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This Just In ...

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

Warmer weather late next know what that means

After this great weekend, we cool off just a bit before temps go back into the mid to upper 70's next Thursday and Friday.

Watch for some schools to get calls of phony bomb threats.

My most popular blogs

Most popular

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


2) This blog is about Janet Evans

3) Elvis = ubiquitous

4) Culinary no-no #56

5) Ted Kennedy and my cousin

You never know who's reading....

The Barking Lot!

That's the weekly dog blog that my wife and I (but mostly my wife) post every Saturday.

Late last night, we received this e-mail:

Hi Jennifer,

I found your article on the prison dog programs--and really appreciate you bringing to light from a conservative perspective--their value. Kudos! After researching dozens of programs over a long period of time--I also discovered they do help rehabilitate the humans as well. It's certainly a win-win in so many ways. They have certainly taken thousands of dogs over the years off of doggie "death row"--giving them a wonderful and deserved second chance.--and my book will be documenting all of this.
Good work!
Patricia Kelley
Prison Dogs: Hope Behind Bars  

Culinary no-no #57

Culinary no-no's

There are great food debates in the United States.

Chicago deep dish…..

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Ask yourself and draw your own conclusion...

Would this happen at:

Lakefront Festival of the Arts?

Cedarburg Strawberry Festival?

Pride Fest?

Polish Fest?

Bastille Days?

Festa Italiana?

German Fest?

Irish Fest?

Indian Summer?

Arab World Fest?

Fiesta Mexicana?

African World Festival?

Labor Fest?

State Fair?

Tosa Fest?

Most neighborhood church festivals?

Great Circus Parade?

Scott McClellan: hypocrite


Yet another ramification of high gas prices...

The outta sight numbers at the pump have caused numerous headaches.

Add another...

How about a Fountains of Franklin update?

The most magnanimous economic development project in the history of SE Wisconsin!…….ummmm, Milwaukee County!……….uhhh, Franklin!……..hmmm, Rawson Avenue!……………..The Fountains of Franklin, after months and months and months and months and months and months of……..some activity have exuberantly announced that the site will have:

1) A DQ Chill and Grill. Or is it a DQ Grill and Chill? Anyway, cue the studio audience;


2) An Azana Spa and Salon.


Yeh, yeh, yeh, super, that’s all fine and swell.

Now, is it too much to ask when the groundbreaking will actually be for these, AHEM, projects that all of Franklin is on pins and needles anxiously awaiting?

Or do we have to wait months and months and months and months for that, too?

And if you’re keeping score at home, fans:

# of upscale dining venues at FOF: ZERO

# of upscale shopping venues at FOF: ZERO

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Go ahead, crank your air conditioning


The LA Times reports if you're using certain strategies in hopes of increasing gas mileage as prices at the pump shoot for the moon, forget it. You're wasting your time.


Myths about getting better gas mileage debunked 

Wacky theories proliferate as pump prices rise. Even some plausible strategies don't actually work.
By David Colker, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
June 1, 2008
Not everything you've heard about increasing gas mileage is true.

There are plenty of legitimate ways to stretch your mileage: slow down, keep tires at proper inflation, avoid quick acceleration, don't pile luggage on a roof rack, use a properly fitted gas cap.

But at this time of skyrocketing gasoline prices, several myths are circulating. The claims were tested by car experts at the Automobile Club of Southern California and Consumer Reports magazine.

Fill up in the morning

The theory is that gas expands in warm weather, so if you visit the filling station early in the day when the temperature is cooler, you get denser fuel that contains more energy per gallon. In other words, fill up when it's cool to get more bang for your gasoline buck.

There's nothing wrong with the theory, except that it doesn't apply in this situation. That's because gas station storage tanks are so well-insulated these days that outside temperature has little effect.

"The key thing is the temperature of the gas when the tanker truck leaves it at the gas station," said Steve Mazor, manager of the auto club's research center. "If it's hot, it will stay hot, and vice versa."

No matter what time of day you fill up.

Change your air filter

The test team at Consumer Reports was sure that a car would get better mileage with a clean rather than a dirty air filter.

"It stands to reason that if the air is allowed to flow freely, it would result in better fuel economy," spokesman Douglas Love said.

To do the test, the team used duct tape to partially cover the air intake, simulating a dirty filter. And the result?

"We were surprised to find out it didn't much matter," Love said. "The mileage was about the same."

So, testers added a bit more tape and then some more. Short of blocking off all the air, they got the same results.

"We found that the onboard computers that adjust the fuel mixtures on recent cars did a surprisingly effective job," he said.

The auto club ran a test with clean and dirty fuel filters on several different cars. Results were similar.

"There was even one test where the mileage got a little bit better -- maybe 1% or 2% -- with the dirty filter," Mazor said.

But before you count the money you can save in air filters, there is a price to pay.

"The trade-off was that carbon monoxide emissions went up," he said.

Turn off your car's a/c

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Americans are the best

The 3rd annual Index of Global Philanthropy is out.

You’re not thrilled, you say?

Consider this.

The Index tells how generous, how philanthropic countries around the world really are.

Most other countries hate us.

Maybe we should just stop sending them our private cash if they feel that way because when it comes to helping others, no one is better than the good ol’ United States. In fact no one comes close.

Conservative columnist Star Parker writes, “When consolidating all assistance funds flowing from the United States to developing countries, the total is $129.8 billion. This is the total of government aid, philanthropy and remittances – funds sent directly by private individuals to other private parties in developing countries, often family members. A far second in total giving behind the United States is the United Kingdom at $20.7 billion.”

Parker attributes the findings to the fact we are a compassionate people and we don’t need the public sector to make us that way.

Here’s her entire column.

And if you’re really adventurous, here’s the report on the Index.

Greendale kids make a really tough sacrifice

Watch. (click on play button on video)


Wonder if they gave in and watched themselves on this report...

Remember to vote on Tuesday

No, that’s not a misprint.

Tuesday really is Election Day.

That’s right.

June 3, 2008.

In the Winneconne School District.

Voters go to the polls to vote on whether to approve exceeding revenue limits for two consecutive years by $880,000 each year. This special referendum comes after a failed referendum April 1 that asked voters to exceed revenue limits by $1.19 million in 2008-09, and $1.45 million the next year.

As we know, those who support referenda that increase taxes, spending and exceeding revenue limits have a complete lack of understanding of the meaning of the electorate when it says loudly and clearly, “no.”

Referendum backers in Winneconne have a formed a group called, “Vote Yes for Winneconne,” and they, like any other public school machine have been quite busy, cranking out ads and mass mailings and organizing a telephone-calling campaign to reach more than 2,000 Winneconne School District residents to remind them to vote.

It’s interesting that the vote yes crowd readily admits the Winneconne School District is, in one of the group member’s words, “superior with high graduation rates and high test scores.”

But they erroneously believe the results are due to cold, hard tax money, not the concerted efforts of teachers, parents, and students. They have, as expected, started to play the “sky is falling card” if the referendum fails.

There’s a major problem with this election. It comes at a non-election time. It is not customary to hold an election when the majority of voters are more concerned about graduations, weddings, vacations, gardening, and whether it’s going to be a brat or Italian on the grill. Meanwhile, the tax and spenders are extremely organized, having worked for some time to get the vote out, attempting to take full advantage of a disengaged citizenry and low turnout.

During the 2005-06 legislative session, then-Senate President, state Senator Alan Lasee authored legislation, Senate Bill 171 (SB 171) that would have prohibited a school district from calling a special election for the purposes of authorizing borrowing or exceeding revenue limits. Lasee was motivated by the Madison School Board’s approval of a $48.1 million dollar referendum that was held on May 24, 2005, just a few days before the start of Memorial Day weekend. The Racine School district had scheduled a repeat referendum in June 2005 that had previously failed.

Lasee’s common-sense bill would have only allowed school referenda to be held on regular election days when the states voting population is accustomed to going to the polls and exercising their right to vote.

The senator testified about his bill in front of a state Senate committee in early May 2005:

“This bill will allow each taxpayer the ability to have their voice heard and their vote counted for increases on their property tax bill. This practice of pulling the wool over the taxpayer’s eyes needs to stop immediately.  The school boards need to be contained from ramming through multi-million dollar referendums when no one is expecting a vote. There needs to be uniformity and predictability for the voters, as their pocketbooks are being affected each time a school referendum is held.

Some School boards argue they cannot be bound by the normal election cycle.  They may need a referendum for emergency purposes.  I believe that it is the duty of the school board members and administrators to have a contingency or an emergency fund available for unforeseen obstacles.

As I examined the statewide referendums it seems that a majority of referendums are held at odd times and voter turnout has been low.

It is time to stop pulling the wool over taxpayer’s eyes.”

Back in the 90’s, after several referendum failures, Franklin went to the drawing board again and this time succeeded, after a summertime special election.

Lasee’s bill was approved by the state Senate and Assembly and was presented to Governor Doyle on January 5, 2006. Doyle vetoed the bill the very next day.

If proponents of increased taxing and spending so firmly believe in their cause, then they should have no problem with taking their case to voters during traditional election periods.

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It's time to get serious about the Fountains of Franklin

In my second blog on, I wrote a lengthy piece about the huge potential of Frankin, including some thoughts about our developments:

“I must admit, I am a bit impatient. I want to see these developments sooner rather than later. Construction on both the Shops of Wyndham Village and the Fountains of Franklin is set to begin this spring. And yet a huge gas station is being built right now at a furious pace at the corner of 51st and Rawson. Yes we need places to fill up our tanks. Let’s not wait too long to get going on these other projects.

I had the opportunity to meet David Hintzman, President of Equitable Development LLC, one of the developers of the Fountains of Franklin. He impresses me as being fully dedicated to making the project work, complete with much sought after amenities and attractive architecture and landscaping. My advice to Hintzman: crank up the public relations/marketing campaign. I would venture to guess a great deal of Franklin has no idea how ambitious or enticing the Fountains of Franklin is. Heck, I bet a lot of people have never heard about it, period. Get the word out, pitch your project, and make people aware of what you’re planning in your office where I see the lights on late quite frequently. Get the media to do stories, and update your web site ASAP.”

---This Just In, January 29, 2007

Since then, I have posted a number of good-natured jabs at Fountains of Franklin, a development that is moving at a snail’s pace. Hintzman and I have talked many times since, and he understands my blogs have been a matter of impatience because I want the doggone project to open, grow, and succeed.

Guess what?
 My patience with this white elephant has just about run out.

Tonight, I sent the following  e-mail to Franklin Mayor Tom Taylor, some Franklin aldermen, Cal Patterson, Director of Finance & Treasurer for the city of Franklin, Mark Luberda, Director of Administration for the city of Franklin, and John Neville, reporter for FranklinNOW.

The e-mail is self-explanatory. I will keep you posted.


Dear city of Franklin officials:

I write to you as a concerned city of Franklin resident and taxpayer. As a staunch supporter of economic development and continued growth and progress in Franklin, I am deeply concerned about the disappointingly slow pace and lack of progress at what should be an encouraging project, the Fountains of Franklin.

Specifically, I am troubled at the ghost town atmosphere at the site located at 56th and Rawson, the site of the office headquarters and the proposed location of promised upscale shops, restaurants, and other tenants.

Mr. Patterson, I respectfully request, not for myself, but for all taxpayers in Franklin, that you prepare, using your expertise and the resources available to you, an analysis of the monthly lost tax revenue to the city of Franklin caused by the continued dormant site at 56th and Rawson. How much tax revenue is it costing the city of Franklin each and every month that site fails to operate with open businesses?

Mr. Patterson, I mean no disrespect, but given recent requests made of you to prepare economic documents containing individual property tax data, this should not be difficult.

Alderman Sohns, I have included you on this e-mail because you represent the site in question.

Alderman Wilhelm, as my alderman, if my request is inadequate or inappropriate, I kindly ask that as my representative on the Common Council, you make the official request on my behalf.

I am interested in any economic impact data in addition to any and all information about lost tax revenue due to the site being undeveloped. Though I support the Fountains of Franklin project, I have grown impatient with empty promises and the total lack of activity at the site. What had been suggested at the site falls far below expectations of the Franklin public that anticipated and deserved far better that what has been announced to date.

At this point, I am interested in and request hard numerical data as to how much the city loses because Fountains of Franklin has failed to deliver.

In the interest of full disclosure, I plan to publish any and all responses given to me by any of the parties in receipt of this e-mail on my blog on the website.

I sincerely thank you for your consideration and your prompt response to my request on behalf of all taxpayers in the city of Franklin.

Kevin Fischer

Alderman Sohns and the bloggers' property tax records

It’s been well-documented on these blogs that Franklin Alderman Lyle Sohns at a recent Common Council meeting brandished individual property tax records of Franklin bloggers. In the case of Greg Kowalski who doesn’t pay property taxes, Sohns had the records of Kowalski’s mother.

Some bloggers speculated that Cal Patterson, Director of Finance & Treasurer for the city of Franklin compiled the data on city time, and I made a reference to that as well in my last blog.

Alderman Sohns sent me an e-mail today to respond to my request about Fountains of Franklin. In the e-mail, he offered this clarification about the property tax files:

‘It’s important that you know that Mr. Patterson did not prepare the ‘economic documents containing individual property tax data’ that I believe you are referring to.  I personally collected the data and prepared the presentation material myself. 
 I went to the Assessors Office with addresses in hand and requested the historic assessment values for the properties I chose for my sample.  The same information is available to you or anyone else as a matter of public record, for the same modest fee that I paid.”

Make the tax cuts permanent

President Bush wants tax cuts set to expire to be made permanent. If the tax cuts go away, the President fears an already slumping economy will only get worse, and he’s right.

Our country just marked the 5th anniversary of the tax cuts. Ed Feulner, President of the Heritage Foundation writes about the benefits of the tax cuts:

 Five years ago, Congress and the president agreed to accelerate the key provisions of the 2001 tax act that:
  • Doubled the child tax credit to $1,000 per child.
  • Fixed the “marriage penalty” -- that quirk of the tax code that forced couples filing jointly to pay more that singles filing separately.  
  • Expanded the earned-income credit for married joint filers.
  • Created a 10 percent tax bracket for low-income taxpayers.
  • Reduced marginal tax rates across the board.
The 2003 tax bill also slashed the top capital-gains tax rate from 20 to 15 percent and cut the tax rate on dividends from as high as 39.6 percent to 15 percent.

These cuts gave people an incentive to work, save and invest. The results have been impressive.

Although the media harps on our current economic woes, it’s important to note that with the tax cuts in place, the economy started growing almost immediately, adding jobs every month from August 2003 until January of this year. More than 8 million new jobs were created during those years, keeping unemployment low and providing steady growth (economic growth rates have more than doubled) for the overall economy.

Without the cuts, the White House estimates Americans would have paid an additional $1.3 trillion in taxes by the end of last year.

Ironically, these cuts also tilted our tax system so the rich shoulder a bigger share of the total tax burden. According to IRS statistics, the top 5 percent of income earners paid more than half (59.7 percent) of all income taxes in 2005. That’s the highest percentage since the government started keeping track in the mid-1980s.

Meanwhile, tax revenues have been rising. In 2003, federal revenues equaled 16.1 percent of our economy. Two years later, that percentage had climbed to 17.4 -- then to 18.6 the following year. Instead of starving our government of funds, the correct type of tax cuts have stimulated growth and thus increased overall tax revenue. 

Meanwhile, Congressional Democrats want to make the tax cuts disappear and implement the largest tax increase in the history of our country.

Americans for Tax Reform has begun a series of releases documenting the effects such a tax increase would have on real American families.

Yes, I have referred to conservative sources for this blog.

What will be the typical liberal responses?

The tax cuts were for the rich!

We have to invest in our future!

America needs a change!

Bumper sticker slogans, devoid of facts, spoken like the true tax and spenders they are.

The left has Barbara Streisand and Chevy Chase...

The right has Chuck Norris who has turned into quite a columnist.

In his latest offering, Norris writes:

The fact is John McCain is absolutely right. Barack doesn't have a clue what really is going on in Iraq. And Obama will eat some humble military pie if he goes there. The way I see it, he's going to face at least three major surprises.”

What are the three surprises?

Find out here.

John McCain's sons

John McCain rarely talks about his sons.

I wish he would.

He has a lot to be proud of.


And there's no telling how long it will last.

This is the man who will be heading the Democrat ticket in November

I've been meaning to blog this for several days but haven't gotten around to it, so forgive me for being a bit tardy.

It seems appropriate now, given that Barack Obama has enough delegates to get the donkey party nomination.

This was written last week by columnist Jim Murphy on the conservative blog, The Absurd Report:

"Let me first address a couple of statements made within the past week by the world’s smartest and most articulate human. That of course would be Barack Hussein Obama. First he appears a bit confused about exactly what the point of Memorial Day actually is.

Now for anyone who resides in The Peoples’ Republic of San Francisco let me briefly explain why we have a commemorative holiday on Memorial Day. Memorial Day is observed on the last Monday in May and it is to commemorate men and women who perished while in military service to their country. It was originally known as Decoration Day and was to honor Union Soldiers who perished in the Civil War. It was expanded after World War I to include American casualties of any war or military action.

Now with this in mind, while in New Mexico, the world’s smartest human tells a crowd that he was there to honor those people, “Many of whom, I see here today.” Now I realize that some speech writer probably thought this sounded good and thought it would convince those of us who don’t really believe that Barack Hussein Obama is very well in tune with our military, that he in fact was barely below Audie Murphy in military knowledge and courage.

Now you would think that after this was pointed out to the world’s smartest human that he might be a bit more cautious before he laid claim to any knowledge of our military or history of same. Ah, but you would be wrong. I also saw a clip of Barack Hussein Obama while making a speech before another group make a statement that his uncle had participated in the rescue of prisoners from the German Concentration Camp at Auschwitz. Now unless his uncle was in the Russian military, I don’t believe that this would have been possible. Of course as it turned out it was a great uncle and he did enter a concentration camp near Buchenwald at the end of World War II. I am sure that this was bad enough but of course Barack had to add to it to really make us proud of his ancestors.

Now that was not such a really bad mistake and I certainly am not trying to belittle any military veteran, particularly one who saw the horror of one of the Nazi concentration camps, BUT this guy wants to be our next Commander In Chief and can you just imagine what the mainstream media would make of it had this inaccurate statement been made by President Bush or John McCain or Dick Cheney. Also one must ask themselves why this guy feels like he must be viewed as coming from a military background. Or could it be that he has just been involved in a contest with the Clintons and feels like lying is not so bad.

That should have been enough screw ups for the world’s smartest human, but not necessarily. Barack Hussein Obama also took care of a speaking engagement for “Fat Teddy” at Wesleyan University in which he became confused with the name of the University and called it “Wellsleyan” which brought laughter from the audience. The point is that he evidently has a bit of a problem with either his articulation or even in some cases the truth or in some cases just plain doesn’t have a clue. Anyway the mainstream media is in the tank for this guy and as time goes by, the more incompetent he appears and how frightening it is to think that this liberal socialist bozo could actually be elected to the most powerful position on the planet. God save us if this idiot is elected."

Amen, brother.

Just keep talkin' Barack.

Just keep drifting off the script.

That's when the facade melts, and America gets to learn more and more about the real Barack Hussein Obama.

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Dear Jennifer...

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Go Lakers

The NBA Finals begin Thursday night with one of the classic rivalries in the history of the sport: The Boston Celtics vs. the Los Angeles Lakers.

During the 60’s, I enjoyed watching the Celtics, most likely because they were on TV all the time.

ABC broadcast the NBA games, once a week, on Sunday afternoons. And more often than it not, you saw Boston. Chris Schenkel and Jack Twyman were the announcers.

Bill Russell had the unusual role of being the player-coach for the Celtics. Can you imagine someone trying to pull that off today?

I stopped rooting for Boston when Milwaukee got the Bucks and I haven’t liked the Celtics ever since.

Remember the NBA Finals in 1974, game 6 in Boston. Boston is up 3 games to 2 against the Bucks. Milwaukee forced a game 7 back at the Milwaukee Arena when Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s sky-hook from the right baseline won the game in double-overtime.

The Bucks lost that seventh and deciding game and have not been back to the NBA Finals.

Many fans won’t be able to stomach cheering for Kobe Bryant, but the Laker star is the best player in the NBA right now.

Pau Gasol is a hustling, gritty player that would be a fan favorite in Milwaukee.

I’m rooting for the Lakers because of the great human interest story of Derek Fisher, one that I've discussed on WISN. Fisher’s love and dedication to his young daughter who has suffered from cancer in the eye is touching and inspiring.

Here’s one of the latest articles updating the saga of Fisher and his daughter.



Members of the 395th Ordnance Company out of the Army Reserve Center on Ballard Road in Appleton, WI, returned home after a year-long tour in Iraq on Wednesday, June 4, 2008. (Appleton Post-Crescent)

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The NBA Finals begin tonight: Why the Celtics won't win the title

It's very simple.

Who's going to guard Kobe?

Ray Allen?


Conduct unbecoming of a governor

The Daily Telegram in Superior lays the smack down on Governor Doyle for trash talking about GM:

EDITORIAL: Doyle’s trash talk unfitting for a governor
The Daily Telegram - 06/04/2008

Trash talk is generally used by athletes who are trying to unnerve their opponents, but Gov. Jim Doyle resorted to tough, biting language in Janesville Tuesday in chastising General Motors for announcing its truck plant will close.

“After all the years of work and everything the people of Janesville have given, it is tough to stomach what GM is doing here today,” he said in a speech at the facility. “So many people here have put their hearts into building trucks at the Janesville assembly plant, and now they are left with a cold decision that casts them aside. We all feel it in our guts.”

He didn’t stop there.

“It should have been obvious long ago that the future was not where GM was headed. Bad corporate decisions kept these lines turning out gas guzzlers as fuel prices went from $2 to $3 and now to $4 per gallon. Now we stand here, carrying the burden of those bad corporate decisions — failed leadership that culminated in a calculation that left out the very heart of this company, the workers who built it.”

Doyle’s rhetoric was accepted with cheers by his audience of soured employees, but his lack of diplomacy hardly sets the stage for future investment by GM or other companies.

His frustration with GM manufacturing “gas guzzlers” is logical except for one thing: That’s what a large number of American consumers wanted, and the proof is on every road in Wisconsin. Was GM caught with its pants down as gas prices climbed? Yes. But consumers — lots and lots of them — were armed with the same knowledge and made the very same mistake. And to be sure, GM also manufactures smaller, fuel-efficient models.

You can knock GM, but let’s acknowledge the automaker builds very popular trucks and SUVs, and they yield a high profit margin for the corporation, which answers to people who buy its stock so they can earn dividends. Like it or not, that’s how public companies work.

Noticeably, Doyle’s prepared remarks didn’t address the horrendous legacy costs faced by GM and other domestic automakers. Through decades of contract negotiations, the company has become overburdened by these costs plus work rules that foreign competitors have largely avoided. This is not to say labor is solely to blame. Long ago, GM’s contract negotiators should have fought harder to reduce labor burdens.

While Wisconsin, particularly Janesville, will long suffer from GM’s departure, let’s acknowledge one more thing. By closing four plants, General Motors made the hard decision that was necessary to keep the company afloat. That’s more than can be said of Doyle and state legislators, who face similar budgetary problems. They’re in denial, afraid to make hard decisions that will keep Wisconsin government afloat. But eventually, the bill will come due, and their future decisions may well be as devastating as GM’s.

Barack Obama: The abortion President, if elected


Last weekend, the smartest, most articulate person in the entire world (just ask the glazed over news media), Barack Obama told the Rapid City Journal the following:

“I am not pro-abortion. I think I’ve said repeatedly that I think it’s a moral issue, and a difficult one. What I have said is that ultimately I think women are in a stronger position to make those decisions, in consultation with their pastors and their family and their doctors. But I think we can all agree on the need to reduce unwanted pregnancies that may lead to abortion and I think we can also agree to increase the use of adoptions where possible.”

The quote brought howls and loud laughter from pro-life advocates who know Obama’s position is that he supports abortion anytime, anywhere, anyhow.


“As recently as April 2005, Obama voted against an amendment in the Senate to prevent taxpayer funding of groups that promote or perform abortions in other nations.Obama also voted twice against measures that would help enforce dozens of state laws allowing parents to know when their minor daughter is considering an abortion. Backers of the measures point to numerous instances where teenagers were secretly taken by other people out of state for secret abortions without their parents knowing.

Obama has also come under fire for twice working to prevent a bill in the Illinois state legislature from going to the governor that would have allowed for appropriate medical care when newborn infants survive failed abortions. The bill came after Chicago nurse Jill Stanek discovered cases of infanticide following botched abortions.Meanwhile, the most recent annual report shows Planned Parenthood, for which Obama has backed federal funding, is referring women for fewer adoptions while doing more abortions.”

How can he make these outrageous statements with a straight face?


He knows he can get away with them since he won’t be pressed by the starry-eyed lefties with the notepads sitting across from him.

Barack Obama.

The most dangerous candidate to ever receive a party nomination for President.

Conflicting reports on FranklinNOW about school taxes

 Reporter John Neville writes on this very website today:

The first draft of the Franklin School District's 2008-09 budget shows a
property-tax rate increase of 2.7 percent.

School district taxpayers may see an increase of 29 cents - from $10.89 to $11.18 per $1,000 of assessed value. For the owner of a home with an assessed value of $200,000 that translates to an additional $56.71 per year in estimated property taxes.

Franklin Superintendent Steven Patz said the figures are preliminary and might change more than before the levy is officially certified in late October.”

You’re probably thinking….



That’s a good deal. 

Sounds great.














Ladies and gentlemen who pay taxes in Franklin, one of the many, many, many ,many municipalities located in Tax Hell, USA (for all you liberals reading and I know there’s a bunch because the liberal blogs are a complete bore), Tax Hell, USA would be:



Neville reports the tax rate  in Franklin could jump 2.7%. bloggers Janet Evans and Greg Kowalski, who were both at the same School Board meeting that Neville attended to hear this information have both blogged that the
tax levy would increase 2.7%.

So this website has conflicting information.

Which one is it?

Is the tax rate or tax levy going up 2.7%?

If Janet or Greg wish to clarify, I’m all ears.

Two important points for taxpayers:

1) It doesn’t matter what the Franklin School Board or Superintendent tells us now. We learned that lesson last year when a promised 5.6% levy increase went to an almost 12% increase when the dust finally settled in October 2007.

2) It’s not the tax rate that’s important. It’s the tax levy!

That’s why, if Janet and Greg are correct, and we ultimately get only a 2.7% tax levy increase, it’s cause for celebration.

If Neville is correct, a proposed 2.7% tax rate increase is….well……meaningless.

If Janet Evans, who hasn’t commented on my blog since Groundhog Day (Gee, Is LOST on TV tonight?) or Greg would like to offer clarification, the welcome mat is out.

Friday night on InterCHANGE

Here are the topics up for discussion Friday night on InterCHANGE at 6:30 on Milwaukee Public Television Channel 10:

1– Janesville & GM.

