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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.

Ladies, what are you wearing today?

Might it be

About that forecast...

We were told, as always, many times that the bad weather was coming.

We read this early Thursday morning on

“The heaviest snow will be in the far southeastern corner of the state, where parts of Racine and Kenosha counties could get up to six inches. Ozaukee and northern Milwaukee County should be on the low end of the totals.”

This morning, the website reported, “Mitchell International Airport has recorded 6.6 inches as of 6:10 this morning.”

Have you noticed this winter that whenever the prognosticators proclaim we’ll get 4-6 inches, it’s always 6, or more?

It’s NEVER the low end.

I repeat from a blog entry I posted last June:

I’m just old enough to remember WTMJ-TV weatherman Bill Carlsen from the 60's who had nothing but a magic marker, a can of Hills Brothers coffee (the sponsor for Channel 4’s weather) and a blackboard to predict weather conditions. Most of the time, Carlsen got it right, even though he lacked the expensive state of the art technology today’s forecasters have at their disposal.

When I worked at WTMJ, I recall needling one of the meteorologists who shall remain anonymous, whenever dire predictions or even prognostications of pleasant weather went astray.

I’ll never forget his trio of excuses:

1) The wind shifted.

2) A front went through.

And my all-time favorite……………

3) You know, Kevin, this is not an exact science.

A question for those crazy environmentalists....

Where the hell was global warming in January?

It’s snowing in Baghdad and China.

And closer to home......


I'm thinkin' Paul Soglin was right about those bicycles

This past December, former ultra-liberal Madison mayor Paul Soglin got into some trouble with even his aging hippie worshipers for comments he made on his blog.

Soglin said that people who ride their bikes in snowstorms in Madison should be “taken out and shot.”

Now anyone with a modicum of common sense realized Soglin didn’t mean it literally.

Ahh, but we live in a touchy, over-sensitive world, and Soglin was hit with a barrage of nasty comments.

Soglin explained his remarks to the Wisconsin State Journal:

"I was driving home Tuesday at a snail 's pace, and there were these lunatics out there riding their bikes in a snowstorm, which they had been doing over the weekend as well, " Soglin said Thursday.

"So there was a new five inches of snow on top of the ruts and ice we already had on the streets, and it was the middle of rush hour. And (the bicyclists) were all over the road, not to mention the guy who was on a moped, " he said.

"As a bicyclist myself, I hold us to higher standards than that. We are supposed to be more rational, more sane, smarter and better looking, " he said.

In writing the storm-bikers should be "taken out and shot, " however, he used a phrase he thought would be familiar to the blog 's usual readers.

The comment was an oblique reference to a similar comment posted facetiously by a teacher on another blog in mock praise of the Columbine shooters. The suburban Milwaukee teacher was arrested, but Washington County officials said this week he would not be prosecuted.

Last night, driving home after a long day at the Capitol, I had the same experience as Soglin.

With snow falling down, the typically untreated Madison streets covered and slippery, there in my rear-view mirror directly behind me is a bicyclist right on my bumper, with the dimmest of lights, contemplating squeezing between me and a city bus. And like Soglin, I saw a guy on a moped.

I’m sorry, but that’s plain nuts.

Dopey, stupid, risky, dangerous, all of the above.

But that’s Madison, where bicyclists think they own the streets.

So Soglin’s point was dead on, even with the arguably ill-advised firing squad reference.

Pay attention, Franklin School Board

You, too, Franklin School Board candidates.

It can be done.

I’m not suggesting pink slips be tossed around, but school districts can, if they have to and want to, hold the line on spending.

How badly do some conservatives feel about John McCain?


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One of the casualties of Illinois' smoking ban...

Big Smoke Chicago.

Ban the ban (smoking)


Two Wisconsin bloggers, Joey Monson and Ryan Evans say they’re fed up with efforts to ban smoking in our state.

They’ve embarked on a campaign to ban the ban, saying they don’t want to encourage smoking, but instead want to ensure people have the right to smoke in Wisconsin.

Here’s a press release they issued this week:

Ban the Ban Wisconsin Campaign Launch

In the wake of a recent surge in pressure tactics by Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle and activist groups to impose a state-wide smoking ban, a local group of rights activists have launched a campaign aimed at countering the drive to make Wisconsin a smoke-free state.

Ban the Ban Wisconsin is seeking to educate people regarding the biased and misguiding information that is being put forth by the anti-smoking proponents as well as counter the flawed arguments commonly used by supporters of smoking bans. Additionally, they actively support organizations and individual business owners who see smoking bans as a violation of their rights.

“This isn’t a matter of public health; this is a matter of personal rights and the freedom to choose. Wisconsin has more smoke-free facilities than smoker-friendly, and businesses currently have the ability to choose based on the market they serve. Proponents of the smoking ban want to strip that right away from private business owners and impose their personal agenda on all of the citizens of Wisconsin. This isn’t conducive to a free society or a free market.”

Ban the Ban Wisconsin strives to take an objective stance on smoking issues and doesn’t encourage nor discourage people to smoke; rather the goal is to ensure that the citizens of Wisconsin are afforded the right to choose.

“The smoking cessation movement seeks to end smoking across the state and isn’t afraid to trample individual rights and freedom in the process. To them, this is a personal mission which taints their objectivity on the issue. We are simply asking people to take a fair and informed look at the whole picture before deciding to jump on the ban bandwagon.”

The goal of the campaign is not to convince people that smoking is ok or that smoke is healthy. Instead, the goal is to encourage the people of Wisconsin to not willingly give up their rights to the government without first considering all of the facts and future ramifications of their actions.

“The smoking cessation movement and proponents of bans hope to foster support for their cause via guilt. We are working to strip away that guilt by presenting the facts in an objective manner and by giving the underrepresented a voice – even if that isn’t the popular thing to do.”

They’ve created a special website with more details.



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...


Kevin Everett

Leo Fiyalko

The Superintendent in New Berlin


Miguel A. Ayala, 21, Carlos Gonzalez, 17, and Irene Rodriguez, 16.

Scott Ziegler

Manishkumar Patel

The National Football League

And, we won’t call him a VILLAIN, just “naughty”


Some in Washington argue that letting tax relief expire is not a tax increase. Try explaining that to 116 million American taxpayers who would see their taxes rise by an average of $1,800. Others have said they would personally be happy to pay higher taxes. I welcome their enthusiasm, and I am pleased to report that the IRS accepts both checks and money orders.”
President Bush in his final State of the Union address.

"She's more conservative that he is. She will be stronger on the war on terrorism...I will campaign for her if it's McCain."

Conservative columnist Ann Coulter, saying she will vote for Hillary Clinton over John McCain.

"There's no doubt that [Hillary Clinton] is held to a different standard — the evaluation of appearance has always been traditionally different for female candidates"
Sarah Brewer, the associate director of the Women and Politics Institute at American University.

"It's really very sexist. Nobody is going to say they don't like how [Illinois Sen.] Barack Obama looks.”
Geraldine Ferraro, a former vice presidential candidate.

(Governor) Doyle's State of the State address gave lip service to a need for “deep cuts and sacrifices,” but did not provide any detailed proposals. Instead, he talked about initiatives that will require more state spending. FRANKLY, WE CONTEST the very idea that government, at any level, has the slightest notion what the phrase “deep cuts and hard sacrifices” really means. Our guess is this: Government expects citizens to make “deep cuts and sacrifices” in their household budgets in order to keep paying the taxes necessary to feed the beast.

From an editorial in the Beloit Daily News

This is getting ridiculous in my view. We all know it's coming. Is there anyone in the state who doesn't think we're going to have a smoking ban in place?”
Governor Doyle on a smoking ban.

