 6 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 4, at Forest Park Middle School, 8255 W. Forest Hill Ave.; and 6 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 6, at Franklin High School, 8222 S. 51st St.

The first topic will be the past April referendum, an $78 million, two-question initiative that was voted down at the polls April 3. One question asked voters to approve bonding for $77 million for construction of a new high school and renovation of the current high school. A second asked them to OK $1.8 million annually to cover operating expenses for utilities and custodial staff. By a wide margin, voters said no to both questions.

School officials want to know what residents what they liked about the proposed plan and what they believe should have been done differently. The meetings will include small-group brainstorming sessions, followed by a large-group discussion.

Suddenly, the Franklin Public School administration wants to hear from Franklin residents. I don’t seem to recall this tax-happy bunch scheduling any special meetings to hear from the public about the raping they planned of the taxpayers regarding the school budget.

This is a complete joke. They’re not interested in what you have to say. They have their minds made up on a plan already. It’s called a HUGE REFERENDUM.

The tactic being used is one of the oldest in the books: hold several meetings, sit at a table with fake looks of concern on faces, pretend to be sympathetic, and then turn on taxpayers once again.

Have they no shame or clue? If the idea is to talk about the failed referendum, that suggests to me a lack of vision. Didn’t they get the message 7 months ago? I know I did. So did thousands and thousands of other Franklin taxpayers.

I love this line from the above story:

School officials want to know what residents what they liked about the proposed plan and what they believe should have been done differently.

Notice it doesn’t say that the Franklin Public Schools intelligentsia wants to know what you didn’t like about the $78-million tax increase?

I hope Franklin residents storm these meetings with lanterns and pitchforks and give the tax increasers a healthy piece of their minds.

A good turnout is critical because I wouldn’t put it past the school administrators and School Board members to stack these presentations with their own supporters.


Executing criminals saves lives

I am a staunch supporter of the death penalty. For many years, I’ve studied and researched this issue, and have done extensive balanced reporting on the controversial subject that garnered several journalism awards.

My support grew even greater today with a front page story, in of all places, the New York Times:

According to roughly a dozen recent studies, executions save lives. For each inmate put to death, the studies say, 3 to 18 murders are prevented.

The studies, performed by economists in the past decade, compare the number of executions in different jurisdictions with homicide rates over time — while trying to eliminate the effects of crime rates, conviction rates and other factors — and say that murder rates tend to fall as executions rise.

“I personally am opposed to the death penalty,” said H. Naci Mocan, an economist at Louisiana State University and an author of a study finding that each execution saves five lives. “But my research shows that there is a deterrent effect.”

Here is the entire New York Times article.

The death penalty is a life saver. It’s time we put a stop to the interminable appeals that inmates on death row use to circumvent the system. We should execute more criminals whose acts are so vicious, so cruel, so heinous, that in the name of  true justice, they forfeit their own lives.


Why fighting the explosion of school taxes and spending is so difficult..

Franklin budgets

It’s like playing the slots at Potawatomi or Vegas. The odds are against you.

Fight the local School Board?

The task is nearly insurmountable.

Ringside announcer Roger Kent in the old days of All-Star Wrestling on TV used to say that stepping into the ring against Larry (The Axe) Henning was like going bear-hunting with a switch. (That one was for you, Fred Keller).

My friend over at, Jo Egelhoff says to truly understand the enormous challenge taxpayers having trying to stem the ever-growing tax and spend tide thrust upon them by local school districts, they must realize they’re outnumbered.

You can’t tell the robbers and thieves (those are my words) without a scorecard.

Read Jo’s enlightening piece.


How the environmental Grinches made Thanksgiving not as happy

They’re to blame for a more expensive Turkey Day in 2007.

Amanda Carpenter explains.

Franklin aldermen just as bad as Franklin School Board

Franklin budgets


Throughout my career, I have always attempted to be consistent and fair.

Having been gone for quite some time, I’m still trying to catch up and was just informed about the city of Franklin budget for next year. The Franklin Mayor and the Common Council failed to protect taxpayers, and deserve as much criticism as the Franklin School Board.

The tax rate went up 3.1%. That means nothing. It’s the tax levy that counts. Franklin’s tax levy, after going up over 5% last year, is going up 5.7% next year. That’s on top of the 5.9% tax levy increase the Franklin School Board dropped on taxpayers.

Deeply disappointing is that city officials and School Board members are using the same crying towel, singing out of the same budget hymnal.

You know the refrain. I’ve written about it extensively. The state just didn’t give us enough money.

That’s a copout.

That’s like admitting that the way city and School Board officials budget is to stand with hands extended and wait to see how much aid the state appropriates. Count it up. Then raise taxes.

Hell, a blind man could hammer out a budget using that technique.

The other excuse is that “this was a tough budget.”

I don’t want to hear that or any other excuse, unless you’re conceding that you can’t make tough budget decisions and that your only solution is to jack up taxes.

Did the Franklin Common Council consider any cuts in the Mayor’s proposed budget? Any?

Doesn’t look like it.

It appears they took the Mayor’s whopping tax increase budget and put the big ‘ol rubber stamp on it.

The aldermen did fold up like a card table after getting just a little heat and retained the un-elected, appointed Environmental and Economic Development Commissions. That saved us absolutely nothing. Big deal.

I’ve publicly stated that I like and respect our Common Council as a whole. But after approving yet another big increase when taxpayers have clearly stated that enough is enough, maybe it’s time for change at City Hall.

In the days ahead, I will provide a scorecard on what the people with authority to tax did to you, the people who pay the bills. It won’t be pretty.

Makes you wonder how these guys manage their own households, doesn’t it?

If you're going to the Packer game on Thanksgiving.....

Be careful.

The Milwaukee Journal/Sentinel seems to have missed this one, just as they missed the story about FBI stats on violent crime several weeks ago.


So, here are the local stats.


Read more

A fix at Milwaukee City Hall?

The new Milwaukee Police Chief, Edward Flynn was allowed to apply after the deadline for applications had passed.

The fishiness doesn't pass the smell test.

All other candidates have been very gracious.

Nothing against the new chief. Like those who came before him, I give Flynn a honeymoon period to see what he can do.

But shouldn't somebody be raising a stink about the fairness of the process?

Moron of the week

Alabama football coach Nick Saban.

Survival in the desert: Getting around a smoking ban

Smoking bans are incredibly unfair and anti-business.

Cigarettes are a legal , emphasize the word legal product.

How anyone can support or justify a smoking ban in restaurants and/or taverns while casinos are exempt is beyond me.

That’s why my hat is off to creative business owners in the state of Nevada for devising and utilizing any means to circumvent their crazy smoking ban law. Good for them!

Here are the details in the LA Times:

Bars working around Nevada smoking ban
Faced with losing food revenue or customers who light up to casinos exempt from the law, tavern owners tap their creativity.

By Ashley Powers
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

November 19, 2007

LAS VEGAS — Dale Wageman is the kind of barfly this city's taverns are desperate to woo. He likes to settle onto a bar stool each Saturday, glue himself to college football on the tube, and polish off beers. But to win him, Vegas bartenders must contend with his drinking buddy: a pack of USA Gold cigarettes.

A law voters approved a year ago has outlawed smoking in many business that sell food, including a number of bars and taverns. It drove Wageman to abandon his favorite watering hole.

To hang onto customers who smoke, bartenders have dreamed up all sorts of ways to evade the new rules. In lieu of now-prohibited ashtrays, they put out cups of water. They stock foil ashtrays in cigarette machines. They close their grills but, with a wink, hand out menus from nearby restaurants that will deliver to bar patrons.

The result has been a year of headaches for health officials untangling the Nevada Clean Indoor Air Act, a ballot initiative that seems to have left just enough wriggle room for bartender ingenuity. "They are trying to be imaginative so they can keep everything," said Stephen R. Minagil, the Southern Nevada Health District's attorney.

Voters, who approved the ban by 54%, turned down a less restrictive measure and ignored arguments that the law was the handiwork of relocated Californians.

The act bans smoking in most indoor places of employment, but not in strip clubs, brothels, casino gaming floors or bars that don't serve food. Nevada's law joined smoking prohibitions of varying toughness in 30 states and the District of Columbia.

Written to protect the public and workers from secondhand smoke, the law set off a small uprising among bar owners who argued that it unfairly harmed their businesses: They would either lose food revenue or customers who wanted to smoke, but pubs with enough slot machines to be considered casinos could continue to serve food while accommodating smokers.

In some Clark County bars, business plummeted by as much as 40%, said Joseph Wilcock, president of the Nevada Tavern Owners Assn. Wilcock said he poured $75,000 into creating separate spaces -- one that served food and one that did not -- at his Las Vegas watering hole, Brewery Bar & Grill. "We're trying to figure out a way we can all survive," he said.

Some spots -- including the Venetian's Tao and Mandalay Bay's rumjungle -- tried a split strategy: They served food during the day, but closed their kitchens at night to let club-goers light up.

Bilbo's Bar & Grill tested inventive legal arguments. In April, a health inspector found contraband ashtrays and matchbooks -- as well as two smokers -- at Bilbo's. The tavern argued that the ashtrays and matchbooks were 1st Amendment-protected advertising to no avail.

The bar and health inspectors clashed again. During a court hearing to determine whether shot glasses were doubling as ashtrays, attorneys placed an empty shooter on the witness stand. This time the judge sided with the bar.

The rules have proven to be so vexing that when the tavern owners association challenged them in court, law enforcement officers said they weren't sure how to enforce them. A tavern attorney unpacked a grocery bag and asked whether such mixed-drink mainstays as olives and oranges would be allowed under the law. (They are.)

The judge tossed out the law's criminal component, leaving health inspectors as its sole enforcers.

But the judge only has authority in the southern part of the state; elsewhere, sheriff's deputies can issue $100 citations.

"Look, they're not 'big government' people here," said David Damore, an associate professor of political science at University of Nevada, Las Vegas. "They're not going to go bar to bar to look for smokers."

The smoking ban incensed Wageman, the 52-year-old heavy-equipment repairman who has been looking for a new bar.

"It feels like you're a junkie if you go outside to smoke," said Wageman. He said he tried bars that used coffee cups as ashtrays. He tried staying home. He finally settled on a PT's Pub in suburban Henderson, which has a glass wall separating smoking and dining areas.

The pub is part of a large Nevada chain that addressed the smoking ban by installing ventilation systems and splitting up its spaces.

At the bar where Wageman now hangs out, each side of the glass barrier is considered a separate business, with distinct payrolls and workers. If Wageman wants a hamburger, he tells a bar waitress, who tells a restaurant waitress, who delivers his order. Although the health district is questioning that system, it's bonded Wageman to a bar stool for now. He's drained the pint in front of him; in an ashtray are three cigarette butts.



The Franklin Public Schools sent out fliers in the mail inviting residents to those BE HEARD sessions on what went wrong with the referenda in April.

(Gee, I never got one. You don't suppose they're like, mad at me or something, do you?)

Apparently, some of the fliers omitted the times that the meetings were to take place.

And we trust these people with school finances and classroom instruction?

HT: Fred Keller

Earth to Lowe's: It's a CHRISTMAS tree, damn it!

I generally do not support boycotts. And I doubt very seriously I would suggest to someone not to shop at a specific store or business.

I will, however, point out that Lowe’s, that has a store in Franklin, is advertising, not “Christmas” trees, but, “Family” trees.

They’re not getting my business.

Earth to city of Franklin: It's a CHRISTMAS tree, damn it!

You are Invited to the
City of Franklin’s ANNUAL
Holiday Tree LIGHTING

Sunday DECEMBER 2nd
Franklin Public Library
9151 W. Loomis RD.


Bring the whole family and kick off the holiday season at the Annual City of Franklin Tree Lighting Ceremony

5:00pm  Holiday Caroling
5:30pm  Tree Lighting Celebration
             Visit from Santa Claus
6:00pm Holiday Treats and Music

No registration is necessary for this FREE community Event

Sponsored by the City of Franklin, St. Luke’s Health Care Center, The Franklin Seniors and the Friends of Franklin Public Library

Absurd Christmas P-C

It gets more outrageous year after year after year.

In the goofy city of Fort Collins, Colorado, a special task force has recommended that only white lights be used in the city’s CHRISTMAS displays because red and green lights are too religious.

Here are a few of their recommendations:

> The city’s primary holiday display is proposed to be on the grounds of the Fort Collins Museum. The display should be an educational, multicultural presentation that would include a balance of both religious and nonreligious celebrations and traditions. If the trees around the museum are decorated, they should have white lights and avoid other decorations, unless they are part of the display.

> The exterior of city buildings may be decorated with white lights, secular winter symbols and unadorned garlands of greenery.

One idiotic task force member made this preposterous comment:

"I expect criticism from people who feel like we are taking Christmas away.”

Gee, ya think???!!

The city’s Common Council meets tonight to consider the recommendations that are expected to be rejected.


The mayor of Fort Collins when the recommendations first came out:

"I am really delighted to see us taking this step.”

The mayor AFTER receiving public reaction:

"I have gotten over 200 e-mails damning my soul for what people think is the city banning traditional holiday displays and Christmas and we're not going to do that, or at least I am not supporting that."

With a John Kerry flip-flop like that, the guy’s got to be a flaming liberal.

You wonder how the powers that be in Fort Collins would react to the Osborne Family Spectacle of Lights, now staged at the Disney MGM Studios at Walt Disney World. The display originated in Little Rock, Arkansas where Jennings Osborne lit up his property with over a million lights. As the display and crowds grew bigger and bigger, he was forced by angry neighbors and the courts to take down the lights that are now featured in Orlando. My wife and I saw all five million of them this past Saturday.

Here’s a look at those lights in 1993, the last holiday season Osborne had them set up outside his home.

Take that, Fort Collins!


Read more

Experts pick the best airlines

Did Midwest make the list?

Did AirTran get a mention?

Find out.

If you don't care, don't vote

Last week, I blogged that I don’t mind low voter turnouts in elections if they keep uninformed, uneducated voters home. 

Most readers, save one naïve blogger on this website understood clearly that I wasn’t telling people not to vote. I just don’t want them voting if they don’t know what the hell they’re voting about. 

In today’s Orlando Sentinel, I found this letter to the editor that sums up my feelings nicely.


Don't vote unless you care

November 20, 2007The Sentinel asks where the voters are and has a suggestion to get them out:

Schedule local elections to coincide with national races that attract more interest.

Sounds good, but it would mean low-profile issues would be lost in the glare of the glamorous races. Some people would show up to vote for president and also cast a ballot for dogcatcher of some town they didn't even know had dogs.

Low turnout is not really a problem, because officials should be chosen by those who care enough to show up. I don't want my carefully considered vote offset by someone who gives his to a guy he never heard of because his name is listed first on the ballot. With a multitude of polling places open for 12 hours on Election Day and absentee ballots available for weeks before that, voting is already more convenient than going to a movie. People who care less about an election than the latest Hollywood feast of blood (laughs, music, sex -- whatever) should just go on to the show.

Those who do care will not be kept from voting by movies, wild horses, rain, sleet or snow. The problem is not too few voting, it's too few caring.



The video the whole country is talking about

From the San Francisco Gate:

A videotape of George Clooney angrily confronting two photographers for driving dangerously has surfaced online.

The star was riding his motorcycle, with girlfriend Sarah Larson, along Los Angeles' Mulholland Drive when he pulled over to tell off the overly aggressive paparazzi.

Clooney and Larson were injured when they were knocked off a Harley Davison motorcycle the actor had rented during a September trip to New Jersey, and the actor was worried another accident would occur if he didn't object to the photographers' irresponsible driving.

In a video of the incident, obtained by, an angry Clooney says, "You broke some laws, I want to find out what your license plate number is."How many laws did you break, pal? ... You cut me up. ... How many people did you put in danger? You drove like a maniac down here. At least understand that you're putting people in danger ..."I've been down on a motorcycle and the last thing I want to do is get thumped."

The two photographers involved then apologized to Clooney, before the actor drove off.And now Clooney is furious that the videotape of him berating a paparazzi for driving dangerously has become a must-see item on the Internet.