Thousand of people in Janesville will lose high paying family supporting jobs when General Motors shuts down their assembly plant there.  Who is to blame for this?  GM management, who kept building gas guzzling SUV’s as the price of gas continued to climb?  Or, union workers who make building automobiles in this country so expensive?  Will, those jobs ever be replaced?  Was it smart for Governor Doyle to rip GM, after all the years of employment it gave to Wisconsin?  Is anyone really to blame, or is this old plant just a casualty of the unforeseen high cost of gasoline?  You don’t see Honda and Toyota closing any plants?  Do they understand the market better than American business people do?

2 – Hillary & Barack.

Hillary is finally going to give it up, and throw her support to Obama.  Millions of people voted for Hillary, does Obama need their support?  Will she be his running mate?  Can he win without her?  Why did she lose? Does she have any negotiating power any more?  Can McCain beat Obama?

3– RiverSplash.

Should Milwaukee do away with the RiverSplash festival because of one violent incident?  The mayor, police chief, and the alderman all rip into the bar owners for supplying too much alcohol and not enough security.  Do the clubs on Old World Third Street attract a trouble making clientele?  Do the clubs on Water Street attract a better clientele?

Alderman Sohns and our tax records

When Franklin Alderman Lyle Sohns brandished the property tax records of Franklin bloggers at a recent Common Council meeting, I wasn’t exactly thrilled.

Sohns’ stunt was ill-advised.

It was foolish. 

It backfired.

Now we hear this.

C'mon, folks.

What Sohns did certainly wasn’t criminal.

This one needs to go in the circular file.

Coming up on This Just In...

Tonight at 11:30, two legendary bands on Friday Night Live.

Saturday, Week-ends and The Barking Lot

Sunday, Culinary no-no.

The Chicago Sun-Times wants to know...

Here ya go guys.

Of course, this is a silly exercise.

Everybody knows the Brewers have the hottest baseball fans!

Something to think about at the grocery store...

The government claims there are 57 ways to use gasoline.

We’re not talking steak sauce here, folks.

But we are talking about products consumers like to purchase.

More negative effects of high gas prices, beyond the cost of food.

Read the details…

Guaranteed to drive liberals crazy in just a matter of moments...


Wal-Mart (WMT, Fortune 500) reported on Thursday a 3.9% same-store-sales gain for May, excluding the impact of fuel sales. That was more than double the 1.6% gain expected by Thomson Reuters analysts, and it's more than triple last year's gain of 1.1% for the month. Same-store sales are recorded from stores open at least a year.Including gasoline, which soared in price over the past month, May same-store sales rose 4.4%.

"We're seeing some benefits from the stimulus checks," Wal-Mart Chief Executive Eduardo Castro-Wright said in a press release. The stimulus, he said, combined with other factors including "price leadership," contributed to the sales increase."

Customers continue to rely on Wal-Mart to stretch their dollars," said Castro-Wright. He reported that grocery sales were strong, as well as sales for flatscreen TVs, computers and digital electronics.

Wal-Mart Chief Financial Officer Tom Schoewe said in a teleconference that $350 million worth of stimulus checks were cashed at Wal-Mart stores during the month of May, but it was unclear what that money was spent on.

Consumers are choosing to make purchases at big, bad, evil corporate giant Wal-Mart.


Because they can save lots of money, that’s why.

That is NOT a bad thing.

Friday Night Live


Tonight’s guests are:

The Eagles.........and Blood, Sweat and Tears.

In the early 70’s, ABC-TV began airing a weekly series of programs late Friday nights around midnight called, “In Concert.”

Every name in every musical genre seemed to play on the show. The performers were taped in various venues, sometimes in small theaters, other times at Madison Square Garden.

Don Henley and Glenn Frey met in 1971 in California as members of Linda Ronstadt's band. They wanted to start their own band, and did. Their first single, "Take It Easy" made them worldwide stars, and their 1973 album “Desperado” launched the group’s reputation for storytelling compositions. In 1998, the Eagles were inducted into the Rock N' Roll Hall of Fame. Here they are in 1973:

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


Returning vets

Men in high heels

Michael and Eileen Schmalz

Norma Haddad and the family that assisted her.


Phillip A. Geissler and LaVonne Tillery

Organ donation company

Con artist

Georgia high school baseball pitcher and catcher


"I kicked him between his legs with both feet."
84 year old Norma Haddad, describing how she survived a carjacking in downtown Milwaukee.

“It was like hearing about a death in the family. This is a kick in the gut. GM repeatedly told me that Janesville was the best work force and most productive plant. Everyone here did everything right. Did GM just wake up yesterday and realize gas prices were high? Why didn't they get some lines in here that could withstand these prices?”
Governor Doyle responding to the news that General Motors will close its plant in Janesville by 2010, eliminating about some 2,500 jobs.

“Did Gov. Doyle just wake up? GM has been in decline for years and Gov. Doyle made the deal with a declining company- something businesses typically are careful of. What has Wisconsin done to make itself more competitive? Toyota, Honda and Hyundai are doing fine despite high gas prices. Where has the State of Wisconsin been when it comes to attracting the new manufacturing facilities of the successful auto makers? If I recall correctly, the last time Honda was looking for a site for a new plant Gov. Doyle did nearly nothing to even get Honda to consider Wisconsin (possibly because with our high tax rates we would not be competitive).”

" OK Hello... GM is not the only plant in the world that is going under... what is it with everyone only looking at company's who employ alot of people.. GM workers aren't the only workers who need help with gas prices, house payments, or any financial needs. This whole economy is down and they are only worried about GM workers. What about others.. there is no help for others... Let's just worry about GM workers not having a job... It's everyone... This state has no idea who needs help.... "
Online comments to the Beloit Daily News website.

“He didn’t give me any reason to think this was a decision that was easily reversed.”
Congressman Paul Ryan,  after talking to the GM chief.

“While I support vigorous investigations of oil companies’ practices to fight price gouging, the simplest and surest way to lower the price of gas is to lower the price of oil. And the surest way to reduce the price of oil is to increase its supply.”
Former Assembly Speaker John Gard who is running against Congressman Steve Kagen, announcing  a series of proposals  to tackle gas prices, including increases in oil refineries and domestic oil drilling.

“The Republicans haven’t done one single thing since 2001, and there are two reasons for the high gas prices: Bush and Cheney.”
Congressman Steve Kagen.


Barack  Obama and porta potties.


Wisconsin has dropped out of the top ten highest-taxed states in the nation.

But why?

State Representative Frank Lasee explains in one of his releases:

It has been widely reported that Wisconsin has FINALLY dropped out of the top ten highest taxed states in the nation. Good news? Well, it all depends on how you figure it…

According to the Wisconsin Taxpayer’s Alliance and liberal professor Andrew Reschovsky, three states, Alaska, Wyoming, and New Mexico have suddenly become high taxed states. Leapfrogging Wisconsin in tax burden. They all appear ahead of Wisconsin. But individuals in these states enjoy a lower tax burden than we do in Wisconsin. Yet governments in these states have more money to spend per person than we do here.

Their individual tax burden is lower and their governments have more to spend per person than we do here in Wisconsin. How can this be possible? Because they are harvesting natural resources (wisely so). Taxes paid by everyone who is using oil, natural gas, copper and other minerals are providing more government tax money to spend without causing people in these states to pay more. The governments in Wyoming, New Mexico and Alaska get to spend the taxes paid by out of staters and the people of these states don’t have to pay as much for their government. This is a good reason to lift the federal and state prohibition on drilling for oil in Wisconsin. Citizens in Michigan and Indiana are enjoying the benefit (to a much lesser extent than the other three states) of oil production. Why shouldn’t we?

One of the issues of relying on these taxes is when the price or demand decline, revenue declines as well. If your state politicians are wise, they bank the funds in a rainy day account for the day that either supply or demand for oil or minerals go down. Alaska’s permanent trust fund has grown to $40 Billion since it was started in 1976. It is funded by 25% of mineral and oil taxes paid. Also, Alaska citizens get yearly checks from the trust fund ($ 1,700 in 2007, $1,100 in 2006). Go figure, their state government sends their citizens money instead of taking it away.

There are studies from reliable sources and well-educated economists that show that states and countries that tax less (after a reasonable level of government services have been reached), enjoy greater prosperity over those that tax more. More businesses are created, more jobs are created and income rises more quickly with lower tax burdens.

The tax issue in Wisconsin isn’t going away soon. I understand how it feels when our property taxes or state income taxes go up.

Holding the line on taxes or better yet, actually lowering the tax burden will benefit the most people in Wisconsin. Particularly workers, who would get to keep more of what they earn and have more job opportunities to boot.


Obama and Clinton.....the Dream Ticket.



There's always more than one.

Talk about having your nerve...

I don't know if the woman involved is a blonde

This is the 9-1-1 operator.......YES, HELP, I'M STUCK IN A PORTA-POTTY!

Madison may try homeless meters.

Better late than never?

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


A Week-ends hero writes to This Just In...

The May 31st edition of Week-ends featured Hilary Bilbrey as one of the HEROES OF THE WEEK.

I received a very nice e-mail from Ms. Bilbrey:

Dear Mr. Fisher,

One of my friends emailed me the link to your site!  I have to say, I am beyond honored that you would consider me at all.  This has been such a group effort.  Wisconsin Alliance for Fire Safety ( ) saw the potential and kept me going.  Not to mention Sentry and the fire stations…the support has been overwhelming.  AT the end of the summer we will have distributed over 100,000 books to families in the state of Wisconsin.  That is such a testament to the people in the fire safety space.  They truly care about our kids…they are the true heroes! 

I didn’t expect to find my mission in life this way…but sometimes God works in mysterious ways…I am just thankful for the chance to do something…anything to help. I appreciate your “shout out” more than you know! 


Hilary Bilbrey

Mother, Author, Founder
Inspired By Family

The Barking Lot

The Barking Lot

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Franklin getting pounded

Ever seen a storm like this?

Visibility was just about zero......Lance Hill on Channel 12 said if you live in Franklin, you probably can't see the house across the street from you.  He wasn't kidding.

How about that funky color on the radar over Franklin.Hill described it as a "pink, magenta" color. I've never seen that color ever before on Doppler radar.

My street is a raging river.

Raise your hand if you didn't hear the weather sirens

I'll bet you still knew serious weather was on the way.

The announcement from the MMSD is inevitable

We had no choice but to dump thousands and thousands of gallons of crap into Lake Michigan.

The reaction from environmentalists:

Dead silence.

UPDATE, Saturday night from

SATURDAY, June 7, 2008, 7:07 p.m.
Dani McClain

Untreated sewage overflowing into rivers

The Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District is reporting overflows of untreated sewage to local rivers and Lake Michigan as a result of today's heavy rains.

For a stretch of time this afternoon, water was entering the MMSD system at a rate equivalent to 10 billion gallons per day, which MMSD spokesman Bill Graffin said set a record for what he's witnessed during his time with the agency.

"The highest I'd ever seen it was 4 billion in May 2004 when we had 19 straight days of rain," Graffin said.

MMSD's deep tunnel system holds about 500 million gallons, he said.

Graffin said he didn't know whether citywide reports of dislodged manhole covers popping up in the streets were resulting from pressure buildup in sanitary sewers or storm sewers.

Graffin said the agency won't know the amount of the overflow for several days.

Read this story and see if anything jumps out at you

Notice anything about the following story?

What reaction do you have?

Read the entire story.


Marzilli checks into hospital, will not run for reelection

June 5, 2008 06:23 PM

By Michael Levenson, Brian Ballou, and Andrew Ryan, Globe Staff

State Senator J. James Marzilli Jr. checked into a psychiatric hospital today for treatment of an undisclosed illness and announced he would not seek reelection this September as he faces charges that he tried to grope one woman and harass another on busy streets this week in downtown Lowell.

State Senator James Marzilli

"This has been an extremely trying time for him, his wife and family. They appreciate the overwhelming support they have received from the many friends and constituents of Jim Marzilli," Marzilli's lawyer, Terrence W. Kennedy of Everett, said this afternoon in a statement.

Read more

It's called "blackboard material"

The NBA Finals just got personal.

Before we get to the 2008 version, let's travel back to the 1970 Finals.

I'm old enough to remember watching on television what turned out to be an inpsirational series, thanks to Willis Reed of the New York Knicks.


You get the picture.

Reed goes down, misses much of Game 5, all of Game 6, then miraculously comes off the scrap heap to help win Game 7 and the title.

Now it’s the 2008 NBA Finals.  

The Lakers and the Boston Celtics.

In Game 1 Thursday night, Paul Pierce acted as though he was going to die when he was taken to the dressing room in a wheelchair. But as quickly as you could say, “I can’t believe what I just saw,” Pierce was walking onto the court, gunning down three’s.

Boston 108, Los Angeles 98.

The sports media couldn’t resist, or contain themselves, making ridiculous comparisons between 1970 Willis Reed and 2008 Paul Pierce.

Lakers head coach Phil Jackson was a teammate of Reed’s on that Knick championship team in 1970. He says it’s a joke to say the Pierce scenario is anything like the 1970 experience.

"If I'm not mistaken, I think Willis Reed missed a whole half or three quarters of the game and literally had to have a shot, a horse shot, three of four of them in his thigh to come back out and play," Jackson said.

"Paul got carried off and was back on his feet in a minute," Jackson added. "I don't know if the angels visited him at halftime or in that time-out period he had or not, but he didn't even limp when he came back out on the floor. I don't know what was going on there. Was Oral Roberts back there in their locker room?"

Good stuff. 

And he’s right.

The Celtics will plaster that quote on their lockers, for sure.

But let’s be honest.

Today’s players get a hangnail and head to the showers.

Wasn’t like that in the days of old school.

Pierce deserves an Oscar nomination for what he pulled.

And the media needs to stop making such a big deal out of it.

My most popular blogs

Most popular

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

1) How about a Fountains of Franklin update?

2) It's time to get serious about Fountains of Franklin

3) Go ahead, crank your air conditioning

4) Culinary no-no #57

5) You never know who's reading....

One week left to vote in the Franklin-area dining survey

Who has our area’s best steaks, seafood, pizza, bakery, service?

You have one week left to vote in my second survey of the best dining in the Franklin area survey.

You don’t have to live in Franklin to participate.
 It’s easy and fun, just a little thought and writing on your part.

To those of you who’ve sent in your surveys, thank you.

If you haven’t yet, what are you waiting for??!!



Brian Fraley nails it on RiverSplash


Friend and colleague Brian Fraley gets a Best of the Blogs mention in today’s Journal/Sentinel for his personal take on RiverSplash.

It reads, in part:

“. . . When young parents are so irresponsible as to have their toddlers out so late at an event like this, is it surprising that these kids, 10, 15 years later come to similar events and display the same self-indulgence?”

This is a pet peeve of mine, irresponsible parents selfishly enjoying themselves at the expense of their children that should be home in bed.

It’s a topic I’ve brought up twice while filling in for Mark Belling on WISN. The reaction is visceral to say the least, either from outraged listeners or clueless parents who can’t understand what’s so wrong about a baby asleep in a stroller at midnight.

Here’s my blog on the subject.

Culinary no-no #58

Culinary no-no's

When it comes to culinary no-no’s, this guy could provide several every week.

His name is Andrew Zimmern. He’s the host of Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern on the Travel Channel.

Just as the title of the program conveys, he eats strange, weird foods. Like bugs and insects and other creepy critters.

Take a look, but just so you know, this video isn’t offensive, but it does raise the “yuck” factor to an extremely high level.


How executives at the Travel Channel could sit around a conference table and think this kind of programming is high quality boggles the mind.

Zimmern could probably convince Janet Raloff the junk he wolfs down every week is not only delicious, but good for you.
 Raloff writes for Science News, and in a recent column, “Insects (The original white meat)” has documented that many people eat bugs, all kinds of bugs, and that bugs are pretty darn healthy.

Did you know, for example that, as Raloff writes, “Food and Drug Administration’s actual rules allow up to 60 insect fragments on average in a composite of six 100-gram chocolate samples. For peanut butter, it’s OK to have up to 30 insect pieces per 100 grams.”

But the FDA won’t approve drugs that could be beneficial in fighting 694 ailments. Imagine that. But that’s another blog.

Certain bugs in some places are as popular as Big Mac’s and Whopper’s.

Raloff writes, “Youngsters in central Africa may down ants or grubs while at play. Urbane snack-seeking consumers throng street vendors throughout Southeast Asia to buy fried crickets. Even car-driving Aborigines in Australia’s outback may motor a couple of hours to find, and then picnic on, a cache of honey ants. Residents of at least 113 nations eat bugs, says Julieta Ramos-Elorduy of the National Autonomous University of Mexico in Mexico City:”

Doesn’t that give you the heebie-jeebies?

It shouldn’t, because eating bugs, or entomophagy  if you want the scientific term, is claimed to be very nutritious.

One expert quoted by Raloff who has started his own company that supplies frozen and dried insects to chefs says you’d be crazy to eat lobster because those crustaceans eat trash compared to the salad bar diet of insects.

And we’re not talking a solitary bug or two here, folks. We’re talking lots and lots and lots of insects on the menu.

In Mexico, 1,700 species of insects are devoured. That’s the equivalent of about 60 Baskin-Robbins’.

Go to any 5-star restaurant in Mexico, and some insect is on the menu….every day!

In Africa, worms are highly sought after.

And again, we’re reminded, like the old Life commercial ..................

that eating bugs and insects is……….


a really good thing.

A team formed by food scientist Francis O. Orech of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore in Princess Anne found, according to Raloff at Science News that, “Crickets contained more than 1,550 milligrams of iron, 25 milligrams of zinc and 340 milligrams of calcium per 100 grams of dry tissue."

Convinced yet?

I mean, think about it. We’ve got food experts from all around the world claiming  that if you’d only down more bugs, you’d be singing like Julie Andrews in “Mary Poppins.” (Work with me, guys. You know the song. I just didn’t want to spell it).


But like the PUBLIC school teacher who sends his/her child/children to PRIVATE schools, we learn that these food experts don ‘t practice what they preach.

Take Sandra G.F. Bukkens, an independent nutrition consultant based in Barcelona, Spain.  Raloff quotes her as saying, “Overall, I was pleasantly surprised. Insects were far more healthy than I expected.” 
But Raloff adds:

Despite this upbeat assessment, Bukkens isn’t pushing insects on her family. “I’ve eaten them, but I’m not particularly keen about them,” she says. If food were limited, she would “eat anything. But since we have plenty of meat in developed countries, I don’t see why we should switch to insects.”

I’ll give Raloff credit. She does admit the painfully obvious duo of reasons why convincing a vast number of Americans and Europeans to dive into a plate full of bug larvae is next to impossible: concern about hygiene, and the way the damn things look.

I don’t care how many eggheads Raloff or anybody else interviews or how many bugs Andrew Zimmern swallows on the Travel Channel…………..


It’s what’s for dinner.

Here is the entire Science News article written by Raloff.

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


We interrupt the NBA Finals again and again to tell you it's raining

I know there was severe weather Sunday night.

I know there were a gazillion warnings and watches issued.

But c’mon.

During the first half of Game Two of the NBA Finals, Channel 12’s Mark Baden frequently interrupted with live weather updates.

Baden would always start by saying, “I’m sorry…”

Then he’d go on and on and on.

At one time, he ended his live shot and was right back with another one about two minutes later.

Channel 12 split the screen so viewers could still see the game, but it was annoying.

Then came halftime, a perfect opportunity to interrupt and take as long as necessary to give all the updates. Baden didn’t show.

Don’t get me wrong. The information needed to get out, but the public seems to think that today’s meteorologists have a tendency to overdo it, unnecessarily worrying the populace.

The weekend’s storms warranted coverage, and local TV stations are so competitive that each tries to outdo the other in weather information. But in this day of the Internet and weather radios, we don’t need to be bombarded by our television sets every few minutes telling us a spring storm is coming when the sky is black and the wind is howling.

And stations always have the option of placing a crawl at the bottom of the screen instead of apologizing for one interruption after another. Was that an admission on Baden’s part that he knew he was going to tick off a lot of people?

British actor calls soldiers, "whiny wimps"

And then he apologized.

Read what Rupert Everett initially said….

And then read his complete turnabout.

Wise move.

Does make you wonder, though just how widespread the anti-military sentiment is amongst the acting elite.

Before the start of tonight's feature presentation, would you all please rise...

Just before the start of any movie, there’s that quick open from the studio.

You’ve seen them all.

They’re quite memorable.

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Did you hear this on Mark Belling's show last week?

From Badger Blogger:

On the other Sullivan front, Mark Belling brought us the story of State Sen. Jim Sullivan bullying a high school student that did a project on vote fraud in Wisconsin. Since Sullivan is one of those that keep killing off any chance we have of reforming our fraud filled voting process, this is very interesting, because even this high school girl was able to school Sullivan on the issue. other students were intimidated by him, but she stood her ground. You can listen to Belling’s report here.

Dead voters still showing up on records.

Do UW campuses need gender-neutral restrooms?

State Senator Glenn Grothman doesn’t think so.

The Milwaukee Journal/Sentinel has the details and both sides of the story.

Then read Grothman’s response.

President Bush: "They have no place in America today"

In the early 80’s while working at WUWM, I went to the downtown MATC to cover, I believe, a Black History Month event. I heard an incredible speech given by an incredible man.

James Cameron spoke passionately and eloquently about miraculously surviving a lynching in Indiana. Cameron’s story and life is chronicled in his obituary in the Milwaukee Journal/Sentinel.

Over 25 years later, a noose, an instant symbol of racial hatred and violence that has divided our country, all too often pops up in some outrageous, despicable manner meant to intimidate.

President Bush has said, “The era of rampant lynching is a shameful chapter in American history. The noose is not a symbol of prairie justice, but of gross injustice. Displaying one is not a harmless prank. Lynching is not a word to be mentioned in jest."

Noose displays and lynching jokes are "deeply offensive, they are wrong, and they have no place in America today,” said the President.

Some states are now considering laws to prohibit noose displays.

There is some concern that proposed legislation with good intentions can go too far. For example, would a Halloween display like one in Greenfield last October be considered illegal?

One would hope legislation could be drafted responsibly to prevent innocent holiday house decorations from suddenly becoming criminal.

Does Wisconsin need such a law?

Probably not yet.

Remember, Wisconsin has hate crime laws on the books that could, indeed, cover malicious noose displays, though I can’t speak with certainty.

I’m not aware that this problem is as widespread here as it has been in other states. Should it become more frequent, then consideration might be warranted.

Meanwhile, President Bush is correct. There can be no disagreement that noose displays have no place in our society.

The people have spoken: Drill!

FACT: Governor Doyle last year tried and failed to impose a tax on oil companies that would have probably been found unconstitutional in the courts or led to even higher gas prices in Wisconsin, passed on to consumers.

FACT: Last week, Doyle blamed oil companies and high gas prices for the demise of GM in Janesville.

FACT: Democrats and environmentalists oppose drilling domestically.

All of that is quite interesting given the results of recent Gallup polls.

1) The percentage of voters blaming oil companies for skyrocketing gasoline prices has declined in the past year.

2) At the same time, support for more drilling in U.S. coastal and wilderness areas has increased to 57 percent from 41 percent.

Knock, knock. Who’s there? Time for your physical

The Associated Press is reporting that researchers will be going door to door in Wisconsin this week, taking physicals.

This is a research project by the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, considered the first investigation of its kind in the nation.

According to the AP, “Ten researchers will measure, weigh, question and probe more than about 1,150 people to assess the health of Wisconsin’s 5.5 million residents. They’ll target 120 select census blocks.”

What are the “researchers” after?

“The project is part of an annual survey that’ll show the changes in what people eat, how much they weigh and what their health is,” reports the AP.

Price tag for the project: $4.1 million.

Surveyors will ask people ages 21 to 74 to participate in the survey, which comes in three parts. There will be an in-home interview on general medical information lasting an hour, a 45-minute survey with more in-depth questions people complete in private and a two-hour medical exam. The exam will be held at clinics in Middleton and Milwaukee, and at mobile vans elsewhere.

Participants will get $50, a T-shirt, and a copy of their blood test results

You know what the researchers are going to do with all that data? 

They’ll hammer out a final report with recommendations.

It’s almost certain they’ll diagnose a whole bunch of problems that will require, you guessed it, a whole lot of increased spending and new programs.

I can save them a lot of time.

Their findings are predictable.

Wisconsin, you’re too fat and need to exercise.

Now, can we give the feds their $4.1 million back?


See a home literally washed away

In southern Wisconsin.

Dramatic video from WMTV.

Click on play.

Wisconsin flooding in photos

2008 Wisconsin flooding photos

A house is seen after falling into the water after the land was washed away Monday in Lake Delton. Floodwater washed away three houses and jeopardized dams in southern Wisconsin.(Appleton Post-Crescent)

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The 30-day sex challenge X 12








Back In February, I blogged and talked on WISN about the Florida minister who challenged his flock to spice up their lives by getting sexy for 30 consecutive days.

30 days.

One month.

Four straight weeks and some change.

If you’re not exhausted yet, take a deep breath.

Douglas Brown is a reporter with the Denver Post. He has wriiten a new book entiled, ““Just Do It.”

Brown “just did it” for 101 days.

101 days.

If this were the Olympics, he’d get a medal.

But it wouldn’t be the gold.

That’s because Brown was “outdid,” if I could coin such a  word.

Charla and Brad Muller are described by the New York Times as, “Bible-studying steak-eating Republicans from Charlotte, N.C.”

They, too, have written a book about their love for one another with a self-explanatory title: “365 Nights.”

Again, as so many callers to my WISN program in February noted, a healthy sex life is commendable, a laudable goal.

Now, 365, 101, even 30 days in this day and age might translate to Fantasy Island for most married couples, but the intended message is clearly a positive one.

Read more about the two new books in, "Yes, Dear. Tonight Again, " in the New York Times.

Has the NBA turned into the WWE?

Is the NBA as fixed as pro wrestling?

As the world watches Game 3 of the NBA Finals tonight, there is word that the NBA playoffs in 2002 were fixed by referees.

I have friends of mine who, like me, work closely with officials by scoring and timing college and high school sports.

One of them is indignant, fully believing all professional sports are fixed.

This is an absolutely foolish notion.

To pull something like that off, with numerous players and possible situations, is next to impossible.

Not to mention the fact that it's a serious crime. You risk your entire life if you mess with the integrity of the game.

This could be the case of a disgruntled ex-referee.

I do not believe pro sports are fixed.

If that was the case, as I tell my friend every time he brings up the "sports is big business argument," you'd have New York and Los Angeles in championships every year in every sport.

By the way, who played in the recent NHL Stanley Cup, and who won?

Stupid stunt costs baseball player a college scholarship

Two Georgia high school baseball players pulled a very dumb stunt recently in a state championship game.

The pitcher and catcher battery went beyond poor sportsmanship when faced with losing the title game by conspiring to take out their frustrations on the home plate umpire.

Watch the following video. It shows the pitcher throwing a perfect shot to the head of the umpire as the catcher makes no attempt to flag the high pitch. What does he do? He ducks down and pretends to catch what he thinks is a pitch in the dirt.

It is painfully obvious the pitcher intended to throw directly at the umpire and bean him.

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I'm from the city and I'm here to shut down your rummage sale...

I have never understood the appeal of rummage sales.