“I just can’t believe this is what we’re here for. We should be doing something decent… instead of trying to put people out of business. I know that they say this is the greatest thing in the world, that it’s going to solve all the health problems in the country, but that’s hogwash. I was born and raised in a barn since I was that high, and I was tending bar since I was that high (holding hand four feet above the ground.) And there was only one light bulb in the bar. There was no fans, and everyone smoked. It was blue in there. Come on, I’m still alive, and I’m 69 years old. It’s sickening.
State Senator Roger Breske, (D-Eland) a former bar owner and ex-president of the Tavern League of Wisconsin. Breske spoke out at a news conference that was actually called by Senate Democrats to discuss their economic stimulus package.

"The Latin Kings are out there right now throwing their weight around a little bit, and we're going to make sure they feel our attention in a very special way in the next several weeks."
Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn, adding that the effort will not be a sweep of Latino men, but arrests of specific gang members.

"I didn't expect to live this long. I don't know if I'll make it to spring or not.”
42-year old David Watson, one of the many homeless who take shelter during these wintry days in the basement of the state Capitol in Madison.


Berkeley wants to get rid of its Marine recruiting station.


The renewed ethanol debate in Madison. Unless you listened to talk radio or read the blogs, the coverage was nearly non-existent.


Even more so than the Super Bowl this week. It could only be Britney.


his guy keeps his girlfriend on a short leash

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.

Ald.Olson to state: Leave our ordinance alone

This week, a state Assembly committee held a public hearing on a bill to ban local ordinances that restrict where sex offenders can live. If approved and signed into law, it would wipe out Franklin's successful ordinance that has been a model for similar ordinances in municipalties around the state.

Franklin Alderman Steve Olson helped write Franklin's ordinance. He gave the following testimony to the Assembly committee this week: 

January 29, 2008
Chairman Scott Suder
Vice-Chairman Bill Kramer
Assembly Committee in Justice and Ethics
State Capitol
Madison, Wisconsin

Dear Mr. Chairman, Honorable Members of the Committee: 

Good morning.  Thank you for the opportunity to provide written testimony on the matter of Assembly Bill 702, a measure designed to eliminate local restrictions on the residency of convicted sex offenders.

Chairman Suder, last year you and several of your colleagues and many others worked very hard to try to come to a solution on the placement of sex offenders throughout the State.  As you know, the issue is complex and attempts to solve the issue are fraught with politics and emotion.  Several bills will be coming from your committee’s work but a comprehensive solution eludes the State of Wisconsin.

Many Wisconsin communities have taken a thoughtful, common sense look at the issue of where sex offenders live in their communities and have enacted ordinances designed to enhance the protection of their most valuable asset; their children. 

Like these communities, my city took a careful and deliberate look at case law, properly designed studies and measured community sentiment and ultimately passed (unanimously) the second such ordinance in the state.  Throughout the very deliberate procedure, we accepted all public input on at least four occasions.  We have listened to our constituents.  They believe that a common sense approach to protecting their children is the best approach.  To them, and us, keeping sex offenders away from their prey makes perfect sense and is another tool in managing the incurable crime of child sex abuse.

If the Assembly takes a close look at the targets of AB 702, they would find, in general, well crafted and thought out answers to the public outcry of “why is that child molester living across the street from my child’s school?”  In most ordinances, a very important clause is key to solving a problem that thus far, the State has been unable to even talk about.  Each community must be responsible for the placement of the sex offenders who come from their community.

To strike down local control for the safety of our own children will have devastating effects on the very people we seek to protect.  The proposed bill only benefits convicted sex offenders.

Consider the Town of Somers in Kenosha County.  They have had a Chapter 980 sexually violent person placed in the center of their community without even the minimum of notice.  They are upset and looking for answers.  And in looking for answers, they now find that they are truly a dumping ground for a large number of sex offenders who have no relationship to their community.  The State has failed the Town of Somers.

Consider the City of Franklin.  We vigorously enforce our residency ordinance and work closely with the DOC.  We have had 5 occasions to invoke the ordinance and in 4 cases, the offender complied and moved out and is still on the Wisconsin Sex Offender Registry.  In one of the four, the offender was employed as a driver of an ice cream truck selling frosty treats to children.  He no longer performs those duties.  He as well remains on the registry. Only our imaginations can tell us how many children were protected by our enforcement of our ordinance.

Consider Green Bay.  Since they enacted their residency ordinance, little has been heard of public outcry over the placement of a sex offender in their community, yet we know that they are finding residences within the city.

The bill before you is apparently written as punishment for the many communities across the state that have been proactive in providing a solution to the placement of sex offenders.  The bill continues to advance the tired and ineffective practice of “one size fits all” law writing that, in the end, serves no one.

This bill, if passed, will also seriously undermine the long held tradition of home rule in our state.  If passed, what local ordinance will be next?  Should the State rule on our parking ordinances as well?

I urge you, the members of the Committee to think through this issue and recognize that a properly crafted residency ordinance is constitutional, protects the safety of the children of the community and manages the sex offender’s impact on the community. 

Reject this bill.


Steve Olson

Alderman, District 1
City of Franklin
9229 W. Loomis Road
Franklin, Wisconsin  53132

A "Snowy Day Fund"

Jo Egelhoff of blogs about a legislative proposal to raid, AGAIN, the state's Transportation Fund to help local governments cope with winter. Egelhoff nails it in a great commentary.

Another state subsidy - from the Transportation Fund?!!

Representative Gary Hebl (D-Sun Prairie) introduced legislation last week that would create a “Snowy Day Fund” to distribute grants to communities hard hit by winter (horrors!) weather.

Representative Hebl states in his press release “Winter weather has put many municipal budgets on thin ice this year, and what the Snowy Day fund does is provide some relief for the areas that have been hardest hit.”

Municipalities where (per the draft legislation)

…snow and ice precipitation and the number of snow or ice events in a DOT transportation region are greater than the region’s… [averages] over the immediately preceding five-year period (whew)…

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Has it been a year already?

Last Sunday marked my one-year anniversary of blogging on FranklinNOW.

I appreciate you stopping by.

Thank you very much.

You want us to drink WHAT???!!!

Boy, you've got to hand it to those wacky environmentalists.

They're always coming up with such wild and crazy ideas.

This one just might be the goofiest.

Dr. Elvis



I’m not fond of most Elvis impersonators.  An exception would be the late Tom Green of Milwaukee.

So would this guy…..Dr. Alan Cohen, pediatric surgeon.

Oh, and Fred Keller, thank you. Thank you very much.

Coming to an inbox near you....

This is funny!

Culinary no-no # 40

Culinary no-no's

There's only one guarantee about Sunday's Super Bowl:

You're going to see some Budweiser ads.

The odds are, you're going to like them.

Let's be honest.

You don’t even remember who played in last year’s big game.

So you probably don't recall those cool ads you thought were so great.

About the ads in the 2007 Super Bowl, USA TODAY reported:

Anheuser-Busch continued its Super Bowl ad supremacy with a commercial that pure and simple made folks smile.

For a record ninth-consecutive year, the beer giant won USA TODAY'S exclusive Ad Meter real-time consumer focus group ranking of Super Bowl commercials.

The winning ad featured a group of computer-generated crabs on the beach bowing down at the altar of an ice chest filled with Budweiser. The red chest with two Buds for antennae looks like a giant crab — which a crab army worships as the sun sets behind it. That's the kind of gentle, visual humor folks apparently wanted most this year.

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The next Hollywood superhero


I read with great interest the other day from about the latest in the Captain America saga:

Captain America's alter-ego, Steve Rogers, is still resting in peace at Arlington National Cemetery, having been done in by assassins last March. But his good buddy and sidekick from the 1940s, Bucky Barnes, has picked up the bulletproof Captain America shield, put on a new uniform and taken his place.What's that you say? Wouldn't Bucky be about 85 years old now? And without any real super powers to fall back on, isn't that kind of long in the tooth to be taking a bite out of crime?Well, yeah. But remember, this is the comic book world we're talking about. Bucky was put in suspended animation by the evil Russians (back when they were evil) and stayed that way for the better part of 60 years."So he's probably in his late 20s right now," jokes Marvel Editor in Chief Joe Quesada, who decided to promote him to Captain America.