Clooney has gone public with his distaste about the fact the guys he raged at have made a small fortune out of the roadside incident.

Speaking to "Entertainment Tonight" on Monday, the actor stated, "This tape, they're selling it all around everywhere ... so that means that these guys who committed all these crimes get rewarded for it.

"There must be a formula for someone that says, 'If you're committing a crime. ... You shouldn't be able to profit off them (tapes).'"It's gotten really dangerous out here."

Watch the video.

Culinary no-no #28

Culinary no-no's

This is a special Thanksgiving edition of Culinary no-no.

Many, many years ago, one of the nice operators at the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line told me that some poor guy actually dialed 1-800-BUTTERBALL to ask how he could cook the Thanksgiving bird with a diamond ring inside in order to propose to an unsuspecting girlfriend.

Nervous first-time turkey bakers have called desperately seeking help fearing their turkey would rise like a loaf of bread when cooked. Others claimed they cleaned their birds with metal scouring pads. How do they get the metal bits out of the turkey? One caller wanted to know how to carve using a chainsaw while another asked if motor oil could be used for basting.

No, these aren’t urban legends. They’re actual calls received at the Butterball hotline.

“When do I have to put my turkey in the oven so that it’s done at half time?”

Will the turkey cook faster if a railroad spike is driven through it? “You know, to promote heat induction,” the caller said.

A brand new father called a few hours after his wife had given birth to their first child. He was concerned that their Thanksgiving turkey had been thawing in the fridge for too long while he was at the hospital. The operator asked the man how much it weighed.

His reply?

“The turkey or the baby?” has come up with the following three anecdotes, calling them, “the very best of the worst. They have been confirmed as real calls by the Butterball Turkey-Talk Line and Snopes.Com.”

Here they are:

"Dude, Where's My Turkey?"

It's not easy to misplace a turkey. But it happened to a caller from Colorado, who had shoved her turkey into a snow bank to store overnight, as she had no room in her fridge. She called the Turkey Talk-Line to ask if it would be okay to eat the turkey after it had been stored thus. However, she soon found that a heavy blanket of snow had fallen. The white, featureless landscape made it impossible for her to find where she had buried the turkey. We never learned if she recovered the bird. If not, well, at least the local wildlife had a nice buffet once the snow melted.

"What's That Smell?"  

A young mother once shared her tale of turkey woe. Apparently, her kids had been playing in the kitchen while she was stuffing the turkey. These kids were fond of matchbox cars, and had decided that their toys needed a new place to park. Many hours later, the mother discovered that the kids had chosen the turkey for their new parking space. It isn't clear whether she discovered the toy cars immediately after removing the turkey from the oven, or if they were revealed during carving. Regardless, those turned out to be some hot, melted, and probably traumatized little vehicles. She should have entered a contest for the most creative stuffing recipe.

"Help! My Chihuahua's Stuck In My Turkey!"

Speaking of things stuck in a turkey...

A Kentucky woman called the Butterball Turkey-Talk Line in 1993, asking how to get her Chihuahua out of a turkey. It soon became apparent that the tiny dog had dived right into the carcass and couldn't get back out. Pulling the dog didn't work. Shaking the turkey didn't work. Finally, she was instructed to make the hole a little bigger so that the pooch could escape. It worked! At least she didn't have to perform a C-Section.

Marge Klindera is a seasoned veteran; she has been working at the Butterball hotline for 25 years. She says that callers are usually very grateful for the advice they receive. And what do Turkey-Talk Line employees eat while they're at work? Usually hot soup. Marge says that it helps sooth their throats after all the talking - and, doubtless, all the laughing.

So please, don’t do anything that would warrant a call to 1-800-BUTTERBALL.


1) Ketchup on a brat
2) Green peppers on pizza
3) The dirty martini
4) Fruity brats
5) A Bloody Mary after dinner
6) Women “manning” the grill
7) Eating pizza at Festa Italiana, brats at German Fest, or tacos at Fiesta Mexicana. (Be adventurous. You can have those items anytime).
8) Eating a cream puff as though it was a hamburger.
9) Taking your own bottle of sauce when invited to a barbecue.
10) Touching the grill if you’re a guest at an outdoor barbecue.
11) Coaching the host on how to grill.
12) Some regional flavored ice cream… black licorice.
13) Taking the husks off before you grill corn on the cob
14) Being afraid to chill red wine
15) Pizza on the grill
16) When serving exotic or strange dishes to guests, do not tell them exactly what it is. Instead, use a more inviting term (caviar) rather than being blunt (fish eggs).
17) In late summer and early fall, this time of year, don’t buy zucchini. Somehow, someway, you will find zucchini or zucchini will find you.
18) Showing disrespect to your restaurant server.
19) Eating out on a Monday night.
20) Pumpkin beer.
21) Mail-order turkey.
22) Grilled cheese is just for kids.
23) Dining in the dark.
24) Ketchup on spaghetti
25) Sneaking healthy foods into treats to get your kids to eat it.
26) Do not throw away culinary gifts received in the mail because you don’t like them.
27) Do not feel guilty about eating Oreos. (Oreos are not to blame for out of control obesity).


Don't even think about complaining this Thanksgiving

Michelle Malkin explains why in this must-read.

The last days of murderer Chris Benoit

One of the biggest news stories of the year was pro wrestler Chris Benoit viciously slaughtering his family and then taking his own life. The murders captured the attention of even non-wrestling fans.

Deeply disturbing is that, as a fan, I used to enjoy watching Benoit perform.

Maxim Magazine has an extensive article detailing Benoit's last days. The lengthy piece describes how Benoit snapped. His brutal actions lead me to believe this was not a case of a "troubled individual." This was a sadistic, cruel, evil man worthy of absolutely no sympathy.

Here's the Maxim article.

Death, taxes and Klueless Kowalski

While I was on vacation, blogger Greg Kowalski made some references to yours truly and some other nonsensical statements that are so typical of his blog.

I’m sure he felt about as courageous as the Cowardly Lion. (Kevin’s not here…’s my chance!)

Rather than stomp my feet, hold my breath till I turn blue, accuse the entire world of ganging up on me, start a petition, or crawl into the fetal position, I will, instead, resort to the appropriate action: I will respond.

I will post exact quotes that were made and interject my reactions (in red).

Let’s begin.

Kevin's post about congratulating those who don't vote was as appalling as the concept of putting our students in portable classrooms. (Appalling is a bit strong. And no one is putting anybody in a portable classroom. Earth to genius boy: Franklin school officials lied about that to get you to foolishly vote for the referenda, and you did).

To encourage people to NOT vote (I did no such thing. I said I had no problem with uninformed uneducated voters staying home) so his radical group (that would be the liberal code word for “conservatives,” the folks who want honest elections by supporting photo ID…pretty radical, huh?) gets another check in the W column is not only appalling, (Second use of that word in such a short time. Lose your thesaurus, Greg?) but rather disgusting. (Kind of like saying everybody should pay a whole bunch of high taxes when you live at home and don’t pay any. Yeh, I’d call that disgusting. But not getting bent out of shape over low voter turnouts……I don't find that disgusting) By him being so bold (And restless) about it shows that he at least believes no one cares and will accept his slap in the face and the "HA HA!" attitude. (I never laugh when I slap someone in the face).Our Aldermen and School Board members ran UNOPPOSED last April as well, and look at what we're getting - tax increases and a lack of common sense in the case of planning and development. But that's EXACTLY what people like Fischer want. (How true. The very literate Kowalski has obviously read the 754 blogs I’ve written advocating tax increases).It makes me want to throw up. (Would that be mac and cheese, cheesecake, a Big Mac, or all three?)

Here’s another Kowalski beauty:
But see - they NEEDED the portable was (Correct grammar use referring to plural, classrooms: they were) absolutely necessary - there was no schools (“There was no schools.” Any English teacher who read that went into cardiac arrest, no doubt. Kowalski’s blogs are not a positive endorsement for spending lots of cash on Franklin schools) for them to go to.

On another topic when a reader pressed Kowalski, our erstwhile blogger shot back with:

Quick question: Did you have children in the high school, or are enrolled in FHS currently? (Hmmmmm. Do you have children in the high school, Greg? I’m not black, female, a professional chef or football player, but I still feel competent to write about minority and women’s issues, food and the Packers. In other words, the question he raised was really dumb). 

And I could go on and on and on.

It’s no surprise he caused a ruckus on, of all days, Veteran’s Day.

And since he can’t go toe to toe in a debate with Janet Evans, his childish mind instructs him to call her “hunny”and “little girl.”

When I was Greg’s age, no matter how I felt about people my age or Janet Evans’ age, it didn’t matter. I called them Sir or Mrs. Evans. I was taught to always show respect for those older.

Maybe Greg was sick that day in the Kowalski household.

Anywho, two quick final thoughts.

1) Keep ‘em coming, Greg. Love those nice, slow hanging meatballs right across the plate.

2) Santa, if you’re reading this, please, no matter what Greg asks for………..get him spell-check instead.

UPDATE: Absurd Christmas P-C

Yesterday I told you about the city of Fort Collins, Colorado considering a ridiculous proposal to ban red and green lights from its Christmas display because they were too religious. 

Last night, the Fort Collins Common Council made a decision.


Want to wish a U.S. solider in Iraq a Happy Thanksgiving?

A few days ago, Janet Evans commendably performed an outstanding public service on her blog by reminding folks that they can send a Thanksgiving message to a solider in Iraq.

The Department of Defense is providing an instant text messaging service that will put Americans in touch with U.S. soldiers who are protecting them abroad this holiday season.
I, too, wanted to inform everyone about this great opportunity. If you want to send a free text message to say thanks, you will immediately get a response from a soldier on their phone.

Here’s more information.

If you decide to participate, please consider coming back and writing about your experience in the comments section on this blog.

I would appreciate that very much.

Vote for a hero from Wisconsin

I’m proud to know Scott Southworth.

A former legislative aide in Madison, Scott is now the District Attorney in Juneau County.

While on a tour of duty in Iraq, he adopted a young boy with cerebral palsy and brought him back to the United States.

Watch this video about Scott.

Then please vote for Scott in the CNN Heroes contest. Voting continues until November 26, 2007.

Top Ten Reasons Why Liberals Hate the Holidays


Top Ten Reasons Why Liberals Hate the Holidays

10 - Thanksgiving is mass murder for turkeys.

9 - Too many SUVs traveling to grandma's house.

8 - College bowl games encourage competition.

7 - Millions of Christmas trees are cut down.

6 - The pilgrims thought up Thanksgiving, not the Indians.

5 - Christmas lights waste electricity.

4 - People are giving thanks to WHO?

3 - Winter lull in global-warming hype.

2 - Daycare centers are closed.

1 - Christmas celebrates a birth, not an abortion.

Thanksgiving: A Day of Mourning

America has it all wrong.

Thanksgiving is not supposed to be a day of friendship or festivity.

It’s a day meant for sadness and grief.

Here is a letter sent on November 8, 2007 from the Seattle Public Schools to its staff:

Dear Seattle Public Schools Staff:

We recognize the amount of work that educators and staff have to do in order to fulfill our mission to successfully educate all students. It’s never as simple as preparing and delivering a lesson. Students bring with them a host of complexities including cultural, linguistic and social economic diversity. In addition they can also bring challenges related to their social, emotional and physical well being. One of our departments’ goals is to support you by suggesting ways to assist you in removing barriers to learning by promoting respect and honoring the diversity of our students, staff and families.

With so many holidays approaching we want to again remind you that Thanksgiving can be a particularly difficult time for many of our Native students. This website offers suggestions on ways to be sensitive of diverse experiences and perspectives and still make the holiday meaningful for all students. Here you will discover ways to help you and your students think critically, and find resources where you can learn about Thanksgiving from a Native American perspective. Eleven myths are identified about Thanksgiving, take a look at #11 and begin your own deconstruction.

Myth #11: Thanksgiving is a happy time
Fact: For many Indian people, “Thanksgiving” is a time of mourning, of remembering how a gift of generosity was rewarded by theft of land and seed corn, extermination of many from disease and gun, and near total destruction of many more from forced assimilation. As currently celebrated in this country, “Thanksgiving” is a bitter reminder of 500 years of betrayal returned for friendship.

So call all your friends and relatives. Cancel that huge Thanksgiving dinner.

Packer game at 11:30? Forget about it. Unplug the television.

Save the turkey and stuffing for another day.

Just plan on sitting around in a dark, quiet house all day and act like you’re a guilty white liberal.

Put on black armbands.

Wail and gnash your teeth.

This is no time to give thanks. It’s a time to be miserable and depressed.

Mourn, America, mourn.

God, liberals are idiots.


Packers a shoo-in against the Lions?

I wouldn't bet the farm.

Green Bay is on a roll entering Thursday's game at 9-1. The Lions have started to sputter and are now 6-4.

Is this an ambush waiting to happen?

I'm positive FOX announcers will refer to the 1962 Thanksgiving Day game in Detroit between Green Bay and the Lions. Vince Lombardi's Packers looked invincible, undefeated at 10-0.

The Lions didn't have a great team, but they had an imposing defensive front four, including the late Alex Karras.

Poor Bart Starr didn't stand a chance. A ferocious pass rush sacked the Packers QB 11 times.

Detroit 26, Green Bay 14.

It was the Packers' only loss that season as they won the NFL title.

By the way, the Packers' record against the Lions on Thanksgiving Day is 5-11-1.

The Packers should win, but Detroit plays tough at home on the holiday.


Could weather put the Packers in the Super Bowl?

The Packers are 9-1.

The Dallas Cowboys are 9-1.

All the experts say the NFC Championship game will more than likely pit Green Bay against Dallas (They play each other one week from Thanksgiving in Dallas).
 If that happens, The Packers would obviously prefer to have that critical game in Lambeau Field with bone-chilling temperatures and possibly snow.

No way does Dallas want to play that game anywhere north of Texas.

So every game is crucial. The Packers can’t just win the division. They must get home-field advantage.

If that happens, Brett Favre, who rarely loses when the weather is below freezing, could go to another Super Bowl.

Here’s Dallas’ remaining schedule: 
Thu, Nov 22 NY JETS (CBS) Sponsored By MILLER    
Thu, Nov 29 GREEN BAY (NFLN & KDFI Ch 27)    
Sun, Dec 9 @ Detroit (FOX)    
Sun, Dec 16 PHILADELPHIA (FOX) Sponsored By MOTOROLA    
Sat, Dec 22 @ Carolina (NFLN & KDFI Ch 27)    
Sun, Dec 30 @ Washington (FOX)    

And the Packers’ schedule:

Thurs., Nov. 22 @ Detroit Lions (Thanksgiving)    
Thurs., Nov. 29 @ Dallas Cowboys    
Sun., Dec. 9 Oakland Raiders    
Sun., Dec. 16 @ St. Louis Rams    
Sun., Dec. 23 @ Chicago Bears    
Sun., Dec. 30 Detroit Lions    



Don't forget to vote for a Wisconsin hero...

Scott Southworth

Today is a beautiful day in America, and here's why...

Today, a rarity will take place in homes all across America.

Families will gather, and sit down, and dine, as a group, together, all at the very same time.

That doesn’t happen very often in a country inhabited by residents constantly on the go.

I wrote about this when Former President Bush and Barbara Bush promoted FAMILY DAY two months ago:

“What’s really sad is that it has come to this. Researchers at a top university, with the help of the President and his mother, need to commemorate one day out of the year to remind us that it’s a good idea to eat together as a family. This should just come naturally without public service announcements or special observances.” Here’s that blog from September.

Today’s holiday is conducive for a family get-together. Thanksgiving is more relaxed than Christmas. There’s less jumping around, no ripping open boxes, not as much excitement.

A perfect setting for a nice, family sit-down.
 A 2006 study by The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University titled: The Importance of Family Dinners III, notes the importance of family mealtimes in developing and maintaining a healthy family.

This is timely and important reading on this Thanksgiving Day, the opening statement for the study made by CASA Chairman and President, Joseph A. Califano, Jr.