What’s so exciting about driving down the road, seeing a bunch of tables set up in someone’s yard filled with junk they want to get rid of, stopping the car, and jumping out to make a mad dash to see if you can purchase an old lamp, frying pan, or clothes?

It’s not for me but clearly rummage sales are a warm weather ritual in these parts.

Rummage sales are popular.

They are an outlet for people to sell off what they no longer want.

They provide an opportunity for bargain hunters.

Everybody’s happy.

The ventures are harmless.

All good reasons why the government has to get involved and spoil everything.

Based on the recommendations of some bureaucrat who has nothing better to do than to try to justify his position, the city of Racine is considering imposing all sorts of restrictions on rummage sales because, as everyone knows, if there’s any unscrupulous activity the public’s involved in that needs thorough government regulation, it’s the yard sale.

Racine wants to limit when you can hold the sales, how many days you can drag your trinkets out onto your own yard, and restrict the signage you put up to promote your attempt to sell your wares.

You can’t make this stuff up, it’s laughable.

As I’ve written many times in the past, people in power in other locales pay attention to this malarkey. They nod their heads and go, hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

And they start contemplating what an absolutely superb idea this would be in their own little hamlet. That's how this baby was born. Racine stole this incredibly dumb idea from other places that already have the law on the books.

Government intrusion where it doesn’t belong…….bothering women, for the most part, who simply want to sell or buy old stuff.

Read about this nonsense, and here’s an editorial panning the idea.

It's just a little sunburn for goodness sakes...

From ABC News:

Police charged a Kentucky father with criminal abuse after he allegedly failed to protect his shirtless, fair-skinned 2-year-old from the sun before leaving the child out to play in 95-degree heat for more than an hour.

The boy suffered second-degree burns, police said.

"It was downright brutal down here, we had 90 degree temperatures all day," Berea Police captain Ken Clark told ABC News on Tuesday.

"The father has said the child was just out playing, but we felt we established probable cause to charge him with a crime; when you talk about a 2-year-old child, someone who cannot speak up for themselves, in that type of heat ... There must be someone responsible for his safety."

How stupid and cruel could this parent be, you may be yelling at your computer screen.

Was he wrong?

Was he a bad parent?

Should he be in trouble with the law?

I think so.

Yes on all counts.

I can’t help but wonder if there are plenty of people that think this poor excuse for a father  simply “made a mistake, “ and that “it could happen to anyone,” and don’t forget that “he has suffered enough.”

While filling in on WISN, I have spent time discussing parents who leave their small children unattended, locked in cars for several hours in sweltering heat, sometimes with fatal results.

My favorite asinine excuse by the brain-dead parent is that he or she “forgot” the child was in the car.

In my mind, there are no excuses, period.

The idiot parents can cry and cry and cry and cry and beg for forgiveness until doomsday. As far as I’m concerned, they deserve no sympathy or leniency.

When I’ve talked about these cases on WISN, the hand wringers come out of the woodwork with the above mentioned excuses.

That leads me to believe that if these people would call in to a 50-thousand watt radio station to defend a person totally bankrupt of parenting skills who left a baby to fry to death in a car, then certainly they’d express the same mercy for a parent who let his child exposed to severe burns from the intense sunlight.

If they’d be willing to let a death of a child be swept under the rug, they’d assuredly forgive a little sunburn, wouldn’t they?

Some people don’t deserve to be parents. This guy is certainly one of them.

Look what's happening on the field! Somebody wake up the Journal guy!

Did you watch the Brewers-Houston game Wednesday night?

If you did, you saw the meltdown and brouhaha in the 7th inning when first base umpire Angel Campos made some highly questionable calls, all against Houston leading to some heated arguments and two quick ejections.

Campos tossed Houston catcher Brad Ausmus in the blink of an eye. I wonder if Campos could actually hear the magic word Ausmus must have uttered near home plate all the way down at first base.

Then first baseman Lance Berkman went ballistic on a call just moments later, but despite his histrionics, Campos didn’t give him the thumb. When Astros manager Cecil Cooper came out to argue, he was tossed.

Campos is lucky to be alive.

Pretty interesting part of the game, wouldn’t you say?

Not according to Anthony Witrado who covered the game for the Milwaukee Journal/Sentinel. He didn’t write a word about it in his Thursday morning story for the paper.

If you wanted to read about it, you had to go, not to the MILWAUKEE paper, but to the Wisconsin State Journal in Madison.

The sports section is the best part of the paper. When they start missing things…..

Heartbreaking video

You’ve seen the video of the house in Lake Delton that is swept away.

Matt Lauer of the Today Show on NBC puts a human face on this tragic story with a live interview of the family that lost their home.

Your heart goes out to the family that somehow found the strength to discuss their sadness live on national television.


You want to debate the issues, fine, but...

Greg Kowalski blogs today e-mails that I received from two Franklin aldermen and then criticizes me for what he thinks is some broken promise to my blog readers because I didn't blog the same e-mails fast enough for his satisfaction.

He took the unusual and unnecessary step of filing an open records request with the City Clerk’s Office to get the e-mails. He’s probably been losing sleep, paranoid about what correspondence there’s been thus far between yours truly and City Hall on a legitimate tax question I asked about Fountains of Franklin.

He writes that I asked “harmful and damaging” questions of City Hall leaders.
 This is the same guy who wrote in a recent blog about his frustration with the way Target was handled:

Our leaders betrayed us, the people of Franklin, and went on their merry way to destroy everything we had going for us. We will always be paying the consequences of their actions.”

Destroyed everything?

What does that mean?

What exactly has been destroyed in Franklin?
 How about some examples rather than misleading, inflammatory statements.

I haven’t seen Franklin destroyed.

He accuses city officials of purposely working to achieve this so-called destruction, but as usual offers no substantiation. And I’m the one who’s harmful and damaging.

I have a few notes for Kowalski.

1) All he had to do was e-mail me, or ask me on my blog or his if he so desperately wanted to know if I had received reaction to my questions of City Hall leaders. He’s criticized me for making an unreasonable request from an over-worked, understaffed workforce at City Hall, yet he makes a request of those same workers for these e-mails.

2) I never said WHEN I would blog my responses. Truth is, I’ve been waiting for other responses and information.

3) Kowalski doesn’t dictate how I plan or write my blog.

By the way, he also blogged an e-mail TODAY he received from Senator Lazich one week ago today. Gee, Greg……why did you wait a week to blog the e-mail? If we’re being consistent here, shouldn’t you have blogged it right away?

Kowalski’s blogging of the e-mails is no big deal, but in doing so, he displayed how irresponsible he truly is.

The e-mails he received from the City Clerk’s Office should have redacted my private home e-mail address, but did not.

Even so, when Kowalski received the e-mails and made the decision to post them, he is then personally responsible for the content he puts on his blog.

He chose to post the e-mails verbatim and not block out my private home e-mail address.

This was irresponsible and reckless, going beyond Kowalski’s youthful naiveté.

Given my profession, my conservative views, and my appearances on radio and TV, you can imagine that not everyone agrees with me or likes me, and that’s putting it mildly.

I don’t believe people truly grasp the amount of hatred that’s out there. People are downright vicious and cruel, as I have received numerous hateful, harassing correspondences, even personal threats that have had to be investigated by authorities.

What was Kowalski thinking when he posted my private home e-mail? Certainly he values privacy for himself and his family. Does he not have the same respect for others?

Kowalski apparently isn’t smart or responsible enough to take that into consideration before he blogs a private e-mail address, or simply lacks common human courtesy and decency, or both.

I know he doesn’t agree with me, but go after me on the issues. He has cried from day one about being mistreated, yet he has engaged in the same kind of behavior, if not more so that he blames others for.
 Kowalski did block out my e-mail address on his blog, but only after he was instructed to do so by the City Clerk’s Office. Again, he had to be prodded to do the right thing, just like last year when he hemmed and hawed for several weeks before he removed lies about me by people commenting on his blog.

I’ve refrained from writing reactive blogs about Kowalski for a long time. This one needed a response.

I keep hoping that someday Kowalski will learn his lesson. Unfortunately, he keeps proving me wrong.

Now it's 3.9%

Last week, I blogged that there were conflicting figures being tossed around on this website about proposed Franklin school tax increases.

FranklinNOW reporter John Neville said the tax RATE increase was 2.7%.

FranklinNOW bloggers Janet Evans and Greg Kowalski both reported the tax LEVY increase was 2.7%

There’s a difference, as I pointed out in my blog.

So which one is it?

Is the RATE or the LEVY going up?

And by how much?

Neither Evans nor Kowalski made any clarification.

Gee. I thought Kowalski was the guy who expected everybody to get and give answers on their blogs as soon as possible.

It seems Neville did some homework since my last blog, and in the paper edition of FranklinNOW today, he writes:

“The first draft of the district’s budget for next school year calls for a 3.9 percent increase in the tax levy. The proposed tax levy is $29.6 million, up from $28.5 million in 2007-08.
District taxpayers might see an increase of 29 cents — from $10.89 to $11.18 — per $1,000 of equalized value. That means the owner of a $200,000 home would pay an additional $58 per year in estimated property taxes.”

A 3.9% increase in the LEVY.

That’s much better than the 5.6% that turned into 11.7% last year.

Neville continues:

“However, Business Services Director James Milzer cautions the numbers are preliminary.”

Oh, we know that all too well, don’t we Mr. Milzer.

Milzer’s the flim-flam man who told School Board member last October they were voting on a 5.9% levy increase. Citizens found out a few weeks later it was actually an 11.7% levy increase the Franklin School Board approved.

Another line from Neville’s article:

“This year the budget will be shaped by a greater degree of community input than in the past, board President Dave Szychlinski said.”

That’s a very good thing.

Here’s the Neville article.

Did Doyle daddle while Wisconsin was getting flooded?

Jim Wigderson raises the question which leads to some interesting back and forth commentary on his blog.

Freedom Eden also blogged about Doyle.

It's halftime of the NBA Finals, Game 4...

And during the entire frst half, there wasn't a single Mark Baden sighting on Channel 12.


New photos added to my flooding blog

My blog of flooding photos seems to be of great interest.

I've updated with new photos., FYI.

Friday night on InterCHANGE

Dan Jones, Gerard Randall, Joel McNally and I discuss the following on Milwaukee Public Television, Channel 10, Friday night at 6:30, Sunday morning at 11:00:

1– Milwaukee Weather & Lake Delton.

Weather is certainly the talk of the town.  How did Milwaukee and surrounding communities handle the storms that drenched our parts?  Is there any way we could have been more prepared?  Is it ridiculous to think we can be immune from the problems that Mother Nature sends our way?  Did MMSD do what it is supposed to do?  Is dumping raw waste into Lake Michigan just expected at this point in time?  Should homeowners who had flooded basements be expected to be made whole again by their insurers, or by the government?  Or, should they be on their own and just forced to deal with it?  How about the draining of Lake Delton in the Wisconsin Dells?  Should the state and federal governments be asked to rebuild that “man made” lake?  Or, should that be the responsibility of the businesses over there which have made millions off of the tourism industry?  Is it folly to rebuild a lake and expect it can be immune to the forces of nature?

2 – Milwaukee Schools.

I don’t think folks are that surprised that there might be problems
at Bradley Tech High School, but many of us were surprised when students were arrested and police officers hurt at Riverside High School?  Isn’t Riverside supposed to be one of the jewels of MPS?  Isn’t this the school for the bright and the college bound?  The next day police show up in riot gear and on horses.  Did the Milwaukee Police Department over react, or are they sending a clear message that something like this will not happen again? Are even the best schools of MPS a disappointment when compared to private schools?  Should the taxpayers be expected to contribute even more money for hiring even more security?

3– Obama & McCain.

Granted we’re six months away from the election, but is there any stopping Obama-mania?  What do you see possibly happening in the months ahead that would possibly put John McCain ahead in the polls?  One recent poll has Obama with a double digit lead already here in Wisconsin?  Are the facts that we have an incredibly unpopular war going on, and an incredibly unpopular president, and an incredibly difficult economy simply too much for any republican candidate to overcome?  Is Obama so popular because of who he is and what he stands for?  Or, is he popular because he represents a change from the status quo?

The truth about "Big Oil"

Earlier this week, Republicans in the U.S. Senate managed to block an effort by Democrats to impose a 25 percent tax on any "unreasonable" profits of the five largest U.S. oil companies.

The tax, if enacted, wouldn’t have lowered gas prices by one cent.  Oil companies surely would have passed the expense onto consumers in the form of higher gas prices.

Democrats tried to exploit the current public outrage over fuel costs to ram through another tax increase disguised as the little guy sticking it to those big, bad, evil oil giants.

The truth needs to be told about “Big Oil.”

Jeff Jacoby is a fine conservative columnist for the Boston Globe. In a recent column, Jacoby writes:

“We've been down this road before. Under a windfall tax signed into law by Jimmy Carter, domestic oil production plummeted by an estimated 795 million barrels, while imports of foreign oil surged. Congress had anticipated windfall tax revenues of $393 billion. The actual take: just $80 billion. Like so much else associated with the Carter era, the windfall-profits tax was a counterproductive flop. Do Democrats really believe a new dose of Carternomics is going to make today's economy stronger?

If you want to see a real windfall, take a look at  what Big Oil pays in taxes. The 27 largest US energy companies forked over $48 billion in income taxes in 2004, $67 billion in 2005, and more than $90 billion in 2006 - an 87 percent increase. Since 1981, the Tax Foundation calculates,  the oil industry has earned a cumulative $1.12 trillion in profits - but it paid a cumulative $1.65 trillion in taxes (add another half-trillion to account for taxes paid to foreign governments).

For most of the 25 years between 1981 and 2006, says foundation president Scott Hodge, taxes collected from oil companies by federal, state, and local governments were nearly double the industry's profits in any given year. For all the clucking over ExxonMobil's $10.9 billion in profits last quarter, little attention was paid to its total tax bill in the same period: more than than $29 billion. 

So who's the real ‘profiteer’ - Big Oil or Big Brother? And who is likelier to keep energy abundant - the profit-seeking entrepreneurs who pull it from the ground, or the politicians who demonize them when they succeed?”

Columnist Bill Steigerwald also commits a flagrant act of journalism in a piece following testimony on Capitol Hill by oil company executives:

Many Americans have heard by now the truth that oil companies pay far more dollars in taxes each year than they earn in profits. And that the oil industry's average net profit margin -- 8.3 percent last year -- is lower than Big Tobacco and Big Beverage (19.1 percent), Big Pharma (18.4 percent) and Big Banking, Big Insurance and Big Media.

But during their show trial, the execs delivered some other pertinent facts in their defense:

* U.S. companies, while huge, are actually relatively small players in a gigantic global oil market. They can compete directly for only 7 percent of available reserves while large government-owned companies like Petroleos de Venezuela own and control 75 percent of world supply.

* As Stephen Simon of ExxonMobil humbly pointed out, his hated behemoth -- America's largest oil and gas corporation -- accounts for only 3 percent of global oil production and 6 percent of global refining capacity. It has only 1 percent of global petroleum reserves - 14th in the world.”

And one more.

An excellent guest column by Al Smith in this week’s Journal/Sentinel.

Dining survey deadline is Saturday


Friday Night Live


Tonight’s guests are:

Kiss, ABBA, and the Captain and Tennille.

In the 70’s, In Concert and The Midnight Special aired on Friday nights. On Saturday night, it was Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert.

Prior to his 70's show, Kirshner was a successful record producer in the 60’s. From

“Kirshner employed some of the best writers in the business including Carol King, Neil Diamond and Tommy Boyce. The latter two artists played a large part in the success of another Kirshner creation, the pop group the Monkees. Kirshner's staff of writers churned out hit song after hit song for such groups as the Drifters, the Ronettes, the Crystals and the Shangri-Las, upping the standard of songwriting significantly in the process. 

In 1966, the enterprising Kirshner embarked on the second stage of his professional career when he developed America's answer to the Beatles. By creating the Monkees, a group assembled by placing advertisements in various trade papers, for the NBC network, Kirshner created a cute, loveable, slightly anti-establishment rock group that would parade around in a half-hour TV show while going on zany adventures a la the Beatles in a Hard Day's Night and Help! The kids loved it. And so did Columbia when they received the royalty checks from the Monkee's hits.

After the Monkees ran their course, Kirshner formed Don Kirshner productions in 1973 to produce his successful Don Kirshner's Rock Concert series. The ‘Rock Concert’ series ran for several years before Kirshner eventually moved away from rock n' roll and into TV production in the mid '70s.”

“ABBA, a musical entity consisting of two couples, became by far the most successful act of that decade (70's), even one of the biggest phenomenons of the whole century.”


“Swedish pop singing group, formed in 1973 by Björn Ulvaeus (1945– , guitar, vocals), married to Agnetha Fältskog (1950– , vocals), and Benny Andersson (1945– , keyboards, vocals), married to Anni-Frid (known as Frida) Lyngstad (1945– , vocals). The group's name derives from their first-name initials. Their major international breakthrough came with the winning song in the 1974 Eurovision Song Contest, ‘Waterloo’, which was followed by hit singles and albums throughout the 1970s and early 1980s. During the 1970s they were the most successful international group since the Beatles. Ulvaeus and Andersson wrote their songs, and have written a successful musical, Mamma Mia! (1999), built around many of them, as well as collaborating with Tim Rice in the musical Chess (1984). Björn and Agnetha divorced in 1979, and Benny and Frida in 1981.”

Read more

Happy Flag Day, America!


A tattered American flag flies behind the Spirit of the American Doughboy soldier statue on S. Memorial Drive in Appleton on Memorial Day. The Parks and Recreation Department recently replaced the flag, which is displayed year-round. Appleton Post-Crescent photo by M.P. King

The Appleton Post Crescent offers these Flag Day reminders:

Flag etiquette don'ts

Read more



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


All those who came to the aid of flooding victims this week.

Boy Scout victims

Boy Scout survivors

Mount Rainer hiker

Gerald Miller

ER nurses

Chef Adam Siegel at Lake Park Bistro


Trent Christopher Benson

Dena Schlosser (Background of the story)

Brice Brian McMillan and Sandra Elizabeth McMillan


"My truck'll come through the water if I can get to it. I'll probably have to put my swimming suit on to get it out. What really makes me mad is my Harley's in the garage, and it's in water, and I don't like that."
Duane Wilson. Both of his vehicles were under water on his brother-in-law's property near 92nd St. and 8 Mile Road in Franksville. His Peterbilt truck was in about 4 feet of water. But he was worried about his Harley motorcycle, a 1994 Dyna Wide Glide.

"Let's not talk about it. It's my foolishness."
Former state senator Donald Stitt, who was pulled by firefighters from Milwaukee River floodwaters in Saukville shortly after 11 a.m. Monday after his vehicle became submerged. Firefighters waded into about four feet of water to rescue Stitt, of Port Washington. He was heading south on Highway W when he drove around road closure barricades. Stitt continued driving another quarter-mile until his SUV got caught in floodwaters, nearly submerging. Police planned to cite Stitt for failure to obey an official sign.

"It was full of fish, full of boaters, full of life—and now it's gone."
Harland Tourdoy, looking at what was once Lake Delton.

"Please, please don't cancel your reservations. Ninety percent of the Dells is still up and running."
Lake Delton Village trustee and Tommy Bartlett Show proprietor Tom Diehl.  

“Let me be absolutely clear. Milwaukee drinking water is safe.”
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett. 

“I’m sure people are going to be upset with me. I will not be voting for Obama. I will cast my vote for John McCain. I just feel you need to have somebody who has experience with foreign matters. I’m on a lot of the (pro-Clinton) blogs, and so many people, male and female, feel the same way as I do. The Democrats jumped on this wagon of Barack Obama, and nobody really knows him.”
Debra Bartoshevich of Waterford, an elected delegate to the Democrat National Convention in Denver this summer.

“Not a delegate? To the national convention? We have a Clinton national (convention) delegate who says she’s voting for John McCain? I’ve never heard of such a thing.”
Joe Wineke, chairman of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin.

“Don’t take (Republican nominee John McCain) for granted, particularly in Wisconsin. If Barack Obama loses Wisconsin, he’s not going to be president.”
Senator Russ Feingold, addressing the Democrat state party convention in Stevens Point.

“President Bush has admitted to The Times that his gun-slinging rhetoric made the world believe that he was a “guy really anxious for war” in Iraq. He said that his aim now was to leave his successor a legacy of international diplomacy for tackling Iran. In an exclusive interview, he expressed regret at the bitter divisions over the war and said that he was troubled about how his country had been misunderstood. “I think that in retrospect I could have used a different tone, a different rhetoric.” Phrases such as “bring them on” or “dead or alive”, he said, “indicated to people that I was, you know, not a man of peace”. He said that he found it very painful “to put youngsters in harm’s way”. He added: “I try to meet with as many of the families as I can. And I have an obligation to comfort and console as best as I possibly can. I also have an obligation to make sure that those lives were not lost in vain.”

"Well, I know Michelle, she's been my friend, a friend of my wife, for many, many years. She can take it. She can handle herself. She's a very accomplished person. But I will tell you this: the hottest ring in hell is reserved for those in politics who attack their opponents' families. And if there are some Republican strategists who think that's the way to win the election, I think they're wrong."
U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) on criticisms of Barack Obama's wife, Michelle.

The team "wet the bed - a nice big one, too. One of the ones you can't put a towel over."
Los Angeles Laker Kobe Bryant after the Lakers blew a 24-point lead and lost to Boston in Game 4 of the NBA Finals. The Celtics now lead the best of seven series, 3 games to 1.


Another illegal immigrant, another horrific crime.


If not for talk radio (Mark Belling) and the bloggers, you wouldn't have heard about this story.

Or this.




And more weather.

But the vast majority of the coverage this time was warranted.


Norman Bates didn't kill that woman...

Here's a summer festival Milwaukee doesn't have.

Hey guy, put a shirt on!

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


This is not a cool idea

Earlier this week, I told you that Racine is considering imposing restrictions on rummage sales.

Further south, in Addison, Illinois, more government bureaucracy run amok.

Juan Tijerina's air conditioner problem

Juan Tijerina stands outside a building he owns in Addison that has window air conditioners facing the street, which are now illegal. Village officials say the ordinance will help improve the town's image. (Chicago Tribune photo by Chuck Berman / June 11, 2008)

Sad, but I can imagaine Franklin considering something like this.

Here's the story from the Tribune:

Addison's ban on some window air conditioners is hot topic in town

Village says ordinance will improve its look

By Joseph Sjostrom

Tribune reporter

10:57 PM CDT, June 12, 2008

Is the great Obama scared?

We're told he's the smartest, most articulate guy on the planet.

So what's he afraid of?

The division continues in the Democrat party

Democrats are scrambling this morning, making their best attempts at spin and damage control after one of their delegates went public, saying she'll vote for John McCain.

The Democrats do eat their own.

And there are more dismayed Democrats out there...

The Barking Lot

The Barking Lot


By Jennifer Fischer

Your morning rush-out-the-door ritual probably sounds something like this:

“Lunch?  Check.”

“Cell phone?  Check.”

“Brief Case and Laptop?  Check.”

How about adding:

“Milk Bones and Rawhides?  Check.”

“Water Dish?  Check.”

“Squeaky Toy?  Check.”

That’s right, it’s the 10th Annual Take Your Dog To Work Day this Friday, June 20th.

A friend and coworker enjoys the company of two Pomeranian pooches.  Fortunately for her, she lives so close to work that she can go home on her 30-minute lunch break to let them outside.  I don’t know many people who have that luxury.

One of only two arguments that Kevin can offer against us getting a dog is the fact that we are not home enough (in his opinion) to be fair to our Future Fido (The other argument is that for all the love and enjoyment we get from them, dogs have a disappointingly short life span.  He dreads the day we would eventually need to have a pet euthanized).

Just think how much more enjoyable your workplace could be if you were allowed to bring your dog with you.  There are many facts you can present to your employer in favor of a canine-friendly cubicle. 

Perhaps June 20th will be the pawfect way of  introducing your tail-wagging buddy to the office. In that case you’ll want to make sure Rex is on his best behavior.  

If you need further ammunition to sway your boss, you could mention that this system works well for Las Vegas tycoon Steve Wynn. 

If all else fails, you could consider relocating with your four-legged friend to Greensboro, North Carolina.  Get a job with Replacements, Ltd. and you’re all set!  

So this Friday, pack your sandwich and chips but save room in your lunch bag for some kibble. 
---Jennifer Fischer


Insert imagined rim shot here.

Time now for DOGS IN THE NEWS, canines that made headlines.

We begin with our most serious dog story of the week. Two Marines are in trouble for a puppy video.

Of course, we have some good news.
This Rottweiler survived a twister.

Here's another lucky dog.

And finally, be careful out there, Fido. Big brother's watching you.

That's it for this week.

On behalf of Jennifer, thanks for stopping by but we gotta go because, when you gotta go, you....

Gotta go.

Read more

Happy Father's Day? For far too many, it's not

This weekend, consider yourself lucky, very lucky if you can celebrate Father's Day.

Here is my lengthy piece from last Father's Day, still relevant, and troubling, today.

What is the coolest thing about Dad?

Let's ask the kids.

My most popular blogs

Most popular

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

1) Wisconsin flooding in photos

2) See a home literally washed away

3) Knock, knock. Who's there? Time for your physical

4) President Bush: "They have no place in America today"

5) The people have spoken: Drill!

Culinary no-no is one year old

Culinary no-no's

One year ago on Father’s Day, I wrote a blog about brats.

I think it’s wrong to put ketchup on the sausages.

Clever devil that I am, I called the blog a Culinary no-no.

My plans were to write a few related blogs over the summer and then pull the plug.

After all, how many blogs can you come up with that say you shouldn’t salt this or use a heavy cream on that?

But then the blog evolved, and for reasons I can’t explain, became popular. Real popular. It’s one of my most –viewed blogs, making the top five or close to it every week. I've written 58 Culinary  no-no's since last summer.

On this Father’s Day and one-year anniversary of Culinary no-no, here’s the blog that started it all, numero uno.

I also went back and checked for the Culinary no-no that was the most popular.

Here it is.

A brand new edition of Culinary no-no will be here next week.

Enjoy the day in the backyard grilling, Dad’s, but no ketchup on those brats!

Fathers are the "Rodney Dangerfield's" of marketing

There’ve been some great TV dads in the past.

Ozzie Nelson.

Ben Cartwright.

Sheriff Andy Taylor.

Howard Cunningham.

Tom Corbett (Bill Bixby in “The Courtship of Eddie’s Father”).

Cliff Huxtable.

Those were all a long time ago.

Today’s TV images of fathers are Homer Simpson-like buffoons.

Same deal in commercials.

Ask most dads around the country and they’ll tell you they’re dissed more often than not in the media and in advertising.

The pendulum might be swinging, though, ever so slowly, led by companies like Hallmark.

Here’s more from the Kansas City Star:

No more bumbling Homer: Marketers are reframing dad ads

Buying into corporate America’s depiction of men, and dads in particular, one would be pretty sure they’re mostly lazy, dense dimwits with whom only Homer Simpson could bond.

Read more

What is the key function of the federal government?

Is it:

1) To provide health insurance for everyone in the country, including jailed felons and illegal immigrants.