Hurray, I exclaimed!!

Captain America and his mighty shield are not dead.

That brought a smile to the face of someone who grew up as a child in the 60’s, reading comic after comic after comic book.

As a youngster, I read the Baltimore Catechism, the Weekly Reader, textbook after textbook.

I read a lot.

The Hardy Boys?

I couldn’t wait till Gimbels Schuster on Mitchell Street had the latest Hardy Boys'  adventure hard cover for sale.

I read Jerry Kramer’s “Instant Replay.”

I read weekly magazines.

I read teen magazines that immortalized the Beatles.

I read the liner notes of my older brother Greg’s albums.

I read comic books.


I was barely 8, 9. 10, 11, 12 years old.

There were certain things that excited me:

My small RCA transistor radio that I attached to my Raleigh bike.

My Raleigh bike with the cool banana seat.

Debbie Huck.  She was an absolute dream. A classmate of mine at St. Anthony’s grade school. Did I mention she was gorgeous and built?


Back to normal.

My weekly scramble down the steps of Woolworth’s to get the weekly Top 40.

If they didn’t have it, I’d hop on my Raleigh and head up the street to Sears.

And then there was the pursuit of:

Comic books.

Like the stay at home housewife watching,’”As the World Turns,” I had to have my fix.

Is Superman OK?

What about Batman?

And Hulk and Thor and the Fantastic Four?

I’d race on that Raleigh bike of mine, park in front of the store at 6th and Becher (now a Hispanic bar) and run into the all-purpose drugstore and head right to the comics section to the immediate right as you entered the place.

There they were.

Racks and racks of them.

The ultimate of comic books.

The DC comics: Superman, Batman, Green Lantern, Flash, the American Legion, etc.

The Marvel comics: Fantastic Four, Captain America, Hulk, Sub Mariner, Spiderman.

It was the Baskin Robbins of comic books.

The store owners knew me by name, bike and face.

“The new comics aren’t in,” they’d say.

I knew a single second upon looking at that rack if I hit pay dirt or not.

So, I'd say ,"Thank you," and head off on my bike to the next shop that might tell me if and how my favorite hero had lived to fight another week.

As neat as the comic books were, the cool factor exploded when independent television (i.e., Channel 18) started showing the Marvel superheroes'  TV shows.

Fast forward to today.

I don’t attend a lot of movies.

I think most movies are junk and a waste of my money.

I am intrigued by movies, however, that bring back sweet memories of my past.

And that means I’m very interested to see the next Hollywood adaptation of superhero from the past.

The Flash?

Sub Mariner?

Green Lantern?

Super Girl?

Try Iron Man.

Iron Man was a tremendous superhero.

The problem was he was overshadowed by so many other stars with ultra powers.

It didn’t help that his cartoon TV series was punctuated by a cheesy opening with a cheesy theme song.

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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) OK ladies….what is wrong with you?

2) This could be the only way I enjoy the Super Bowl

3) God bless President Bush

4) Bienvenido

5) Would you like paper or….paper?

Yes, yes, Jennifer, I know, I know

“You don’t blog enough about dogs!”
Who said that?
My wife, Jennifer.
When did she say it?
What time is it?

 I have been reminded countless times (by guess who?) that there is another bowl today on television.

Super Bowl ads: Instant (almost) replay

Want to see one of today’s Super Bowl commercials again but don’t want to wait too long?

John Horn of the LA Times reports:

Within 10 minutes of their broadcast, Super Bowl ads can be seen -- and rated -- on, which is the new Web home for a similar Super Bowl ad site started by Among the football spots, movie ads tend to get special attention.”

Elvis is SUPER!


Elvis is ubiquitous.

Take a look.

Do you see Elvis?


I sure do.

The logo of the New England Patriots is called the "Flying Elvis."

The Elvis Channel on Sirius Satellite Radio reported that an official in the team's marketing department said the resemblance was intentional.

His mission was to get paczki's, by hook or crook

This week is Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent for Catholics. The day before Ash Wednesday is Paczki Day.

Last year, I blogged one of my personal favorites about the pre-Lenten ritual of paczki's.

I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did writing it.

Attend the 1st annual "Citizens for a Safe Wisconsin" fundraiser

The Franklin-based group, “Citizens for a Safe Wisconsin” is holding its first annual fundraiser later this month.

The group has worked with great passion and diligence to make communities all across Wisconsin safe from sex offenders.

I hope you will attend what is sure to be an outstanding event for a wonderful cause.

I’m honored the group asked me some time ago to be the Master of Ceremonies for the fundraiser. Here are more details:

February 4, 2008 
For more information call:Shari Hanneman (414) 630-8214 

Leap Year Event to Celebrate Safe Kids!

Franklin, WIChild safety advocacy group Citizens for a Safe Wisconsin (CFSW) is pleased to announce its first annual fundraising event “Leap Into Action and Celebrate Safe Kids” on Friday, February 29th, 2008 from 6:30-11:30 p.m.  at the Oak Creek Community Center 8580 S. Howell Ave. Oak Creek, WI.  

The public is cordially invited to attend.  Highlights of the evening include dancing to the disco sounds of The Boogiemen with opening act Band X; food provided by Di Carlo’s restaurant of Oak Creek; and great raffle items.

Tickets are $50.00 per person and can be ordered on-line at, or by calling 414-630-8214.  Order now – tickets are limited!

Founded in 2005 as a grass-roots effort to protest the placement of housing for sexually violent persons in Southeast Wisconsin, Citizens for a Safe Wisconsin is now focused on state-wide policy change and public education with a goal that no child will be victim to sexual abuse and exploitation. CFSW, Inc. is a 501©4 organization. 





People moan if gas goes up by two or three cents.


People stomp their feet when a postage stamp goes up a few cents.


People have heart attacks if their favorite Greek restaurant raises prices on the omelettes by 50 cents.


In case you missed the little friendly reminder you got in your latest Franklin water bill, let me tell you what that love note from the city said.

The 2008 residential Sewer Service rates will be $45.87 per quarter, an increase of $9.93, or a 27.6% increase over the 2007 rates.


OK, everybody, especially all you extreme lefties who hate me but insist on reading this blog that you just can’t tear yourselves away from.
Repeat after me:

We are not a tax hell.

We are not a tax hell.

We are not a tax hell.



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The ultimate rally, the ultimate cause: Will the press cover?

In many ways, reporting hasn’t changed much in the 30 years I’ve been involved in broadcast journalism and commentary.

If a protest breaks out on a street corner (especially in Berkeley East, Madison) for even a half hour, there will be video on all the stations at 10:00, and numerous paragraphs in the morning paper.

Suppose a rally begins, and the rally goes on, and on, and on, non-stop, for 40 days.

Let’s suppose you’re a news director or a newspaper editor. Would you consider a rally that draws a sizable number of participants 24 hours a day for 40 consecutive days newsworthy?

It actually happened, and not that long ago. Last fall, in communities all across the country, including Wisconsin, the 40 Days for Life campaign took place.

From the 40 days for Life website:

40 Days for Life is a community-based campaign that draws attention to the evil of abortion.

40 Days for Life takes a determined, peaceful approach to showing local communities the consequences of abortion in their own neighborhoods, for their own friends and families. It puts into action a desire to cooperate with God in the carrying out of His plan for the end of abortion in America.

The 40-day campaign tracks Biblical history, where God used 40-day periods to transform individuals, communities ... and the entire world. From Noah in the flood to Moses on the mountain to the disciples after Christ's resurrection, it is clear that God sees the transformative value of His people accepting and meeting a 40-day challenge.

The results of the first 40 Days for Life were called “staggering” with over 150 news stories appearing across America.

Maybe so, but not here.