Accompanying Statement by Joseph A. Califano, Jr., Chairman and President

For 11 years, CASA has been conducting a back to school survey of the attitudes of teens and those, like parents, who most influence them. While other surveys seek to measure the extent of substance abuse in the population, the CASA back to school survey probes substance abuse risk and identifies factors that increase or diminish the likelihood that teens will smoke, drink or use illegal drugs. We believe that parents, armed with this knowledge, can help their teens grow up drug free.

This nation’s drug problem is all about kids. A child who gets through age 21 without smoking, abusing alcohol or using illegal drugs is virtually certain never to do so. And no one has more power to prevent kids from using substances than parents. There are no silver bullets; unfortunately, the tragedy of a child’s substance abuse can strike any family. But one factor that does more to reduce teens’ substance abuse risk than almost any other is parental engagement, and one of the simplest and most effective ways for parents to be engaged in teens’ lives is by having frequent family dinners.

This year’s survey findings underscore the significance of family dinners as a surrogate for parental engagement. Parents who sit down to dinner five or more times a week with their children are parents who are very involved in their kids’ lives. In this day and age, with the high incidence of two-income families and single-parent households, and the increasing demands on kids’ time from school and other activities, it is not an easy task to get the whole family together at the dinner table. Those families that make family togetherness a priority are achieving a level of involvement in their children’s lives that has a healthy impact on their kids. The parents who make dinners a priority are also, as this year’s survey findings demonstrate, likelier to say they take responsibility for preventing their kids from abusing substances.

Family Dinners and Parental Involvement in Kids’ Lives Compared to parents who report having frequent family dinners (five or more per week), parents who say they have infrequent family dinners (fewer than three per week) are:             • five times likelier to say they have a fair or poor relationship with their teen;             • one and a half times likelier to say they know the parents of their teen’s friends not very well or not at all;             • more than twice as likely to say they do not know the names of their teen’s teachers; and             • twice as likely to say that parents deserve not very much blame or no blame at all when a teenager uses illegal drugs.  More than a decade of surveying teens has taught us that parents can significantly reduce their childrens’ risk of using substances by knowing their teen’s friends and the parents of their friends, being engaged at their kid’s school, and chaperoning their teen’s parties, among other things. The remarkable thing about family dinners is that those parents who make it a habit to have frequent dinners with their children are also the parents who are taking these actions that have a major impact on teen substance abuse risk.    Family Dinners and Teen Smoking, Drinking and Drug Use CASA research has consistently shown that the more often teens have dinner with their families, the less likely they are to smoke, drink or use drugs. This report, The Importance of Family Dinners III, which draws from the results of CASA’s 11th annual back to school survey, finds that, compared to teens who have five or more family dinners per week, teens who have two or less are:             • more than twice as likely to have tried cigarettes;             • one and a half times likelier to have tried alcohol; and             • twice as likely to have tried marijuana.  This year we also examined the relationship between family dinners and rates of current smoking and drinking among teens. Compared to teens who have frequent family dinners, those who have infrequent family dinners are:             • twice as likely to say they smoke at least one cigarette a day; and             • more than twice as likely to say they get drunk at least once a month.  Frequency of Family Dinners This year, 58 percent of teens report having dinner with their family at least five times a week, the same proportion as we have observed over the past several years. Among families that have infrequent family dinners, parents and teens do not always agree on the reasons why dinners are not more frequent:             • The reason most commonly given by teens for why family dinners are not more frequent is because parents work late.             • The reason most commonly given by parents is “conflicting schedules.”  More than one in five parents and teens say they are “too busy” to have dinner together more often. Given the importance of frequent family dinners and the powerful impact parental engagement has in preventing teen substance abuse, families should identify and work to overcome the barriers to frequent family dining. Late work hours, after-school activities and long commutes all come at the expense of valuable family time.

This survey and our prior studies on the subject show a number of important benefits of frequent family dining. For instance, kids who have frequent family dinners are half as likely to smoke cigarettes and marijuana, and one-third less likely to drink alcohol. Teens who dine frequently with their parents are likelier to have parents who take responsibility for teen drug use, and they are 40 percent likelier to say future drug use will never happen.

 If I could wave a magic wand to make a dent in the substance abuse problem, I would make sure that every child in America had dinner with his or her parents at least five times a week. There is no more important thing a parent can do. Parental engagement in children’s lives is key to ridding our nation of the scourge of substance abuse.

Bon appetit, America!

Do you really know what today is?

What do you think of when you consider Thanksgiving Day, 2007?

The day off?

Macy’s parade?


When do we eat?

How about JFK?

Did you know today marks the anniversary of the assassination of President Kennedy?

Many Americans, I’m sure, are totally unaware….


Read more

A tribute to the classic Thanksgiving songs...


OK. So there aren’t any.

I do like this example, though.

Political satirist Stan Freberg, whose best work was in the early 60’s, wrote and sang this gem that probably would cause riots today. (that’s why it’s so good).

Take a look and listen.

Read more

A cranberry wish...

Happy Thanksgiving!

The 11th Commandment

XI. Thou shalt have two televisions.

Thanksgiving Day, November 22, 2007

11:30-Green Bay Packers vs. Detroit Lions on Channel 6

12:00-National Dog Show on Channel 4

Kevin Fischer: Pro football fan, loves the Packers, married to Jennifer

Jennifer Fischer: Could care less about football, loves dogs, quite possibly more than she loves Kevin.

Two television sets in same house.

Kevin will not have to sleep outside.

Kevin will live to see the day after Thanksgiving.

It's all thanks to the 11th Commandment.

Thanksgiving etiquette

From the Etiquette Girls on

Thanksgiving Dinner Etiquette

Dear Reader, the Etiquette Grrls can think of nothing so Festive and All-American as a Lovely, Traditional Thanksgiving Dinner! (And, Dear Reader, the Etiquette Grrls are Experts on Things Festive and All-American, not to mention Things Lovely and Traditional.) We are aware, however, that for many of Our Peers, Thanksgiving Dinner may take place not at one's Ancestral Home, but at the home of a Dear Friend, or a Dear Friend's Parents, or, perhaps Most Nerve-Wrackingly of all, One's Petit(e) Ami(e)'s Parents. Everyone knows his or her own Family's Quirks and Traditions, yet, when one is a Guest at Thanksgiving Dinner, one will undoubtedly be exposed to Other People's Potential Wackiness. And of course, even in the midst of the Traditional Family Dinner From Hell, Dear Reader, you would not wish to be Rude. The Etiquette Grrls have thus compiled a helpful Guide to Thanksgiving Dinner, which should help alleviate your fears and allow you to Be Seated at any Thanksgiving Table with the Utmost Confidence and Decorum.

What You Should Wear

Of course, the Dress Code for any event is the decision of the Hostess. However, the Etiquette Grrls can understand, Dear Reader, that you may not get any Dress Code Guidance from your Hostess. We have, upon occasion, been told by Dear Friends whose Homes we were visiting, "Oh, just wear anything, my Mother won't care." Anything? Should the Etiquette Grrls show up in Ballgowns and Mink Stoles? Might we, if we owned Sweatpants and made a habit of wearing Tennis Shoes for Non-Athletic Activity, show up in Gym Attire? Please, Dear Reader, if you are Bringing Friends Home for Thanksgiving, clue them in about How Dressed-Up your family gets!

If the meal is being served in the Early Afternoon (customary for Thanksgiving), we think it is appropriate to dress in Nice, Dressy Clothing that is Still Appropriate for Daytime. For Girls, this would be a Pretty Dress, or Blouse / Sweater Set and Skirt, or a Suit, with Accessories to Match. Boys should wear a Jacket and Tie with a Nice Button-Down shirt and Dressy Pants, or a Suit, and Good Shoes. Both Boys and Girls must avoid anything Sparkly, Garish, Tight, Revealing, or (Horrors) Dirty. If Thanksgiving Dinner is at Night, dress as you would for a Regular Dinner Party. One word of caution: Do remember, however, that most Thanksgiving Dinners are Family Affairs, and you are likely to be seated across from Someone's Grandmother, so you might wish to dress a Bit More Conservatively than you might at a Typical Swanky Dinner Party Thrown by Your Best Friend.

On-Time Arrival

First, although the Etiquette Grrls know many of our Dear Readers will be traveling Vast Distances to arrive at the Holiday Table, this does not give anyone license to be grumpy, moody, or snippy upon arrival. Yes, of course I-95 was a Sleet-Covered Stretch of Hell and it took an hour and a half to go from New Haven to Westport. No, no one wants to discuss this at length. And please do, Dear Reader, make Every Effort to leave Early Enough so that you will actually Arrive When You Are Supposed To! Otherwise, your Hostess will be Quite Flummoxed. (And as anyone who has been a Hostess for Thanksgiving will tell you, preparing a Big Turkey is Stressful Enough, thank you.) Also, of course, you should Bring a Little Something for your Hostess. A bottle of Good Wine is always nice, but really, any nice little present will do.

If the EGs may digress un peu and offer one more Bit of Advice about Thanksgiving Travel, we think all our Dear Readers should Try Their Best to avoid Amtrak's Northeast Corridor Route on the day before Thanksgiving and the Sunday afterward. Every single East Coast college student without a car will be on Your Train, and you will have to Stand for Hours, even if you are a Girl. Furthermore, New York's Penn Station is To Be Avoided at this time (and, really, In General, but especially around Thanksgiving). One of the EGs was, unfortunately, in Penn Station the day before Thanksgiving, and thought she was just being Rudely Shoved in a Large Crowd. However, EG was being Pickpocketed! EG's Very Favorite Wallet Ever, a lovely Passport Wallet of the softest Leather Imaginable was Stolen, never to be Seen Again! Not to mention all of EG's Cash and Credit Cards! Have you ever tried to telephone Customer Service at a Bank just after midnight on Thanksgiving Day? The EGs do not recommend it, Dear Reader. Trust us on this one.

"Weird" Thanksgiving Foods, Etc.

The Etiquette Grrls have Heard Talk of homes where Traditional Holiday Meals are Non-Existent. While we do appreciate Originality (and have, ourselves, Made the Departure from the Sit-Down Turkey Dinner), we believe that anyone planning to Branch Out should Make This Matter Known when the Invitations are Issued. Just because you, Dear Reader, have Gone Vegan, is no reason to surprise all your Hungry Guests, to whom, in previous years, you served a Traditional Meal, with something called "Tofurkey." (Which, frighteningly enough, the EGs are Not Making Up.) If you plan on Replicating Down to the Most Minute Detail the Pilgrims' Thanksgiving Feast, you should, similarly, Warn Your Guests, who might be Un Peu Surprised to find Salt Cod on their Plates.

Dear Reader, should you Find Yourself at a Thanksgiving Dinner at which Any of the Above Crimes are Perpetrated, you must still try to Be a Good Guest and Attempt to Eat What You Are Served. Even if it is Wasabi-Brushed Coconut Turkey Kebabs. Be Polite, and know that next year, you'll have Quite the Horror Story to Tell.

If you yourself have Culinary Foibles which Restrict What You Eat, you must still Not Be Rude about it. (Do glance at our advice to a Polite Vegan about how she should behave at Dinner Parties.) Most Thanksgiving Dinners feature several different dishes, from which even the World's Most Picky Eater should be able to fashion an ample meal.All Guests absolutely must Refrain from making Editorial Comments on the Meal as It Is Served. ("Dear God, are those MARSHMALLOWS on the Sweet Potatoes? Ugh, I think I'm going to be Sick.") Yes, the Etiquette Grrls might agree with that sentiment, but no, we wouldn't dream of Voicing It at the Table.

Behaving Yourself at the Table

Of course, all Normal Rules of Table Manners apply. Get your elbows off the table, use your fork and knife properly, don't drink from the Finger Bowls, etc. If the food is Passed Around, take a small portion of dishes that appeal to you and offer the platter or bowl to the person seated beside you. Do not, upon spotting Butternut Squash prepared Just the Way You Like It, reach across the table, grab the bowl, and plop a Mountain of it onto Your Plate, whilst yelling, "YES! THE SQUASH IS ALL MINE, AND NO ONE ELSE CAN HAVE ANY!" If you have a preference for a particular kind of turkey meat, that is all well and good, but do wait until the platter reaches you or until the person serving asks you if you would like white or dark meat. You are not allowed to "place dibs" on a Drumstick, and, should you not get one, you are most definitely not allowed to Sulk or become Surly. And finally, while most Thanksgiving Dinners the Etiquette Grrls have attended offer a Splendid Variety and Amount of Food, we remind our Dear Readers that Gluttony is Most Unbecoming. Even if you are a Strapping Young Lad home from a College where the food is Unspeakably Awful, you should not attempt to Stuff Yourself as if this were your Last Meal. There will be food left over, and you will, we are sure, be able to make a sandwich after the Touch Football Game to Tide Yourself Over.

Thanksgiving Traditions

Again, Dear Reader, if you are bringing Guests to your house, please do Fill Them In on any Family Traditions they may encounter. Guests, however, must Play Along with any sort of tradition, whether or not they have been given Advance Warning or find the Tradition in Question to be, in their opinion, Quite Odd.

Whatever your Religious Beliefs, if any form of Grace or Blessing is said, you must Be Respectful. If you do not know how to participate, follow the lead of others, looking appropriately solemn. If you are asked to Say Grace, Make a Toast, etc., you must comply, no matter how much you hate Speaking in Public. (It is probably good, for this reason, to Be Prepared and have something Short and Sweet ready to say, Just In Case.) Similarly, if you Fancy Yourself an Orator, and you are Dining at Someone Else's House, do not Usurp the Floor from that family's Patriarch or Matriarch. Nobody really wants to hear your Toast in the Form of a Villanelle, or Elaborate Sermon on the Meaning of Thanksgiving, so please, just Pipe Down, Cicero.

Thanksgiving Sports

For some reason, on the afternoon of Thanksgiving Day, practically every family in America goes all Kennedy Clan Wanna-Be and plays Touch Football on the Lawn. The Etiquette Grrls think this is probably All Well and Good, as long as the Sporting Types are Polite About Their Games. First, you are not allowed to Force People to Play in order to "Make the Teams Even," particularly if the people in question are Elderly, Infirm, or Girls Wearing Nice Clothing. The Etiquette Grrls are Perfectly Content to Sip Some Hot Chocolate on the Porch and Watch, but when we say we don't want to play, We Mean It. Also, those participating in any Thanksgiving Sports absolutely must endeavor to remember that they are not Professional Athletes, and should not Behave As Such, particularly on a Holiday. No attempting to Crush the Other Team's Spirit, no Ridiculous Dances when you Score, no Trash-Talking, and no Tantrums when you Lose. If there are House Rules about Touch Football (or, indeed, any other Game you might play), you are obliged to Make Sure Guests Understand Them.

To conclude, Dear Reader, the Etiquette Grrls wish you a Very Happy Thanksgiving, and we hope your Holiday Dinner, wherever it is held, is Pleasantly Devoid of Rudeness!  

I would add that it is not acceptable for a guy to loosen his belt and unzip his pants after today’s huge meal.

Just let that happen naturally. 


I'm thankful

On this Thanksgiving Day, I am thankful for the following:

The brave young men and women in our military who valiantly serve and defend our country.

A leader like President Bush. Unlike his predecessor, he doesn’t base his decisions on polls done by USA TODAY. He is unpopular, leading an unpopular war. Yet his leadership has prevented any attacks on American soil since 9/11.

All of the liberties and freedom we enjoy in this, the greatest country in the world. Many downgrade our great nation, but I don’t see them jumping on a plane to leave.

Liberals. They make my job so much easier.

Liberals who claim they are actually moderates. They make my job so much easier.

The English language and those who aspire to learn it and speak it efficiently. On my recent vacation, the vast majority of workers I encountered were not from America, yet spoke English more fluently than Americans. They also had a strong work ethic. My, if only America could be more like them.

The earth’s beauty. I contrast the white covering on the lawn today to the white sand I walked on just last week. Both are wondrous in their own different ways.

Airplanes. Thank goodness we can hop on them and get the heck out of here to above-mentioned white sandy beaches.

“Another day on this side of the grass.” Al McGuire once told me that was a victory.