2) To provide cash payments from cradle to death for any number of reasons including inability to see the blackboard in the 4th grade and simply because my mother, her mother, and her mother’s mother also received welfare checks.

3) To attempt to solve every problem known to mankind rather than allow human beings to work hard to pull themselves up by the proverbial bootstraps and gain economic independence.

If you are a liberal, you answered, all of the above.

If you have a modicum of common sense and knowledge of government, you would have answered, “to secure our borders.”

If that was your answer, congratulations.

Is George Bush the greatest President ever?

Probably not.

You know why?

He had a tendency to spend too much.

But for the past couple of years, I’ve mentioned on television and radio what a successful and noteworthy President George Bush has been.


How many terrorist attacks have been made on our country, on George Bush’s watch, since 9-11, almost seven years ago?

Everyone, including the Bush haters on the left know the answer.


Now, liberals who read my blog, and there are a ton because of two reasons:

1)  The incense and sandals crowd has no life, so to inject a bit of excitement, they read conservative blogs (like mine) and listen to conservative talk radio so they can rush to their keyboards and write intelligent garbage like, “Fischer bad. McIlheran evil. Sykes and Belling, the worst (How do they think that stuff up so fast?).

2) Liberal blogs are like watching paint dry. Boring as hell.  Sheer bumper sticker emotion and no facts.

Conservatives are interesting people with senses of humor, whether you like them or not.

I have a kajillion liberal friends and associates (who, by the way, don’t want me to step in front of a train and don’t hate me) who admit readily they love to read conservative blogs and listen to conservsative talk radio to, of course, hear what the other side is saying, but also because it’s GOOD STUFF! THEY ARE INTERESTED! THEY ARE ENTERTAINED!
 Could that be why liberal talk radio in America has gone over like a fart (sorry, Mom) in church?

Let’s get back to the issue at hand.

(By the way, most liberals reading this blog stopped reading at the 3rd paragraph and have already reached some hateful conclusion).

Ann Coulter writes about what I’ve been saying for years on radio and TV. George Bush has been amazing because after 9-11, he protected this country……..PERIOD!

Coulter in her most recent column writes:

The man responsible for keeping Americans safe from another terrorist attack on American soil for nearly seven years now will go down in history as one of America's greatest presidents.

Produce one person who believed, on Sept. 12, 2001, that there would not be another attack for seven years, and I'll consider downgrading Bush from "Great" to "Really Good."

Merely taking out Saddam Hussein and his winsome sons Uday and Qusay (Hussein family slogan: "We're the Rape Room People!") constitutes a greater humanitarian accomplishment than anything Bill Clinton ever did -- and I'm including remembering Monica's name on the sixth sexual encounter.

But unlike liberals, who are so anxious to send American troops to Rwanda or Darfur, Republicans oppose deploying U.S. troops for purely humanitarian purposes. We invaded Iraq to protect America.

It is unquestionable that Bush has made this country safe by keeping Islamic lunatics pinned down fighting our troops in Iraq. In the past few years, our brave troops have killed more than 20,000 al-Qaida and other Islamic militants in Iraq alone. That's 20,000 terrorists who will never board a plane headed for JFK -- or a landmark building, for that matter.”

Now, if America wants to turn this record of safety over to a guy who’s never been to Iraq and subscribes to the un-American policy of cutting and running promoted by “hide under the bed” Russ Feingold, then I would suggest America brace for another terrorist attack God knows where: Chicago, Los Angeles, Dallas, New York?

Liberals, thank George Bush your office or house with your computer that spits out such hateful venom hasn’t been blown to kingdom come.

Liberals, if you got this far down in the blog (I doubt it) here’s Coulter’s entire column if you care to pick up any pointers on how a truly captivating writer does it.

Who wants to take away your right to vote? Not Republicans...

Liberals erroneously scream that Republicans want to prevent people from voting by pushing for a photo ID requirement.

Actually, Repubicans merely want voters to be who they say they are before they cast their ballots.

If anyone wants to prohibit people from voting, it’s liberals.

Charlie Sykes writes in the Wisconsin Interest:

“No sooner had the votes been counted and liberal Supreme Court Justice Louis Butler ousted from the state’s high court than the outrage began.

Bad voters!

Governor Jim Doyle, who had appointed Butler to the high court declared the result a ‘tragedy,’ while liberals and their allies in the media immediately embraced voter suppression on a massive scale. Upset by the results, state Representative Fred Kessler (D-Milwaukee) proposed the elimination of elections for justice altogether and the state’s largest newspaper, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, embraced his call for disenfranchisement.”

Here’s Charlie’s entire piece.

Add the editorial board of the Wisconsin State Journal to the list of folks who want to take your vote away.

They’ve decided it would be best if judges got on the bench via some merit selection system, and they offer some lame reasons.

All because a conservative was elected to the state Supreme Court in April. Had Louis Butler won, there’d be complete silence.

Iowa is no Katrina

Blogger Right from the Right has an interesting perspective on the media coverage of the massive flooding in Iowa.

With tongue firmly implanted in cheek, he says the coverage is “racist.”



I should have included local tanners in my Week-ends blog on Saturday as one of my HEROES OF THE WEEK.

Their story is featured on this website in the YOUR STORIES section.

If you haven't read it, here it is.


Votes in the 2nd BEST DINING IN THE FRANKLIN-ARE SURVEY are being tabulated.

The results will be announced very soon!

Pete Kosovich belongs on the Franklin Plan Commission

The Franklin Common Council tonight will consider Mayor Taylor’s appointment of former Alderman Pete Kosovich to the Plan Commission.

Kosovich is an excellent choice and should be approved by the Council.

Kosovich is a small businessman with knowledge of local ordinances, state rules and regulations, and has had experience in dealing with Franklin business and economic development issues. He would be a perfect fit for the Plan Commission.

To suggest that Kosovich is just a TV repairman is insulting and out of line. Kosovich is a small businessman who dedicated himself to public service and wants to do it again.

Was he thrown out of office? Sure, if you consider losing by such a narrow margin that a recount was necessary being “thrown out of office.”

Political boards and commissions all across the state are filled with appointees of people who once held public office who bring a wealth of institutional knowledge to the table.

I am confident Kosovich will be a great addition to the Plan Commission. He needs to be approved at tonight’s meeting.

Franklin "destroyed?"


“I love Franklin."

“This is a great place to live.”

“I really enjoy working here.”

Those are some of the remarks from Franklin residents I’ve heard in reaction to a Franklin blogger who, still upset at how the new Target site was developed, recently wrote, “Our leaders betrayed us, the people of Franklin, and went on their merry way to destroy everything we had going for us. We will always be paying the consequences of their actions.”

Suggesting that our local representatives willingly and merrily worked to “destroy” Franklin is hyperbole to the nth degree. And to be honest, I’m not really sure what “consequences” we’re paying.

Granted, in this day and age of “what have you done for me lately,” city of Franklin officials arguably have left themselves open to criticism. Just how much is open for debate.

There was the “Boomgaard” public relations nightmare, followed by one alderman’s ill-advised stunt of openly brandishing the property tax records of Franklin bloggers at a Common Council meeting. I would also toss out the less than enthusiastic response from most aldermen to Mayor Taylor’s pledge to hold the line on a city property tax levy increase to 3%.

But Franklin, “destroyed?”

I’ve been a loud critic of our tax and spend climate at City Hall and especially with the Franklin School Board. And there are some projects, notably Fountains of Franklin that I wish would move out of neutral. But if you search your memory banks beyond “Boomgaard,” you’ll find a litany of success stories that make charges that leaders worked to destroy our city sound absurd.

Franklin has seen much to be proud of.

In no particular order, try Sendik’s.

And not just one, but two of the quality food markets.

Target comes to town after residents asked for such a store for 20 years.

Hopefully, an Azana Spa and Salon will open soon along with other tenants at Fountains of Franklin that, despite my concern over its lack of progress, does have tremendous potential.

Northwestern Mutual Life.

Wheaton Franciscan Health Care.

The architecturally magnificent Indian Community School.


Carma Laboratories.

Over $450 million in economic development currently underway on South 27th Street.

The day-to-day operations of keeping our streets and neighborhoods safe and clean.

The incredible work of volunteers to help enact tough new laws to protect our children from sex predators.

And it was all done by people who’ve been involved in Franklin efforts for many, many years.

It’s easy to point out areas that need improvement. I do it all the time. But let’s not forget the wonderful foundation that has been built in this city through hard work, service, and civic pride.

Franklin "destroyed?"


Do men really hate Barry Manilow?


Barry Manilow turned 65 today.

Mention his name and certain thoughts, opinions, and images immediately come to mind.

Barry Manilow

 Barry Manilow-2.JPG

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Wow......that's....really clever...... Al

Can you imagine if a conservative Republican wrote garbage like the junk in Al Franken’s book.

From Matt Purple's column:

A passage from a book by comedian and Minnesota Democratic Senate candidate Al Franken describes one prominent conservative being shot in the head and another soliciting a prostitute, among other graphic images.

The chapter, a satirical short story, portrays the cowardly and bumbling actions of several conservative commentators deployed as a squad to Vietnam. Titled “Operation Chickenhawk,” it was included in Franken’s 1996 book Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot and Other Observations as a scathing rebuttal to conservative criticisms of then-President Bill Clinton’s draft dodging.

In the passage, Franken jokes about conservative author Bill Bennett getting shot in the head and the effect it had on columnist George Will, whom Franken calls “Stoner” and portrays as being addicted to acid.

“First day in 'Nam, Stoner saw a buddy get greased,” Franken writes. “Guy named Bill Bennett. Got it right in the eyes. Stoner tried to plug the hole, came up holding a handful of goop that used to be Bennett's brain. It was pretty grotesque, bizarre and grotesque to be honest. Stoner hasn't been the same since.”

There's more.

The warm, compassionate, and I might add, clever left.

I wish the Lakers had won the NBA championship, but...

It’s not quite 10:00 Tuesday night and I’m watching the Boston Celtics demolish the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 6 of the NBA FInals on their way to the NBA title.

Many thoughts are going through my mind.

I waited for the past two days for a knock down, drag ‘em out, exciting down to the wire, pressure packed, nail biter of an NBA Finals game…and I get this????

Like many other so-called “experts,” I thought the Lakers would have too  many explosives to lose to the Celtics and that no one could stop Kobe Bryant.  I was wrong.

I was so hoping Derek Fisher, the beyond classy Laker who has done so much for his daughter with eye cancer would win another title. It wasn’t meant to be. My guess is Fisher starts tending to his daughter even more, starting tomorrow.

The Lakers will return next year with a great chance to go back to the Finals and win. Why? Because not a single announcer has mentioned that the Lakers have played the entire playoffs without 7-foot 280-pound center Andrew Bynum who could have made a difference.

And what if (and what if is a question reserved for fans of the losing team) the Lakers had not blown that 24-point lead in Game 4?

I loved watching the Celtics as a kid in the 60’s. I stopped pulling for them when Milwaukee got the Bucks. I don’t like the Celtics.

However, I’m also thinking about their coach, former Marquette star “Doc” Rivers.

I worked for WUWM for 11 years. I did everything there except scrub the floors, and that included covering Marquette basketball.

Among a million cassettes and personal archives in my possession are taped interviews I did with “Doc” Rivers.  Entrenched in my memory, and I can’t remember what I had for breakfast, is a very young freshman who had stardom written all over him.

Keep in mind, I’m a radio reporter, I need audio. I can’t put video highlights on the air of Rivers dunking on the opposition. I need sound bites. Quality sound bites. Articulate sound bites.

Rivers and I, from day one, the first day we met in the MU locker room seemed to connect. I started asking him to consent to post-game interviews very early in his freshman year.

It didn’t take long before Rivers and I just took it for granted that we’d be meeting after every home game, win or lose.

There was Rivers, even if he had already talked to a myriad of reporters while I was off talking to someone else, greeting me with a huge smile as if to say, “What do you need? How can I help? You want a great story? You want a great quote?”

This went on his entire career at MU. Oh, sure he was nice to everybody. But I’d like to think that before his folding chair in the locker room got so crowded when he became an upperclassman, that “Doc” Rivers and I developed a relationship that helped us both.

I learned, I believe before a lot of folks, that this was an intelligent, savvy, self-confident, talented individual who was going places. That’s why I’m not surprised Rivers was able to turn a rag-tag, lousy Celtics team into an NBA champion.

No way in hell “Doc,” as I was able to call him face to face for years when he was just a college student, remembers me. Rivers is one of the katrillion memories I have of my previous life and 24-7 career.

And I remember those days.


And 25-plus years later I'm grateful he was so nice to me.

And while I wish the Lakers had won the 2008 NBA Finals, I’m truly happy for “Doc” Rivers.

He deserves it.

My wife wanted to remind everyone...

That Friday is Take Your Dog to Work Day.

A "Boomgaard" solution

STRIKE ONE: Julie Becker of FranklinNOW reports, “The Oak Creek Common Council last night unanimously approved a motion referring the name (the “Boomgaard District) back to the (South 27th Street Steering) committee, with a recommendation to consider selecting a new name.

STRIKE TWO: Becker also reports that Oak Creek and Franklin officials agreed last month that the name should be re-evaluated by the committee.

STRIKE THREE: Public reaction to the name was overwhelmingly negative.

The people have spoken. The vast majority of those who have offered an opinion on “Boomgaard” have panned the brand. Reaction has ranged from guffaws to accusations of City Hall scandals.

Time is ticking on the 120-day schedule to make a final decision on a nickname to promote the 27th Street Corridor.

I suggest the following recommendations as a positive solution to what has been a public relations debacle.

Public participation in the process needs to be encouraged and then utilized to achieve consensus and, ultimately, acceptance of an approved name.

The Franklin and Oak Creek Common Council’s should immediately seek interested citizens from both cities to serve on the 27th Street Steering Committee. A specific time period could be established to collect nominations from people who wish to volunteer their time in researching prospective names.

An application process could be created online on the websites of both cities. The call for citizen volunteers could be promoted on those websites, on FranklinNOW, Oak CreekNOW, and discussed by bloggers.

Applicants would be expected to offer reasons why they would be best suited to be chosen.

Both council’s could then review the applicants and select an agreed upon number of people to serve. The Franklin Common Council and the Mayor would select Franklin committee volunteers.  Ditto for Oak Creek.

It appears from previous minutes of a May 13th committee meeting that several alternative names to “Boomgaard” were considered before “Boomgaard” was chosen. So this process needn’t drag on. A final list of names could be announced so that the general public could weigh in on which name is preferred before the final selection is made.

There are good people already serving on this committee who have done exhaustive work. I am proposing a few members from the general public be added to the committee because one of the loudest criticisms of the process thus far has been the lack of transparency and public input.

Opening the door and inviting the public to step forward and offer guidance and possibly some untapped expertise would go a long way in repairing whatever damage has been done to public relations, whether that be great or small.

Volunteers would energize the process and I daresay could be just as, if not more effective than the public relations firm that came up with “Boomgaard.”

Get the word out.

Volunteers needed to assist Franklin and Oak Creek in coming up with the name that will front a multi-billion dollar project that will be the shining glory of both communities.

Select the best applicants.

Start meeting.

Get back on track.

Make up for lost time.

Let’s pick a great name and get this project moving in the right direction.

A gift from me to fellow blogger Greg Kowalski

Yes, you read the title, correctly.

Actually it's a gift to all my readers.

But I thought Greg would especially appreciate it.

You see ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, I happen to be an extremely nice guy.

So read on.

Scroll down.


The Key Lime is always a wise choice this time of year.

Cake Image
Offer Image

This year marks The Cheesecake Factory’s 30th anniversary. In honor of this exciting milestone, we invite you to join in the celebration!

Read more


Your votes are in and here are the results of the 2nd Best Dining in the Franklin-area Survey!

As I wrote weeks ago, this project was inspired by similar surveys conducted by Milwaukee Magazine and, and was an effort to engage readers in a public service to showcase the best in our community.

The survey comes at a time when there’s a buzz about future retail developments in Franklin and the anticipation of bigger and better things to come. It is my hope that the survey recognizes and acknowledges the quality establishments we have in and around Franklin, and at the same time, illustrate the need to improve on the relatively small number of quality dining options in our area.

Survey responses were taken between May 18, 2008 and June 14, 2008. Selections were limited to restaurants in the Franklin-area, including Franklin, Greendale, Greenfield, Oak Creek, and Hales Corners.

In each category, there is a first and second place winner.


Best place for appetizers

1) KA, Franklin

Best appetizer

1) Prosciutto wrapped mozzarella at Casa di Giorgio, Franklin
2) Reuben Rolls at Hugo’s Steakhouse, Franklin

Best Bakery

1) SENDIK’S, Franklin and Greenfield
2) ELIZABETH’S CAKES, Greenfield

Best Breakfast

2) MELROSE, Oak Creek

Best Lunch

1) HANLEY’S, Franklin

Best Burger

1) IRV’S MUG, Oak Creek
2) RED ROBIN, Greenfield

Best Coffee Shop/Café

1) FIVE STAR, Franklin
2) No 2nd place winner, all votes went to Five Star

Best Décor

2) MIA FAMIGLIA, Hales Corners

Best Desserts

1) SENDIK’S, Franklin and Greenfield
2) CASA DI GIORGIO, Franklin

Best Fish Fry

2) WEGNER’S, Franklin

Best Frozen Custard

1) OMEGA, Franklin
2) KOPP’S, Greenfield

Best Patio

1) THAT’S AMORE, Hales Corners
2) MIA FAMIGLIA, Hales Corners

Best Pizza

2) TIE: MICHAELANGELO’S, Franklin; ANN’S, Hales Corners; RICARDO’S, Greendale

Best Romantic Restaurant

2) No 2nd place winner

Best Seafood

1) WEGNER’S, Franklin

Best Steak

2) CASA DI GIORGIO, Franklin

Best Subs/Sandwiches

1) COUSIN’S, Multiple locations
2) JIMMY JOHN’S, Oak Creek

Best Family-Friendly Restaurant

1) CHAMP’S, Greenfield

Best Asian

1) LE BISTRO SHANGHAI, Hales Corners
2) TAJ MAHAL, Hales Corners

Best Italian

1) CASA DI GIORGIO, Franklin
2) TIE: TRATTORIA DI CARLO, Oak Creek and ANN’S, Hales Corners

Best Mexican

2) JALISCO’S, Franklin

Best Bar Food

1) KA, Franklin
2) HANLEY’S, Franklin

 Best service

1) CASA DI GIORGIO, Franklin
2) TIE: WEGNER’S, Franklin and MEYER’S RESTAURANT AND BAR, Greenfield

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

Here are some of the ideas suggested for Fountains of Franklin or Franklin-area restaurants:










Some additional comments made by voters:

Wegner’s tartar sauce is the BEST!

Sendik’s pizza: Seriously they have outstanding pizzas

What romantic restaurants in Franklin area? Are there any?

My sincere thanks to everyone who participated!

Conceal carry....


Feingold: Dems better worry about McCain

Sure, they're good friends.

But Russ Feingold isn't going to vote for John McCain.

Still, he's concerned, having even predicted McCain will be the next Presdient.

Wisconsin's junior Senator says Democrats can't take McCain for granted.

Want to live longer?

Drink more coffee.

Play golf.

Argue with your spouse.

Gain weight.

Sleep less.

Go to church.

Guys, lift weights.

Gals, get curvy.

Of course, by next week, more new studies will be announced that claim just the opposite of all of the above are true.

Is the death penalty appropriate for child rape?

The U.S. Supreme Court could issue a decision Thursday in a case involving the death penalty for child rape.

Patrick Kennedy is on death row in Louisiana for brutally and violently raping his 8-year old stepdaughter.

ABC News reports:

In 1998, Patrick O. Kennedy called 911 to report that his 8-year-old stepdaughter had just been raped.

Kennedy blamed two boys from his suburban New Orleans neighborhood for the attack and told police that the boys had fled on bicycles.

But police soon suspected Kennedy of the crime.

At trial, the girl, who had required surgery after the attack, testified that Kennedy had raped her and that he had coached her to lie to police.

Testimony at trial also revealed that Kennedy had called a carpet cleaning company about removing bloodstains from his carpet even before dialing 911.

Kennedy's crime was considered so heinous that he was sentenced to death under Louisiana law, which imposes the death penalty for the rape of a child.”

Some argue that Kennedy’s crime is more heinous than a homicide.

Ironically, Kennedy’s supporters include victim’s rights groups.

It's a compelling case.

Is the death penalty appropriate when the victim isn't dead?

Here’s more from CNN. 

UPDATE, 6//20/08: No ruling yet, but one is expected by the end of June.

Friday night on InterCHANGE





Denise Callaway, formerly of WTMJ-TV Channel 4 will be the guest host.

That huge explosion you just heard came from the Potawatomi


The Grand Opening of the incredible expansion at Potawatomi casino is now underway.

This is big stuff.

My boss, state Senator Mary Lazich called it in her column July 17, 2006, “The Las Vegas of the Midwest.”

Referring to a state Supreme Court ruling on Indian gaming compacts, Senator Lazich wrote, “The Potawatomi Bingo Casino in Milwaukee will now advance with plans to triple its floor space, currently at 70,000 square feet. That will give the facility 210,000 square feet, more floor space than any casino in all of Las Vegas. The MGM Grand Hotel is the largest casino in Las Vegas at 171,500 square feet.

The Potawatomi also plan to double the number of slot machines from 1,500 to 3,000. That would rival the MGM Grand’s 3,700 slot machines, and the expanded Potawatomi facility would have more slots than any other casino in Las Vegas; Wynn (2,500), Venetian (2,500), Bellagio (2,433), Mandalay Bay (2,400), Mirage (2,294), Circus Circus (2,255), Excalibur (2,250), Caesars Palace (2,100), and the Palms, Luxor and New York New York hotels, (2,000).”

Indeed, Potawatomi is now advertising on its website that it has 3100 slots.

From all reports, the facility is going to look and feel amazing, complete with new restaurants, a new location for one of the best restaurants in town, Dream Dance, and a raised bar with live music that will overlook the casino floor.

There’s a major problem, even with the high-powered new look.

Location, location, location.

The casino is the area’s #1 tourist attraction, there is no doubt.

And there it lies, in the middle of the less than aesthetically-pleasing Menomonee Valley. If you're going to do something, shouldn't it be done right?

The proper spot for the casino would have been in the heart of downtown, as close to the Midwest Express Center as possible so that when the convention doors flew open at 5:00,  out-of-towners would have a place to go to gamble, other words, spend money!

As a lifelong Milwaukee-area resident, it’s no surprise that years ago, when this “bingo parlor” first materialized, no one had the foresight, wisdom, vision, or guts to fight to put this humongous attraction downtown where it belonged.

I still can’t believe how we managed to save the Milwaukee Brewers by building Miller Park and doing it as well as we did in less than 30 years.

Let's be real.

The Potawatomi will still draw huge throngs and still rake in tons of dough.

The bingo parlor turned casino still should have gone downtown.

I'm sorry Mayor Taylor, the answer is no, however....

Some time ago, Franklin Mayor Tom Taylor asked me if I would serve as a citizen member of the city’s Finance Committee. I was immediately interested and intrigued, not to mention honored.

However, I politely and respectfully declined the Mayor’s offer because I didn’t feel I had enough time to properly give to this all-important committee.

I asked Mayor Taylor if I could offer to him the kind of advice and suggestions I would have made if I had been on the Finance Committee in order to help him meet his pledge of proposing a budget with a property tax levy increase that does not exceed 3 %.

Mayor Taylor welcomed my thoughts and opinions and I will be happy to share them.

The key, of course, is support from the Common Council. Only one member, Steve Taylor has openly said he/she would not support a budget with an increase that goes beyond 3%.

Meeting the Mayor’s pledge is not impossible, but it will be tough. The community can certainly survive some lean years. Taxpayers do it all the time in their own households.

It could be worse, you could be in Hawaii

If you’re reading this when I first posted, on Thursday night, and live in the Milwaukee-area (I have readers scattered everywhere), I have good news and bad news.

The good news is that your commute to work tomorrow morning will be the best commute you have all week.

The bad news is that your commute home will be the worst commute you have all week.

The metro-Milwaukee area has the 46th worst traffic congestion in the nation according to the INRIX National Traffic Scorecard.

Here’s the scorecard for our area with info about our overall congestion and worst bottlenecks.

The next time you’re stuck on I-94 or 43, think about Honolulu, where those same  natives that tell tourists  to “Hang Loose,” get high blood pressure near the end of the week.

According to INRIX, “If you happen to be driving on a Thursday from 5 PM to 6 PM on its main highways – you’re no longer in the Aloha State – you’re in the worst place and worst hour of any single roadway in the U.S., taking 88% more time to get where you’re going than if there were no congestion. If Highway 520 west bound in Seattle is your daily commute, you could conceivably get out and ride your bike faster than your car can take you to work, with an average speed of only 9 mph during congested periods.”

Here are some other national stats from INRIX:

• Worst Traffic Day: Friday

• Worst Week Day Commute: Friday PM

• Worst Commuting Hour: Friday 5-6 PM

• Worst Morning Commute: Wednesday AM

• Best Week Day for Traffic: Monday

• Best Week Day Commute: Friday AM

• Best Week Day Commuting Hour: Friday 6-7 AM

• Best Week Day Afternoon: Monday PM

We’re getting a bit more congested every year, and wasting time in your car costs you.

The situation still doesn’t merit unnecessary, unwanted, and highly expensive light or commuter rail.

HT: Milwaukee Talkie and

Jim Webb a VP choice for Obama?

I thought so, given Webb is a distinguished veteran, an equalizer against John McCain.

Probably won't happen now...

UPDATE: 6/19/08 @ 11:50 pm

Tell me again that Wisconsin is not....

A tax hell.

What's your kissing IQ?

Time for a kissing quiz, a smooching survey.

Question #1:

1) When you kiss your significant other, do you turn your head to the right…………….or left?

We ask because most couples do it….. a certain way.

Question # 2:

2) Between 2 and 34…..yeh, I know it’s weird……when you, not your significant other, but you…………I’M TALKIN' TO YOU…..when you kiss, how many muscles in your face do you use?  BE HONEST!

Question # 3

3) Kissing is good for our teeth, TRUE or FALSE. (My dentist never said a word about that to me, what the hell is this?)

Question #4

4) How many hours will the average person spend kissing in his/her lifetime?

A) 184 hours
B) 252 hours
C) 336 hours 

Question #5

5) Why, oh why do we use the letter “X”, the 3rd letter in “sex” to represent a smackola?

Question #6

6) How many men did Jennifer kiss before she married me, the man of her dreams?

Question #7

7) It’s a good idea for men to kiss their significant other’s before going to work, but why, besides personal preservation?

And finally, Question #8

8) What was the longest kiss in movie history?


The answers and some other kissing tidbits from and
Laura Schaefer, the author of Man with Farm Seeks Woman with Tractor: The Best and Worst Personal Ads of All Time

1. Two out of every three couples turn their heads to the right when they kiss.

2. A simple peck uses two muscles;
a passionate kiss, on the other hand, uses all 34 muscles in your face. Now that’s a rigorous workout!