When President Reagan appeared in Milwaukee, a small group of a dozen protesters often got the same amount of TV news coverage as the President. I know. I was there.

Journal/Sentinel columnist Patrick McIlheran bravely wrote a fine piece on Milwaukee’s 40 Days for Life campaign last year. If not for his work, no one in the Milwaukee media would have noticed.

The effort was considered, for many reasons, according to Celebrate Life Magazine, to be successful:

2007 campaign results

Last fall, the first national 40 Days for Life campaign took place in 33 states across America and the results were staggering:

•More than 100,000 people prayed and fasted for 40 days

•More than 22,000 people prayed peacefully outside Planned Parenthood centers and other abortion businesses

•More than 340 innocent children were saved from abortion; therefore, some 680 mothers and fathers were spared from a lifetime of regrets

I am not a Bible-thumping, chest-pounding protester. Those who engaged in 40 Days for Life need to be recognized for being exemplary in their dignity and devotion to a cause.

Beginning this Ash Wednesday, the next campaign begins, and while it doesn’t appear our area will be represented this time, the collective effort will be newsworthy, and deserving of our support.

Will the news media cover?

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The Greatest Love Songs of All-Time

Greatest Love Songs of All-Time

Valentine’s Day is fast approaching.

You have about 10 days to do what you need to do.

Between now and February 14th, inspired by my blogathon on Christmas music, the 10 Greatest Love Songs of All-Time (according to me). Yes, I am a romantic, sentimental fool.

Before we start the 10-song countdown, one per day, here's a collection that didn’t quite make my top 10, but is guaranteed to, how shall we say, put you in the mood….

Let’s start with a biggie.

The Beatles.

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Greatest Love Songs of All-Time: #10

Greatest Love Songs of All-Time


In 1936, Dorothy Fields and Jerome Kern started writing songs for the great dance team of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. One of their collaborations was performed in the film, “Swing Time.”

It’s as big today as when Frank Sinatra recorded the song.

Watch Darren Bennett and Lilia Kopylova dance to Michael Buble singing, "The Way You Look Tonight" on Strictly Come Dancing Series 2.

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Thank goodness the Polish Community Center is in Franklin


The Polish Community Center at 68th and Rawson, I’m told, was a very busy place today, bustling with activity, all thanks to filled donuts. The annual paczki pick-up was so popular the Center stopped taking walk-in orders.

If you’ve been to the center you know what a great building it is in a great setting.

According to the history page of the Polish Community Center web site, “The dream took more tangible shape in 1987, when Polish Festivals, Inc purchased a parcel of land in suburban Franklin.  The property's crowning glory was a small spring fed lake with water quality typical of northern Wisconsin.  The high ground above the lake was dominated by red oaks and white oaks - with some trunks up to three feet in diameter.  It was on this exceptional piece of land that the community hoped to build its center.”

I remember that period. This was not an easy decision. Many Polish people were not happy with the selection of Franklin as the new Center’s location. Instead of a spot out in the suburbs, they preferred a location closer to Milwaukee’s south side that has traditionally been home to a large Polish population.

But Franklin remained the choice, and on August 26, 2000, the Polish Center of Wisconsin opened its doors for the very first time at its current location.

I can’t imagine what a big mistake it would have been to construct the Center on Milwaukee’s south side. The city is engulfed in violent crime. On the corner of 5th and Mitchell proudly stands St. Stanislaus Church and its familiar golden domes, a favorite church among Poles. Just a few blocks away at 600 W. Maple Street, an arrest was made at a troubled bar, a known gang hangout of a suspect in the murder of a Miller Brewing Co. executive in Walker’s Point.

Once beautiful neighborhoods have deteriorated into crime infested territories taken over by vicious gangs. Walker’s Point? Mitchell Street? Oklahoma Avenue? What would have been a good location for the Polish Community Center in the city of Milwaukee that would have made Poles proud today?  Nowhere, I’m afraid. I grew up on the south side and loved it, but my head isn’t in the sand. The neighborhoods I have such fond memories of died a long, long time ago.

Franklin was the appropriate escape route, if you will, for the Center 20 years ago. The Polish people made a great decision.

Don't blame the media for this round of weather

It’s inevitable that talk around our area over the next 24 hours will be if the news media blew the snowstorm out of proportion and over-hyped their coverage, especially television and radio.

Of course, the answer is no. This storm proved to be everything that was predicted and more. Stretching far south and touching off damaging tornadoes, the storm resulted in numerous fatalities. When a storm becomes dangerous, that’s news, deserving of all the various warnings and media attention.

The old argument that “it’s winter in Wisconsin,” doesn’t apply when the grip of a storm paralyzes an entire area.

The broadcast-envious newspaper will often take a jab at their counterparts with microphones and cameras and assert that they put people into an unnecessary panic by overdoing their coverage.

Oh, really?

Go to the Journal/Sentinel’s website. It’s all about the weather, even resorting to that less than clever journalistic ploy of begging for e-mails: “Tell us your favorite Wisconsin storm stories.”

Information was readily available and disseminated to the public. The leaders of every school district in SE Wisconsin could have easily taken that information and used common sense and all those degrees they have to declare school closings TUESDAY NIGHT so that the  announcements could have been on the 10:00 news rather than make parents, teachers, and students wait until 5:00 the next morning.

Was there a ton of weather coverage?

You bet there was because people want it. The stations have done research and know how vital the topic of weather is to viewers and listeners.

Did the news media over-react and over-hype the storm?

Not this time.


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Conservative talkers have not lost their principles

John McPain’s showing on Super Tuesday has the left spouting their usual false knee-jerk reactions.

Their short-sighted thinking process goes something like this:

1) Conservative talk show hosts don’t like McCain.

2) Conservative talk show hosts rip McCain.

3) McCain does well on Super Tuesday anyway.

4) HA HA! Conservative talk show hosts are a bunch of fools!

While the Democrats clash about personalities and race and gender, the Republicans are fighting about issues. Conservative talk show hosts have taken on McCain on his positions that are nowhere near being in a true conservative’s ballpark. So they speak out on how and why McCain is not a conservative and how he would damage not only the party but the country.

When McCain did well Tuesday night, his victories were not a reflection on conservative talk show hosts. People who often speak out about the genre of talk radio or television generally have no understanding of how that piece of the media works.

Talk show hosts, no matter what the political persuasion, are not Pied Pipers. They have no magic spell to place viewers and listeners into a seductive trance.

The consumers that watch or listen are not lemmings or trained seals. They don’t sit back like robots, waiting for instructions from the master talk show hosts. No, they have minds of their own, capable of making decisions after careful thought.

All the talk show hosts can do is their homework, prepare a case, and try to make a persuasive argument.

Charlie Sykes and Mark Belling have no control whatsoever over what a voter in Arizona does after he walks into the booth.

It’s one of the greatest misperceptions about talk show hosts, that somehow they have the ability to make listeners drink the Kool-Aid right through the radio speakers.

What really happened is that democracy played itself out. Despite the dead-on analysis of conservative talkers, Mitt Romney didn’t make as strong a case. Republicans are either unaware of his history of stabbing conservatives in the back and warming up to the liberal press, or are aware and simply don’t care.

Conservative talk show hosts have been consistent for many years in their disdain for McCain’s stances.  The outcome was not what the hosts wanted Tuesday, but they remain steadfast in their principles, something the unprincipled left will never truly understand.


So what's a Wisconsin conservative to do?

I’ve been rather public that I’m not pleased with my choices for President.

My favorite, Fred Thompson, is no longer in the race.

I am left with John McCain, Mitt Romney, and Mike Huckabee. All have flaws.

If Romney is still around on February 19, he gets my vote since he’s the most conservative candidate with any chance.

(By the way, when liberals say all kinds of nice things about John McCain, the red flags go up for me).
 Wisconsin Republicans do have another choice on February 19th.  They can crossover and vote for a Democrat. Yes, because the Republican picture is becoming a bit clearer, Republicans can have a say on the outcome of the Democratic race by voting Clinton or Obama.