Good health. No, I’m not 18 anymore, and I miss those past Thanksgiving’s when my friends Ramero and Brian would play touch football before the big feast. But I’m not six-feet under yet. Not by a long shot. (Sorry, libs)

State Senator Mary Lazich. I have publicly stated, but haven’t done so on my blog, that Mary is not just my Senator or my boss. She is my colleague and my very good friend. More so than just about anyone, I know and see how hard she works for her constituents and Senate district. I wish there were more like her in the state Senate.

Mark Maley and Jeanne Weiland, the folks who run this website. They’re great people, and I’m grateful for the opportunity they gave me earlier this year to blog.

Everyone at WISN, especially Program Director Jerry Bott. Another year of filling in for the likes of Mark Belling, Jay Weber, and now Vicki McKenna. I enjoy it immensely.

You, the readers of my blog. I know a lot of you disagree. Heck, I know some of you flat out don’t like me. That’s ok. The world would be a pretty dull place if we all sang from the same hymnal. Keep reading, everybody.

My faith. It keeps me getting up every Sunday and driving to my old neighborhood to usher at a church in a neighborhood riddled with gangs and crime.

Memories. As mentioned, I’m not 18 anymore. That means I have a decent-sized lifetime of great thoughts, stories, and recollections. Because I treasure them, I write about them. My youth may be gone, but those wonderful memories never leave.

Friends. Too many to mention. You know who you are, and you mean a great deal to me.

My mother. The sweetest person I know. The sweetest person ever.

My brother and his family. My brother (his name is Greg by the way) isn’t like me at all. He’s really nice.

My wife, Jennifer. God’s blessing to this very lucky man. I’ve been blessed having been happy almost my entire life. But Jennifer has made me happier than I’ve ever been. I thank her for coming into my life.

I hope you have many reasons to be thankful today.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Detroit sportswriters don't like Lions' chances

Detroit writers pick a Packer victory today:
NICHOLAS J. COTSONIKA: Detroit-Green Bay scouting report and prediction
November 22, 2007

Detroit Free Press sports writer Nicholas J. Cotsonika scouts today's Packers-Lions game:

Lions' passing offense vs. Packers' pass defense

The Packers have two excellent pass rushers: left end Aaron Kampman, whose nine sacks are tied for third in the NFL, and right end Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila, the team's all-time sacks leader. KGB backs up Cullen Jenkins, but that just keeps him fresh for passing downs. He has 8 1/2 sacks.Left tackle Jeff Backus did a good job Sunday against Giants right end Osi Umenyiora. The big issue is at right tackle, where Jonathan Scott will make his sixth career start. Scott has missed the last two games with a broken thumb and has barely practiced this week because of the short turnaround. Giants left end Michael Strahan dominated George Foster and Blaine Saipaia on Sunday. How will Scott fare against Kampman?The coaches say they have shied away from big wide receivers Roy Williams and Calvin Johnson because of matchups. Well, the Packers have one of the best cornerback tandems in the league with Al Harris and Charles Woodson. Will this be another big day inside for Shaun McDonald and Mike Furrey?

Advantage: Packers

Lions' rushing offense vs. Packers' run defense

The Lions have averaged 3 1/2 rushing yards over their past two games. They rushed for minus-18 at Arizona, then for 25 against the Giants. The Packers rank ninth against the run.Running back Kevin Jones says his sore foot will be fine. Coach Rod Marinelli says he thinks Jones will be fine. But Jones has been managing his pain all season because of the serious injury he suffered last December, and he usually doesn't go through a full practice on Thursdays, let alone a big game.If Jones can't go or isn't himself, to whom will the Lions turn? T.J. Duckett, whom offensive coordinator Mike Martz doesn't seem to want to use? Tatum Bell, who hasn't played in five straight games? Aveion Cason?No matter who is at running back, Martz might want -- or need -- to throw the ball to keep up with Packers quarterback Brett Favre.

Advantage: Packers

Packers' passing offense vs. Lions' pass defense

The Lions will have both of their starting ends, Dewayne White and Kalimba Edwards, in the lineup for the first time in five games. They face the Packers' sturdy tackles, Chad Clifton and Mark Tauscher. Tackles Shaun Rogers and Cory Redding should have more success against the interior of the Packers' offensive line.Even if the Lions can't sack Favre, because he gets rid of the ball so quickly, they need to pressure him. Make him throw off his back foot. Knock him to the ground. Don't forget Favre has thrown a record number of interceptions in his career, too, and the Lions have picked off 15 passes this season, tied for second in the NFL.If the Lions let Favre plant his feet and follow through, they're toast. He has a ton of targets. The Packers can stretch the Lions' thin secondary by going five-wide.

Advantage: Packers

Packers' rushing offense vs. Lions' run defense

The Packers have run the ball better lately. Running back Ryan Grant is averaging 91.5 rushing yards over his last four games. But he left Sunday's game against Carolina with an ankle injury, and it is unknown how much that will affect him today.And the fact remains, the Packers, like the Lions, generally don't have a balanced offense. They now rank third-worst in rushing, after ranking dead last for five straight weeks and seven out of eight.The Lions rank eighth against the run. They have been disciplined in their gaps and have limited, if not stuffed, some good backs at home, such as Minnesota's Adrian Peterson and the New York Giants' Brandon Jacobs.

Advantage: Lions

Special teams

The Lions' coverage units have struggled, and the Packers had two big returns Sunday against Carolina. Tramon Williams returned a pooch punt 94 yards for a touchdown, and Koren Robinson returned a kickoff 67 yards, setting up a touchdown. The Lions must tackle better.

Advantage: Packers


The short turnaround favors the Packers. They're hot. They've won five in a row, and they've outscored their opponents, 65-17, over their past two games. The Lions are cold. They've lost two in a row, and their offense hasn't had much practice time to work things out.The Lions face some tough matchups -- pass protection, pass defense -- and can't count on the Packers self-destructing. The Packers' turnover ratio is plus-five, same as the Lions'.

Prediction: Packers 27, Lions 20  

MORE FREE PRESS PREDICTIONS: Michael Rosenberg and Drew Sharp both pick Lions to lose
November 22, 2007


Brett Favre has enjoyed a rebirth, thanks to a tough Green Bay defense that has enabled him to rein in his devil-may-care risk-taking that made retirement the only alternative not too long ago. He’s the best quarterback the Lions have faced so far this season. If they can’t keep steady pressure on him, he’ll pick apart the secondary.


Green Bay passes as much as anybody in the league, which bodes poorly for the Lions’ weak secondary. The suspicion here is that the Lions’ offense finally shows life, but Brett Favre pulls it out in the end.


Your attention please.

The BLOG BLIZZARD Warning that was issued at 4:30 Wednesday afternoon has been cancelled.

Remember to vote for Wisconsin hero Scott Southworth in the CNN contest and consider sending a free Happy Thanksgiving text message to a soldier in Iraq.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled blog.


Victory for sex offenders: Franklin-like law shot down

A Georgia law that restricts where sex offenders can live or congregate has been ruled unconstitutional.

The city of Franklin has an ordinance that also places restrictions on sex offenders. That ordinance is at the heart of an ongoing court case that has the city suing to evict a sex offender who is violatiion of the law, living close to a middle school in Franklin. Recently, Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge John Franke ruled the sex offender, Steven Hanke could continue to live in the home he purchased several months after Franklin's ordinance took effect.

The Georgia case is exactly why I did not subscribe to the school of thought that a higher court would have better sense than Franke and come down on the side of the angels. Trying to predict how appellate courts or the state Supreme Court will rule is difficult. Placing faith in the courts is risky. Winning an appeal isn't easy. Meanwhile, Hanke can continue to live near a school while the lengthy legal process continues. Franke's ruling also opens the door to other released sex offenders to snub their noses at the Franklin ordinance.

The Georgia ruling is rare. Most, if not all similar laws have never been ruled unconstitutional.

Here are the details on the Georgia ruling from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

Ga. court overturns restrictions on where sex offenders live

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Published on: 11/21/07

Read more

Once a pedophile, always a pedophile

I preface this entry by saying that most young people are decent, honest, hard-working individuals society can be proud of.

Even so, there are times my faith and confidence is shaken, for any number of reasons.

I got some reinforcement while in Orlando last weekend when I read a section in the local paper called NEW VOICES.

This segment was described this way:

New Voices -- people in their 20s and students in college and high school -- are invited to submit essays on topics ranging from foreign affairs to the Internet to school life.

A young woman named Tara Tedrow wrote an excellent column on sex offenders. I love the way she thinks.

No child left behind to predators

Once a pedophile, always a pedophile. Pray all you want, put all the shrink apologists on TV after another child is violated, but watch a few episodes of MSNBC's Dateline: To Catch a Predator, and you'll see what the apologists don't want to admit.

How many more children's innocence must be stolen for people to realize there is only one treatment for a pedophile -- one strike and you're out, locked up, never to be able to hunt or violate another child. How many more childhoods must be stolen until we realize that a slap on the wrist of a few years in prison does not send the message that society is serious about pedophilia?

I don't believe that pedophiles can be cured. Do you?

To battle predators online we must demand that online communities take the initiative of sites like by tracking registered sex offenders and removing their profiles. They must also agree to turn over for prosecution any adult solicitations made publicly for sex or nude photos from minors.

Follow the money and freeze the bank accounts of any online group or individual trolling for kids. Force the ISPs offline. Fine the banks whose credit-card processing facilities are used. If they are overseas predator groups, whether private or commercial, embarrass their host country into action. Notify U.S banks of any foreign bank participating in this. Publicize any U.S. corporation indirectly involved.

We have the technology to bring down their Internet sites. We have the technology to track and stop the perverts. It seems that all we lack is the will.

Heck, animals probably have more protection than our children. What we need is an SPCA for kids: the SPCC, the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children.

The freedom that we should be concerned about is the freedom of children to not live a ruined life. We should have a new No Child Left Behind policy. This one would ensure that no child is left behind by the law, and our priority and concern is for the innocent victim and not the pervert.

I don't think every criminal should be in jail for life. I think there are extenuating circumstances that have to be taken into consideration for most crimes. But it's a cut-and-dried issue when it comes to violating a child. You either did it, or you didn't.

If you're innocent, that's well and good. If you're guilty, then you're off the playgrounds, off the streets and never given another chance to ruin another child's life.

Tara Tedrow is a junior at Wake Forest University, a Presidential Scholar for Debate and captain of the Mock Trial Team. 

She’d write a great blog, don’t you think?

The BEST news you will hear all day, guaranteed

It comes from Journal/Sentinel sports columnist Bob Wolfley.

He refers to yesterday's telecast of the Packers-Lions game on Fox.

Comic Frank Caliendo, during his bit on the Fox pre-game show, mentioned that the Indianapolis-Atlanta game was on the NFL Network, which meant "thirteen people" got to watch it. "Seriously, there are more homes that have termites than have the NFL Network," Caliendo said.

Now for the good news:

The Packers play at Dallas on Thursday night on the NFL Network, with the telecast in the Milwaukee market on WISN-TV (Channel 12).

Tithing? Sorry, Father, but no...

Here is the tithing article I talked about today on Newstalk 1130 WISN.

Any church that demands tithing risks empty pews.

My income is between me and the IRS.

Want me to give more? Give me reasons to be more generous. Don't try to "guilt' me into digging deeper into my wallet.

And tell me, and be very specific how you're spending the $$$.



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...


Simon Sharp

Scott Southworth


Black Friday shoppers who scrambled, pushed, shoved, and basically acted like jerks in their hunt for bargains. There were reports around the country of shoppers suffering injuries. One man had his leg broken.
Is a video game really worth it?


"No illegals -- less violent crime, less sexual assaults, less domestic abuse, less drugs in the community, less drivers without insurance, less people using the emergency rooms, less welfare fraud, less court interpreter fees, less ESL classes, less identity theft, less taxes, and think about it America."
Brown County Supervisor Patrick Evans  

"Changes in history usually occur after some kind of catastrophic event," Saban said during the opening remarks of his weekly news conference. "It may be 9-11, which sort of changed the spirit of America relative to catastrophic events. Pearl Harbor kind of got us ready for World War II, or whatever, and that was a catastrophic event."
Alabama football coach Nick Saban, comparing his team’s loss against lowly Louisiana-Monroe to Pearl Harbor and 9/11.  

"It's not about who the current governor is. With our system of representative government, it's a question of how much authority we want to give our governor - no matter who it is. It's about maintaining the integrity of our budget process."
State Senator Sheila Harsdorf (R-River Falls), renewing her call to end the governor’s “Frankenstein” veto power.

"It is an accident waiting to happen," Lasee said in a statement. "Drivers are turning 3,000-pound machines traveling at speeds of 65 miles per hour into home offices."
State Senator Alan Lasee (R-De Pere), on his bill to ban texting while driving.


Women who abort to save the planet. 
Wacko nutjobs.


Georgia Supreme Court overturns sex offender law


Drew Peterson


Crash makes for a very bad hair day.

Read more

Anonymous bloggers can be dangerous

Given recent attempts by an anonymous reader (not anonymous anymore) to post comemnts on my blog after he was told not to, and given that same reader's repulsive and offensive remarks made on Janet Evans' blog this morning, I think it is appropriate to link to a blog I did that generated tremendous interest.


Male readers of my blog, as you are well aware, today and next Sunday are two days filled with trap doors.

The Packers don’t play for two consecutive Sunday’s. That means women already are plotting to convert them into “honeydew” days:  “Honey, do this…” and “Honey do that.”

Guys, consider yourselves warned.


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.

And since I was gone on vacation, I will post the most popular blogs from the two weeks before last week as well.

Last week’s most popular blogs:

1) Executing criminals saves lives 

2) Franklin aldermen as bad as Franklin School Board 

3) Death, taxes and Klueless Kowalski 

4) I’m back 

5) Culinary no-no #27   

Most popular blogs: Nov.10-17  

1) God bless our veterans  

2) Thank you for not voting  

3) Culinary no-no # 26

4) My old grade school is in the news 

5) The “List” 

Most popular blogs: Nov.3-10

1) BREAKING NEWS: City of Franklin vs. Steve Hanke

2) Franke rules against Franklin

3) Obey-it is: Foot-in-mouth disease

4) FranklinNOW has become two blogs in one

5) And we can’t forget the CITY of Franklin

Read more

Two days left to vote for Scott Southworth

Scott is a bona fide hero, and he's from Wisconsin.

Let CNN know you think he's a hero, too.

Culinary no-no #29

Culinary no-no's

I am a big Elvis fan. Anyone who reads my blog knows that.

In the 1950’s, Elvis recorded, “Lawdy Miss Clawdy.” He sang it on his ’68 Comeback Special. And he sang it frequently during his live concerts in the 1970’s.

Elvis gets a great deal of credit for that song, but it was done originally by Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Lloyd Price. His rendition topped the rhythm and blues charts for seven straight weeks in 1952.








I will, I will.

Just relax everybody.

Lloyd Price, who also gave us,”Personality,” and “Stagger Lee,” is now 74 years old and is on a personal campaign to bring more respect to the sweet potato.

His company, Lloyd Price Icon Food Brands Inc., has all kinds of sweet potato products, including, according to the Wall Street Journal, frozen sweet potato cheesecake on a stick.

People like the folks at the U.S. Sweet Potato Council are hoping Price is successful.

That’s because the sweet potato just might be the Rodney Dangerfield of vegetables. Oh, it gets some respect, just not nearly the amount that it deserves.

The odds are most people had some sort of sweet potato offering this Thanksgiving. Sweet potatoes are very good friends this time of year. After New Year’s, we don’t care if we never see another one until the fourth Thursday in November. Robert Tomsho recently wrote in the Wall Street Journal:

“About 75% of canned sweet-potato sales come between Thanksgiving and New Year's, and 40% of the fresh crop is shipped during the last quarter of the year.

Since 1970, annual per capita consumption of turkey more than doubled, and cranberries are up tenfold. The sweet potato (or Ipomoea batatas) has bumbled through the same period at around four pounds a year, trailing celery and not within a whiff of 1920 levels, when per capita sweet-potato consumption peaked at 29.5 pounds.