3. Like fingerprints or snowflakes,
no two lip impressions are alike.

4. Kissing is good for what ails you.
Research shows that the act of smooching improves our skin, helps circulation, prevents tooth decay, and can even relieve headaches.

5. The average person spends 336 hours of his or her life kissing.

6. Ever wonder how an “X” came to represent a kiss? Starting in the Middle Ages, people who could not read used an X as a signature. They would kiss this mark as a sign of sincerity. Eventually, the X came to represent the kiss itself.

7. Talk about a rush!
Kissing releases the same neurotransmitters in our brains as parachuting, bungee jumping, and running.

8. The average woman kisses 29 men
before she gets married.

9. Men who kiss their partners before leaving for work
average higher incomes than those who don’t.

10. The longest kiss in movie history
was between Jane Wyman and Regis Tommey in the 1941 film, You’re in the Army Now. It lasted 3 minutes and 5 seconds. So if you’ve beaten that record, it’s time to celebrate!

Now isn't this more fun than looking at some rendering of a site plan for a new Costco in Two Rivers?

Sendik's news

’s newest Sendik’s will open in just a few weeks.

The ribbon cutting is scheduled on Wednesday, July 9 at 9:15 a.m. at Sendik's Fine Foods Store at the Shopppes at Wyndham Village (Hwy. 100 and Drexel Ave.)

Sendik's then opens the doors at 10:00.

OK, get off your duppa and get yourself down to...


See Bryan Maersch eat one pierogi after another.

See Bryan Maersch polka until he drops.

Get Bryan Maersch’s autograph here.

See Bryan Maersch sing along with Eddie Blazonczyk and the Versatones.


Read more

A great Franklin festival

It's this weekend.

The Catholic Church wonders why it has problems

DISCLAIMER: I am a lifelong, practicing, devout Catholic.

The Catholic Church wonders why it has problems, why all the pews aren't filled, why collections are down.

It's because they pull stuff like this:

Bishop defends handling of sex scandal involving his brother and teen girl

Read more

You really didn't expect Jim Doyle to do the right thing, did you?

Well, he didn't.

In his weekly column in the Waukesha Freeman, Mark Belling wrote this about the Doyle story:

If you get most of your information from the local mainstream media you don’t know that:

* Gov. Jim Doyle spent six hours in the middle of the flooding crisis to attend a golfing event to raise money for his own campaign.

The Doyle golf story was ignored by virtually everybody, although The Freeman printed a small story on Page 1. The head of the state’s largest political Web site, Jeff Mayers of, told me he didn’t know about Doyle’s break from flood work to raise money while golfing (I guess "wispolitics" isn’t too connected with Wisconsin politics). The excuse from Madison’s largest newspaper, the Wisconsin State Journal, was even "better." Here’s what the paper’s managing editor, Tim Kelley, wrote to readers wondering why Doyle’s golfing while Wisconsin was flooding was ignored:

"We have a compelling story running in the morning about how and why many homeowners aren’t going to be able to get flood insurance coverage thanks to missteps by local officials who failed to update floodplain maps. That’s more significant reporting than taking a cheap shot at the governor ... "

Cheap shot! The media has apparently moved from ignoring all embarrassing stories about Democrats to now taking shots at those who dare to actually report them.

School boards and administrations never tire of pickpocketing

What’s the typical MO of most school boards and administrations?

Citing all kinds of problems, they cry for money.

If they don’t get the money, civilization, as we know it, will crumble.

Money is the only answer to solve the problems they perceive.

How do they get the money?

You know how.

They put a referendum on the ballot.

Then they concoct an end of the world sob story to try to guilt voters into opening up their wallets to say, in between tears, “Here. You can have it. Take as much as you want.”

They will use every tactic and trick in the book (locking voting age students into a school assembly to instruct them on the referendum, handing out flyers in school to take home to parents, talking about how good a YES vote would be right in class, etc.)

Now the referendum passes.

The money comes pouring in from suckers, I mean taxpayers.

And all those problems go away, right?

Yeh, sure.

And then, there’s one more element to this entire process.

Know what it is?

Think about it.

If you’re insightful, it’ll come to mind rather quickly.


After all of the above has happened, the same school board and administration does one more thing.

That is exactly what is happening in Racine.

Fred at Real Debate Wisconsin gets the hat tip.

Friday Night Live


Tonight’s special guests are the Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) and the Edgar Winter Group.

In reminiscing about ELO and the 1970’s, the BBC’s Cliff Wootton wrote in 2001, “Back then, we all wore our hair afro-style, had outrageously flared trousers, stack heeled kinky-boots and gold lame jackets. And that was just the blokes.”

From ELO’s website:

“The Electric Light Orchestra's ambitious yet irresistible fusion of Beatlesque pop, classical arrangements, and futuristic iconography rocketed the group to massive commercial success throughout the 1970s. ELO was formed in Birmingham, England in the autumn of 1970 from the ashes of the eccentric art-pop combo the Move, reuniting frontman Roy Wood with guitarist/composer Jeff Lynne; announcing their intentions to "pick up where 'I Am the Walrus' left off," the quartet sought to embellish their engagingly melodic rock with classical flourishes.”

In 1973, “the group returned to the Top Ten with their grandiose cover of the Chuck Berry chestnut ‘Roll Over Beethoven.’ The record was also their first American hit.”

In a review, called ELO’s first big hit, “a cover of Chuck Berry's popular rock & roll tune mixed with Beethoven's ‘Fifth Symphony.’ Epic in scale, ‘Roll Over Beethoven’ effortlessly zigzags between Chuck Berry rhythm and Beethoven melody, becoming an elegant blend of pure instrumental composition and classic 50s rock.”

Read more



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


Flood heroes (added 9:00 pm, 6/21/08)


The Boy Scouts

Jenny Masche

Shawn Johnson

Kendall Bailey

Johnny Depp....the story.........the video.


Mother of the Year candidate

Jeff Pelo

Virginia charity

Ohio teacher

The state of hell

The state of Illinois


"That is a really creepy feeling to look around your house and say what is most important. I can 't tell you how sickening that was. " 
Rita Strutz of Saul County on what personal belongings she would save from the flooding.

"It's insane. I've never experienced such extremes. I've lived in Wisconsin all my life and this is just crazy. You just think, 'Oh no.' You think it isn't going to strike twice. But then I never thought it could the first time. You're a little bit on edge now."
Renee Klotz, of Wheatland, used to love watching storm clouds gather. But that was before a freak tornado in January destroyed her home and she watched flood waters this week cover the street outside her Burlington apartment. Now whenever she hears a storm warning she gets nervous.

"You begin questioning your own safety.”
Bill Henricks, a psychologist at Columbia St. Mary's Hospital in Milwaukee.

 “The only people parking in our lot are those coming to see the lake. I feel like someone I knew died. You go through a grieving process. Things will eventually get back to normal. We just have to get through this year.”
Kathy Zowin, co-owner of Lake Delton Water Sports.

“Like everyone else, I get in my car and I moan and groan. It's going to be a bottleneck. But you know what? We won't have the 100-mile detour.”
Transportation Secretary Frank Busalacchi on the $896,000 bypass ordered to replace a 100-mile detour on a flooded section of I-94 in Johnson Creek. The project was completed Thursday.

"I have an off-line product, and it's an online world. It's another example of laws not being able to keep up with technology."
Wisconsin Lottery Director Mike Edmonds, who wants to have online games in Wisconsin. They’re now unconstitutional.

“Unless you’re one of the fringe that actually rides the bus, transit just isn’t that important. Almost everybody who has a job drives to it or gets a ride from somebody else. Throwing tens of millions at such a tiny part of the transportation ridership is pointless. Creating a train that runs along Lake Michigan is beyond pointless; it’s moronic. Raising our already onerous tax burden for the benefit of the cult that uses transit is another nail in the region’s economic coffin.

‘But rising gas prices will be a boon for buses and trains!!!!!’ So they tell us. If that’s so, the increases in fare box revenues will take care of all of our transit needs. Don’t count on it. Most people hate riding the bus and will cut out Starbucks, car washes and Doritos before they give up their cars to ride a train. And next to none of them will take the bus.”
Mark Belling in his weekly column.

“I’m kind of disenfranchised. I will not be voting for Obama. I will cast my vote for John McCain. I just feel you need to have somebody who has experience with foreign matters.”
Clinton delegate Debra Bartoshevich of Waterford.

“It's extremely important that we send a message that Democrats in the state of Wisconsin will never support somebody who supports John McCain for president.”
State Democrat Party chair Joe Wineke urging delegates to approve a motion to oust Bartoshevich.

“I am enthused and eager and it will be a new challenge. This allows me to continue in an area that has always been important to me, which is serving the public.”
Retiring State Senator  Carol Roessler, R-Oshkosh, announcing that she would resign her office early to take a Doyle administration position as head of Revenue's Division of State and Local Finance.

“With Barack Obama in the state, Obama's top campaign staffer, Jim Doyle, gave voters a glimpse of the Democrats' priorities this year -- politics over Wisconsin families.”
State Republican Party chair Reince Priebus criticizing the governor for his appearance at a golf fundraiser while dealing with flooding in the state last week. Doyle’s office said his appearance at the fundraiser had no impact on the flood response; a campaign spokesman said Doyle "spent most of the day dealing with official state business." Doyle’s campaign said Thursday it would keep the money raised at the event.


Teenage girls make a pact to get pregnant.

Apparently, teens think it's cool.


Governor Doyle....golfing for dollars while Wisconsin deals with flooding.


As I mentioned last week, all of the flood coverage, and now this week, the flood aftermath reporting, is warranted.

However, there's a fallout.

People see and hear about the devastation in the news media, and suddenly vacation plans are put on hold.

Tourism is already starting to suffer.


Tough to nail it down to just one.

An enema monument.

High heels.........for babies.

Bumper stickers = road rage

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

The Barking Lot

The Barking Lot


By Jennifer Fischer

I know our calendars say that yesterday was the first day of summer.  Given that our days have been filled with cooler-than-normal temperatures and an ungodly amount of rain it seems difficult to imagine that we will ever enjoy a nice, dry, sunny, HOT day.

But as soon as you can say “Wanna go for a walk?” to Fido, we will see our thermometers shoot up past 80 degrees.

Every summer, we are reminded of the stupidity of people who claim to love their dogs.  Claim that they are responsible pet owners.  Claim that they buy the best food, take them to the best veterinarians.  These same “dog lovers” are the ones who leave their helpless dog in the car while they “just run in to the store for five minutes.”  And they come back to a dead dog.

If I had my way, any owner who lets this happen would suffer the exact same fate.  And I know I am not the only person who feels this way.

Leaving your dog unattended in a sweltering car is not the only way to mistreat your four-legged friend during hot summer weather.  Keeping them outside too long with no shade, taking them for too long of a walk during the hottest part of the day, and not providing them with adequate water are all other ways owners fail to meet their responsibility to their pet.

I have faith in the people who read The Barking Lot that they would never do something so cruel, so ridiculous, so unbelievably stupid.  But as a reminder to every dog owner out there, PLEASE REMEMBER THESE TIPS. 

Of course, there is the flip side of the insensitive owner.  There are the pet owners who buy their dogs a kiddie-size wading pool.  (Been There, Done That.)  They buy their precious pooches special doggie “ice cream.”  (Um, BT, DT again.) 

And one of the coolest (sorry, couldn’t resist) ways to pamper your puppy during the blazing days ahead is with KOOL DOGZ Ice Treat.   Go ahead, start making those pupsicles.  Your dog will love you even more, if that’s possible.
----Jennifer Fischer 

Thank you, Jennifer.

Time now for DOGS IN THE NEWS, canines that made headlines the past week.

This is quite a story, a dog surviving a 220 foot drop off a cliff.

Dog cloning? It’s arrived.

They call it an underground doggie railroad.

And finally, I love this: A pet store tells Paris Hilton to take a hike.

That's it for this week.

Remember, stay cool, cats...........I mean dogs.

Read more

My most popular blogs

Most popular

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

1) What is the key function of the federal government?

2) Culinary no-no is one year old

3) Fathers are the "Rodney Dangerfield's" of marketing


5) The Barking Lot (6/14/08)

The World's Ugliest Dog

This news broke too late Saturday to make our weekly dog blog, The Barking Lot, but take a look....

Crista Jeremiason / Associated Press
Jeanenne Teed celebrates as she holds Gus, her pedigree Chinese Crested. Gus won top pedigree and beat out the past "Ring of Champions" to take home the grand prize.

Ugly 1

Ugly 6
(Justin Sullivan / Getty Images)

From the LA Times

Ugliest dog is a real winner

A pedigree Chinese crested with three legs, one eye and no hair wins the World's Ugliest Dog contest in Petaluma, California.

Read more

Racine woman named Miss Wisconsin

The Journal Sentinel seemed to ignore this story all week.

Briana Lipor is the new Miss Wisconsin.

(Photo: Oshkosh Northwestern)

Lipor will compete in the 2009 Miss America pageant in Las Vegas in January.

I wonder if she'd like to meet my nephew, Aaron?

Jim Stingl's column a must-read today

Stingl writes about Darvelle Hutchins of Milwaukee.

Hutchins bought his own house.

He works full time.

He took only 3 years to graduate from high school.


And he’s only 18 years old.

Now HE’S a young man who’s going places.

Here's the column from today's Journal/Sentinel.

Culinary no-no #59

Culinary no-no's

This is the fish fry served at American Serb Hall, quite possibly the most popular fish fry in all of Wisconsin.

Photo: Jack Orton, Milwaukee Journal/Sentinel, 2003

The Serb Hall fish fry costs $14.95.

That is a rip-off and a major culinary no-no.

Friday’s Milwaukee Journal/Sentinel carried a story about the predicament restaurant owners are finding themselves in. The rising cost of food caused by the ridiculous ethanol craze has restaurateurs debating whether to raise fish fry prices or keep them where they are to prevent losing customers.

The paper reported, “Serb Hall management is asking customers to swallow a nearly 60% price increase, from $9.50 to $14.95 for the standard fish fry.”

Quoted in the article is my good friend, Larry Meyer who runs Meyer’s Restaurant and Bar in Greenfield.

Regarding the 60% price increase at Serb Hall, Meyer said, ““I give them credit for being gutsy.”

I call it stunning.

A fish fry on a Friday night at Serb Hall is one of Milwaukee’s most storied traditions.

The fish dinner is good. Many would say very good.

I submit it’s not even close to being the best, making the pole vault in price from $9.50 to $14.95 about a month ago highway robbery.

In February 2007, then-Journal/Sentinel restaurant critic Dennis Getto wrote a piece rating the best fish fries. Getto gave the best fish fries a rating a four fish and the next best three and half fish. This weekend, I checked the restaurants rated by Getto as the best of the best to see if they too had no other choice but to raise the price of a standard fish fry to $14.95.

Here are those restaurants followed by the current price of their fish fries:

Four fish

Wegner's St. Martins Inn, 11318 W. St. Martins Road, Franklin


Kegel's Inn, 5901 W. National Ave., West Milwaukee


Karl Ratzsch's Restaurant, 320 E. Mason St

$13.95 beer battered

$15.95 broiled

Three-and-a half fish

Ron's Cozy Corner, N54-W35994 W. Lake Drive, Oconomowoc


Polonez, 4016 S. Packard Ave., St. Francis


Erv's Mug, 130 W. Ryan Road, Oak Creek


Carleton Grange, 3807 S. Packard Ave., St. Francis


Tanner-Paull American Legion Post, 6922 W. Orchard St., West Allis


Bavarian Inn, 700 W. Lexington Ave., Glendale


$14.00 all you can eat

Beerbelly's, 512 W. Layton Ave.


The Country Squire Supper Club, S72-W16373 Janesville Road, Muskego


It seems other restaurants, faced with the same increase in food prices as Serb Hall chose not to increase their prices by nearly 60%. In fact, they’ve stayed virtually unchanged since Getto’s February 2007 article.

Also, if someone, including Serb Hall management wants to argue that their $14.95 fish fry is ultimately superior in quality to the fish fries mentioned by Getto (He did not include Serb Hall), it’s going to fall on deaf ears.

Some of the fish fries that are close to Serb Hall’s $14.95 price tag, like Karl Ratzsch's serve the same generous portion, in a Sprecher beer batter and includes yummy potato pancakes. And there’s atmosphere along with live music.

Bartolotta’s Catering at Boerner Botanical Gardens has a fish fry that runs from November to just before summer when the fish fries are bumped by Friday night wedding’s and wedding rehearsal dinners.

Bartolotta’s charges $14.95 for their beer battered version. But they also include the best salad bar that goes on and on and on. And there’s atmosphere along with live music.

The atmosphere at Serb Hall where you’re herded in and out like cattle?

Here’s a photo of the room from  that describes the “atmosphere” this way:  “Cozy it’s not.”

Serb Hall reportedly serves over 1,000 fish fries every week. Couldn’t they have raised the price of beverages or other items that clearly could have made up for the increase in fish and food prices the management claims it just couldn’t handle?

Other managers are, at least for the moment, rejecting increases that could kill their biggest night of the week and are switching to other styles of fish.

Serb Hall is taking the huge risk of losing customers by jacking up the price, not by .50, or one dollar, or two dollars, but by $5.45.

They’re not the best or the only game in town.

What once was the $9.50 fish fry at Serb Hall is now a big, fat, deep-fried culinary no-no.

NOTE: Kegel's Inn, rated with four fish by Getto in his 2007 article, is no longer in business.

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

Johnny Depp should have stayed here

Here's what happens when filming of a movie leaves the friendly confines of Wisconsin for Illinois.

Police on set of "Public Enemies"

A police officer talks with costumed extras on the set of the film, "Public Enemies," after a drive-by shooting occurred nearby. Chicago Tribune photo by E. Jason Wambsgans.

I say pack up and move the entire operation north.

Appleton, Columbus, Oshkosh, Cudahy, chance of gettting shot in any of those places.

From the Chicago Tribune:

Teen arrested in drive-by shooting near Johnny Depp movie set

Actor was not on scene; no one injured

Tribune staff report

Read more

Great news for the Hamm brothers of Waukesha

A day ago, it was uncertain.

Not anymore.

They're both going to the Olympics.

Paul Ryan's the man

The Wisconsin State Journal has an interesting article on the notion, I believe, that Paul Ryan is the future of the GOP.

Here's the piece.

UPDATE: Robert Novak calls Ryan the fiscal medicine man.

Why Wisconsin can't be like Arizona

And I don’t mean the sunshine, pretty mountains, cactus, or deserts.

I’m talking taxes.

Nothing short of miraculous has transpired in Arizona.

Nearly thirty years ago, Arizona had one of the nation’s worst tax burdens as a percentage of state income, the 5th highest in the nation.

Does that sound familiar Wisconsin taxpayers?

That was 1990.

Today, Arizona’s tax burden with taxes as a percentage of state income has gone from the 5th highest in the nation to 31st highest, according to the non-partisan Tax Foundation in Washington D.C. that keeps track of all tax data. (Wisconsin ranks 7th highest in the country).

How was Arizona able to pull of the dramatic turnaround?

They did it for the same reasons it’s clear that if Wisconsin continues its tax and spending patterns of the past that we’ll be mired in the depths of tax hell for years and years to come.

Arizona dug itself out of a massive hole for two reasons:

1) They CUT state taxes.

2) Individual incomes rose faster than state and local tax collections.

CUT state taxes in Wisconsin?

We can’t even FREEZE taxes!

Remember the entire debate a few years ago about a tax freeze.  You would have thought the apocalypse was at hand.  The streets would be flowing in blood, grandmothers and babies would starve, people would die before our very eyes.

Freeze taxes? Are you mad?

Amidst that over-reaction and threat to our habit of spending like drunken sailors, imagine the reaction if someone would attempt to CUT state taxes.

Democrats would start ordering strait jackets for anyone who would express such an idea.

That’s #1.

#2……..individual incomes in Arizona rose faster than state and local tax collections.

There are a couple of pieces in that equation.

First, there needs to be some restraint on the increase in state and local taxes.

Folks, this is Wisconsin we’re talking about.  Slowing the rate of increase in taxation? We tried that a few years ago. It was called TABOR, the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights.

Remember the reaction?

You want to throw Grandma off the train.

You want to starve innocent children.

You want the elderly to eat dog food.

So tax collections remain high in Wisconsin.

What about incomes?

Per capita income is at rock bottom for Wisconsinites compared to other states.

Those with large incomes leave.

From a blog written by state Senator Mary Lazich (my boss):

During November 2005, the Wisconsin Taxpayer Alliance issued a very troubling report entitled, "Moving In, Moving on: Migration in Wisconsin."  During the five years prior to the 2000 census, almost 669,000 people either moved to or out of Wisconsin. However, the net in-migration into Wisconsin was a meager 7,282.

Individuals with college or advanced degrees were more likely to leave, while those with less education tended to come. Individuals with household incomes above $75,000 left Wisconsin. Those with incomes of $200,000 or more had the highest rates of leaving.

The huge exodus of wealthy Wisconsinites leaving the state caused a loss of an estimated $4.72 billion in net worth and a loss of $455 million in income over the five years of this study. That means far fewer in-state bank deposits, less stock in Wisconsin firms, less investment capital for in-state ventures, and less money given to local charities.”

And why do those with sizeable incomes leave?

Oh, they may be enticed by palm trees and sunshine. But they do leave for states that have far more favorable tax climates than Wisconsin.

Wisconsin continues to tax and spend beyond the ability of the affordability of taxpayers, over and over and over and over and over again.

That is why unless there is dramatic change in the mindset of the governor and the Legislature, you won’t see an Arizona miracle in Wisconsin for a long, long, long time.

That means open your wallets, keep forking your hard-earned money, unless you elect individuals who strongly believe in fiscal responsibility.

For more on tax policies in Arizona, here is an article from today’s Arizona Republic, copied so you don’t have to register, etc.

Tax policies draw attention in hard times
Russ Wiles - Jun. 22, 2008 12:00 AM
The Arizona Republic

Arizonans feeling the pinch from the real-estate slump, sluggish job market and rising gasoline prices can be thankful for one thing: a mild state-tax burden.

But those same policies are starting to exert real pressure on state government, underscored by a $2 billion budget shortfall that legislators are trying to fix.

With the notable exception of sales taxes, Arizona imposes comparatively low tax levies on residents, and the bite has gotten less severe over time.

Two decades ago, Arizona levied the fifth-highest taxes as a percentage of personal income, according to the Tax Foundation, a research group in Washington, D.C. Since then, the burden has dropped significantly because of state tax cuts and because individual incomes have risen faster than state and local tax collections, the group reported.

Except for sales taxes, which Arizonans pay at a rate above the national average, Arizona's consumer taxes are low to moderate.

Depending on your viewpoint, the state's tax policies either reflect impressive fiscal discipline at a time when the federal government routinely runs up billions of dollars in deficits, or they can starve needed programs of funding, particularly now during the state's budget crunch.

Although Arizona isn't as tax-friendly as the seven states, including neighboring Nevada, that don't impose an income tax on individuals, it still comes out looking pretty lenient.

"Compared to higher-tax states back east and in the Midwest, I find many people want to become Arizona residents," said Paul Axberg, a certified public accountant and certified financial planner at Prime Wealth Advisors in Sun City West, who helps a lot of winter visitors with their tax returns.

Dennis Hoffman, an economics professor at the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University, said Arizona's individual income-tax burden has been slashed more than 40 percent since the early 1990s.

“Our legislators have taken every opportunity to deliver tax breaks to individual households, but it doesn't mean it's providing for the infrastructure that the state needs," he said. "I'd argue that taking the same money and investing it in infrastructure like roads, schools and advanced water systems would be far more enhancing to economic growth."

Some critics would prefer to see the state collect more in taxes and invest the money in education and in research that helps Arizona compete in the global economy. They also feel current tax policies, combined with the slowing economy, have placed a greater burden on the state's safety-net programs in health care and other areas.

Generous deductions

Arizona's top income-tax rate is 4.54 percent, and it has fallen in several steps from a peak of 8 percent two decades ago.

Back then, most working Arizonans used to trigger the top rate, as it kicked in on taxable income of just $6,000 for singles and $12,000 for married couples filing joint returns, said Dan Zemke, a spokesman for the state Department of Revenue.

Today, most Arizonans don't earn anywhere near enough to trigger the top rate. The maximum bracket doesn't start for singles until taxable income tops $150,000, and it's $300,000 for married couples.

Contrast that with, say, Colorado, which imposes a flat 4.63 percent rate on residents as a percentage of their federal taxable income, or Utah, whose residents start out paying a 2.3 percent rate that quickly escalates to nearly 7 percent on more than $5,500 of taxable income.

Californians reach their top 9.3 percent rate at less than $45,000 in taxable income.

Arizona also offers fairly generous standard deductions and personal exemptions, which allow residents to avoid more in taxation than a look at tax rates alone would imply.

The state also has several credits, including those to support poor working families, private-school scholarships and extracurricular activities at public schools, that are unusual, said Gregory Carlson, a certified public accountant and certified financial planner at Wealth Management International in Peoria. He cites Arizona's allowance of full medical-expense deductions as another policy that helps many taxpayers.

Arizonans paid about $528 in per capita state income taxes in 2006, ranking 39th, according to the Tax Foundation. That was well behind No. 1 Connecticut ($1,648), No. 5 California ($1,405) and all other close neighbors except Nevada.

Other tax burdens

Arizona partly makes up for mild income taxes with fairly high sales-tax collections. The state's 5.6 percent sales-tax rate is a bit above average. And most Arizona cities and counties impose their own taxes, bringing total sales-tax rates to the 8 percent to 9 percent range.

Arizonans paid $1,470 in per capita sales taxes in 2005, the most recent year for which numbers are available. That was above the national sales-tax average of $1,295.

Most states with no income taxes or mild ones make up for it with heftier sales-tax receipts, including Nevada, whose $2,214 in per capita sales-tax collections ranked second behind Hawaii at $2,284, according to the Tax Foundation.

Arizonans don't face especially high property taxes - the state ranked 35th in such collections in 2005 at $861 per capita, compared with $1,134 for the nation as a whole. But mild property taxes for residents here are partly offset by fairly steep business property taxes.

States also tax their residents in other ways, such as in the consumption of fuel, tobacco and alcohol. Here again, Arizona's take isn't abnormally high, except for a $2-per-pack tax on cigarettes that ranks among the nation's highest. Arizona's alcohol levies are mixed, with wine taxes higher than in most states but liquor and beer taxes on the low side, according to the Tax Foundation.

In addition, Arizona doesn't do much to increase the price of gasoline, imposing a modest tax of 19 cents a gallon. If you're embarking on a road trip, you might want to fill up here before venturing into Nevada (32.5 cents a gallon in taxes), Utah (24.5 cents) or California, which has the highest gasoline tax at 45.5 cents a gallon.

Alaska taxes gas at the lowest rate, 8 cents a gallon.

Also, Arizona, unlike many other states, doesn't impose estate or inheritance taxes, Carlson said.

Tax Freedom Day is a hypothetical date that is sometimes cited to illustrate when people have earned enough money to pay all their federal, state and local tax obligations for the year. It makes for easy comparisons among states and over different periods. Tax Freedom Day arrived April 20 this year in Arizona, according to the Tax Foundation. That was three days earlier than the national average this year and five days earlier than Tax Freedom Day in 2007 for Arizonans.