Why do it?

A few reasons.

1) You can.

2) You’re not thrilled with your GOP choices.
 3) You can help decide which Democrat you’d rather see on the ticket come November.

4) You just feel rather mischievous that day.

Am I endorsing this tactic?

Not at all.

I’m just being realistic.

I believe a fair amount of Republicans will either do it, or seriously consider it.


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Lazy people don't and shouldn't vote

 Low voter turnout is just fine with me, especially when so many potential voters are simply clueless.

I know that flies in the face of every newspaper editorial board in the state of Wisconsin, but I don’t really care.

I prefer that people who have no idea how to vote stay home.

I prefer that people who haven’t done their homework and have not followed the issues and are voting on the basis of a single 30-second, someone’s hairdo or smile stay home.

On the day before Super Tuesday, Michelle Tsai wrote the following on

“Observers say anything more than 30 percent at the primaries on Super Tuesday would be considered a high turnout, but those standards still seem pretty low in absolute terms. Have Americans always been so lazy about going to the polls?”

Here’s her entire piece.

I think Tsai used an appropriate word when she wrote, “lazy,” to describe the potted plants who won’t vote.

That’s what they are.


They can make up all kinds of excuses but in the end, they’re lazy, and why would we want lazy people who don’t care to run out to the polls because editorial writers say they should?

Let’s suppose Election Day was today, with a full force blizzard raging. Would people still vote? Would the elderly get to the polls? You bet they would while younger folks would be whining about having no ride, not being enthused, and not feeling as though they’re part of the process.

Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

Ideally, it would be great if more people educated themselves on the candidates and the issues and then voted. Because so many aren’t doing that, they stay home.

And that’s OK by me. 


Greatest Love Songs of All-Time: #9

Greatest Love Songs of All-Time


They don’t write them, or sing them, like they used to.

Can you go wrong with George and Ira Gershwin?

They collaborated on “
Embraceable You"
eighty years ago, in 1928 , a song featured
in the
Broadway musical Girl Crazy, and performed by Ginger Rogers in a song and dance number choreographed by Fred Astaire.

A side note: When producers of the film “Romance on the High Seas” were looking for a female lead, Judy Garland was unavailable and Betty Hutton read the script and didn’t like it. The next choice was Doris Day.

Sammy Kahn arranged an interview for Day with director Michael Curtiz. Day wound up singing “Embraceable You” for Curtiz.

When Day was finished, she broke into tears.

Day was still upset about her recent divorce from George Weidler. She did compose herself, got the part, and her movie career was born (Source: The American Songbook).

My guess is most often, “Embraceable You” does not lead to depression.

Here are a couple renditions of this classic. First, The Manhattan Transfer from a late 80’s special on the Disney Channel.

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We sure could use him today!

Graceland survives

I’ll admit, after hearing about the fatalities caused by storms that pummeled Memphis, I was also concerned about Graceland.

How dumb can a voter be?

Just a few hours ago, I blogged once again that I don’t mind if some people stay away from voting,  especially if they don’t understand the candidates, the issues, or even how to vote.

Of course, almost anyone of voting age can cast a ballot, no matter how stupid they are.

From ABC News:

I'm hearing Super Tuesday, Super Tuesday, Super Tuesday all week and all month long. I just figured it was voting for everybody. I didn't hear anything different for Wisconsin, though I guess maybe I should have," said Ethel "Penny" Goodwin of Milwaukee, who along with half a dozen neighbors showed up at a local school yesterday at 6:30 a.m. to be first to vote. But all is not lost. Wisconsin will hold its primary on Feb. 19. Goodwin, a schoolteacher in her 60s, was not discouraged by her failed attempt to vote in what she called a "history-making election."

Goodwin (she's a schoolteacher???) was not alone. Hundreds of people in non-Super Tuesday states turned out to vote.

And these people will choose our next President.

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The malls missed out on some business

It was unheard of but the weather was so horrendous Wednesday that all the shopping malls closed.

Good move.

But let’s face it.

Had they opened, they would have had customers.

They’re called teenagers who somehow would have found a way to get there.

How do you grade the plowing?

I admit when winter first began, I did some grumbling early on about the snow plow efforts.

Several weeks into this broken-record wintry cycle, the local crews have had a lot to deal with. For the last few weeks of non-stop nuttiness, I’d have to rate the clean-up efforts with an “A.”

Factor in the slightly rough start and for the season thus far, I’d give those hard-working guys (with a rather thankless job I might add) a “B.”

Thank you for your efforts!

Friday night on InterCHANGE

Here are the topics for Friday night’s InterCHANGE on Milwaukee Public Television Channel 10 at 6:30 p.m. (repeat Sunday morning at 11:00).


So Romney is dropping out of the race.  That pretty much leaves Republicans with McCain as the likely nominee.  He’s not the guy conservatives want, but he’s the one we get.  Has the party in fact gotten less conservative over the years? Is it a more moderate, centrist, party than it used to be?  Does McCain simply reflect that?  Is Huckabee even a factor any more?  It’s still a race on the Democrat side between Hillary and Obama?  Who will win, and why?  Who would the democratic party want as their candidate?  Who has a better chance against McCain? Who do Republicans want to run against, Obama or Hillary?


The UW Board of Regents wants the ability to raise the UW Madison Chancellor salary a whopping 66 %, or up to $452,000.  Is it really necessary to offer that kind of salary to attract a good candidate?  Is it really necessary to have the best of the best?  What would be the ramifications of having a chancellor who made $200,00 instead of $400,000? How would the university be hurt?  Would the reputation be harmed? Would the record number of applicants fall?  Would it then only be very difficult to get admitted, instead of incredibly difficult?  Or, is $452,000 a steal for someone who has the ability to raise many millions of dollars for the university every year?  Also, maybe we want to talk about the feel good suggestion that graduates be offered two transcripts, including one that shows all of their accomplishments outside of the classroom.  What’s the point?

3 – Newspapers.

So Madison too, is going to lose its afternoon newspaper.  The Capital Times says it will become more of an “On-Line” newspaper.  Why can’t an afternoon newspaper survive any more?  Are morning newspapers going to die also?  The use of the internet to gather information is growing, but newspaper organizations don’t seem to be able to find a way to make enough money there?  How will that change? Will on-line become subscription only?  Does the death of newspapers help or hurt TV news viewership?

Kathleen Dunn will not be on the program for the second straight week. She is recovering after a short stint in the hospital. Please join me in your thoughts and prayers fro my friend and colleague.

Greatest Love Songs of All-Time: #8

Greatest Love Songs of All-Time



For many, their first exposure to this love song was in 1990, as lush strings provided the instrumental background for the closing scene in the movie, “Ghost.”

The Righteous Brothers gave us “Unchained Melody” in the 1960’s. Their vocals are now a must at weddings, and the only song guaranteed to get my brother and his wife out on the dance floor.

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I admit I am jealous

A good friend of mine was up around 3:00 this morning.

He needed to be ready because his father was picking him up to drive him to the airport.

My friend had a very early flight; 6:00 a.m.

Here is where he was headed.

That would be Oahu.

As in Hawaii.

Palm trees.

The ocean.


Hula girls.

For Sunday’s game, the Honolulu Advertiser is reporting, “The NFL and Aloha Stadium strongly recommend that spectators minimize the number and size of all items carried into the stadium to expedite entry for all fans.”

That shouldn’t be too difficult for all those bikini-clad fans.

So yes, I am jealous.

But there is a part of me that wonders if I should feel a bit sorry for my friend, especially when I read this.

The answer is…




Sure I want winter to end, but...

Someday, not soon enough, but someday all this crummy snow will give way to spring and summer.

And that means, they’ll be back.

The geese.

Interesting looking creatures.

But what a nuisance.

Maybe Franklinites should consider this.