Sometimes marketed as a "yam" -- the rough-skinned tropical vegetable that is even sweeter -- the sweet potato cemented its standing as a Thanksgiving tradition early in the past century, some researchers say. That's when recipes began pairing canned sweet potatoes with a sweet, packaged product that's still a favorite in late-November cuisine. "It was definitely the marshmallows," says Rick Rodgers, author of the book "Thanksgiving 101."

As Americans moved to the cities, the sturdy vegetable that helped keep the Continental Army on the march during the Revolutionary War lost favor and higher-income consumers shifted to fancier fare.

The sweet potato is high in fiber and vitamins A and C, but "its image hasn't yet made the changeover from the poor man's food to the intelligent food of choice," says Jack Osman. A health science professor at Towson University in Maryland, he has had little luck interesting food companies in his purple passion pie and other sweet-potato confections.

Mr. Osman is part of a quirky bunch of growers, scientists and promoters who have spent years fruitlessly searching for the brave new taste twist that could give sweet potatoes the kind of boost that fast-food fries provided for white potatoes.

Many boosters believe processing sweet potatoes into more varied and convenient forms is crucial, pointing to the growing popularity of sweet-potato chips, whose sales have more than doubled since 2003, according to Nielsen Co., the information and media concern. Even so, their total annual sales remain below $12 million, less than what white potato chips sell in a day.”

Until someone develops a sweet potato product that enjoys the popularity of french fries, it’s unlikely the love affair with the sweet potato will grow beyond our current relationship that blossoms only in November and December.

That’s unfortunate, given the sweet potato’s tastiness and healthiness.

So think about it. If you love them at Thanksgiving and Christmas, why not the rest of the year? Don’t forget the sweet potato January thru October.


1) Ketchup on a brat
2) Green peppers on pizza
3) The dirty martini
4) Fruity brats
5) A Bloody Mary after dinner
6) Women “manning” the grill
7) Eating pizza at Festa Italiana, brats at German Fest, or tacos at Fiesta Mexicana. (Be adventurous. You can have those items anytime).
8) Eating a cream puff as though it was a hamburger.
9) Taking your own bottle of sauce when invited to a barbecue.
10) Touching the grill if you’re a guest at an outdoor barbecue.
11) Coaching the host on how to grill.
12) Some regional flavored ice cream… black licorice.
13) Taking the husks off before you grill corn on the cob
14) Being afraid to chill red wine
15) Pizza on the grill
16) When serving exotic or strange dishes to guests, do not tell them exactly what it is. Instead, use a more inviting term (caviar) rather than being blunt (fish eggs).
17) In late summer and early fall, this time of year, don’t buy zucchini. Somehow, someway, you will find zucchini or zucchini will find you.
18) Showing disrespect to your restaurant server.
19) Eating out on a Monday night.
20) Pumpkin beer.
21) Mail-order turkey.
22) Grilled cheese is just for kids.
23) Dining in the dark.
24) Ketchup on spaghetti
25) Sneaking healthy foods into treats to get your kids to eat it.
26) Do not throw away culinary gifts received in the mail because you don’t like them.
27) Do not feel guilty about eating Oreos. (Oreos are not to blame for out of control obesity).
28) Doing something so totally ridiculous that you are desperately forced to call the Butterball Turkey Hot-Line for assistance.

"The man is dying"

Residents of Franklin are well aware of who Billy Lee Morford is.

Morford is one of the most notorious sex offenders in Wisconsin. For 18 months, Morford was allowed to roam from his NW side Milwaukee home back and forth to Franklin, and the state under Jim Doyle didn’t notify anyone.

One year ago, the state considered and then decided to release Billy Lee Morford from supervision. It was the subject of discussion between my colleagues and me on Channel 10’s InterCHANGE. Watch as I my make the case to keep the dangerous Morford under close scrutiny while sex offender sympathizer Joel McNally bleeds all over the studio in support of this monster. McNally even laughs about the subject.


Read more

Wake up, liberals-Walgreen's and Wal-Mart are offering health care to the poor

Here is how liberals like to argue.

Because they can never win an argument on facts, they resort to bumper-sticker tactics.

They shout out short quips like, “Bush lied, people died.”

They yell out the same, tired, old standbys like, “Conservatives are mean. Conservatives are cruel.”

They play the race card. That’s one of the easiest and most despicable cards in the liberal deck. The liberal takes two seconds to say, “That’s racist.” Now you try to dispel that attack in two seconds.

Liberals use emotion as their trump card. Information, research, evidence and facts are foreign to them.
Larry Elder found that out recently as the columnist ad talk show host had his annual dinner with friends comprised entirely of liberals.

A son of Larry’s friend asked, with a lack of tact I would submit, "If you're against government health care insurance, what should poor people do? What, just screw 'em?"

Elder responded that the short answer is free enterprise.

"Do you think something like this will happen?"

"It already is," Elder replied. "Several pharmacies like Walgreens now open up many clinics and provide cheap health care for low-income people."

At this point, his father jumped in and said, "Really? I never heard of that."

"You never heard," Elder said, "that drug stores like Walgreens now have in-house, walk-in medical clinics so that people can get care for medical problems, the kind of treatment that most people need -- noncomplicated, nonsurgical procedures?"

"No, I never heard of that."

The liberal had never heard of Walgreen’s and Wal-Mart offering health care to the poor at an affordable price.


Government health care is unnecessary. Government needs to stand out of the way and allow the private sector to lead the way and innovate.

Read Larry Elder's column about his meal with the liberals.

Bad season for Notre Dame...or was it?

I am a Notre Dame fan. This is the worst football season ND has ever had in my lifetime, or at least that I can recall.

Notre Dame haters are delirious.

Does Notre Dame care? Of course Notre Dame cares. Notre dame wants to win because it has high standards.

A losing record?

A horrendous season?

No bowl game?

But Notre Dame is far from suffering.

1 hour and 20 minutes

I have blogged and also talked about on WISN that I attend and usher at St. Anthony’s Catholic Church at 9th and Mitchell every Sunday. 

This is my lifelong parish, the most beautiful church in Milwaukee. (Don’t believe me? Come to Mass some Sunday and see for yourself). 

As much as I love St. Anthony’s, I have found fault with my church, and have blogged and talked about it on WISN.

I’m sorry.

Eighty minutes, one hour and 20 minutes is wayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy too long for a Sunday mass that isn’t done on Easter or Christmas.


Today’s 10:00 Mass at St. Anthony’s ended at 11:20.

That’s too long.

Was Archbishop Dolan there?

Did 100 kids get their First Communion?

Did we do eight verses on every hymn?


But somehow that Mass stretched to 80 minutes.

Let me add there was enough incense to satisfy a generation of hippies.

Some people complained it was too smoky. (They were right).

I tried to open a door or window to get some fresh air inside (The outside temp was in the 30’s). 

Now other people are looking at me as if I’m nuts. They’re putting their hoods up on their jackets.

Now the Mass is dragging, and dragging, and dragging.

The sermon goes on and on and on.

Kids are screaming.

ids are crying.

Who the hell (Sorry, God) can blame them?

I’m ready to scream the Mass is taking forever.


Look around, Padre!

See those empty pews?

Want to see more of them?

Keep giving us 1 HOUR AND 20 MINUTE Masses.

Franklin, the next time you see an Alderman or School Board member...

Politely, respectfully ask the Alderman what do YOU, the taxpayer get for that whopping 5.7% tax increase the Aldermen approved.

If the alderman tries to change the subject by focusing on why they had to vote for a 5.7% increase, again, politely and respectfully ask the alderman to specifically answer what you, the person paying the bills gets for that 5.7% increase.

I’m dying to hear their response. The same holds true for Franklin School Board members. Ask them what YOU, the taxpayer, gets for that 5.9% increase.

YOU don’t get anything.

Administrators and employees get salaries and benefits addressed thanks to YOU, the taxpayers.

But what do YOU get from these big tax increases that Aldermen and School Board members are patting themselves on the backs over?


Nothing except a big fat bill.

Thanks, Aldermen.

Thanks, Mayor. 

Thanks School Board members.

Thanks for taking more of my hard-earned money right out of my wallet.

OK, so Sendik's isn't perfect

This post is more of a suggestion than a complaint or criticism.

My wife has shopped at the new Sendik’s many times and has enjoyed each experience.

She’s noticed that at the bakery and deli departments, some employees use the take-a-number system and some don’t. Those that don’t smile and make eye contact with a customer, ask the obligatory, “Can I help you?” and some shoppers are left standing wondering, why did I pull # 64 when # 68 is ordering a rib roast?

This could lead to some confusion and some less than happy campers.

It’s a minor detail, but one that should be addressed.

Sendik’s is still doing a fantastic job.

The format for BE HEARD meetings is goofy

I am on record saying the following about these BE HEARD meetings the Franklin School District is holding:

I hope Franklin residents storm these meetings with lanterns and pitchforks and give the tax increasers a healthy piece of their minds.

A good turnout is critical because I wouldn’t put it past the school administrators and School Board members to stack these presentations with their own supporters.

Yes, I believe a healthy attendance of individuals other than the “plants” and “pawns” of the school district is extremely important. But I have to be honest. The format being used for these meetings is silly and stupid. From FranklinNOW reporter John Neville: 

Small groups will be formed to share ideas on what needs to be done differently and what needs improvement. A larger group discussion will follow small group discussions.

Why bust everybody up into small groups? I want to BE HEARD by the people whose bills I pay. I don’t want to sit at a small table and hash over school issues with other citizens like some exercise I was given in high school.

This is lame. 

Do you really want to hear what taxpayers have to say like you claim you do?

Then run the meeting like a public hearing.

Have people register.

When it’s their turn to speak, let them speak so that all school officials and residents in the room can hear.

And don’t let lamer than lame duck Sue Huhn interrupt if someone suggests that school taxes are too high.

Then go back and seriously take into consideration every comment made.

I see no purpose in having people forced to sit in a small group before being allowed to speak to the group as a whole. Are district officials hoping some of their “tools” can work to persuade or even brainwash other residents to accept their point of view in these “small group” sessions?

Don’t waste anybody’s time. You say you want people to be heard, then let them be heard, by everybody, right away!

Drop this foolish sophomoric plan to meet in little tiny discussion groups.


Another bright idea, courtesy of the Franklin Public Schools

Tanya Ruder, the “Communications Specialist” for the Franklin School District sent the following e-mail out to Franklin residents. (At least this time, the “specialist” remembered to include dates). 

Prospective Board Member Orientation  

Wednesday, December 5 and 12 Education and Community Center (8255 W. Forest Hill Ave.) 7:00 P.M.

Do you have sound judgment, willingness to collaborate and a sincere interest in our school district? Then you should join us at the Education and Community Center on Wednesday, December 5 or 12 to find out more about becoming a School Board Member.

This is an open forum that will allow interested parties to find out more about becoming a School Board Member. Staff and current School Board Members will be available to answer questions regarding responsibilities, requirements, benefits and more. There will be two seats open for the April election and we are looking for the right candidates to fill them.  

Please contact Tanya Ruder with any questions at 414-525-7607 or  

I just want to remind “prospective board members,” that you have absolutely no obligation whatsoever to attend these orientation meetings.

I’m sure the current staff and School Board members would love to meet potential candidates ahead of time, feel them out, uncover their agendas, and try to take them under their wings.

You are obligated to gather signatures on nomination papers, work hard, run a good campaign, and if elected, then work with your colleagues on the Board. 

You do not……repeat….do not have to attend any orientation meeting where the current school “machine” can learn who’s running and why.

Also, what the hell does the final sentence in Ruder’s e-mail mean?

“There will be two seats open for the April election and we are looking for the right candidates to fill them.”

Earth to “Communications Specialist” Ruder:

It is not the school district’s job to determine the “right” candidates to sit on the School Board. That’s the job of the voters, the taxpayers, the people you work for, Tanya.

Think these two should get the death penalty?

I do.

Of all the Charlie Brown's, you're the Charlie Browniest

It’s not even December yet and one of the most popular Christmas TV specials of all-time airs tonight: A Charlie Brown Christmas.

I was just a boy when it first aired in 1965 and didn’t comprehend the significance of that television half hour. This is must-see holiday viewing.

Of course every year, I seem to have a commitment when the special airs. The same holds true this year.

Yes, I know about VCR’s, and the special is available on video. There’s something about watching that classic the night it airs nationwide.

Oh, well.

Thank God for YouTube.

Read more

Slow news day in Fond du Lac?

From the Fond du Lac Reporter newspaper:

Wanted: Your kissing experiences, preferences

Read more

GPS debacle in California

California voters overwhelmingly voted in favor of lifetime GPS monitoring of dangerous sex offenders.

Now the program may never take effect.

Reportedly, the biggest problem in California is trying to determine the agency and government that will administer and pay for the GPS monitoring.

Here in Wisconsin, the state Department of Corrections handles GPS. The recently-approved state budget includes funding for lifetime GPS tracking.  In the previous legislative session, the Legislature approved GPS, a bill Governor Doyle signed into law with much fanfare months before the election. After the election, Doyle basically gutted the program. The issue had to be resolved in the state budget.

In California, GPS is a mess. Here are the details from the LA Times:

Viability of sex-offender law in doubt
The lifetime GPS monitoring ordered by Prop. 83 may be too costly and complex to ever fully implement.
By Michael Rothfeld
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
November 27, 2007

SACRAMENTO -- — Law enforcement leaders who pushed for a ballot initiative requiring sex offenders in California to be tracked by satellite for life are now saying that the sweeping surveillance program voters endorsed is not feasible and is unlikely to be fully implemented for years, if ever.

Under the measure, approved overwhelmingly a year ago, sex offenders must be strapped with global positioning system devices that can record their whereabouts even after they finish parole and leave the criminal justice system.

Despite their qualms, law enforcement groups contend that the benefits of Proposition 83, popularly known as Jessica's Law, outweigh its problems, and they insist that many of the flaws can be fixed. But in interviews and testimony to a state board, they have cited complications with almost every aspect of the provision requiring lifetime monitoring.

The difficulties include the impracticality of tracking sex offenders who no longer must report to parole or probation officers, the lack of any penalty for those who refuse to cooperate with monitoring and the question of whether such widespread tracking is effective in protecting the public.

The biggest issue, however, is that the law does not specify which agency or government should monitor felony sex offenders -- and shoulder hundreds of millions of dollars a year in related costs.

Only a small percentage of the 65,000 sex offenders thought to be living in communities throughout the state are subject to the law, but the numbers are expected to grow by thousands every year as more offenders are released from prison.

As a result, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and state law enforcement leaders, who were allied in backing the measure, are engaged in a standoff over who should bear its financial burden.

"I don't know of any agency that has the resources to track and monitor . . . in real time," said Vacaville Police Chief Richard Word, president of the California Police Chiefs Assn. "You'll need an air traffic controller to track these folks."

Word and other law enforcement leaders said the global positioning system satellite technology probably would never be used for full-time electronic surveillance of sex offenders as the law suggests. They said GPS is more effective for acting on tips about potential crimes or investigating incidents that have already occurred than for blanket monitoring that reveals a location as a blip on a map but not what the subject is doing there.

The state's new Sex Offender Management Board, which began meeting during the summer, is taking testimony from local officials and others for a report due in January on how the law works in practice and what changes might need to be made.

"We've heard significant concerns with how monitoring would be implemented and how it would be paid for," Suzanne Brown-McBride, the board's chairwoman, said in an interview.

Sensitive issue

Criticizing the law is a sensitive matter because 70% of voters endorsed Proposition 83, an indication of strong public sentiment in favor of harsh treatment for sex offenders. Schwarzenegger, former state Atty. Gen. Bill Lockyer and law enforcement groups throughout the state supported the measure, and public officials have been reluctant to acknowledge its faults.

Tom Tobin, a psychologist who works with sex offenders and sits on the state board, said the law's defects are like the fabled emperor's new clothes: Everyone is afraid to state the obvious.

"We are in the jungle -- totally uncharted territory, legally and every other way," Tobin said at a recent board meeting.

Though they have not yet published their findings, some members of the state board already appear disenchanted with the law.

Janet Gaard, an assistant state attorney general, told colleagues that Proposition 83 appeared to be "a flawed law," and that its former supporters could still correct the public's misunderstanding of it if they were to mount a new campaign.