Sympathy for these absent-minded individuals? No way!

I have no sympathy for people who leave their unattended children alone in hot cars.



And I especially hate when they use that tired old excuse that they FORGOT!

This is a topic I have blogged about often and have also talked about when guest hosting on Newstalk 1130 WISN.

Here’s the latest Einstein to “forget.”

DAVID SWANSON / Philadelphia Inquirer Staff Photographer
Edward M. Kanterman, 59, is taken into court in Marple this morning, before he was charged with involuntary manslaughter in the death of his grandson.


Here's the story from

A Lansdowne man was charged today with involuntary manslaughter in his grandson's death after he forgot the baby in his SUV during a period of sweltering heat earlier this month.

Edward M. Kanterman, 59, of Sayers Avenue, forgot to drop off his grandson at daycare June 10 and instead drove to work, leaving 14-month-old Nicholas McCorkle in the back seat, strapped in a carseat for more than five hours. Temperatures reached the mid-90s that day, and by the time Kanterman returned, Nicholas, who was drenched in sweat, was blue and struggling to breathe, according to a police affidavit. His temperature was 107.2 degrees. Four days later, doctors told the child's parents that he was brain dead. Nicholas died at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia June 14, shortly after he was taken off life support.

Police have said they don't believe Kanterman deliberately left his grandson in the car, and Nicholas's mother, Rebecca Kanterman, has said she does not blame her father.

elaware District Attorney G. Michael Green, however, said Kanterman showed "gross negligence" when he forgot a child in a car during a dangerous heat wave that had been a top news story for several days. Nicholas relied on Kanterman for his survival, and Kanterman's failure left Nicholas unable to save himself, Green said.

"Who is the voice of a 14-month-old child?" Green said at a press conference yesterday. "We heard that voice."

Kanterman was led into a Marple courtroom in handcuffs yesterday and later released on $10,000 unsecured bail. Judge John P. Capuzzi Sr., scheduled a hearing for August 11.

nvoluntary manslaughter involving a victim less than 12 years of age becomes a felony charge, Green said, and Kanterman could face a maximum of 10 years in prison. But Green said it was too early to discuss whether Kanterman would serve time.

Kanterman did not answer reporters' questions as he left court yesterday. His attorney, Eugene A. Bonner, said the charge only adds to the family's grief.

"I don't know what punishment more than he's already suffered, what good that would do," Bonner said in a telephone interview yesterday. "He's already being punished every day for the rest of his life. It's horrifying, and bringing charges just makes it a double tragedy."

About 36 children die each year from heat-related illness after being left in cars, said Janette E. Fennell, founder and president of the national nonprofit advocacy group Kids and Cars. Nicholas was the seventh child to die this year nationally, and the organization has found the numbers increasing as more parents put their children in backseats to avoid the dangers of front-seat airbags.

In a similar case in 2002, Calvin Howell, then 54, forgot to drop his 21-month-old granddaughter at a babysitter's house before he went to work and left the girl in his car. Howell, of Southwest Philadelphia, was charged with involuntary manslaughter, endangering the welfare of a child, and reckless endangerment. He pleaded guilty in 2003 and was sentenced to five years of probation and 100 hours of community service. also reports that on the day Nicholas died, "Edward Kanterman picked up his grandson at his daughter's home in Drexel Hill, intending to drop him off at day care before going to work as an instructor at the trade school, a routine he kept to three times a week, according to Marple Township police."

And he still forgot?

I find it very troubling that caretakers who leave children alone for hours in sweltering, locked cars do get a fair number of sympathizers and defenders who seemingly forget that there's a dead baby involved. When I've talked about this on WISN, the outrageous handwringers and apologists are absolutely nauseating.

In this case involving the grandfather, just read some of the comments posted by readers on

I guess the DA has to charge him but what good will the trial and conviction do? I don't think anyone or anything can make the hurt go away from this grandfather and the entire family.

Unbelievable. This is a family issue and it sounds liek the family is sorting it out. Why won't the prosectuor let them deal with this on their own terms? Sad.

I just don't understand what is gained by charging this man. The reasons for societal punishment are commonly referred to as the four Rs: retaliation, restitution, retribution, and rehabilitation. Putting this man in jail would serve none of these, and provides no additional deterrent for these kinds of unfortunate accidents.

This only makes a bad situation worse....

This is heartache for everyone involved forever. Mr. Kanterman will never be the same or recover from what happened - there was no need to charge him - his own pain is charge enough.

The prosecutor has got to be the world's biggest scumbag. This was tragedy for all of them, and now it will be compounded 10 fold. The prosecutor's superiors need to intervene and put this to rest.

This is an example of how people get self righteous and say this man should be charged, because they would never make such a mistake. A parent or grandparent would not intentionally leave a child in the car like this - it was a tragic mistake. Unless there is proof of this being an intentional act, I say do not charge this poor man. His punishment is already severe enough - have some mercy.

It seems odd to prosecute. Maybe I'd feel different if I had all the details, but in most cases this is simply a tragic and freak accident. I would expect the family has suffered enough. My prayers go out to the entire family.

The reason we're seeing during the "hottest days" is because they don't die on the cooler days. This stuff happens people. It's a freak accident. Maybe it was due to senility - though 59 seems young for that. That's why I said in an earlier post I would like to have more facts

My god just look at his face. Look at the pain and the sadness in his face. My prayers are with him and his family.

And here we go again: always have to blame SOMEONE. It's obviously unfortunate when something like this happens, but to charge him with a CRIME?? How ridiculous! And what does our society gain by this costly prosecution? Nothing.


Not one of those individuals that wrote in with a comment makes any mention of......


Read more

"The survival of the republic is at stake"


It could very well be the most critical issue facing our country.

David Walker, comptroller general of the U.S. says we are suffering from a fiscal cancer that could have catastrophic consequences.

Walker has been taking his message on the road in what he calls a Fiscal Wake-Up Tour that comes to Milwaukee June 30th.  One of the guest speakers will be Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan who has been getting national attention for his roadmap to address our long-term fiscal challenges.

The Fiscal Wake-Up Tour will be held on
Monday, June 30, 2008 from 11:30 AM - 1:30 PM at Discover World at Pier Wisconsin, 500 N. Harbor Drive. The tour is open to the public, but advanced RSVP is recommended. Contact Debra Jordan at (414) 287-4127 or by E-mail at

CBS' "60 Minutes” did this piece on Walker and his Wake-Up Tour. I consider it must-see video.

Here’s the entire presentation at a stop in Maryland last October:

They come, they gawk

I mentioned this on InterCHANGE this past weekend.

(photo) lake delton 7

Joe and Bonnie Schaefer of Wisconsin Dells, Wis., take pictures of the lake bed Thursday, June 12, 2008, in Lake Delton, Wis. Heavy rains caused a breach in a narrow portion of land between the lake and the Wisconsin River near the dam in the man-made Lake Delton.

The emptied-Lake Delton is drawing hundreds of gawkers.


Come and gawk all you want.

Bring your cameras.

Take pictures.

But for heaven's sake, make sure to drop a few bucks when you're done gaping, especially you Illinois folks.

Here we go again

Don Imus talks.

Al Sharpton gets all bent out of shape.

The I-man could apologize (which I don't think he has to do) for the next 5 days and Sharpton, who has no business being a spokesman on racial harmony, would still be screaming for Imus' head.

It's deja vu all over again.

Ugly Americans? Hardly

The world hates us.

As we speak, there are dangerous, evil people plotting to kill you and me.

Most countries would never step forward to offer us help, but beg for our assistance when they’re in trouble.

You know, it’s our fault the world can’t stand Americans. We’re the ones with the problems. Why can’t we realize we’re the bad guys.

From the Wall Street Journal:

“Americans gave a record amount to charity in 2007, topping $300 billion for the first time, despite mounting economic worries.”

The hateful left on Tim Russert

This is extremely disgusting.

Since the passing of Tim Russert, conservatives and liberals alike have found ways to offfer kind tributes.

That does not include the fringe wacko hateful nutjob left.

There's more. Matt Purple is keeping track.

The 100 Greatest Guitar Songs of All Time or, Would you look at that...Elvis makes another list


Just in time for Summerfest, Rolling Stone is out with its list of the 100 Greatest Guitar Songs of All Time.

It should come as no surprise that Elvis makes the list at #37 with, “That’s All Right, Mama,” his very first recording.

Rolling Stone writes:

Lead guitarist Scotty Moore's hillbilly blues has become ground zero for the last 54 years' worth of rockabilly. On Elvis' first single, the guitarist's lusty solo matches Elvis' vocals and rhythm guitar perfectly — it's hard to believe this is the only second time they played together.”

The #1 song on the list:

Jason Taylor in green and gold?

When we last saw Jason Taylor...

The Miami Dolphins think Taylor spent too much time in the dancing limelight and not enough time concentrating on football. Miami doesn't want him amd Taylor wants out.

Naturally, Taylor wants to go to a contender, and while the Packers are interested, Taylor's people say it's probably not going to happen.

Adam Schein of says it should:

Miami needs to trade Jason Taylor to Green Bay

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel had a report last week that the Packers are kicking the tires on a deal for the disgruntled Dolphin star. Two members of the Packers' defensive staff have experience coaching Taylor. Plus, Green Bay general manager Ted Thompson has a great relationship with Miami's football Czar, Bill Parcells.

Frankly, it makes too much sense.

I firmly believe that Taylor has played his last down in Miami. He has no interest in working for the new regime.

The Packers shouldn't worry about Taylor talking his way out of Miami, even though it's been a major turnoff and big distraction to the Fins. He's always had the reputation of being a hard worker and team leader. Wanting to finally get a ring, Taylor won't be a headache for Mike McCarthy.

Taylor is still an elite pass rusher with at least two good years left in the tank. A line of Aaron Kampman, Cullen Jenkins, Justin Harrell and Taylor would be one of the best defensive fronts in the entire league.

Plus, Green Bay, while situated in a tiny market, is a marquee franchise. The Packers are constantly on national television. While Miami and Green Bay are complete opposite cities with vastly different climates, playing for the Packers will help Taylor with his desired "Q" rating as he moves into acting and dancing fulltime.

I think Taylor will play two more years, including 2008. If Thompson can get insurances from Taylor that he'll play past this year, I'd give up a second-round pick for a player that will help you win games on defense in the post Brett Favre era and solidify you as division favorites and a Super Bowl contender.

Kevin Barrett and anyone who votes for him...

Nutjobs, one and all.

Kevin Barrett, you may recall, is the former UW professor and still fruitcake who thinks the U.S. planned and pulled off the terrorist attacks on 9-11.

Barrett is running for Congress against Ron Kind, as a Libertarian.

The Capital Times, commies that they are, had no trouble running out and finding Madisonians who, while they can’t vote for Barrett,  are more than happy to gush all over this space cadet and give money to his worthless campaign.

Get a load of these quotes.

"He's got guts. He's not afraid of controversy. A lot of people will run from controversy, especially if it means doing so on national television. He has faced those Fox people with bat in hand."

Michael Anthony, self-employed handyman who is as just as goofy as Barrett. Anthony says our government “certainly had a hand in” 9-11.

Uh huh.

Here’s another whippersnapper from our young set of today,
Andy Albrecht, a UW-Madison student of political science. He gave $20 at a Barrett fundraiser. What pearls of wisdom does this first-time voter (oy vay) have to say?

"I like that he supports the truth. He really pushes the truth. He's not afraid to stand up for what he believes in."

Oh I bet Mom and Dad Albrecht are mighty proud. This newspaper clipping is definitely going into the family scrapbook along with all those anti-war rally pictures.

Barbara Wright owns the Dardanelles restaurant in Madison, the site of Barrett’s fundraiser.

“There needs to be some truth spoken about what is going on with our government, about the repression in society and the move toward fascism, the gutting of the middle class and the truth behind 9/11. I think that one of the ways you fight the fear that people feel is to get together as a community and talk about things.”

I admit that I’m a bit unclear as to what happens at that point, not being a member of the beads and sandals crowd, but I think it goes something like this:

You hold my hand.

I hold yours.


All togerther now.

Kumbaya, my Lord, kumbaya

Kumbaya, my Lord, kumbaya

Kumbaya, my Lord, kumbaya

O Lord, kumbaya

And to think.

Overseas, heroic young American men and women are dying so Kevin Barrett can trash them and our government.

Note to Barrett and his flaky supporters: THAT is the truth.


Whitnall schools, test the kids

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2002 that public schools can test students in extracurricular activities for drugs.

John Neville of FranklinNOW is reporting that, “Whitnall School District officials have drafted a random drug-testing policy that would be applied to high school students who participate in athletics and extracurricular activities. Up to 25 percent of athletic and extra-curricular participants would be tested annually.

Parents and guardians of tested students would be notified of results. Students with confirmed positive results would be subject to consequences outlined in the school district's athletic and activities code, though they could also appeal the decision.

This is the right move. Students involved in sports and other extracurricular activities are held to a higher standard because they are looked upon by other students as role models and leaders. As a result, they need to exhibit the proper behavior.

There are only so many spots for athletes, cheerleaders, student government, etc. They should be reserved for the best of the best. Random drug tests are nothing to worry about if students keep their noses clean.

An old school prank gets honor student in trouble

14-year old Etan Mirenberg
is an honor student involved in lacrosse and football.

He finds himself in trouble, having been suspended from Lynbrook High School in Long Island

What did he do to get a suspension of 10 months?

Did he bring a gun to school?

Did he beat up another student?

Was he found with dope?

None of the above.

He gave his Spanish teacher, Sharon Cantante
, a noogie.

Grabbed her forcefully by the neck, put her in a headlock and dug his knuckles into her scalp.

The teacher cried out for him to stop.

He just kept it up, noogie after noogie.

At least, that’s what the school says.

The boy says he gave her a “pat on the head.”

His attorney, yes, attorney (That’s what parents of kids in trouble do nowadays, right? They run out and lawyer up) claims the teacher actually likes to receive noogies and encourages “noogie behavior.”

I don’t think I ever saw Matlock argue that one.

Ethan is 5-foot-3 and 150 pounds. Cantante is 4-foot-11.

On the surface, this sounds a bit extreme: 10 months, an entire school year, for a noogie?

That’s if you believe the student and his parents who hired an attorney because their poor, sweet, innocent Ethan wouldn’t do anything wrong and is being railroaded.

There’s a larger issue at play here.

You’re 14 years old.

You’re a freshman, a freshman in high school.

Not only are you supposed to be afraid of your own shadow, but as an athlete, you’re supposed to set the example for other students.

But most importantly,

You are the student.

She is the teacher.

I’m sorry.

The “I only gave her a pat on the head” argument doesn’t hold much water with me.

She also told the boy to stop and he didn’t.

One can certainly argue that 10 months was excessive, but some punishment is necessary.

The “noogie” nature of this story can diminish its severity, but students must know that they can never, ever, ever, ever, ever lay their hands on a teacher.

Here’s the story.

Suddenly, the networks aren't covering Iraq.......hmmmmmmm

A clear demonstration of media bias is showing once again as the surge in Iraq continues to breed success and violence is down dramatically, but the American news media has chosen not to cover Iraq as much as it did when the war was going badly.

Remember 2006, a big national election year? The mainstream media hammered news consumers over and over and over again with one catastrophic story after another.

Democrats won just about every race in sight, carving a tsunami-like path through the coast-to-coast elections.

There’s another big election this year, and coverage of Iraq has diminished greatly. Why? Because the war is going much, much better since the surge was implemented.

When there’s good news, it just doesn’t get covered.

One excuse offered by one network that doesn’t have a single reporter in Iraq is that it‘s just too darn expensive to cover this story.

Sure it is. It was soooooo much cheaper in 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004……

The New York Times is reporting today:

According to data compiled by Andrew Tyndall, a television consultant who monitors the three network evening newscasts, coverage of Iraq has been “massively scaled back this year.” Almost halfway into 2008, the three newscasts have shown 181 weekday minutes of Iraq coverage, compared with 1,157 minutes for all of 2007. The “CBS Evening News” has devoted the fewest minutes to Iraq, 51, versus 55 minutes on ABC’s “World News” and 74 minutes on “NBC Nightly News.” (The average evening newscast is 22 minutes long.)

CBS News no longer stations a single full-time correspondent in Iraq, where some 150,000 United States troops are deployed.

You can bet if the situation was reversed, and the war effort was struggling, suddenly those ABC, CBS, NBC reports would be flooding our living rooms.

This week, there was more positive news coming out of Iraq, but as media watchdog, the Media Research Center reports, only one network, to its credit, saw fit to report the story.

Remember, folks. The more positive stories there are about Iraq, the more they help John McCain.

As we so often do on my blog on stories of this kind, when we get to this point, I ask that all you lefties who foolishly insist that the press is totally, unequivocally, 100% objective stand up, click your heels, and repeat the following refrain:

There is no bias in the media.

There is no bias in the media.

There is no bias in the media.

U.S. Supreme Court rules against death penalty for child rape

Last week, I blogged that the high court was ready to rule on Louisiana's law that allows capital punishment in cases of child rape.

Today, the court shot down the Louisiana law.

I believe the court should have let the law stand and leave the decision about how Louisiana wants to administer the death penalty to Louisiana's elected officials and the people they represent.

Here's the story from the NY Times:

Supreme Court Rejects Death Penalty for Child Rape


WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court ruled, 5 to 4, on Wednesday that sentencing someone to death for raping a child is unconstitutional, assuming that the victim is not killed.

“The death penalty is not a proportional punishment for the rape of a child,” Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote for the court. He was joined by Justices John Paul Stevens, David H. Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen G. Breyer.

The court overturned a ruling by the Louisiana Supreme Court, which had held that child rape is unique in the harm it inflicts not just upon the victim but on society and that, short of first-degree murder, no crime is more deserving of the death penalty.

Justice Kennedy, while in no way minimizing the heinous nature of child rape, wrote that executing someone for that crime, assuming that the victim was not killed, violates the Eighth Amendment’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment, which draws it meaning from “the evolving standards of decency that mark the progress of a maturing society.”

“When the law punishes by death, it risks its own sudden descent into brutality, transgressing the constitutional commitment to decency and restraint,” Justice Kennedy wrote.

The relatively small number of states that allow the death penalty for the rape of a child demonstrate a “national consensus” against it, Justice Kennedy wrote. Moreover, he wrote, sentencing someone to death for raping a child could have terrible, unintended consequences, given the years that typically go by between a crime and the execution of the defendant.

“Society’s desire to inflict death for child rape by enlisting the child victim to assist it over the course of years in asking for capital punishment forces a moral choice on the child, who is not of mature age to make that choice,” Justice Kennedy wrote.

The dissenters were Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr., generally regarded as the conservative wing of the tribunal.

Justice Alito wrote a dissent lamenting that the majority had ruled out executing someone for raping a child “no matter how young the child, no matter how many times the child is raped, no matter how many children the perpetrator rapes, no matter how sadistic the crime, no matter how much physical or psychological trauma is inflicted, and no matter how heinous the perpetrator’s prior criminal record may be.”

The dissenters rejected the majority’s reasoning that the small number of states allowing execution of child rapists showed a consensus against the custom. Justice Alito noted that some of those state statutes were enacted even while the constitutionality of capital punishment for crimes other than murder was in doubt — thus reflecting a strong feeling in those states that the ultimate penalty was justified for such terrible harm to a child, in the dissenters’ reasoning.

Not since 1964 has anyone been executed in the United States for a crime other than murder, and of about 3,300 inmates now on death row, only two are facing execution for an offense that did not involve a killing — and both of those inmates are in Louisiana. One is the man involved in the case the court decided, Patrick Kennedy, who was sentenced to death for the rape of his 8-year-old stepdaughter and the other is Richard Davis, who was condemned for assaulting a 5-year-old girl.

The case decided on Wednesday, Kennedy v. Louisiana, No. 07-343, does not overturn the defendant’s conviction. Rather, it returns the case to the Louisiana courts for resentencing.

Kennedy v. Louisiana was the latest in a series of cases in which the justices have weighed particular applications of capital punishment. In 2002, for instance, the Supreme Court barred the execution of mentally retarded defendants, and in 2005 it banned the execution of people for crimes they committed before they were 18.

But, as Chief Justice Roberts observed when Kennedy v. Louisiana was argued on April 16: “This is quite different. It is focused on the nature of the offense.” Indeed, a theme that ran through the argument was that, while the death penalty is a punishment like no other, the rape of a child is a crime like no other.

In 1977, the Supreme Court banned death sentences for rape. But the victim in that case, Coker v. Georgia, was a young married woman, and the ruling did not specifically discuss the rape of a child. Over the past 13 years, several states have reacted to public outrage over crimes against children by amending their statutes to make the rape of a child punishable by death.

Louisiana was the first state to do so, amending its death-penalty law in 1995 to include rape of a child under the age of 12. But unlike Louisiana, the other states with similar provisions (Georgia, Montana, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Texas) generally limit the death penalty to defendants previously convicted of sex crimes against children.

Mr. Kennedy’s lawyer, Jeffrey L. Fisher, argued before the justices that it was “at odds with national values” for the state to execute his client, who had never committed such a crime before.

But Justice Scalia pressed Mr. Fisher on that assertion, noting that the recent trend has been “more and more states permitting the capital punishment” for the rape of a child.

As for the case at hand, Juliet L. Clark, an assistant district attorney from Gretna, La., countered that Mr. Kennedy, who weighs 300 pounds, had committed “a very savage rape” that caused serious injuries to his victim. And R. Ted Cruz, the Solicitor General for the State of Texas, who argued as a “friend of the court” on the side of Louisiana, said that Mr. Kennedy (like Mr. Davis, the other child-rape defendant on Louisiana’s death row) had “committed crimes that are just unspeakable.”

Responding to a question from Justice Ginsburg, Ms. Clark said the Louisiana child-rape law could apply regardless of the sex of the criminal or that of the victim.

And in support of her argument that crimes against children have long been viewed with special revulsion, and as deserving of special punishment, Ms. Clark pointed out that the Supreme Court ruled in 1990 that states can make it a crime to possess child pornography even in one’s home.

That ruling, in Osborne v. Ohio, carved out an exception to a 1969 Supreme Court ruling that the Constitution protects the possession of obscene material in the privacy of one’s residence. Justice Byron R. White wrote for the 6-to-3 majority in the Osborne case, reasoning that Ohio was justified in trying to “destroy a market for the exploitative use of children.”

Of the current Supreme Court, only Justices Scalia, Kennedy and Stevens took part in the 1990 Osborne decision. Justices Scalia and Kennedy were in the majority; Justice Stevens joined with Justices William J. Brennan Jr. and Thurgood Marshall in finding the Ohio law to be unconstitutionally broad.

Look out suburbs, here comes Planned Parenthood

Armed with tons of cash, the largest abortion provider in America, Planned Parenthood, is using its huge fortune to branch out, or “rebrand” into mega-clinics that go far beyond the organization’s mission by now targeting affluent suburban women.

The Wall Street Journal reports upbeat marketing is being used to recruit new customers in swanky locations in suburban shopping malls where women can buy books, candles, T-shirts along with their condoms.

Carrying the misleading label of a non-profit, Planned Parenthood is making money hand over fist, using the funds to also help pay for sex education in schools (Their philosophy, in a nutshell is to tell kids to go ahead and have sex as long as they “protect” themselves) and political campaigning.

Even Planned Parenthood allies are upset. Smaller-sized abortion providers fear the national chain-like competition.

Planned Parenthood is now on record not being content to target young, poor girls and women. They’re openly going after anyone with the means to pay for abortions, and that means women in the suburbs.

I dearly hope blossoming Franklin and nearby communities will never allow an organization as morally bankrupt as Planned Parenthood to set up shop.

The Denver Post has re-printed the entire Wall Street Journal article on Planned Parenthood’s all-out blitzkrieg in suburbia.


It's open CHILD ABUSE SEASON in Milwaukee all summer long, starting Thursday

That would be the opening day of Summerfest.

Then we have the July 3rd fireworks.

And the ethnic festivals.

And the church festivals.

And State Fair.

Open child abuse season in Milwaukee.

It happens every single summer.

I've blogged about it.

And I've talked about it in the past on WISN.

People in agreement are as passionate as I am on this topic.

The brain dead souls who disagree are waiting in line to tar and feather me. That's okay. I love getting under their skin.

What am I talking about?

A topic I know will be of interest to the many (And I do mean many) new readers to this blog since I last wrote about this important issue.

Not Channel 4.

Not Channel 6.

Not Channel 10.

Not Channel 12.

Not Channel 58.

Not the Milwaukee Journal/Sentinel.

None will issue the CHILD ABUSE WARNING FOR THE REST OF THE SUMMER I'm about to, right now.

Friday night on InterCHANGE

Here are the topics we discuss Friday night at 6:30 on Milwaukee Public Television Channel 10, repeated Sunday morning at 11:00:

1 – McGee.

Alderman Michael McGee, Jr. is found guilty by a federal court jury.  Do you think he will be sent away for a long time, or just for a year or two?  Were you surprised at any of the testimony?  Did the evidence justify holding him in jail for the past year while he awaited trial?  Does the aldermanic privilege system need to be changed, or does it work just fine?  Was there a problem with the system, or with this one single alderman?  Is Milwaukee a better place with Michael McGee behind bars?

2 – Guns.

The Supreme Court ruled the Washington D.C. ban on handguns is unconstitutional.  It upheld the individuals right to bear arms.  It was the first major ruling on the 2nd amendment, and it is a big loss for those pushing for gun control to make city streets across America safer.  It was a 5-to-4 ruling.  It certainly shows how important appointments to the Supreme Court are.

3 – Public Boarding School

oes Milwaukee need a public boarding school to take care of kids who can’t make it in regular public schools?  Is this basically taking the kids away from parents who can’t raise them?  Should the taxpayer be asked to pay for this expensive solution?  Is it one step closer to the return of government run orphanages?  Is this simply giving parents one more “choice”, and if so, why are there so many people supporting it who don’t support other choice schools?

4 – Midwest Airlines.

Is Midwest Airlines on its death bed?  Will it be here one year from now?  When you propose cutting flights, planes, people, and salaries one more time, is there any way you can survive?  Is this simply a last ditch effort to avoid bankruptcy?  Will it go back to being a regional airline?  Would it have been better if it had been acquired by AirTran?  Can this all be blamed on high fuel prices?  Is the day of cheap air travel over?

Coming up on This Just In...

On Friday, we begin a 7-part series on what's great about America from an immigrant's perspective.

Friday Night Live at 11:30 pm will be historic, and have a Christmas flavor to it. In June? Yep.

Saturday, Jennifer makes some "noise" in the Barking Lot.

Week-ends will be here, too.

On Sunday, Culinary no-no.

And lots of stuff in-between.

I repeat........TODAY it's 3.9%

John Neville of FranklinNOW reports on the most important news that came out of Wednesday night's Franklin School Board meeting:

The Franklin School Board on Wednesday recommended a 3.9 percent increase in the tax levy for the 2008-09 school year.

The proposed tax levy is $29.6 million, up from $28.5 million in 2007-08.

District taxpayers might see a tax rate increase of 29 cents - from $10.89 to $11.18 - per $1,000 of equalized value.