We know you're an illegal immigrant, but have a nice day

Illegal immigration

I don’t claim to be an expert on immigration law but one thing I am pretty clear about is that the United States is partially blame for its out of control illegal immigration problem.

Wisconsin Attorney General A.G. Hollen admits wherever he goes, the topic that is most often brought up by others is illegal immigration. Van Hollen says the public has many questions but so does law enforcement. In an attempt at clarification, Van Hollen earlier this week issued an eight-page manual to help authorities deal with encounters with foreign nationals.

Here’s an excerpt:

Law enforcement officers may not stop vehicles solely on the basis of racial or ethnic profiling simply to question the passengers about immigration or citizenship status. Further, when officer make a lawful stop, they may not ordinarily detain the vehicle’s passengers beyond the period required for disposition of the matter that justified the initial stop.

The United State Supreme Court has held that reasonable suspicion of an INA (Immigration and Nationality Act) violation is not needed in order to ask any lawfully detained individual about his or her immigration status. Thus, there is no 4th Amendment violation if an officer asks the driver of a vehicle that was lawfully stopped about immigration status.

Officers are not obligated by State or Federal law to question individuals about their immigration status. While an officer may ask an individual about his or immigration status during a stop, the individual does not have to respond. Officers have the authority to determine the identity of a driver of the vehicle, including the right to ask for identification necessary to run an NCIC (National Crime Information Center) record check. Officers can run an NCIC record check when individuals are lawfully stopped. 

While officers may not compel passengers to identify themselves in most circumstances, officers may ask passengers to provide e information that permits them to conduct an NCIC record check. However, the officer has no recourse if the passenger refuses to provide identifying information. Officers should not request immigration documents, but they may consider immigration documents drivers and passengers provide to them for purposes of conducting an NCIC record check. 

Sounds as clear as mud.

Let’s boil it down.

You can’t stop someone based on how they look.


You can’t stop someone just to ask them about their legal status.


You can stop someone for a suspected violation and ask about legal status.

But the people inside the vehicle don’t have to answer.

You can do a background check with the NCIC to see if an individual is in the country legally. If you find out the person is an illegal immigrant, the person can’t be detained. So the officer knows the person is in the United States illegally and can't detain him. He' s allowed to leave the scene, and we're fully aware of illegal immigrants who've had encounters with the law, only to be set free to commit more serious crimes.

Does this sound frustrating or what?

Why do we even bother?

There are groups right here in SE Wisconsin that are training illegal immigrants on what to do when confronted by police.

Is it any wonder our nation is bursting at the seams with illegals?

Here is Van Hollen’s entire guide.



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Greatest Love Songs of All-Time: #7

Greatest Love Songs of All-Time


When he was just a child, Johnny Mathis had to choose between singing and training for the Olympics as a high jumper.

Mathis never won a gold medal, but he has collected a trunk load of gold records.

Born in Texas, Mathis and his family moved to San Francisco where he was discovered singing in a nightclub at the age of 19 and was quickly signed to a contract with Columbia Records.

A string of hit ballads ensued and somehow, Mathis wasn’t wiped out by the rock and roll tsunami.

Ken Bloom writes in The American Songbook, “Mathis has presented an ever-youthful, clean cut, nonthreatening image to millions for over 50 years.”

I think his best romance song is this one, sung at a concert in 1984:

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"Pimped out"

It's one of the big controversies of the week......a remark by MSNBC's David Shuster about Chelsea Clinton campaigning on behalf of her mom.


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Now here's a real shocker...

I would just love to have some big high falootin’ big-time university give me a huge pile of grant money to do some lame study and come up with a finding that would make national news like: 


You’ve got to hand it those brainiacs at Vanderbilt University in Nashville for uncovering this astounding scientific find.

Ladies, gentlemen, an important quiz for you both...

Here’s a question for the readers of This Just In….

MEN AND WOMEN.........

feel free to participate!

re you ready?

Here we go.

It’s a simple YES or NO question.



Would you be willing……….

to give up…………………….


for six months…………….

in exchange for…………….

A 50” plasma TV?
The same question was put to British men and women.

Over a third of the women said…………………………….


What about the men?

Almost half said………..


You British guys are weird.

A whole bunch said they’d stop watching football forever to get a plasma TV.

Take a look.

I don’t get it.

One of my most popular blogs as of late chastised women for agreeing to give up sex for boring junk like shopping.

This is crazy!

Give up sex?

For 6 months?

All for a lousy TV.

That’s simply out of the question. 

No sex.

Half a year. 


Frigid city.

The cold shoulder.

Chastity belt buckled for 6 months.

One big huge wifely headache.

A guy would have to be out of his cotton pickin’ mind.
How big was that free TV again?

Some people just don't get it....

And never will.

The Journal/Sentinel was "impressed"

Earlier this week, lots of people around the country, including here in Wisconsin, turned out to vote.

Problem was, it wasn’t Election Day for those folks.

Doesn’t matter to that clever bunch that writes the editorials for the morning newspaper.

In today’s Laurels and Laments section, the Editorial Board writes, “we're impressed with the zeal of these Wisconsinites.”

I’m not.

The rest of the country is once again laughing at those idiots in Wisconsin.

That’s nothing to be proud of or impressed with



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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...


David Harmon and 11-month old Kyson Stowell

ADVOCATING MOM, who comments frequently on my blog, for saying this about the snow plow efforts in Franklin:
The crew that plows my end of town did a great job!  They were past my house 2 or 3 times on Wed. and then again this morning.  Either they're doing a great job or they just love the warm chocolate chip cookies I take out to them everytime they come by.”


Mother Nature

The UW Board of Regents

Karen Burton

Kurt William Havelock

Hillary’s staff

Italian court in Vicenza


“At a time when taxpayers are losing their jobs and homes, the action of the Board of Regents is absolutely immoral and insulting.  The taxpayers and students can’t afford the financial decisions of the current Board of Regents. As long as Governor Doyle and legislative leaders support these ridiculous pay increases behind closed doors, the people of Wisconsin will continue to get robbed.”
State Representative Steve Nass (R-Whitewater), Chairman of the Assembly Colleges and Universities Committee blasted the UW System Board of Regents for massive increases in salary ranges for Chancellors and top level executives.  The new salary ranges for the administrators take effect on July 1, 2008.

“It would be irresponsible for regents to approve the salary range increases, particularly as lawmakers begin to address a projected state revenue shortfall of $300 million to $400 million in the current budget cycle. If the board goes ahead with the changes, it would be hard to blame the Legislature for looking less favorably at UW System funding in the future”
The Monroe Times editorial, on the big pay raises for UW Administrators approved by the UW Board of Regents.

"The first place you look is the things that, in this last budget especially, are brand new. I mean there were a number of things that in a negotiated budget... that were, for lack of a better way of putting it, $10 million here, $15 million there, that will either have to be delayed or simply stopped.”
Assembly Speaker Mike Huebsch (R- West Salem) on how the state could handle a $300-$400-million revenue shortfall.

“The village (of Waterford) has received a $57,781 grant from the state to finance a Safe Routes to School plan, and a task force has been formed to draw up a plan to address the issue in what is being called the first federally approved funding for this type of program. The state Department of Transportation started the program to help get more children in kindergarten through eighth grade walking or biking to school, rather than riding in buses or cars.”
From the Milwaukee Journal/Sentinel’s story, “Grant to help encourage students to walk.” And you wonder why our taxes are so high?

"I am surprised how she underperformed and how well Senator Obama is doing.  I think Senator Obama is slowly and steadily pulling away. The difference in fundraising capability is getting wider. They had 16,000 people in Boise turn out for Senator Obama Saturday. That's an unheard-of kind of turnout. I think he's becoming an unusual phenomena in American politics, almost harkening back to John F. Kennedy. I think he's going to be very formidable for Clinton to stop."
Newt Gingrich on Barack Obama.