"We have the ability to persuade the public and say, 'Maybe we made a mistake,' " Gaard said.

The state corrections department is the only California agency enforcing the GPS requirement, with an intensive and expensive caseload of 20 sex offenders for each parole agent.

Even so, corrections officials have not been able to get their program fully up and running yet. They say that of the roughly 3,000 offenders who are supposed to be monitored, about 2,000 are wearing the devices, and the number of eligible is rising quickly: State officials say 500 to 700 more sex offenders leave prison each month and become subject to the law.

Corrections analysts estimate that it costs the state up to $33 a day in equipment and labor to monitor a sex offender by GPS, and it would take nearly $90 million a year just to track the 9,000 now on parole if all were subject to Proposition 83.

Once offenders are discharged from parole, the state will no longer monitor them electronically, Corrections Secretary James Tilton said last month, because his department lacks jurisdiction at that point. The agency also is overextended, with an overcrowded prison system under review by the federal courts.

Nick Warner, a lobbyist and spokesman for the California State Sheriffs' Assn., said the state's refusal to monitor sex offenders after parole "passes the buck to local law enforcement, who are not equipped to handle them." He said the state was "setting up communities to fail" and predicted that the matter would end up in court.

Schwarzenegger, who faces a $10-billion state budget gap next year, said through spokesman Bill Maile that he would wait for the sex offender board to address the question of who should fund lifetime GPS tracking before taking a position on the issue.

Maile said the governor would coordinate with local officials to make "whatever fixes are necessary to carry out the will of the voters."

State Sen. George Runner (R-Lancaster), one of the law's authors, has said he intended for the state to pay the tab. Runner, a frequent critic of government spending, tucked a clause into the end of an unrelated initiative he proposed this month that would require the state to reimburse local governments for all GPS monitoring, including for sex offenders. That measure is not in circulation yet.

Apart from the funding question is the issue of how to track sex offenders for life.

Not equipped for the job

At the sex offender board's recent meeting, Chief Carey Sullivan of the Woodland Police Department testified that local police and sheriff's deputies are not trained to monitor criminals the way parole agents or probation officers do.

Sullivan, speaking on behalf of state police chiefs, said the problem with enforcing lifetime GPS tracking is that the law provides no sanctions if offenders cut the units from their ankles or refuse to keep them charged after leaving parole.

If a sex offender travels from one city to another, or outside the state -- as they are free to do once dismissed from parole -- it would be "tremendously difficult" for local authorities to continue to track them where they have no jurisdiction, he said.

Overall, Sullivan said, GPS is "just one tool in a very large tool bag" and does not enable police to exert complete control over sex offenders.

"I think that is an extremely misleading perception that people have," he said. "We would have been far better off with lifetime parole or probation than . . . with lifetime GPS."

In an informal survey by the Chief Probation Officers of California presented by Jerry Powers, head of probation in Stanislaus County and a member of the sex offender board, only five of 37 agencies that responded reported using GPS at all, and in very low numbers. Orange County reported that it had only 15 devices, and Stanislaus reported 10.

Powers said some would like to use GPS for other offenders, such as gang members.

Powers told his colleagues that it would be "ludicrous" to think that local agencies would voluntarily monitor all sex offenders by satellite.

"It would bankrupt any of our systems very quickly," he said.

Another reason to root against the New England Patriots

We know the Patriots cheat.

Now we learn their fans are.......just plain stupid.

No spanking!

The Legislature in Nanny State, USA, Massachusetts, is considering a complete ban on corporal punishment.

Even parents in their own homes would not be allowed to spank.

For good reason, no state in the country has such a law.

Massachusetts would be the first.

More liberal lunacy.

I'm on WISN

My next fill-in date at Newstalk 1130 WISN will be this Friday, from 8-10 am, filling in for Jay Weber.

I also fill in for Jay all next week, Monday-Friday from 8-10 am, and again on Monday, December 10.


About that bra...

Being the versatile and talented blogger that I am, you never know what topic I’ll touch on next. There is unpredictability about my blog that I believe is one of its strengths.

This blog entry is no exception. It is a public service announcement for all the men that make up my readership.

I recently blogged about the Victoria’s Secret special kazillion dollar star-studded Christmas bra….twice as a matter of fact.

Now, there is a MUCH cheaper, but very nice version of that bra.

But it appears it’s no longer available.

If you check the link to the less expensive bra on my previous blog, you’ll be taken to a totally different VS page that has nothing to do with holiday sequined brassieres. You can’t find it on the VS website, either.

So ye merry gentlemen, if ye waited until now to splurge, ye might just be out of luck.

Or maybe not. Maybe it’s not the best gift after all.

On in the Money section, MP Dunleavey offers her 15 worst Christmas gifts. One of them is fancy foundations:

The lingerie trap: My husband passes along this lesson learned from hard experience: Never buy lingerie for a woman unless she has ripped out the page from the Victoria's Secret catalog and circled the exact item herself. If she opens a box and sees something that looks like a black satin hanky, it just opens up a can of worms: "Why does he want me to wear that? Does he need me to look trashy? Doesn't he like me the way I am? Next thing you know he'll want me to wear a blond wig and fishnet stockings like a streetwalker!" You can go from surprise to Splitsville in five or six mental leaps. Way too expensive on sooooo many levels.

So is the fact that the $300 bra is no longer available good news?

Depends who you ask, Jennifer, or me.

"When was the last time you read a good book by a polar bear?"

Janet Evans blogged about it. I talked about it on WISN.

Aborting to save the planet.

Insert adjective here: Outrageous, stupid, absurd, ridiculous, flaky, wacko, nutty, insane, loopy, ludicrous.

Syndicated columnist Kathleen Parker gets right to the point in her column today on these nutjobs.

“If we're not saving the planet for our kids, for whom are we saving it? After we're all sterilized and aborted, who's going to appreciate the fact that global warming is, by golly, under control? Who's going to live to tell the tale?
Tell me: When was the last time you read a good book by a polar bear? Human beings may unconsciously wish to maintain their genetic line, but that's not the reason most people have children. OK, most of us have children because we get pregnant. But otherwise, the planet -- glorious as it is -- is simply not that much fun with no one around.”

She continues:

Suddenly, the unborn is of no greater importance than the contents of our recycling bin. Like Weight Watchers dieters substituting carbs for sugars, we trade off future members of the human race to neutralize insults to Earth's balance in the present.
Here's how the mental calculation goes: Let's see, if I abort my child, maybe I can travel first-class to the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Bali.

Here’s the entire Parker column.Save the earth….kill your baby.

If that’s being green, color me anything but.


"It is the greatest scam in history"

That’s what John Coleman says about global warming.

Who’s John Coleman?

Coleman is the founder of……..the Weather Channel.

Here's his recent column from the website of ***, the TV station he does the weather at..... It's really good stuff:

It is the greatest scam in history. I am amazed, appalled and highly offended by it. Global Warming... it is a SCAM.

Some misquided scientists with environmental and political motives manipulated long term scientific data back in the late 1990's to create an illusion of rapid global warming. Other scientists of the same environmental-extremism type jumped into the circle to support and broaden the "research" to further enhance the totally slanted, bogus global warming claims. Their friends in government steered huge research grants their way to keep the movement going. Soon they claimed to be a consensus.

Environmental extremist, notable politicians among them then teamed up with movie, media and other liberal, environmentalist journalists to create this wild "scientific" scenario of the civilization threatening environmental consequences from Global Warming unless we adhere to their radical agenda.

Now their ridicules manipulated science has been accepted as fact and become a cornerstone issue for CNN, CBS, NBC, the Democratic Political Party, the Governor of California, school teachers and, in many cases, well informed but very gullible environmental conscientious citizens. Only one reporter at ABC has been allowed to counter the Global Warming frenzy with one 15 minutes documentary segment.

I do not oppose environmentalism. I do not oppose the political positions of either party.

However, Global Warming, i.e. Climate Change, is not about environmentalism or politics. It is not a religion. It is not something you "believe in." It is science; the science of meteorology. This is my field of life-long expertise. And I am telling you Global Warming is a nonevent, a manufactured crisis and a total scam. I say this knowing you probably won't believe me, a mere TV weatherman, challenging a Nobel Prize, Academy Award and Emmy Award winning former Vice President of United States. So be it.

I suspect you might like to say to me, "John, look the research that supports the case for global warming was done by research scientists; people with Ph.D's in Meteorology. They are employed by major universities and important research institutions. Their work has been reviewed by other scientists with Ph.D's. They have to know a lot more about it than you do. Come on, John, get with it. The experts say our pollution has created an strong and increasing greenhouse effect and a rapid, out of control global warming is underway that will sky rocket temperatures, destroy agriculture, melt the ice caps, flood the coastlines and end life as we know it. How can you dissent from this crisis? You must be a bit nutty.

Allow me, please, to explain how I think this all came about. Our universities have become somewhat isolated from the rest of us. There is a culture and attitudes and values and pressures on campus that are very different. I know this group well. My father was a Ph.D-University types. I was raised in the university culture. Any person who spends a decade at a university obtaining a Ph.D in Meteorology and become a research scientist, more likely than not, becomes a part of that single minded culture. They all look askance at the rest of us, certain of their superiority. They respect government and disrespect business, particularly big business. They are environmentalists above all else.

And, there is something else. These scientists know that if they do research and the results are in no way alarming, their research will gather dust on the shelf and their research careers will languish. But if they do research that sounds alarms, they will become well known and respected and receive scholarly awards and, very importantly, more research dollars will come flooding their way.

Remember the United Nations had formed the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in the late 1980's with the mission of accessing and countering manmade climate change.  The UN had established this global bureaucracy on climate change.  It had become the "world series" or "olympics" for Climatologists and Meteorologists and scientists in related fields.  You had to strive to be accepted, invited to present and review papers and travel to international meetings of the committee.  Otherwise you were a nobody in your field.

So when these researchers did climate change studies in the late 90's they were eager to produce findings that would be important and be widely noticed and trigger more research funding. It was easy for them to manipulate the data to come up with the results they wanted to make headlines and at the same time drive their environmental agendas. Then their like-minded Ph.D colleagues reviewed their work and hastened to endorse it without question.

There were a few who didn't fit the mold. They did ask questions and raised objections. They did research with contradictory results. The environmental elitists berated them and brushed their studies aside.

I have learned since the Ice Age is coming scare in the 1970's to always be a skeptic about research. In the case of global warming, I didn't accept media accounts. Instead I read dozens of the scientific papers. I have talked with numerous scientists. I have studied. I have thought about it. I know I am correct when I assure you there is no run away climate change. The impact of humans on climate is not catastrophic. Our planet is not in peril. It is all a scam, the result of bad science.

I am not alone in this assessment. There are hundreds of other meteorologists, many of them Ph.D's, who are as certain as I am that this global warming frenzy is based on bad science and is not valid.

I am incensed by the incredible media glamour, the politically correct silliness and rude dismal of counter arguments by the high priest of Global Warming.

In time, a decade or two, the outrageous scam will be obvious. As the temperature rises, polar ice cap melting, coastal flooding and super storm pattern all fail to occur as predicted everyone will come to realize we have been duped.

The sky is not falling. And, natural cycles and drifts in climate are as much if not more responsible for any climate changes underway.

I strongly believe that the next twenty years are equally as likely to see a cooling trend as they are to see a warming trend.

Make way for yet another Sendik's

This time at 79th and Layton.

Details from the Business Journal:

Rapidly growing grocery chain Sendik's Food Market will open a new location in a former Jewel location in Greenfield, developer Devo Properties and the city of Greenfield said Wednesday.

Sendik's will remodel and occupy a 60,000-square-feet store at the Greenfield location at 7901 W. Layton Ave. The store is part of a shopping center that will be renamed Sendik's Commons.

The Greenfield Sendik's will be the latest of new stores operated by the Balistreri family, which recently opened Sendik's locations in Elm Grove and Franklin and announced plans to open a location in Germantown.

Devo Properties is led by developer Greg Devorkin, who developed the Fountains of Franklin retail center where the most recent Sendik's opened. Last week, Devo Properties purchased the Greenfield shopping center where Sendik's will open.

The Greenfield Sendik's is expected to hire 170 employees, said Ted Balistreri, who owns Sendik's along with his two brothers, Nick and Patrick, and sister, Margaret Harris.

The Balistreri family's other stores are in Whitefish Bay, Wauwatosa, Mequon, Grafton, Elm Grove and Franklin. The new store opening in 2008 in Germantown will be at N112 15800 Mequon Road.


The CNN Heroes: Finalists

Thank you to everyone who voted for Scott Southworth of Wisconsin as a CNN Hero.

Scott did not make the group of finalists.

He's still an amazing guy and a hero in every sense of the word.

PACKERS-COWBOYS: The match-ups


How do the teams stack up against each other?

From the Green Bay Press Gazette:

Pete Dougherty column:
How Packers match up with Dallas

When the 2007 NFL regular season started, the Green Bay Packers were 25-to-1 odds to win the NFC championship, and only three teams in the conference were given worse chances.

Now, about two-thirds of the way through the season, the Packers are 8-to-5 odds to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl, second best behind only their opponent Thursday, the Dallas Cowboys, who have 2-to-3 odds.

A Super Bowl berth isn't at stake when these two 10-1 teams meet at Texas Stadium, and the loser still could go on to win the conference title. Unless either team collapses over the final four weeks, they will be the top-two seeded teams in the conference, get first-round byes in the playoffs and be strong bets to meet again in the NFC championship.

Although the winner will have the inside track for home-field advantage, recent history says the home field really isn't much of an edge in conference championships. In the last 10 years, home teams are 11-9 in conference finals. However, after Dallas beat the New York Jets on Thursday, Dallas owner Jerry Jones summed up what any warm-weather team would be thinking deep down.

"What this game is about is to get back here in January," Jones told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "There is a difference between playing in Dallas and playing in Green Bay in January."

If nothing else, this big game will give these clubs a measure of each other head to head and reveal at least some of the matchups to consider if they meet again in January. So, with both this week and a potential playoff game in mind, here's a report on the Cowboys based on an in-depth interview with a scout who knows them well. The early betting line on the game had the Cowboys a six-point favorite, though the scout predicted that would drop to 3 to 3½ points by game time — teams get three points for playing at home.


Tony Romo (105.6 passer rating) runs an explosive offense ranked second in yards and points, behind only the New England juggernaut.

He grew up in Burlington, idolizing Brett Favre, and he's adopted many of Favre's mannerisms. He also has a similar mental make-up in that he's exceptionally competitive, charismatic, has a great love for the game and will sacrifice his body to win. That makes him a natural leader who teammates rally around.

He doesn't have Favre's physical talent at a similar age — Favre had and has a stronger arm — but Romo is mobile, extremely accurate and has a better grasp of the offense than Favre did as a 27-year-old. The biggest problem Romo could run into is trying too hard to defeat or impress his boyhood hero.

"Is he too jacked up?" the scout said. "Will he do too many things to try to outplay Brett Favre?"

When asked which quarterback was better now, the scout said, "I'd never bet against Brett Favre. I've seen Romo make the (big) mistake this year. I haven't seen Favre do that."


Terrell Owens (64 receptions, 17.1-yard average, an NFC-leading 13 touchdowns) is having a big season and has to be accounted for. Packers defensive coordinator Bob Sanders almost surely will put cornerback Al Harris on the best receiver all day and play him with physical, bump-and-run coverage.

Though Owens is big (6-foot-3, 224 pounds), Harris' tactics might neutralize him.

"These will be the most physical cornerbacks he's faced," the scout said of Owens. "Someone asked me if I'd rather have Owens or (Randy) Moss, I'd take Moss, he's more competitive. This guy, for a big receiver, if it's a contested football, he doesn't go get it like you think he would. When you bang him around you can take him out of his routes."

With Terry Glenn out with an injury, Patrick Crayton is the No. 2 receiver. He has a lanky build (6-0, 200), runs precise routes, has a slippery knack for getting open and catches well but doesn't have deep speed. Sam Hurd (6-2, 195), the No. 3 receiver, would be a No. 5 on many teams but is serviceable and improving as a second-year pro.