Those figures could, however, change before the Franklin School district's annual budget hearing on Wednesday, Aug. 27.”

Could they ever!!!

Remember last year?

We were promised a 5.6% school levy increase.

It turned into 11.7%.

Keep your eyes on this one, Franklin.

Yes, they will be VILLAINS OF THE WEEK

Take a good look at these individuals.

You never voted for any of these people to be on that board.

They are appointed.

Yet they have the power to tax you.

And they do.

And you can’t do anything about it.

Elect the right President, you get the right SUPCT Justices who make the right rulings

The U.S. Supreme Court made the right call today, shooting down Washington D.C.’s handgun ban.

The ban, by the way, was a miserable failure.

I think D.C. just got a lot safer.

Dear Scott Walker:

It’s time to pull out your veto pen.


Your friend and supporter,

Kevin Fischer

Sadly, we continue to prove that we live in a tax hell.

The solution for everything to lazy politicians is to increase taxes. is reporting:

“A proposed referendum on raising the Milwaukee County sales tax by 1 cent won the endorsement of the County Board today on a 12-6 vote, but it remained uncertain whether the measure could survive a likely veto from County Executive Scott Walker.

Thirteen members of the board would be needed for a veto override.

The measure would ask voters in November whether they favor the 1 cent county sales tax increase, with proceeds to fund parks, transit, emergency medical services and property tax relief. The increase would raise about $130 million a year
and come on top of the existing 0.5% county sales tax that raises about $65 million annually.

The county tax increase would also add to the state's 5% sales tax and the 0.1% stadium sales tax.”

Supporters of this tax increase are already being disingenuous, promising property tax relief.

They obviously flunked Government 101.

You do not decrease taxes by increasing another.

We already pay for the parks.

It’s called the property tax, and it’s hefty here in Milwaukee County.

Let’s not forget the sales tax increase will hit the poor the hardest.

Scott Walker needs to veto this foolish idea.

Taxpayers in Milwaukee County need to call their county supervisors and tell them we pay enough in taxes and they need to sustain Walkers’s veto.

If there are enough votes to override the veto, then let me be the first to say this to Milwaukee County voters:


Here are the 6 Milwaukee County Board Supervisors who made the correct vote against the sales tax referendum:

Mark Borkowski

Paul Cesarz

Joe Rice

Lynn DeBruin

Joe Sanfelippo

James "Luigi" Schmitt

Happy 28th of June?????

They do weird things in Madison.

That, of course, is an understatement.

For example, some Plan Commissioner clown wants to ban drive-thru's. (Make sure you read the comments).

And I love this.

In Milwaukee, we have our huge downtown fireworks every year on July 3rd, so as not to interfere with Milwaukee County Park and family celebrations on the actual 4th.

In Madison, they have a big fireworks display, too.

They call it Rhythm and Booms.

But because we're talkin' Madison, you know they just have to introduce goofy into the equation.

Rhythm and Booms is held on the Saturday before July 4th.

This year, that means this Saturday, June 28th, a full 7 days before Independence Day.

That's plain stupid.

And it won't be much fun in Madtown this Saturday night.

What’s Great About America-Part 1

Dinesh D’Souza is the Robert and Karen Rishwain Scholar at the Hoover Institution and author of the New York Times best-seller What’s So Great About America.

A few years ago, he wrote a paper for the Heritage Foundation called “What’s Great About America.”

It’s an outstanding piece and I wanted to share it with you, but it’s lengthy, over 10,000 words. So I’m going to break it up over the next week as we get close to the 4th of July, each day featuring one of the qualities from D’Souza’s list.

Here’s Part 1:

In the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, we heard a great deal about “why they hate us” and why America is so bad. In the meantime, we’ve endured lengthy lectures from multicultural activists about America’s history of slavery. Leftists continue to fulminate about American foreign policy, which they blame for most of the evils in the world. Cultural pessimists, some of them conservative, deplore the materialism of American life and the excesses and degradation of American culture. Clearly, anti-Americanism doesn’t just find support in cafes in Cairo, Tehran, and Paris; it is also a home-grown phenomenon. In the view of America’s critics, both domestic and foreign, America can do no right.

This indictment has the effect of undermining the patriotism of Americans at a time when America’s challenges in the world require the enduring patriotic attachment of its citizens. America’s critics are aiming their assault on America’s greatest weakness, which is not military vulnerability but a lack of moral self-confidence. Americans cannot effectively fight for their country without believing that their country is good and that they are fighting in a just cause. With Edmund Burke, Americans tend to believe that “to make us love our country, our country ought to be lovely.”

Is America worthy of a reflective patriotism that doesn’t mindlessly assert, “My country, right or wrong,” but rather examines the criticisms of America and finds them wanting? As an immigrant who has chosen to become an American citizen, I believe that it is. Having studied the criticisms of America with care, my conclusion is that the critics have a narrow and distorted understanding of America. They exaggerate American faults, and they ignore what is good and even great about America.

The immigrant is in a good position to evaluate American society because he is able to apply a comparative perspective. Having grown up in a different society—in my case, Mumbai, India—I am able to identify aspects of America that are invisible to people who have always lived here. As a “person of color,” I am competent to address such questions as what it is like to be a nonwhite person in America, what this country owes its minority citizens, and whether immigrants can expect to be granted full membership in this society. While I take seriously the issues raised by the critics of America, I have also developed an understanding of what makes America great, and I have seen the greatness of America reflected in my life. Unlike many of America’s homegrown dissidents, I am also acutely conscious of the daily blessings that I enjoy in America.

Here, then, is my list of what makes America great.

America’s Good Life

America provides an amazingly good life for the ordinary guy. Rich people live well everywhere, but what distinguishes America is that it provides a remarkably high standard of living for the “common man.” A country is not judged by how it treats its most affluent citizens but by how it treats the average citizen.

In much of the world today, the average citizen has a very hard life. In the Third World, people are struggling for their basic existence. It is not that they don’t work hard. On the contrary, they labor incessantly and endure hardships that are almost unimaginable to people in America. In the villages of Asia and Africa, for example, a common sight is a farmer beating a pickaxe into the ground, women wobbling under heavy loads, children carrying stones. These people are performing arduous labor, but they are getting nowhere. The best they can hope for is to survive for another day. Their clothes are tattered, their teeth are rotten, and disease and death constantly loom over the horizon. For most poor people on the planet, life is characterized by squalor, indignity, and brevity.

Even middle-class people in the underdeveloped world endure hardships that make everyday life a strain. One problem is that the basic infrastructure of the Third World is abysmal: The roads are not properly paved, the water is not safe to drink, pollution in the cities has reached hazardous levels, public transportation is overcrowded and unreliable, and there is a two-year waiting period to get a telephone. The poorly paid government officials are inevitably corrupt, which means that you must pay bribes to get things done. Most important, prospects for the children’s future are dim.

In America, the immigrant immediately recognizes that things are different. The newcomer who sees America for the first time typically experiences emotions that alternate between wonder and delight. Here is a country where everything works: The roads are clean and paper-smooth; the highway signs are clear and accurate; the public toilets function properly; when you pick up the telephone, you get a dial tone; you can even buy things from the store and then take them back. For the Third World visitor, the American supermarket is a thing to behold: endless aisles of every imaginable product, 50 different types of cereal, and multiple flavors of ice cream. The place is full of countless unappreciated inventions: quilted toilet paper, fabric softener, cordless telephones, disposable diapers, roll-on luggage, deodorant. Some countries, even today, lack these conveniences.

Critics of America complain about the scandal of persistent poverty in a nation of plenty, but the immigrant cannot help noticing that the United States is a country where the poor live comparatively well. This fact was dramatized in the 1980s when CBS television broadcast “People Like Us,” which was intended to show the miseries of the poor during an American recession. The Soviet Union also broadcast the documentary, probably with a view to embarrassing the Reagan Administration. But by the testimony of former Soviet leaders, it had the opposite effect. Ordinary people across the Soviet Union saw that the poorest Americans have television sets and microwave ovens and cars. They arrived at the same perception of America as a friend of mine from Mumbai who has been trying unsuccessfully to move to the United States for nearly a decade. Finally, I asked him, “Why are you so eager to come to America?” His reply: “Because I really want to move to a country where the poor people are fat.”

The moral triumph of America is that it has extended the benefits of comfort and affluence, traditionally enjoyed by a very few, to a large segment of society. Few people in America have to wonder where their next meal is coming from. Emergency medical care is available to everyone, even those without proper insurance. Every child has access to an education, and many have the chance to go to college.

Ordinary Americans enjoy not only security and dignity, but also comforts that other societies reserve for the elite. We live in a country where construction workers regularly pay $4 for a nonfat latte, where maids drive rather nice cars, where plumbers and postal workers take their families on vacation in Europe or the Caribbean. As Irving Kristol once observed, there is virtually no restaurant in America to which a CEO can go to lunch with the absolute assurance that he will not find his secretary also dining there. Given the standard of living of the ordinary American, it is no wonder that socialist or revolutionary schemes have never found a wide constituency in the United States. As sociologist Werner Sombart observed, all socialist utopias have come to grief in America on roast beef and apple pie.

As a result, people live longer, fuller lives in America. Although at trade meetings around the world protesters rail against the American version of technological capitalism, in reality, the American system has given citizens a much longer life expectancy and the means to live more intensely and actively. The average American can expect to live long enough to play with his or her grandchildren.

In 1900, the life expectancy in America was around 50 years; today, it is more than 75 years. Advances in medicine and agriculture are the main reasons. This increased life span is not merely a material gain; it is also a moral gain because it means a few years of leisure after a lifetime of work, more time to devote to a good cause, and more occasions to do things with the grandchildren. In many countries, people who are old seem to have nothing to do; they just wait to die. In America, the old are incredibly vigorous, and people in their seventies pursue the pleasures of life.

“Yes,” the critics carp, “but these benefits are only available to the rich.” Not so. Indeed, America’s system of technological capitalism has over time extended the life span of both rich and poor while narrowing the gap between the two. In 1900, for example, the rich person lived to 60 while the poor person died at 45. Today, the life expectancy of an affluent person in America is 78 years while that of the poor person is around 74. Thus, in one of the most important indicators of human well-being, the rich have advanced in America but the poor have advanced even more.

Why is this happening?

Yes, Franklin, why is this happening?

Did somebody drop the tuba?

Franklin High School?

The principal?

The band director?

The superintendent?

The committee organizing the parade?

Is there a lack of civic pride?

Is it impossible to find someone, anyone to meet with students and spend an hour going over the Stars and Stripes Forever? Rock and Roll Part Two? Tequila?

No, Franklin, I don’t think it’s any of the above.

The absence of the band in that parade is unfortunate, no doubt about it.

And all because that darn old referendum went down.

Who said it?

Any idea who said the following?

"With skyrocketing gas prices, it is clear that the American people can no longer afford the Republican Rubber Stamp Congress and its failure to stand up to Republican big oil and gas company cronies. Americans this week are paying $2.91 a gallon on average for regular gasoline – 33 cents higher than last month, and double the price than when President Bush first came to office."

“With record gas prices, record CEO pay packages, and record oil company profits, Speaker Hastert and the Majority Congress continue to give the American people empty rhetoric rather than join Democrats who are working to lower gas prices now."

“Democrats have a commonsense plan to help bring down skyrocketing gas prices by cracking down on price gouging, rolling back the billions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies, tax breaks and royalty relief given to big oil and gas companies, and increasing production of alternative fuels.”

The date was April 24, 2006.

Republicans had control of the House and the Senate before losing control 7 months later.

The person who said the above did it in a press release.

It was Nancy Pelosi, current Speaker of the House.


How phony can you be?

clinton obama

Barack Obama, making a joint appearance with Hillary Clinton in Unity, New Hampshire, told the crowd that he needs Clinton by her side and that, "She rocks, she rocks."

Not every Democrat is falling for this fakery.

From ABC News, describing the scene on the campaign plane:

One major Clinton donor described it as an uncomfortable family visit.

"This felt like when your mom forces you to go visit your Aunt Ida and she has to pinch your cheeks and you're sitting there in an uncomfortable suit and you can't wait to leave," the donor said.

Another Clinton-leaning person who was in the room said after the meeting wrapped up that there is still "a lot of anger" toward Obama among the New York senator's wealthiest fans.

"It was pretty bad," the source said. He said donors were joking that the scene was like "an Irish wake" and that you "could cut the air with a knife" it was so tense in the room.

How timely is this?

Did you know that this week is.......


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Friday Night Live

ELVIS, Nostalgia

Tonight, a historic edition of Friday Night Live.

“Elvis Presley rocked the world in the 1950’s, a leader among performers who brought about a revolution in music and pop culture. Through most of the 1960's he concentratedmainly on his movie career, which had been very successful, but, by the end of the decade, was in a downturn and had become a grind, seldom giving him opportunities to prove himself as a serious actor. By 1968, it had been more than seven years since Elvis had appeared on stage in front of a live audience.”
Liner Notes, ELVIS: '68 COMEBACK SPECIAL, Deluxe Edition DVD

Elvis was to do a TV special to air in December 1968 on NBC sponsored by Singer. His manager, Colonel Tom Parker envisioned and wanted a Perry Como family-type program.

Fortunately, the creative team behind the special went in a different direction, creating a revolutionary format (Elvis goes unplugged) and a comfort zone enabling Elvis to once again show his energetic self and truly shine.

In his first television special Elvis plays his greatest role – simply being himself, the real Elvis as performer and person. Usually referred to as The ’68 Special or The ’68 Comeback Special, the actual name of this landmark television program was Elvis. Taped in June 1968, it first aired the following December 3rd on NBC-TV, attracting 42% of the television viewing audience, the network’s biggest ratings victory that year and the season’s top-rated show. It stands as one of the great moments in rock music history and as a stunningly brilliant milestone in Elvis Presley's career. After this triumph Elvis poured renewed creative vigor into his recording work, wrapped up his movie contract obligations and returned full-time to the concert stage, beginning a new and exciting era of the Elvis phenomenon.”
Liner Notes, ELVIS: '68 COMEBACK SPECIAL, Deluxe Edition DVD

40 years ago tonight, June 27, 1968, Elvis began taping the segments for the NBC special. The show opened with silhouetted guitar players and moved on to Elvis performing in the round in front of a studio audience with full orchestra and also with old band members and friends.

It’s Elvis at his very best.

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What's Great About America-Part 2

Dinesh D' Souza, an immigrant from India who is now a U.S. citizen, is the Robert and Karen Rishwain Scholar at the Hoover Institution and author of the New York Times best-seller What’s So Great About America. A few years ago, he wrote a paper for the Heritage Foundation called What’s Great About America. For seven days, I'm posting, one each day, the qualities D'Souza listed in his paper. Here's #2:


Critics of America allege that the history of the United States is defined by a series of crimes—slavery, genocide—visited upon African–Americans and American Indians. Even today, they say, America is a racist society. The critics demand apologies for these historical offenses and seek financial reparations for minorities and African–Americans. But the truth is that America has gone further than any society in establishing equality of rights.

Let’s begin by asking whether the white man was guilty of genocide against the native Indians. As a matter of fact, he was not. As William McNeill documents in Plagues and Peoples, great numbers of Indians did perish as a result of their contact with whites, but, for the most part, they died by contracting diseases—smallpox, measles, malaria, tuberculosis—for which they had not developed immunities. This is tragedy on a grand scale, but it is not genocide, which implies an intention to wipe out an entire population. McNeill points out that, a few centuries earlier, Europeans themselves contracted lethal diseases, including the bubonic plague, from Mongol invaders from the Asian steppes. The Europeans didn’t have immunities, and the plague decimated one-third of the population of Europe, and yet, despite the magnitude of deaths and suffering, no one calls this genocide.

So what about slavery? No one will deny that America practiced slavery, but America was hardly unique in this respect. Indeed, slavery is a universal institution that in some form has existed in all cultures. In his study Slavery and Social Death, the West Indian sociologist Orlando Patterson writes, “Slavery has existed from the dawn of human history, in the most primitive of human societies and in the most civilized. There is no region on earth that has not at some time harbored the institution.” The Sumerians and Babylonians practiced slavery, as did the ancient Egyptians. The Chinese, the Indians, and the Arabs all had slaves. Slavery was widespread in sub-Saharan Africa, and American Indians had slaves long before Columbus came to the New World.

What is distinctively Western is not slavery but the movement to end slavery. Abolition is a uniquely Western institution. The historian J. M. Roberts writes, “No civilization once dependent on slavery has ever been able to eradicate it, except the Western.” Of course, slaves in every society don’t want to be slaves. The history of slavery is full of incidents of runaways, slave revolts, and so on. But typically, slaves were captured in warfare, and if they got away, they were perfectly happy to take other people as slaves.

Never in the history of the world, outside of the West, has a group of people eligible to be slave owners mobilized against slavery. This distinctive Western attitude is reflected by Abraham Lincoln: “As I would not be a slave, so I would not be a master.” Lincoln doesn’t want to be a slave—that’s not surprising. But he doesn’t want to be a master either. He and many other people were willing to expend considerable treasure, and ultimately blood, to get rid of slavery not for themselves but for other people. The campaign to end slavery was much harder in the United States than in Europe for the simple reason that the practice of slavery had become so entrenched in the American South.

The uniqueness of Western abolition is confirmed by the little-known fact that African chiefs, who profited from the slave trade, sent delegations to the West to protest the abolition of slavery. And it is important to realize that the slaves were not in a position to secure their own freedom. The descendants of African slaves owe their freedom to the exertions of white strangers, not to the people in Africa who betrayed and sold them.

Surely, all of this is relevant to the reparations debate. A trenchant observation on the matter was offered years ago by Muhammad Ali shortly after his defeat of George Foreman for the heavyweight title. The fight was held in the African nation of Zaire. Upon returning to the United States, a reporter asked Ali, “Champ, what did you think of Africa?” Ali replied, “Thank God my grand-daddy got on that boat!” There is a mischievous pungency to Ali’s remark, but behind it is an important truth. Ali is saying that although slavery was oppressive for the people who lived under it, their descendants are in many ways better off today. The reason is that slavery proved to be the transmission belt that brought Africans into the orbit of Western prosperity and freedom. Blacks in America have a higher standard of living and more freedom than any comparable group of blacks on the continent of Africa.

But what about racism? Racism continues to exist in America, but it exists in a very different way than it did in the past. Previously, racism was comprehensive or systematic; now it is more episodic. In a recent debate with the Reverend Jesse Jackson at Stanford University, I asked him to show me how racism today is potent enough to prevent his children or mine from achieving the American dream. “Where is that kind of racism?” I said. “Show it to me.” Jackson fired off a few of his famous rhyming sequences—“I may be well-dressed, but I’m still oppressed,” and so on—but conceded that he could not meet my challenge. He noted that just because there was no evidence of systematic racism, he could not conclude that it did not exist. Rather, he insisted, racism has gone underground; it is no longer overt but covert, and it continues to thwart African Americans and other minorities from claiming their share of the American dream.

In my view, this is complete nonsense. As a nonwhite immigrant, I am grateful to the activists of the civil rights movement for their efforts to open up doors that would otherwise have remained closed. But at the same time, I am struck by the ease with which Martin Luther King Jr. and the civil rights movement won its victories, and by the magnitude of white goodwill in this country. In a single decade, from the mid-fifties to the mid-sixties, America radically overhauled its laws through a series of landmark decisions: Brown v. Board of Education, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act, the Fair Housing Act. Through such measures, America established equality of rights under the law. Of course, the need to enforce nondiscrimination provisions continues, but for nearly half a century, blacks and other minorities have enjoyed the same legal rights as whites.

Actually, this is not strictly true. For a few decades now, blacks and some minorities have enjoyed more rights and privileges than whites. The reason is that America has implemented affirmative action policies that give legal preference to minority groups in university admissions, jobs, and government contracts. Such policies remain controversial, but the point is that they reflect the great lengths to which this country has gone to eradicate discrimination. It is extremely unlikely that a racist society would grant its minority citizens legal preferences over members of the majority group. Some private discrimination continues to exist in America, but the only form of discrimination that can be legally practiced today benefits blacks more than whites.

The reality is that America has achieved greater social equality than any other society. True, there are large inequalities of income and wealth in America. In purely economic terms, Europe is more egalitarian. But Americans are socially more equal than any other people, and this is unaffected by economic disparities. Alexis de Tocqueville noticed this egalitarianism a century and a half ago, but it is, if anything, more prevalent today.

In other countries, if you are rich, you enjoy the pleasure of aristocracy, which is the pleasure of being a superior person. In India, for example, the rich enjoy the gratification of subservience, of seeing innumerable servants and toadies grovel before them and attend to their every need. In America, however, no amount of money can buy you the same kind of superiority.

Consider, for example, Bill Gates. If Gates were to walk the streets of America and stop people at random and say, “Here’s a $100 bill. I’ll give it to you if you kiss both my feet,” what would the typical American response be? Even the homeless guy would tell Gates to go to hell. The American view is that the rich guy may have more money, but he isn’t fundamentally better than anyone else.

The American janitor or waiter sees himself as performing a service, but he doesn’t see himself as inferior to those he serves. And neither do his customers see him that way: They are generally happy to show him respect and appreciation on a plane of equality. America is the only country in the world where we call the waiter “Sir,” as if he were a knight.



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...


Wyatt Yocum

Once again, the Boy Scouts

Jay Thurston and Mike Kinziger

Resourceful Jessica Bruinsma

The 6 Milwaukee County Board members who voted against a proposed sales tax referendum


Adam Peterson

The MATC Board

Cleveland teenagers

Animal abusers in Oshkosh


Barack Obama is "John Kerry with a tan."
Anti-tax activist Grover Norquist in an interview with the LA Times.

“She rocks, she rocks.”
Obama describing Hillary Clinton at a joint appearance in Unity, New Hampshire.

"This felt like when your mom forces you to go visit your Aunt Ida and she has to pinch your cheeks and you're sitting there in an uncomfortable suit and you can't wait to leave.”
A Clinton donor describing the mood on the campaign plane with Obama and Clinton.

“The Democratic Party of Wisconsin and its members have been embarrassed in the local and national media by the decision of Ms. Bartoshevich to endorse Senator McCain.”
From a letter to the Democratic National Committee from the state Democrat Party, asking that Debra Bartoshevich, an elected Hillary Clinton delegate for Racine County, be stripped of her delegate status over her support for John McCain. The party voted to endorse her expulsion as a delegate at the DPW convention in Stevens Point earlier this month.

“I still very much want to be a delegate for Hillary. I still support Hillary Clinton as the nominee. I hope to still go (to Denver). All I can do is sit and wait.”
Bartoshevich on her delegate status.

“Today’s incident only highlights the tough economic times many in our area face. After the flooding we have seen, in addition to high unemployment, energy, housing and food costs we cannot be surprised when thousands show up at 5 a.m. seeking assistance to feed their families.”
Wisconsin Congressman Gwen Moore, D-Milwaukee, in the aftermath of a crowd rushing a Milwaukee human services building Monday morning in search of disaster relief food vouchers.

“Monday’s incident shows that there needs to be regulations in place to verify that when a person applies to receive federal disaster benefits, in this case due to flooding, the applicant’s residence should actually have incurred flood damage.”
Wisconsin Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner, who has asked Milwaukee County DA John Chisholm to look into the incident and has introduced a bill intended to eliminate fraud in disaster-relief claims.

I’m the gatekeeper.”
Convicted former Milwaukee Alderman Michael McGee on tape during his trial discussing the power he had over licensing.

“This is a test for the council. It has to respond. It can’t just simply say this never happened. It happened.”
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett urging a study of best practices on city licensing.


Thousands turned out in the inner city earlier this week claiming to be flood victims in an attempt to gain food vouchers.  Naturally, pushing and shoving broke out and police had to intervene.

One had to question how valid some of these claims were.

Charlie Sykes and others had observations.


We have got to start placing the same amount of attention and scrutiny that we do on local and states taxes on our technical colleges.

This week, the Journal/Sentinel reported, "The Milwaukee Area Technical College Board on Tuesday night unanimously approved a 2009 budget that increases the property tax levy 4.9% — an increase that means the college has boosted the levy 31% in the last five years."

In a column last August announcing legislation to make unelected boards like the MATC Board elected,  state Senator Mary Lazich wrote, "It appears from all the data, the increases being hoisted upon taxpayers are substantial. Consider the total tax levies for the state's 16 technical colleges. According to he non-partisan Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance, the technical college tax levies have increased from $251 million in 1992-'93 to $622 million in 2005-'06. That’s an increase of almost 150 percent compared to a 75 percent increase in overall levies during the same time period. Governor Doyle exempted technical colleges from levy limits in the 2005-07 state budget. Technical college boards were free to raise tax levies, and taxpayers were powerless."

Technical colleges are soaking us the most, and yet they continue to get a free pass.


As wonderful as Summerfest is, let's not invent stories just to fill time on the 6 and 10:00 news.


erman man torches why.

Inmate falls through ceiling  and winds up ?????

Something went wrong when she tried to make manure bombs.

Young man decides to disrupt graduation dressed as.......well.....take a look.

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

The Barking Lot

The Barking Lot

Next Friday, July 4, 2008 will again be time to celebrate the independence of our wonderful country. 

Sights, sounds and activities over this weekend will include:  


Swimming, barbequing, and boating...  


Wearing red white and blue, putting up extra flags around our properties, listening to patriotic music or watching patriotic specials on TV...   

Watching Bartolotta’s set off their finest down at the lakefront… and in many cases trying to duplicate those colorful, gun-powder-and-mineral explosions in our own driveways.

How many people will take their dogs along to join in the festivities?  After all, dogs like hamburgers and the lazy days of summer too!  But have you stopped to consider that while your human companions are “oohing” and “ahhing” at the Big Bang....

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You know it's true, just go ahead and admit it: You hate smokers

Last September, I blogged that we must admit, as a society, we truly despise smokers:

A so-called “sin” tax, the cigarette tax is one that even those who hate tax increases can go along with if push comes to shove.

Why? Because people not only hate smoking, they hate smokers. A downtrodden lot in society, smokers have become pariahs, outcasts, a group to look down your noses at.

David Brooks, a columnist for the New York Times wrote that smokers are, “generally much poorer than average Americans and much less educated. High school dropouts smoke at roughly three times the rates of college graduates. They are also among the most demoralized people in society. Recent sociological research shows that most Americans regard smoking as a sign of low-class, unattractive behavior — and most smokers see it this way, too. Research by Kip Viscusi of Harvard suggests that smokers actually overestimate the dangers of their habit; they believe they are killing themselves even faster than they really are.”

Harvard’s Viscusi contends smokers actually save taxpayers money. They tend to die earlier than nonsmokers, they do not consume as much health care in old age or draw on Social Security as much as nonsmokers do. In 1997, the New England Journal of Medicine conducted a study that determined that total health care spending would go up, not down, if everyone stopped smoking.

Society doesn’t care. They’re just nasty, evil, dirty smokers. Stick it to ‘em. And boy, have we.