"Do you have any regrets about the way you have conducted yourself on the campaign trail in the past months...about anything you've said or done?"
WCSH-TV interviewer posing a question to Bill Clinton.

"Well, everything I have said has been factually accurate. But I think the mistake that I made is to think that I was a spouse like any other spouse who could defend his candidate. I think I can promote Hillary but not defend her because I was president. I have to let her defend herself or have someone else defend her. But, lot of things that were said were factually inaccurate. I did not ever criticize Senator Obama personally in South Carolina. I never criticized him personally...and it was just this myth grew up. And I had two African-American members of Congress who were supporting Hillary who were with me the whole time I was there. And they were bewildered, they went on every cable show that would take them to tell they didn't know what the people were talking about. But I think whenever I defend her I (a) risk being misquoted and (b) risk being the story....I learned a very valuable lesson from all that dust-up."
Bill Clinton’s response to WCSH-TV in Portland, Maine.

He claims the mantle of Ronald Reagan. He even claims the mantle of Barry Goldwater, conservatism's crack version of Reagan. But as McCain clinches the GOP nomination, he will begin his usual leftward lurch. He will return to his lifelong positions as soft on illegal immigration, skeptical of tax cuts and favoring strong federal control over things like campaign financing.”
Charles Hurt of the NY Post on John McCain.

“President Bush tossed out an idea to open up choice for poor kids but, as usual, it was rejected out of hand by Democrats and teacher unions. Basically, the Bush plan would turn over tax dollars to parents to send their children to private schools. In other words, vouchers.Bush’s proposal was shouted down by Democratic lawmakers and unions with the usual complaint that vouchers pull resources away from urban schools.

This argument has been rebutted by studies, many of them compiled online by the Milton and Rose D. Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice. No school district that has adopted choice has had its budget reduced, the foundation says. For example, it reports that in Milwaukee, per-pupil spending jumped from $6,316 in 1990-91, when its program began, to $10,375 by the 2003-04 school year. Other studies show vouchers improve student performance.”
Marquette Warrior blogger.

"I understand that people are upset, but that is part of our Dominican culture and is legal in the Dominican Republic. I was invited by my idol, Juan Marichal, to attend the event as a spectator, not as a participant."
New York Mets pitcher Pedro Martinez emphasizing that he did nothing illegal by attending a cockfight with Hall of Famer Juan Marichal in the Dominican Republic.


Two this week:

State admits it was slow helping stranded motorists

Aid for living expenses given to sex offenders


Hillary Clinton’s ties to Wal-Mart.

Where, oh where are the tree-hugging, Wal-Mart haters?


John McCain is not a conservative.

The story was over-hyped, and rightfully so.


Body lay in UK apartment…..for 8 years.

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.


Greatest Love Songs of All-Time: #6

Greatest Love Songs of All-Time


Gus Kahn is in the Songwriters Hall of Fame, and with good reason. He wrote some impressive lyrics, some of the biggest songs of the 1920’s

Kahn’s songs were so popular that his yearly earnings during the 20’s often surpassed that of the legendary Babe Ruth.

This refrain penned by Kahn will live forever:

For nobody else, gave me a thrill
with all your faults, I love you still
It had to be you, wonderful you….

A famous version is Harry Connick, Jr’s, from the soundtrack to When Harry Met Sally.

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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)       Attend the first annual “Citizens for a Safe Wisconsin” fundraiser

2)       His mission was to get paczki’s, by hook or crook

3)       Dr.Elvis

4)       Elvis is SUPER!

5)       Super Bowl ads: Instant (almost) replay

Elvis and the Grammy Awards


Elvis Presley had 81 albums, 53 singles, and 16 extended play singles that went gold, platinum or multi-platinum.

So, how many Grammy Awards did he win?

Try three.


Elvis received 14 Grammy nominations from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS). His three wins were for gospel recordings - the album How Great Thou Art (1967), the album He Touched Me (1972) and his live Memphis concert recording of the song How Great Thou Art (1974). In 1971, NARAS also recognized him with their Lifetime Achievement Award (known then as the Bing Crosby Award in honor of its first recipient). Elvis was 36 years old at the time.

Six of Elvis' recordings, all of them his original studio masters, have been inducted into the NARAS Hall of Fame: Hound Dog (1956 recording, inducted 1988), Heartbreak Hotel (1956 recording, inducted 1995), That's All Right (1954 recording, inducted 1998), Suspicious Minds (1969 recording, inducted 1999), Don't Be Cruel (1956 recording, inducted 2002) and Are You Lonesome Tonight (1960 recording, inducted 2007). The Recording Academy's national trustees established the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 1973 to honor recordings of lasting qualitative or historical significance that are at least 25 years old. Many inductees are recordings that were created and released before the 1958 inception of NARAS and the Grammy Awards.

That last sentence is key.

The Grammy Awards first began in 1958, two years after Elvis exploded on the music scene.

One would assume Elvis would have easily been New Artist of the Year if the Grammy Awards had been around in 1956.

Take a look at his singles that charted on Billboard in ’56 and ’57 along with the highest position they charted and imagine the Grammy’s he could have taken home:

Heartbreak Hotel 1 1956
I Was the One 19 1956
Blue Suede Shoes 20 1956
I Want You, I Need You, I Love You 1 1956
Don't Be Cruel 1 1956
Hound Dog 1 1956
Love Me Tender 1 1956
Anyway You Want Me (That's How I Will Be) 20 1956
When My Blue Moon Turns to Gold Again 19 1956
Love Me 2 1957
Too Much 1 1957
All Shook Up 1 1957
(Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear 1 1957
Loving You 20 1957
Jailhouse Rock 1 1957
Treat Me Nice 18 1957
Don't 1 1957
I Beg of You 8 1957

But why so few Grammy Awards from 1958 on?

Looks like the King, at least in some instances, got a royal screwing.

Philip Arnold writes on

An Elvis song would have been a shoo-in for Record Of The Year in 1956 with choices like “Heartbreak Hotel,” “Love Me Tender,” “Hound Dog,” and "Don’t Be Cruel.”  The Album of the Year for 1956 would undoubtedly have gone to Elvis’ first RCA album, Elvis Presley.  In 1957, the choices for Record of The Year would have been "Too Much," “All Shook Up,” “Teddy Bear,” and “Jailhouse Rock”.  ” Elvis’ Christmas Album was the definitive rock & roll Christmas album of the period and would have been a strong contender for Album of The Year.

Elvis was off in Germany in the Army when the Grammy Awards were created in 1958, and he had no nominations.  However, the next year he received three.  “A Fool Such As I” was a nominee for Record of The Year, but got beat by Bobby Darin’s “Mack the Knife,” a really huge hit.  “A Big Hunk of Love” received two nominations.  However, Nat King Cole won Best Performance by A Top 40 Artist for “Midnight Flyer” (I can’t say that I even remember the song), and Dinah Washington won Best R&B Performance for “What A Difference A day Makes.”

1960 was Elvis’ best year for Grammy nominations with five, but he was up against Ray Charles who was having a huge year.  “Are You Lonesome Tonight” had three nominations:  Record of the Year, Best Vocal Performance, Male, and Best Performance by a Pop Singles Artist.   “Theme From A Summer Place” by Percy Faith won the Record of the Year, and Georgia On My Mind” by Ray Charles took the other two categories.  He won a total of four Grammys in 1960.

Elvis had two album nominations in 1960, both for the GI Blues.  However, Ray Charles beat him again.  The Genius of Ray Charles took the award for Best Vocal Performance, Male, Album.  The Best Soundtrack Album award went to Ernest Gold for Exodus.

Elvis had another shot at Best Soundtrack Album in 1961 with Blue Hawaii.  Ray Charles didn’t beat him, but Henry Mancini did with
Breakfast At Tiffany’s.