The Cowboys don't have anything like the quality of depth the Packers have at receiver with Donald Driver, Greg Jennings, James Jones, Koren Robinson and Ruvell Martin.

"I'd take (No. 4 receiver) Koren Robinson over Sam Hurd any day of the week," the scout said.

Tight end

A position that makes the Cowboys dangerous. Jason Witten is second on the team in receptions (59), offers a huge target (6-5, 265) with excellent athletic ability and great hands. He's Romo's favorite target when plays break down, and he's scrambling.

The Packers have had problems matching up with the elite tight ends they've faced this year. Linebacker A.J. Hawk has been playing good coverage in recent weeks, and maybe Sanders will look to get him on Witten as much as possible. Safeties Atari Bigby and Aaron Rouse (or Nick Collins if he returns from his knee injury) also will share the responsibility.

"(The Packers) will lose this matchup," the scout said. "The problem with this guy is he's 263 pounds, he's very athletic and physical and crafty, but he also has speed. He' a legitimate 4.7 guy (in the 40-yard dash). If Green Bay doesn't have somebody that can play physical with him, he can create a lot of problems.

"He's too good for linebackers and too physical for safeties. If they don't have a plan for Jason Witten, this is something Dallas could take advantage of. The (Packers) could lose this battle and lose it badly."

Running back

New coach Wade Phillips has kept Bill Parcells' two-back system and used it to sometimes devastating effect.

Julius Jones (3.9 yards per carry) gets most of the work in the first half and is tough for a smaller (5-10, 211), quicker back, plus he's become a good pass blocker. After Jones has softened a defense that also has to account for Owens and Witten, Barber (6-0, 220) comes in fresh and ready to punish. He's rushed for 715 yards and 4.9 yards a carry, and is especially good at finishing games in the fourth quarter.

"All of a sudden in the third and fourth quarters, you're not as a fresh as you were (on defense) at the start of the game," the scout said. "They bring in Marion Barber, and he brings a real attitude where he's ready to tote the mail."

Offensive line

The Cowboys have one of the biggest offensive lines in the league with left tackle Flozell Adams (6-7, 343), right guard Leonard Davis (6-6, 366), right tackle Marc Colombo (6-8, 320) and center Andre Gurode (6-4, 312).

Adams can be a shutout pass blocker when he's fully engaged in the game but is prone to lapses that render him ordinary. Davis was a good free-agent signing who's much better suited as a road-grading guard than a tackle. Colombo has some athletic limitations that leave him vulnerable, and the Packers' best matchup on the line probably will be him against defensive end Aaron Kampman. Gurode no longer makes the big mistakes he did early in his career, though he occasionally sprays his shotgun snaps. Right guard Kyle Kosier is listed at 305 pounds but probably is down around 285 to 290 and also could be vulnerable to physical play from defensive tackle Ryan Pickett, Corey Williams and Justin Harrell, who will be playing for injured Johnny Jolly and Colin Cole.

"(The Packers) could lose the matchup with Adams, and they could lose the matchup with Davis," the scout said. "Kampman's their best chance."

Defensive line

Phillips plays a 3-4 defense that went into this week ranked ninth in yards allowed and 18th in points.

The Cowboys have the fourth-ranked defense in the NFL in rushing yards and yards per carry, anchored by a sound starting line with ends Chris Canty and Marcus Spears and nose tackle Jay Ratliff. Their job mainly is to occupy blockers so the linebackers can make plays.

Spears is the best of the group, though Canty (three sacks) noticeably is playing better under Phillips after being beaten down by Parcells for two years.

"(Packers halfback) Ryan Grant is a big, physical type player," the scout said. "Some people think they should totally give up the run at Dallas, and you have to be careful with going outside on them, because they can get to you. But some teams have hit them off tackle. Green Bay has to try to get Ryan Grant going, let him be physical and chew up some clock."


Outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware (nine sacks) has been getting the most attention from offenses, but converted defensive end Greg Ellis (8½ sacks) also is a threat. Ware is a speed rusher who has 28½ sacks in 37 NFL games. Ellis (6-6, 270) successfully has made the move to outside linebacker and is a crafty 10-year pro who's adept at shedding blockers with his hands.

"(Teams) will say the guy they have to account for is Ware, but they need to talk about Ellis," the scout said. "He's a very solid, productive football player, and if you don't account for him, he'll sack you."

Bradie James (6-2, 250) and Akin Ayodele (6-2, 250) are big, solid inside linebackers who hold the point of attack well. Ayodele is the better athlete.


Here's where the Packers should have a big edge.

Terrence Newman is one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL and is capable of taking Driver out of the game. However, after him, the quality drops.

Jacques Reeves and Anthony Henry have switched off as starter and nickel back all year, and Nathan Jones is the dime back. Safeties Ken Hamlin and Roy Williams are big, physical players who are strong against the run but have problems in coverage. Look for coach Mike McCarthy to liberally deploy his four- and five-receiver sets to create optimal matchups.

"Newman is a Pro Bowl-type corner; he's what Al Harris is to the Packers," the scout said. "If Green Bay is going to win, Favre has to take advantage of Anthony Henry, Jacques Reeves and Nate Jones. I see a matchup problem with Henry (against Greg Jennings). He can be physical, but if you get up the field, he has trouble keeping up. You have to make Hamlin cover and you have to make Roy Williams cover. Where Dallas is vulnerable is to big plays. They have one great corner and three good to OK corners."

Special teams

The Cowboys' return game isn't particularly dangerous with Crayton (12.3-yard average) and Newman (6.5 yard average) on punts and Tyson Thompson (23.6-yard average) on kickoffs. Rookie kicker Nick Folk is 17-for-20 on field goals. Punter Mat McBriar is a weapon (47.6-yard gross, 37.5-yard net). 

Pete Dougherty covers the Packers for the Press-Gazette. E-mail him at

PACKERS-COWBOYS: Biggest game in Dallas since 1995

Just how big is this game?

Ask the man who runs the show in Big D:

Jones: Game with Packers is big

Owner says this is biggest regular-season home game in 12 years

By ALBERT BREER / The Dallas Morning News

IRVING – Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is making no effort to downplay Thursday night's showdown with the Packers. Nor is he sparing anyone the hyperbole.

"It's certainly the most significant game at this stadium since the last time we played Brett Favre and Green Bay in the NFC Championship Game," Jones said, referencing the 1995 win that propelled the Cowboys to Super Bowl XXX.

"[But] anybody who would tell you it's a season-ender if you lose it doesn't understand what 10-2 is in the NFL."

Jones said this is the biggest regular-season game at Texas Stadium since a 1995 loss to the Elvis Grbac-led San Francisco 49ers.

Jones added that if the new stadium was open, this type of game would warrant adding the removable seats that could bump capacity from the 80,000 to 85,000 range to more than 95,000 seats.

Jones said a loss wouldn't dash the Cowboys' dreams, but he also knows those hopes become more realistic with a win, which could lead to home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs.

"Green Bay is intimidating to me," Jones said of the city. "It's stark, it's usually not one of the sunny days [when the Cowboys are there], compared to the friendly confines of home."

Packers find running game: After beating Minnesota on Nov. 11, the Packers ended a five-week run at the bottom of the NFL in run offense. Tailback Ryan Grant, in particular, has made a big difference. Acquired in a trade from the Giants just before the season opener, Grant has rushed for 467 yards on 101 carries (4.6-yard average) in the five games since taking on a more prominent role after the Packers' bye week.

By comparison, the rest of the Packers have 406 yards on 144 carries (2.8-yard average).

"The style of back they have now, he's able to find the hole and make that one cut," Cowboys linebacker Akin Ayodele said. "I think the offensive line has gotten more aggressive in staying with their blockers. And the passing game has helped them out a lot in the running game."

No change for Henry: Coach Wade Phillips said he expects cornerback Anthony Henry to remain in the limited role he's played the last few weeks – playing in the team's nickel and dime defenses – as his high left ankle sprain continues to heal. But with the three-, four- and five-receiver sets Green Bay brings, Henry could be on the field more this week. And he's fine with that. "I've been making some progress, and I've been improving at practice," Henry said. "The pace we're going at right now is good for me."

Briefly: USA Football officials were in Irving to present Texas with the Governor's Cup, given to the "Best Football State" in the country. Keith Davis, Leonard Davis and Justin Rogers – all of whom played high school and college football in Texas – accepted the award with fellow Texan Wade Phillips. "I think those of us from Texas and in Texas figured this award might be coming this way," Phillips said. ... WR Terry Glenn was the only absentee at Tuesday's practice. Henry and WR Patrick Crayton – who says he'll play – were listed as having "full participation." ... Packers CB Will Blackmon (foot), S Nick Collins (knee) and Grant (ankle) fully participated in Tuesday practice. DE Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila (ankle), WR Ruvell Martin (ankle), S Aaron Rouse (knee), T Mark Tauscher (ankle), LB Tracy White (ankle) and CB Charles Woodson (toe) were limited. TE Bubba Franks (knee) sat out.

PACKERS-COWBOYS: Al Harris vs. Terrell Owens

Harris can't wait to go one-on-one with T.O.
By Rob Demovsky
Green Bay Press Gazette

Al Harris said all the right things back then — only now is he speaking his mind, sort of — but make no mistake about it, the Green Bay Packers cornerback was perturbed that he didn’t get his one-on-one matchup with Terrell Owens. That was almost three years ago, when Owens played for the Philadelphia Eagles, who on Dec. 4, 2004, torched the Packers 47-17.

In that game, then-defensive coordinator Bob Slowik opted to play mostly zone coverage, and then-coach Mike Sherman allowed it to happen. Sure enough, Owens had a field day against the Packers with eight catches for 161 yards and a touchdown.

To this day, Harris remains baffled by Slowik’s game plan against the Eagles and Owens.

“I have no idea,” Harris said this week when asked why the Packers played zone. “I got in trouble that game. A couple of times we were supposed to be playing zone, and I was playing man. Coach Sherman was hot with me.”

Harris has nothing to worry about this time around.

Defensive coordinator Bob Sanders is sure to stick with his season-long plan of matching Harris against the opponent’s best receiver. That means it’s Harris vs. Owens on Thursday night in the NFC’s biggest game of the season, the Packers at the Dallas Cowboys.

“Al just loves the challenge it brings,” Packers cornerbacks coach Lionel Washington said. “You want to be challenged every week, because you want to shut down the team’s best receiver. He’s done an outstanding job thus far, and hopefully, it can continue.

“T.O. is going to be a guy who’s going to work hard on his routes, run after the catch. It’s just a big-time challenge, and Al has accepted that challenge. But that’s what it’s going to be — a big-time challenge.”

Football might be the ultimate team sport, but Harris relishes those individual opportunities.

“Everybody in this locker room knows if you want to get me up for a game, give me an individual matchup I can concentrate on,” Harris said. “I do get up for the individual matchups.”

Packers backup cornerback Will Blackmon said he can’t imagine a better scenario for a cornerback than going into a game week knowing the assignment is a certain receiver.

“At first, you try to see overall what the offensive is trying to do,” Blackmon said. “Then you try to pick him apart. You want to know when he goes to the bathroom, what time he eats, everything about him. It makes things easier, because you know it’s you against him, man up. You’re both getting paid to do this. It’s competitive. That’s what it’s all about.”

It seemingly gets tougher each week for Harris. Last Thursday against the Lions, he stalked receiver Roy Williams all game. Williams had three catches, but only two were against Harris, and one of those was a hitch route that’s nearly impossible to defend. Harris considered it just another day at the office.

“I started matching up in 2004, and I’ve faced everybody,” Harris said. “So every week is like that. Every week, you face a guy who’s had 1,000 yards, 100 catches. It’s a tough matchup every week.”

The 6-foot-3, 218-pound Owens is having one of the finest seasons of his 12-year pro career. He ranks 12th in the NFL in receptions (64) but second in the league in yards (1,093) and touchdown catches (13) behind New England’s Randy Moss.

“With me personally, when you see a guy that never quits, plays hard and is professional about his job, those are the guys that are true professionals,” Harris said when asked what makes Owens so good. “Sometimes you see a guy who’s good on this play but not good on another play. That’s what I think makes him so good. He’s passionate about his job and gives you 100 percent. What more can you ask for?”

It was a matchup against Owens — when he was with the San Francisco 49ers — that helped Harris, then with Philadelphia, land in Green Bay. Sherman saw film of Harris covering Owens and decided to trade for him in 2003. So, it was unimaginable to Harris he didn’t get to check Owens in the 2004 game. After that game, Harris had to bite his tongue not to sound like he was being overly critical of the coaches.

“We have to go with Slo’s judgment,” Harris said in the locker room after that game. “I believe totally in Slo, but me personally — we played Marvin Harrison (of the Indianapolis Colts) like that (in man coverage). It’s not like I’ll stop every route, but I like my odds in bump-and-run (man coverage).”

This week, Harris said: “The NFL is 95 percent zone coverage. Man is my game, but whatever defense is called, you have to play it.”

Washington was the Packers assistant defensive backs coach in 2004 but said this week he couldn’t recall playing mostly zone coverages in that game.

“I really can’t remember why we played so much zone,” Washington said. “I couldn’t tell you. We played more zone then than we do now. I do remember T.O. had a pretty good night. Hopefully, Al’s going to step up and embrace the challenge head on.”



PACKERS-COWBOYS: Dallas not invincible at home

Cowboys need to win a big game at home
Jean-Jacques Taylor: Dallas Morning News

The Game of the Century II for the Cowboys this season is not just important because the winner probably gets home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. The Cowboys need to beat Green Bay on Thursday to prove they can win a big game at home. Think about it for a minute. The Cowboys had an opportunity to beat New Orleans last year and grab control of the race for home-field advantage, but fizzled. New Orleans embarrassed the Cowboys, 42-17. Still, the Cowboys had a chance to win the NFC East with a win over Philadelphia at Texas Stadium. What happened? The Eagles blew out Dallas, 23-7. Then came their October matchup – Game of the Century I – against New England. We all know the Patriots won, 48-27. So the question is whether the Cowboys can win a big game at home. If not, maybe a trip to Green Bay in January won't be so bad.

PACKERS-COWBOYS: What Ice Bowl????

Ice Bowl is a distant memory in Dallas
By Tony Walter
Green Bay Press Gazette

GRAPEVINE, Texas – The five-member valet parking team at the Gaylord Texan Hotel here heard the question at the same time. What was the Ice Bowl?

“Wasn’t it the Super Bowl?” valet Jeremy said. “I think it was 1977.”

“It was the quarterback sneak game,” said valet Lucas. “It was a conspiracy.”

With the specter of Ice Bowl II hanging over Thursday night’s National Football Conference game between the Packers and Cowboys, Ice Bowl I (Dec. 31, 1967) doesn’t appear to be on the radar screen for most who await the verdict at Texas Stadium.

“Sure, I remember it,” said community college publicist Ray Campbell, 60. “The problem is, everybody’s dead. I mean, it’s mentioned but nobody today really knows what the heck you’re talking about.”

Campbell said he listened to the game on the radio rather than watch it on television.

“The weather here was like it is today (mid-60s) so I was out running around with a really cute girl,” he said.

Don Turner, the 52-year-old owner of the Sea Dogs and Patio on Dallas’ trendy West End, was 12 when he watched the Packers beat the Cowboys on Bart Starr’s quarterback sneak in minus-15 degree weather.

“I remember being amazed seeing people out there playing football in that kind of weather,” Turner said. “It comes up every now and then with some of our customers, but not much.”

Jim Hollomon, a lifelong Dallas resident, was 13 when he watched the game. But it’s ancient history to him now.

“The only time I hear about it is when it’s mentioned on TV,” said Hollomon.

The Cowboys’ public relations staff was asked if anyone in the team’s organization today worked for the Cowboys the day the frozen tundra was memorialized.

No one.

PACKERS-COWBOYS: An intense rivalry

Cowboys-Packers a series with high-stakes intensity

By ALBERT BREER / The Dallas Morning News

In the 48 years the Cowboys and Packers have shared NFL turf, the two teams have hooked up just 26 times. So in this case, as the teams gear up for their 27th meeting on Thursday, it's not familiarity that breeds contempt. Here, it's intensity.