Since 1994, the average cigarette tax (state and federal combined) has tripled, rising from 50 cents to $1.46, an increase of more than 100 percent in real terms. Because smokers tend to die earlier than nonsmokers, they do not consume as much health care in old age or draw on Social Security as much as nonsmokers do. Leaving aside Social Security savings, a 1997 study in The New England Journal of Medicine concluded that total health care spending would go up, not down, if everyone stopped smoking.

Earlier this week, another blogger, Ryan Evans, who opposes a statewide smoking ban in Wisconsin, wrote a letter to the Journal/Sentinel on this very topic:


Hatred is allowed

Where is the outrage?

I don't get it. I am a nonsmoker but apparently am a rare minority among my peers. What I don't understand is why treating smokers as if they are less than human is acceptable.

Since getting involved in tobacco issues, I have never seen such irrational hatred and abuse as I have seen directed toward smokers. People aren't any better than they were 50 years ago; they just have directed their intolerance elsewhere.

The attitudes and words I have witnessed would never be tolerated if the word "smoker" were replaced with "black" or "woman" or "gay." If people made such utterances, they would be drummed out of town before they knew what hit them; yet when a smoker is the target, even ordinarily mild-mannered people turn into venomous monsters.

Where is this coming from? Are people to be so vilified for their personal choices? Aren't we all afforded the right to do our own thing? Yet smokers aren't even treated like human beings these days. It bothers me that discrimination, intolerance and hatred is still alive and well. It's simply redirected toward a target who people just don't like.

Ryan Evans
President, Ban the Ban Wisconsin
St. Croix Falls

Evans' letter got some response from people who more or less conceded their disgust (hate?) for smokers and rationalized their view in letters that appeared in today's Journal/Sentinel:

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It's time to call your Milwaukee County Supervisor

As you know, taxes in Milwaukee County aren’t nearly as high as they should be.

They need to go up even more.

The Milwaukee County Board, the Milwaukee Journal/Sentinel Editorial Board and some lefty bloggers actually believe that’s true.

The Board voted 12-6 in favor of an advisory referendum to increase the county sales tax.

Here’s what they want. They want to raise the sales tax by one cent. That would be on top of the current 0.5% county sales tax.  The county tax increase would also add to the state's 5% sales tax and the 0.1% stadium sales tax.

They want you, the beleaguered taxpayers to be able to go to the polls in November and say, sure, I don’t pay enough in taxes. Take some more out of my wallet. Here ya go!

Scott Walker, one of the few sane voices in the Courthouse, is going to veto the resolution calling for the referendum. That’s good news.

Then there will be a vote by the Board to try to override Walker’s veto.

The County Board needs to hear from you.

Call your Milwaukee County Supervisor next week.

Here are the 6 who voted against the referendum:

Mark Borkowski

Paul Cesarz

Joe Rice

Lynn DeBruin

Joe Sanfelippo

James "Luigi" Schmitt

If one of those six is your Supervisor, call to thank him/her for the no vote they cast and tell the Supervisor or the staff member that you want the Supervisor to sustain County Executive Walker’s veto of the sales tax referendum. It’s important that none of the six change their minds.

If your Supervisor voted for the referendum, kindly call and politely and respectfully tell the Supervisor or staff member that you oppose the referendum, you believe taxes are already too high in Milwaukee County, and you want the Supervisor to sustain Walker’s veto of the sales tax referendum.

If someone tries to argue or debate with you about the need for more money for the parks and transit for whatever reason, remind the staffer or Supervisor that you are already paying hefty taxes already for those services and Milwaukee County doesn’t need another tax increase.

More guns = less crime

I watched the video the other day of Chicago Mayor Richard Daley’s ridiculous reaction to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that shot down Washington D.C.’s handgun ban.

The angry mayor scoffed, “"Why don't we do away with the court system and go back to the Old West? You have a gun, and I have a gun. We'll settle it on the streets."

Maybe he should start listening to his constituents who are sick and tired of crime.

"I need a handgun in my home," Chicago resident Colleen Lawson told ABC News.  "It comes down to an issue of life or death."

We all know the bad guys have guns and they have access to guns. The high court ruled correctly this week that law-abiding citizens desiring protection should be allowed to have guns in their own homes. Washington’s handgun ban was ruled unconstitutional, so frustrated residents of Chicago, New York, Detroit, and Philadelphia, cities with similar bans are saying, what about us?

John Lott has written the definitive book on the issue of guns and their relationship to crime. Surveying data from every county in the United States from 1977-1994, Lott makes a strong case that shoots massive holes in the theories of gun control advocates: the more guns, the less crime. A criminal is less likely to strike if the belief is that the target may be armed. Read an interview with Lott, the author of, “More Guns, Less Crime.”

Here’s food for thought. From the

General Sessions Court Judge Bob Moon said Friday that crime in Chattanooga "has become so rampant that it is no longer possible for the police department to protect our citizens."

He told a woman who had been pulled from her car and beaten in the head that she or her mother needed to "purchase a weapon, obtain a gun permit and learn to protect yourself."

That’s a far cry from the position taken by Richard Daley and gun control advocates:
Hide under your bed and pray.

Why is this man...

Celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse a part of my next Culinary no-no?

Find out Sunday.

Grandma, that license plate is naughty


Why am I not surprised that no one, no one at the DMV in North Carolina realized that a license plate with the initials WTF wasn’t such a bright idea.

The DMV in NC actually used plates with those initials (need I explain?) in promotional announcements about a switch to different colored-letter plates.

There are so many jokes that come to mind.

How many state employees does it take to figure out…..blah, blah, blah.

Here in Wisconsin, our crack staff at the DMV wouldn’t let WTF slip by. They’ve come up with over 8,000 objectionable combinations for license plates including:





Not sure I get why that last one is sooooo offensive.

These personalized license plates have created quite a buzz in many states, with motorists filing lawsuits because the DMV rejected their request for personalized license plates on the grounds the letter-number combinations are objectionable.

Personally, if someone wants to pay the extra few bucks to have GETOSAMA on their plates, I’m all for it.



Can you just imagine the lefties who read my blog going out of their minds right now.




Yeh, so.

It’s just unfortunate that IMAGINE NO LIBERALS has too many letters for a personalized plate.

What's Great About America-Part 3

Dinesh D' Souza, an immigrant from India who is now a U.S. citizen, is the Robert and Karen Rishwain Scholar at the Hoover Institution and author of the New York Times best-seller What’s So Great About America. A few years ago, he wrote a paper for the Heritage Foundation called What’s Great About America. For seven days, I'm posting, one each day, the qualities D'Souza listed in his paper. Here's #3

The Pursuit of Happiness

America offers more opportunity and social mobility than any other country. In much of the world, even today, if your father is a bricklayer, you become a bricklayer. Most societies offer limited opportunities for and little chance of true social mobility. Even in Europe, social mobility is relatively restricted. When you meet a rich person, chances are that person comes from a wealthy family. This is not to say that ordinary citizens cannot rise up and become successful in France and Germany, but such cases are atypical. Much more typical is the condescending attitude of the European “old rich” toward the self-made person, who is viewed as a bit of a vulgar interloper. In Europe, as in the rest of the world, the preferred path to wealth is through inheritance.

Not so in America. Success stories of people who have risen up from nothing are so common that they are unremarkable. Nobody bothers to notice that in the same family, one brother is a gas station attendant and the other is a vice president at Oracle. “Old money” carries no prestige in America—it is as likely to mean that a grandparent was a bootlegger or a robber baron. Rather, as the best-selling book The Millionaire Next Door documents, more than 80 percent of American millionaires are self-made.

Indeed, America is the only country that has created a population of “self-made tycoons.” More than 50 percent of the Americans on the Forbes 400 “rich list” got there through their own efforts. Only in America could Pierre Omidyar, whose parents are Iranian and who grew up in Paris, have started a company like eBay. Only in America could Vinod Khosla, the son of an Indian army officer, become a leading venture capitalist, a shaper of the technology industry, and a billionaire to boot.

The critics complain that equal opportunity is a myth in America, but there is more opportunity in this country than anywhere else in the world. European countries may have better mass transit systems and more comprehensive health care coverage, but nowhere does the ordinary citizen have a better chance to climb up the ladder and to achieve success than in the United States.

What this means is that in America, destiny is not given but created. Not long ago I asked myself, what would my life have been like if I had never come to the United States, if I had stayed in India? Materially, my life has improved, but not in a fundamental sense. I grew up in a middle-class family in Mumbai. My father was a chemical engineer; my mother, an office secretary. I was raised without great luxury, but neither did I lack for anything. My standard of living in America is higher, but it is not a radical difference. My life has changed far more dramatically in other ways.

If I had remained in India, I would probably have lived most of my life within a five-mile radius of where I was born. I would undoubtedly have married a woman of my identical religious, socioeconomic, and cultural background. I would almost certainly have become a medical doctor, an engineer, or a software programmer. I would have socialized within my ethnic community and had cordial relations but few friends outside this group. I would have had a whole set of opinions that could be predicted; indeed, they would not have been very different from what my father believed, or his father before him. In sum, my destiny would, to a large degree, have been given to me.

Let me illustrate with the example of my sister in India who got married several years ago. My parents began the process of planning my sister’s wedding by conducting a comprehensive survey of all the eligible families in our neighborhood. First, they examined primary criteria, such as religion, socioeconomic position, and educational background. Then my parents investigated subtler issues: the social reputation of the family, the character of the boy in question, rumors of a lunatic uncle, and so on. Finally, my parents were down to a dozen or so eligible families, and they were invited to our home for dinner with suspicious regularity. My sister was, in the words of Milton Friedman, “free to choose.” My sister knew about, and accepted, the arrangement: She is now happily married with two children. I am not quarreling with the outcome, but clearly, my sister’s destiny was, to a considerable extent, choreographed by my parents.

By coming to America, I have broken free from those traditional confines. I came to Arizona as an exchange student, but a year later, I was enrolled at Dartmouth College. There I fell in with a group of students who were actively involved in politics; soon I had switched my major from economics to English literature. My reading included books like Plutarch’s Moralia, The Federalist Papers, and Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited; they transported me to places a long way from home and implanted in my mind ideas that I had never previously considered. By the time I graduated, I had decided to become a writer, which is something you can do in America but which is not easy to do in India.

After graduating from Dartmouth, I became managing editor of a magazine and began writing freelance articles in newspapers. Someone in the Reagan Administration was apparently impressed with my work, because I was called in for an interview and hired as a senior domestic policy analyst. I found it strange to be working at the White House, because at the time I was not a United States citizen. I am sure that such a thing would not happen in India or anywhere else in the world. I also met my future wife during that time. She was born in Louisiana and grew up in San Diego; her ancestry is English, French, Scot–Irish, and German.

If there is a single phrase that encapsulates life in the Third World, it is that birth is destiny. I remember an incident years ago when my grandfather summoned my brother, my sister, and me and asked us if we knew how lucky we were. Was it because we were intelligent? Had lots of friends? Were blessed with a loving family? Each time, he shook his head and said, “No.” We pressed him: Why did he consider us so lucky? And finally he revealed his answer: “Because you are Brahmins.”

The Brahmin is the highest ranking in the Hindu caste system and is traditionally a member of the priestly class. Actually, my family has had nothing to do with the priesthood. Nor are we Hindu: My ancestors converted to Christianity many generations ago. Even so, my grandfather’s point was that before we converted, hundreds of years ago, our family used to be Brahmins. How he knew this remains a mystery, but he was insistent that nothing the three of us achieved in life could possibly mean more than our being Brahmins.

This may seem like an extreme example, only revealing my grandfather to be a very narrow fellow indeed, but the broader point is that traditional cultures attach a great deal of importance to data such as what tribe you come from, whether you are male or female, and whether you are the eldest son. Your fate and your happiness hinge on these things. If you are Bengali, you can count on other Bengalis to help you and on others to discriminate against you. If you are female, then certain forms of society and several professions are closed to you. And if you are the eldest son, you inherit the family house, and your siblings are expected to follow your direction. What this means is that once your tribe, caste, sex, and family position have been established at birth, your life takes a course that has been largely determined for you.

In America, by contrast, you get to write your own script. When American parents ask, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” the question is not merely rhetorical, for it is you who supplies the answer. The parents offer advice or try to influence your decision: “Have you considered law school?” “Why not become the first doctor in the family?” It would be very improper, however, for them to try to force their decision on you. Indeed, American parents typically send their children away to college, where they can live on their own and learn to be independent. This is part of the process of developing your mind, deciding your field of interest, and forming your identity. What to be, where to live, whom to love, whom to marry, what to believe, what religion to practice—these are decisions that Americans make for themselves.

In America, your destiny is not prescribed; it is constructed. Your life is like a blank sheet of paper, and you are the artist. The freedom to be the architect of your own destiny is the force behind America’s worldwide appeal. Young people, especially, find the prospect of authoring the narrative of their own lives irresistible. So the immigrant, too, soon discovers that America will permit him to break free of the constraints that had held him captive while offering the future as a landscape of his own choosing.

If there is a single phrase that captures this, it is the “pursuit of happiness.” Nobel laureate V. S. Naipaul analyses it in this way:

It is an elastic idea; it fits all men. It implies a certain kind of society, a certain kind of awakened spirit. So much is contained in it: the idea of the individual, responsibility, choice, the life of the intellect, the idea of vocation and perfectibility and achievement. It is an immense human idea. It cannot be reduced to a fixed system. It cannot generate fanaticism. But it is known to exist; and because of that, other, more rigid, systems in the end blow away.

My most popular blogs

Most popular

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

1) Why Wisconsin can't be like Arizona

2) Culinary no-no #59

3) Racine woman named Miss Wisconsin

4) Johnny Depp should have stayed here

5) Paul Ryan's the man

Culinary no-no #60

Culinary no-no's

Dining at the visually stunning Tchoup Chop Restaurant run by Emeril Lagasse at the Universal Royal Pacific Resort in Orlando a few years ago, my wife and I both marveled at the Asian fusion cuisine. In one entrée, Emeril took mouth watering Kalua pork and mingled it into an amazing chow mein that my wife, Jennifer did share a bite or two.

Back home, Jennifer and I watched Emeril Live on the Food Network as Emeril re-created the dish on television. Not one who’s intimidated by cooking, Jennifer happily agreed to tackle this dish for us in the Fischer kitchen.

Take a look at the recipe’s ingredients from the Food Network website:

2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon black and white sesame seeds
Pinch ground 5-spice blend

Pinch ground nori (ground seaweed)

3/4 teaspoon Hawaiian salt

1 1/2 pounds pork shoulder roast (Boston butt or picnic roast), at room temperature
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
8 ounces fresh or dried Chinese egg noodles
3 tablespoons peanut oil
3 tablespoons chopped green onions
1 tablespoon minced ginger
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/2 cup thinly sliced yellow onions
1/2 cup julienned bok choy
1/2 cup julienned carrots
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 cup mung bean sprouts
1 cup chicken stock

The highlighted items were especially difficult to find, another common element on cooking shows. Those marquee chefs assume the average cook can easily get their hands on all these exotic ingredients. I don’t know where Emeril shops, but the truth is, Pick ‘n’ Save doesn’t carry ground seaweed.

The website claimed the recipe’s prep time was 10 minutes. Jennifer’s was 30 minutes.

While the final product was fantastic, it took several days to find all that was needed for the recipe. And it wasn’t cheap to prepare, costing close to $100.

It’s not just Emeril. It’s every chef on television.

Of course they make everything look effortless. They have an army of help wearing chef coats and aprons off-camera. Not often do the on-camera chefs spell out actual preparation time and the exact ingredients and amounts needed, and never do they discuss what it will actually cost to concoct, “Asian Spiced-Pan Roasted Moulard Duck Breast in a Chili Sapporo Beer Broth with Oyster Mushrooms and Udon Noodles.”

That’s on the broadcast end. Move over to the print side.

Sara Dickerman has written about food for the New York Times Magazine, Food and Wine, Bon Appetit, and Seattle magazine. In a recent piece on, Dickerman says there’s a problem with her kind, the hedonistic food press:

urn to the food section of your city paper and you'll learn where to spend $120 a pound on jamón ibérico or where to taste a flight of pricy olive oils,” Dickerman writes.

“As an industry, we rhapsodize about la cucina povera—that is, ‘poor food’ like polenta, beans, and braise-worthy cuts of meat like short-ribs and pigs trotters—but we rarely talk about cooking in terms of dollars and cents. When food writers and producers advocate economy, they're usually talking about time—churning out recipes for fast, easy, everyday weeknight meals that can be prepared in minutes. The dollar-savvy recipe is far less common. Why, even as the economic news turns grim, is it so unusual for the food media to take cost into account?”

Dickerman offers reasons in her piece, including the perception that cooks in the home are Emeril wanna-be’s, and the food press feels the obligation to push advertisers’ products.

She raises an interesting issue. Food inflation is the worst it’s been in decades. Would it hurt the food press to be even more informational by including an extra line or two about pricing?

The same holds true for TV chefs. Graham Kerr, the Galloping Gourmet’s longtime shtick was to, with bold ink, itemize the cost of meals he prepared.

I’m not suggesting Emeril or Wolfgang or anybody else dumb down their offerings to pedestrian, economic swill. But take the current state of affairs at the supermarket. Combine that with the great interest the public still has for making and eating fine food. Isn’t the cost an important piece of the story you’re trying to tell?

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

Liberals lie about their agenda

A few months ago I wrote that liberals absolutely detest being called liberals.

Can’t stand it.

To them, it’s like spitting in their faces.

You are what you are, and yet the “L’ word sends liberals into orbit, thinking they’ve been insulted.

That’s why I read with glee the latest column from John Hawkins, professional blogger who runs Conservative Grapevine and Right Wing News.

Hawkins writes, Conservatives genuinely believe that this is a center-right country. That's why conservatives have no qualms about being publicly labeled as conservatives and it's part of the reason why we're much more honest than the Left -- because we believe that a majority of the American people generally agree with us and share our values.
So, those of us on the Right spend our time trying to explain to the American people what we really want to do, while the Left spends its time trying to hide what it really wants to do from the American people.”

Hawkins makes the outstanding point that liberals support programs and policies, not because of how effective they are, but based upon how they make the liberals feel. If they make the liberals feel all warm and snuggly inside, then no matter how expensive or ineffective the programs are, they get liberal approval.

Conservatives feel just the opposite. If a proposal is going to spend and waste large sums of money, conservatives will pan it.  If a liberal can turn the cozy, fuzzy idea into a bumper sticker, count him in.

Most of the common sense world doesn’t operate the liberal way. Taxpayers aren’t about to back a program that will fail and costs an exorbitant amount of money. Liberals know this, so they are forced into lying about the wasteful spending agenda they support.

Hawkins writes, “Liberals have had to become habitually dishonest about what they believe and want to do to get their ideas put into action,” and as a result, can’t be trusted.

It’s a great column.

Your employees are too fat so you'll have to pay a fine!

Japan is getting fat.

Too fat.

The country wants to stop its tubby trend by enforcing a new law requiring that companies and local governments measure the waistlines of Japanese workers between the ages of 40 and 74 as part of their annual checkups. How many people have to face the tape measure? Try 56 million, about 44 percent of the entire Japanese population.

The standard is strict for Japanese men. They must not exceed a 33.5 inch waistline. For women, it’s 35.4 inches.

Anything larger and the overweight individual will be given dieting instructions if, after three months, no weight is lost.

There are sanctions in place as the government will fine companies and local governments that fail to meet particular goals.

With one out of three Americans officially obese, the question is, would such a program work here?

Given the way we eat, I’d say a rather loud and emphatic no.

Holy egg roll! This is a horrible idea for many reasons.

It’s government intrusion.

Why should a company be fined if its workers can’t lose weight?

How is that the company’s fault?

Obesity is clearly a matter of personal responsibility. It’s not the government’s or the private sector’s fault if your waistline is 40 inches. That’s YOUR fault and you should do something about it.

America needs incentives, and above all, greater willpower if it wants to shed some pounds.

Here’s the story from ABC News.

I'm on WISN

I'm back on Newstalk 1130 WISN this Thursday, July 3rd, filling in for Mark Belling from 3-6 pm.

I'll also be on WISN later in the month. More details later.

What's Great About America-Part 4

Dinesh D' Souza, an immigrant from India who is now a U.S. citizen, is the Robert and Karen Rishwain Scholar at the Hoover Institution and author of the New York Times best-seller What’s So Great About America. A few years ago, he wrote a paper for the Heritage Foundation called What’s Great About America. For seven days, I'm posting, one each day, the qualities D'Souza listed in his paper. Here's #4

The Ethics of Work

Capitalism gives America a this-worldly focus in which death and the afterlife recede from everyday view. The gaze of the people is shifted from heavenly aspirations to earthly progress. As such, work and trade have always been important and respectable in America. This “lowering of the sights” convinces many critics that American capitalism is a base, degraded system and that the energies that drive it are crass and immoral.

Historically, most cultures have despised the merchant and the laborer, regarding the former as vile and corrupt and the latter as degraded and vulgar. This attitude persists today in the Third World, and it is even commonplace in Europe. Oscar Wilde spoke for many Europeans when he commented that to have to scrub floors and empty garbage cans is depressing enough; to take pride in such things is absolutely appalling.

These modern critiques draw on some very old prejudices. In the ancient world, labor was generally despised, and in some cases even ambition was seen as reprehensible. Think about the lines from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar: “The noble Brutus hath told you Caesar was ambitious.” And here you might expect Mark Antony to say, “And what’s wrong with that?” But he goes on: “If it were so, it was a grievous fault.”

In the cultures of antiquity, Western as well as non-Western, the merchant and the trader were viewed as low-life scum. The Greeks looked down on their merchants, and the Spartans tried to stamp out the profession altogether. “The gentleman understands what is noble,” Confucius writes in his Analects. “The small man understands what is profitable.” In the Indian caste system, the vaisya or trader occupies nearly the lowest rung of the ladder—one step up from the despised untouchable. The Muslim historian Ibn Khaldun argues that gain by conquest is preferable to gain by trade because conquest embodies the virtues of courage and manliness. In these traditions, the honorable life is devoted to philosophy or the priesthood or military valor. “Making a living” was considered a necessary but undignified pursuit. As Khaldun would have it, far better to rout your adversary, kill the men, enslave the women and children, and make off with a bunch of loot than to improve your lot by buying and selling stuff.

In America, it is different, and the American Founders are responsible for the change. Drawing on the inspiration of modern philosophers like John Locke and Adam Smith, the American Founders altered the moral hierarchy of the ancient world. They argued that trade based on consent and mutual gain was preferable to plunder. The Founders established a regime in which the self-interest of entrepreneurs and workers would be directed toward serving the wants and needs of others. In this view, the ordinary life, devoted to production, serving the customer, and supporting a family, is a noble and dignified endeavor. Hard work, once considered a curse, now becomes socially acceptable, even honorable. Commerce, formerly a degraded thing, becomes a virtue.

Of course, the Founders recognized that, in both the private and the public spheres, greedy and ambitious people might pose a danger to the well-being of others. Instead of trying to outlaw these passions, the Founders attempted a different approach. As James Madison put it in Federalist 51, “Ambition must be made to counteract ambition.” The argument is that in a free society, “the security for civil rights must be the same as that for religious rights. It consists in the one case in the multiplicity of interests, in the other in the multiplicity of sects.” The framers of the Constitution reasoned that by setting interests against each other, by making them compete, no single one could become strong enough to imperil the welfare of the whole.

In the public sphere, the Founders took special care to devise a system that would prevent, or at least minimize, the abuse of power. To this end, they established limited government in order that the power of the state would remain confined. They divided authority between the national and state governments. Within the national framework, they provided for separation of powers so that the legislature, executive, and judiciary would each have its own domain of power. They insisted upon checks and balances, to enhance accountability.

In general, the Founders adopted a “policy of supplying, by opposite and rival interests, the defect of better motives,” as Madison said. This is not to say that the Founders ignored the importance of virtue, but they knew that virtue is not always in abundant supply. The Greek philosophers held that virtue was the same thing as knowledge—that people do bad things because they are ignorant—but the American Founders did not agree. Their view was closer to that of St. Paul: “The good that I would, I do not. The evil that I would not, that I do.” According to Christianity, the problem of the bad person is that his will is corrupted, and this is a fault endemic to human nature. The American Founders knew they could not transform human nature, so they devised a system that would thwart the schemes of the wicked and channel the energies of flawed persons toward the public good.

He/She was very funny, but...

Last night on some of my blog entries, an individual used the name metromilwaukeetoday to leave comments that poked fun at former FranklinNOW blogger Greg Kowalski.

I found the comments very funny. However, it was clear the anonymous individual was not Kowalski and was using the title of Kowalski’s blog to imply he/she was Kowalski. Earlier today, I decided to remove those comments from my blog. I can’t allow someone to comment here pretending to be someone they’re not.

Mind you the few comments that were removed pale in comparison to the number of trashy comments about me that Greg Kowalski  and other bloggers have allowed to be posted by anonymous writers on their sites.  I have no doubt that’s going to continue because they feel they can do it, but hate it when the tables are turned.

Whoever metromilwaukeetoday was, he/she certainly made me and others laugh because he had Greg Kowalski nailed down pretty well.  Metromilwaukeetoday did manage to get  Greg and his band of hate all bent out of shape. The truth hurts, I guess.

I hope he/she will consider writing again using his/her real name with on-topic commentary.

This is great news

The number of abortions performed in Wisconsin has dropped by 14% according to Wisconsin Right to Life. WRTL’s Executive Director Barbara Lyons puts that figure into perspective:

“1,313 babies who might have been killed by abortion are alive today.”

Here’s the WRTL news release.

Have you called your Milwaukee County Supervisor yet?


“A 13th Milwaukee County supervisor today said he favors holding a November referendum on a 1-cent local sales tax increase.

Supervisor Theo Lipscomb said he would vote to override the expected veto of the referendum by County Executive Scott Walker. Adding Lipscomb's vote to the 12 supervisors who approved holding the sales tax referendum last week would provide the necessary veto override margin.”

This is a bad idea. Taxes are already too high in Milwaukee County. Another tax increase is unnecessary and Scott Walker is taking the appropriate action with a veto.

Walker’s veto needs to be upheld. Call your Milwaukee County Supervisor ASAP and ask that he/she vote to sustain the veto of the sales tax referendum.

Possible Democrat VP candidate attacks McCain's military service

This is pretty slimy. Former General Wesley Clark, who ran for the Democrat Presidential nomination in 2004 is attacking John McCain’s military service. John McCain spent several years in a POW camp in Vietnam, so to criticize McCain’s service record is unconscionable.


"He hasn't been there and ordered the bombs to fall" as a wartime commander, the general said on CBS. Clark is mentioned as a possible Obama running mate, although he originally supported Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton.

When the interviewer, Bob Schieffer, noted to Clark that McCain had been shot down over Hanoi, Clark replied, "I don't think riding in a fighter plane and getting shot down is a qualification to be president."

This is a huge tactical error on the part of the Obama campaign. Making derogatory remarks about McCain’s service to his country can and will create a backlash. Republicans in 2004, though critical of John Kerry, never cast any aspersions on the time he served in the military.

Obama, who has not been to Iraq, has had his foreign policy experience come into question.  Having a surrogate throw rocks at a military war hero is bound to backfire.

Read the entire article on Clark.

Obama is now in damage control...

Read more

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