Cowboys vs. Packers all-time results

Consider that six of those 26 games have taken place in the playoffs. And consider that at least one team carried a record of .500 or better into 18 of the 20 regular-season games. Both teams have been at least .500 entering the game eight times, including five of the last six. Thursday will make it six times in seven games, the only exception coming in 2004. The last time neither team came in at .500 or above was in 1993, when both were 1-2 going in but rebounded to meet again in the playoffs. The Cowboys wound up repeating as Super Bowl champions. As for the six playoff games, here's all you need to know: Four times, the winner has gone on to win the Super Bowl. Two times in the '60s, it was the Packers. Twice in the '90s, it was the Cowboys. The stakes are again high. The teams have never faced each other carrying a combined winning percentage as high as their .909 this year. With home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs potentially on the line, and a chance to further distance themselves from other division leaders in the conference, the two teams gear up for another showdown.

DALLAS-GREEN BAY: THE PLAYOFFS Note: To read The News' accounts of the key games between the Cowboys and Packers listed below, click on the highlighted text in the paragraphs underneath the headings

1967: The Ice Bowl
Packers 21, Cowboys 17

Some say Vince Lombardi was the one who turned off Lambeau Field's $80,000 field heating system. Others say it failed under the weight of a kickoff temperature of minus-13 and wind chill of 46 below. The only things certain are that it was frigid, and that the 1967 NFL Championship Game – serving as the Packer dynasty's last stand – was a classic.

For the second straight year, the teams battled into the final moments for the league crown. As was the case in '66, Green Bay won on the goal line in the game's waning moments. Bart Starr's 1-yard sneak behind Jerry Kramer and Ken Bowman with 13 seconds left, a year after a goal-line stand by the Packers' defense sealed a championship, delivered Green Bay a 21-17 win in a game that belongs to the ages. The Cowboys rallied from a 14-0 deficit to take a 17-14 lead in the fourth quarter, and the failed comeback added another tale of heartbreak for a Dallas franchise that was becoming accustomed to such disappointment.

Years later, the effects of the frostbite suffered by players like Starr and Cowboys defensive tackle Jethro Pugh that day remained. After the game, Starr's counterpart, Don Meredith, came down with pneumonia. It was so cold that the Wisconsin-La Crosse marching band couldn't perform at halftime because of frozen instruments.

After repeating as Super Bowl champions two weeks later, the Packers spiraled into irrelevance, making the playoffs twice and winning one postseason game in the 25 seasons to follow. The Cowboys played in five Super Bowls and won two in the 11 seasons to follow. But no matter: This game links the franchises in perpetuity.

The morning after

The lead from Bob St. John's account of the Ice Bowl, in the Jan. 1, 1968, edition of The Morning News: The Green Bay Packers, as they had a year ago, broke the hearts of the Dallas Cowboys in the twilight hour Sunday to reign once again as champions of the National Football League and all that's holy in professional sports. Somebody got their settings mixed up. Conditions were impossible. Temperatures zipped to 13 degrees below at gametime and were unfit for man and beast and especially football. And the turf here at Lambeau Field, which was not supposed to freeze because of an electrical heating system under the ground, froze. ... Dallas did not die easily at all and the final blow did not come until Bart Starr's 6-inch quarterback sneak on third down with 13 seconds remaining on the clock.

1966 NFL Championship, Cotton Bowl, Jan. 1, 1967
Packers 34, Cowboys 27

Bart Starr threw four touchdown passes, helping build a 34-20 fourth-quarter lead. A furious Cowboys comeback led by Don Meredith gave Dallas a first-and-goal on the Packers' 2, down 34-27. But an interception by Tom Brown on fourth down with 28 seconds left sent the Packers to the first Super Bowl.

1982 NFC Second Round Playoff, Texas Stadium, Jan. 16, 1983
Cowboys 37, Packers 26

This is the most nondescript of these teams' playoff showdowns, coming in the "Super Bowl Tournament" held in a strike year. The Packers battled back from a 20-7 halftime deficit, but Danny White led a 74-yard touchdown drive in the fourth quarter to drive a final stake into the Packers. The Cowboys then lost to the Redskins in the NFC title game.

1993 NFC Divisional Playoff, Texas Stadium, Jan. 16, 1994
Cowboys 27, Packers 17

The young, rising Packers led 3-0 through one quarter, but after a 17-point second quarter – punctuated with a forced fumble with 14 seconds left and a touchdown two plays later – the Cowboys cruised to victory . Troy Aikman threw for 302 yards, and the Cowboys were on their way to repeating as Super Bowl champions.

1994 NFC Divisional Playoff, Texas Stadium, Jan. 8, 1995
Cowboys 35, Packers 9

Not even close. It was 14-3 after the first quarter, and 28-9 at the half, and the result was never in doubt, even after Emmitt Smith's afternoon ended with a hamstring injury in the first quarter. Troy Aikman made up the difference with 337 yards through the air, with 100-yard receiving efforts from Michael Irvin, Alvin Harper and Jay Novacek compensating for the sidelined workhorse. A week later, the Cowboys' bid for an unprecedented third straight Super Bowl title ended in San Francisco.

1995 NFC Championship, Texas Stadium, Jan. 14, 1996
Cowboys 38, Packers 27

The torch seemed poised to be passed, but as was the case in 1967, the old guard had just enough to hit the young upstart over the head with it. In a game that featured five lead changes, the Cowboys carried a 24-17 lead to the half but trailed, 27-24, entering the fourth quarter. It took Emmitt Smith's second and third touchdowns, part of a 35-carry, 150-yard effort, to put Green Bay away. Troy Aikman (255 yards) and Michael Irvin (100 yards receiving) played supporting roles as the Cowboys punched their Super Bowl ticket on the way to their third title in four years.

Favre detests Dallas

Over a star-studded 17-year career, Brett Favre has won three MVP awards, two NFC titles, a Super Bowl ring and zero games in Irving. The Packers icon is 0-8 at Texas Stadium, making the Cowboys one of two NFC opponents he's never beaten on the road (he's 0-6 in Philadelphia). Conversely, Favre is 2-0 in games against the Cowboys at Lambeau. His numbers at Texas Stadium:

Date Cmp.-Att.-Yds. Pct. TD INT Rating
Oct. 3, 1993 21-37-174 56.8 0 0 69.0
Jan. 16, 1994* 28-45-331 62.2 2 2 80.9
Nov. 24, 1994 27-40-257 67.5 4 0 118.4
Jan. 8, 1995* 18-35-211 51.4 0 1 58.2
Oct. 8, 1995 21-41-295 51.2 1 1 72.7
Jan. 14, 1996* 21-39-307 53.9 3 2 84.0
Nov. 18, 1996 21-37-194 56.8 1 0 80.2
Nov. 14, 1999 26-50-260 52.0 1 2 57.1
Overall 183-324-2,029 56.5 12 8 77.3

* Playoffs

Note: To read The News' accounts of the key games between the Cowboys and Packers listed below, click on the highlighted text in the paragraphs underneath the headings

Tuna meltdown

The last meeting between the teams, on Oct. 24, 2004, was perhaps the moment the Bill Parcells era bottomed out. After the 41-20 loss, Parcells said so himself, adding, "I'm embarrassed to put a team on the field that looks like that." Safety Roy Williams actually offered Parcells an apology for the defense's effort, then said, "We can't let ourselves be broken up or we're going to be back like two years ago when [Dave] Campo was the head coach and we were just playing for kicks."

Times a-changin'

When Herschel Walker took off his No. 34 Cowboys jersey after a 31-13 loss to the Packers in Jimmy Johnson's first season, rumors swirled that he was doing so for the final time. "When everything is said and done, then I can come out and talk about this," Walker said after that 1989 game. Little did he know that the deal made four days later would still be talked about 20 years later. The Cowboys traded Walker to the Minnesota Vikings and reaped eight draft picks, seven of them first-day selections and three in the first round. The trade was later lauded for laying the foundation for the three Super Bowl titles.

No one's safe

Physical play hasn't been limited to the players in this rivalry. During the 1995 NFC Championship Game, Cowboys safety Darren Woodson tackled Packers receiver Robert Brooks near the sideline, and their momentum carried both players into Green Bay receivers coach Gil Haskell. As Haskell fell to the turf, his head snapped back, fracturing his skull. He was taken to Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas by ambulance and listed in serious condition that night. Haskell never missed a game, returning the sideline the next season. He's been Seattle's offensive coordinator since 2000 and said he felt "like the luckiest guy in the world" before coaching the Seahawks in Super Bowl XL.

The very first time

The Cowboys-Packers series kicked off on Nov. 13, 1960, and the Dallas expansion franchise was blown out, 41-7. But signs showed again that the rookie quarterback from SMU, Don Meredith, might have something. A week after making his first start, Meredith was the third QB the Cowboys used that afternoon, going 9-of-16 and throwing for the team's only touchdown. The game was played before 32,294, then a record Green Bay crowd.

The music of Christmas

The music of Christmas

It was a hot summer night in 1976.

I was in the audience to see the late Paul Lynde in some forgettable musical comedy at what was then called the Performing Arts Center.
 As the lights went down and the curtain went up, the orchestra launched into a medley of Christmas songs……..this, while the temperature outside hovered around 90.

At the end of the overture, Lynde walked onstage and told a somewhat stunned crowd that he loved Christmas music and found it to be so beautiful that he found it strange it wasn’t played all year round.

Diana Weiss over at St. Fiacre’s Garden also loves Christmas music and admits she listens to it throughout the year.

There is an incredible amount of Christmas music to be enjoyed. It’s not surprising some radio stations start playing it so early. People want to hear it, yes, even weeks before Thanksgiving.

Starting tomorrow and for the next 25 days, I will highlight a Christmas song or some Christmas music along with a video every day leading right up until Christmas. I’ll also share the stories behind these songs. Consider them my musical Christmas card to you readers.

Clarke won't run...

As I hoped he would.

Milwaukee, prepare for 4 more years of Tom Barrett, who has no viable opponent.

Friday night on InterCHANGE


 Here are the topics my fellow panelists and I discuss Friday night on InterCHANGE at 6:30 on Milwaukee Public Television Channel 10 (repeated Sunday morning at 11:00).  

1 – Jude Cops.  

On the same day that Milwaukee’s new police chief comes to town for an introductory visit, three of the main cops involved in the beating of Frank Jude get sentenced in a federal courtroom.  Is this the end of an era?  Is the worst chapter in the history of the Milwaukee Police Department over?  Will Ed Flynn be able to clean up the Milwaukee Police Department?  Does it still need cleaning, or was former Chief Nan Heggerty efficient went it came to weeding out the bad cops? Are the sentences fair?  Is 17 years for Bartlett and 15 years for Masarik punishment enough?    

2 – Cable vs. Satellite vs. NFL/Big Ten.  

Packer fans and some of the media are crying about the fact that many folks outside of the Milwaukee and Green Bay areas won’t get to see the Packer game tonight because of the ongoing fight between the large cable companies, and the NFL Network (the cable companies are also fighting with the Big Ten Network).  The NFL Network wants to be offered as a “basic” cable channel, but the cable operators want to be able to charge extra for it, by including it in a higher cost sports tier.  Who is right and who is wrong?  Who will win this fight?  Is this a classic case of supply and demand, with both entities wanting to make as much money as possible?  Is this another step towards all major sporting events becoming “pay per view” like boxing matches are?  Can the sporting entities do without cable?  Satellite?  Over-the-air TV?    

3 – Smoking.  

Minnesota has already gone all “No Smoking in Public Places Including Bars and Restaurants” and Illinois will go that way as of January 1st.  New York did it a long time ago.  Will Wisconsin eventually go that way as well?  If so, when?  Why hasn’t it happened already?  Is the tavern lobby really that strong?  Are we seeing the gradual move towards making all tobacco use illegal?  Is that a good thing?  


This is one of the saddest stories of the year

This news made me cry.

Uneducated immigrants hurt the U.S.

A new report released today concludes that uneducated immigrants are hurting the United States.

The report by the Center for Immigration Studies finds foreign-born adults have less education than native-born citizens and increase the rates of poverty, welfare use and lack of medical insurance.

Here are some of the key findings of the report that’s based on Census Bureau data collected in March 2007:  
·   The nation’s immigrant population (legal and illegal) reached a record of 37.9 million in 2007. 

·   Immigrants account for one in eight U.S. residents, the highest level in 80 years. In 1970 it was one in 21; in 1980 it was one in 16; and in 1990 it was one in 13. 

·   Overall, nearly one in three immigrants is an illegal alien. Half of Mexican and Central American immigrants and one-third of South American immigrants are illegal. 

·   Since 2000, 10.3 million immigrants have arrived — the highest seven-year period of immigration in U.S. history. More than half of post-2000 arrivals (5.6 million) are estimated to be illegal aliens. 

·   The largest increases in immigrants were in California, Florida, Texas, New Jersey, Illinois, Arizona, Virginia, Maryland, Washington, Georgia, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania. (If Wisconsin continues its trend of supplying illegal immigrants with social services at the expense of taxpayers, more will move north from Illinois here).

·   Of adult immigrants, 31 percent have not completed high school, compared to 8 percent of natives. Since 2000, immigration increased the number of workers without a high school diploma by 14 percent, and all other workers by 3 percent. 

·   The proportion of immigrant-headed households using at least one major welfare program is 33 percent, compared to 19 percent for native households.

·   Immigrants make significant progress over time. But even those who have been here for 20 years are more likely to be in poverty, lack insurance, or use welfare than are natives.

·   The primary reason for the high rates of immigrant poverty, lack of health insurance, and welfare use is their low education levels, not their legal status or an unwillingness to work. 

·  Of  immigrant households, 82 percent have at least one worker compared to 73 percent of native households.

·   There is a worker present in 78 percent of immigrant households using at least one welfare program.

In the category of number of immigrants by state, Wisconsin ranks 23rd with 257,000 immigrants.

Wisconsin’s % of the population that is immigrant: 4.7%

Between 2000 and 2007, 81,000 immigrants arrived in Wisconsin.


Reminder-I'm on WISN

This morning, subbing for Jay Weber, 8-10 am.


The music of Christmas-Jingle Bells

The music of Christmas

Today I begin highlighting Christmas music, a different Christmas song every day for 25 days from now until Christmas.

Put them all together and you have my musical Christmas card to you.

We open with a bang.

Who doesn’t know and love Jingle Bells!

Written by James Pierpont in 1857, that’s right, 1857, Jingle Bells isn’t really a Christmas song. It just became one.

Music historian Bill Edwards writes:

“James Pierpont was one of six children of the well known poet John Pierpont, and uncle of the well known fortune builder J. P. (James Pierpont) Morgan. During the Civil War he defied his abolitionist father's wishes and promoted the Confederate cause with anti-Yankee tunes. But that was later. Jingle Bells was allegedly composed as early as 1850. It was first published by Boston publisher Oliver Ditson in 1857 as The One Horse Open Sleigh. In the following two years it gained such popularity that it was reprinted with identical plates and a new cover sporting the title that the public had chosen for it, Jingle Bells. Not only did American music consumers and performers quickly adopt this song, but they collectively made editorial changes to the melody in the chorus, leaving the verse more or less intact. By 1900, the familiar melody we know today was well established.”

Another story has Jingle Bells being written by Pierpont as a Thanksgiving song. Pierpont composed the song in 1857 for children celebrating his Boston Sunday School Thanksgiving. The song was so popular that it was repeated at Christmas.

Jingle Bells trivia:

Bobtail, contrary to a continually perpetuated falsehood, is not the name of the horse. It refers to an animal, a horse in this case, with a bobbed or very short tail, desirable for pulling a sleigh with low tackle, thus avoiding tail entanglement.

Here’s a jazzy version of this Christmas finger-snapper from Canadian singer Diana Krall:

Read more

New York, New York

Why is it ok in New York for the main library in NYC to feature an art exhibit with fake mug shot photos of the President and his administration, but it’s not ok for a New Yorker to have vanity license plates that say, GETOSAMA?

Page Tools