For the next five years Elvis was making movies and none of his songs or albums received Grammy nominations.  In 1967, he finally won a Grammy for Best Sacred Performance for the album How Great Thou Art, which sold over a million copies and reached #18 in the Top Albums Chart.  In 1968, he was nominated in the same category for the single “You’ll Never Walk Alone,” but the award went to Jake Hess for “Beautiful Isle Of Somewhere.” 

In 1972 Elvis won his second Grammy when his album He Touched Me took the Best Inspirational Performance award.  In 1974 Elvis won this category again for his third and last Grammy.  But instead of winning for a single or an album, Elvis won for the live version of the song “How Great Thou Art” from the album Elvis Recorded Live On Stage in Memphis.

It should be noted that the Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences partially rectified their earlier snubs of Elvis by granting him their Lifetime Achievement Award in 1971.

The 50th annual Grammy Awards are being televised tonight. Because the Grammy Awards have become such a joke, I won’t be watching.

Some Badgers and a Gopher restore my faith

This afternoon, the Wisconsin Badger Marching Band storms into Oak Creek High School for its annual concert.

Director Michael Leckrone will tell the same corny jokes (“Hey lady, can you hear us alright?”  to a blue hair in the front row).

And the band will frolic through the aisles and middle-agers adorned in red will polka with the musicians (Last year a co-ed grabbed me and proceeded to throw me around).

These talented college students are far more than entertaining. They provide hope and promise that the vast majority of our youth are good, decent, hard-working, productive individuals, ensuring that the future of our great country is in very good hands.

In addition to today’s concert, I got another shot of reassurance this week when a new young blogger was brought to my attention.

He’s a Wisconsin native now going to school in Minnesota and calls himself the “Conservative Casanova.”

Writing can be difficult for many people. I witnessed it firsthand when I worked in radio news full-time. Young broadcast wanna-be’s who interned couldn’t write a sentence to save their souls. Spelling and grammar were atrocious. They didn’t last long in the newsroom or in the news business.

So it’s refreshing to see a college student like the “Conservative Casanova” look so promising in his very first blogs with great analysis and writing free from sloppy errors.

Thank you, Casanova.

Thank you, Badgers.

Today, you have restored my faith in America’s youth.

Greatest Love Songs of All-Time: #5

Greatest Love Songs of All-Time


After a few years of banging out several hit singles in the 60’s, the lead singer of the Four Seasons wanted to do some solo work.

Frankie Valli’s first four records as a solo artist didn’t do very well. But on his fifth attempt, Valli hit the jackpot.

The smooth, slow-starting ballad builds, as one reviewer put it, “to a brassy climax.”

The website claims this smash hit was the fifth-most played song of the 1900’s.

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My wife has a new heartthrob

Is it:

A)  Matthew McConaughey






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Culinary no-no #41

Culinary no-no's

Imagine leaving a restaurant after dining out, armed with a doggie bag.

You don’t want to take the food home to finish off but you don’t want the food to go to waste.

So you find the nearest garbage can and……..


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A dog show is not the same as bowling

“You don’t blog enough about dogs!”
Who said that?
My wife, Jennifer.
When did she say it?
What time is it?

Tonight is the Westminster Kennel Club dog show.

Oh, I fully understand there’s a whole kennel-full of excitement about this event.

Everybody’s yippin’ and yappin’ and barkin’ about the real possibility that for the first time in the history of this event………..


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If you hate the military, this one's for you

There are people who hate the military.

That’s right.

They hate the war and they hate our troops.

We know they’re out there, and they know who they are.

Here’s a message today to those people from Seth Conner, an Iraq War combat veteran:

As shocking as it may be to radical anti-military haters, the overwhelming majority of young soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines like myself are deeply proud of the choice we made. As shocking as it may seem to the Code Pink crowd, we feel blessed to have been given the chance to defend our nation and be steeled and shaped by those charged with leading us.

Ironically, for people who claim to be “tolerant,” “open-minded,” and “peace-loving,” the Berkeley protestors and their ilk proved just what a sham their operation truly is. If they were really interested in saving the lives of innocents, they would listen to the countless stories veterans bring back from Iraq about pivotal moments of decision that saved lives—both American and Iraqi.

And then Sgt. Conner provides one of those stories…….you can read his entire column, and it’s a great one, here.


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Liberals are embarrassed

 Ever notice how liberals hate being called “liberals?”

Call a liberal a liberal and he reacts as though you just spit in his face.

On the other hand, call Kevin Fischer a conservative.

No reaction.

Yeh, I’m a conservative.

Anything else you have to say?

But for liberals….. the “L” word is akin to profanity.

This past weekend on Channel 10’s InterCHANGE,  I stopped counting at about four the times hyper-liberal Joel McNally used the word, “progressive” instead of………you know………that “L” word.

Who was Joel trying to kid? The word is out. Progressive is code for "liberal."

If you’re a liberal, why are you so ashamed? If you believe in a liberal ideology, why not stand tall and be proud of your “the government and lots and lots of taxes are the solution to everything” philosophy?

Take Barack Obama, for example.

When you’re #1 in your field, isn’t that something to strive for? Shouldn’t you be filled with great pride and accomplishment when you’re #1?

The National Journal just rated all the U.S. Senators and Obama was ranked the most liberal member of the Senate, Numero Uno.

But as far as the Obama camp was concerned…..



Columnist Diana West reminds us that the National Journal ratings aren’t exactly front page news:

Just take a look at Obama's endorsements from MoveOn.Org, Ted Kennedy and more than 80 lawyers representing detainees at Guantanamo Bay. Or his positions on illegal aliens, raising taxes on "the wealthy" or talking Muslim world leaders into taking our side in the "war on terror" (despite the fact that some of them are busy abetting or even waging that same war against us).

Such a record sounds downright McGovernesque. But don't mention that out loud. After all, Barack Obama is a presidential candidate who likes to say, "There's not a liberal America and a conservative America -- there is the United States of America." What if it got out that there is also a very liberal Barack Obama?
But notice the difference between Republicans and Democrats when it comes to political labels. Republicans struggle over who will wear the "conservative" mantle, while Democrats strike a "Who, me?" pose when it comes to carrying the "liberal" flag. The National Journal put it this way: both Democratic presidential contenders "have emphasized their liberal policy positions. But neither has embraced the liberal label the way Republican presidential candidates have proudly stamped themselves conservatives."

Then there’s the liberal who claims that he’s not a liberal but a “moderate.”

That’s even worse than being a liberal.

A liberal is consistent.

A moderate is unpredictable, sitting squarely on that fence, who doesn’t know just what he thinks.

He might be opposed to this tax increase…..but supportive of another tax increase.

He might be tough on some criminals but soft on others.

You just never know.

Then there’s the moderate who claims to be a conservative.

He’s dangerous.

He poses in conservative clothes just to get elected, just to get inside the tent.

Once there, he disrupts, causing all sorts of trouble that unravels any unity.

That would be John McCain.

But think about it.

Let’s go the scorecard.

1) Liberals who don’t like being called liberals.

2) Liberals who prefer being called moderates.

3) Moderates (and even some liberals) who claim to be conservative.

Liberals are O for 3……

Nobody wants to be called a liberal.

And can you blame them?

It is pretty embarrassing.

Greatest Love Songs of All-Time #4

Greatest Love Songs of All-Time


Granted, this song isn’t the stereotypical love song, not if you judge by its lyrics.

But consider the melody, the music, the theme, the song’s ability to jam a dance floor.

It’s a classic, and it has a story.

From The Stories Behind Country Music’s All-Time Greatest 100 Songs by Ace Collins:

When Faron Young topped the charts with “Hello Walls,” and even crossed the recording over to the rock n’ roll playlists, songwriter Willie Nelson, the man everyone in Nashville had once thought a bit crazy, suddenly found his career extremely hot.  It seemed that everyone in town wanted to cut one of Willie’s songs, and his demos were being ordered by scores of different studios, managers, and stars.  When Nelson walked into Tootsie’s, all of the patrons gathered around him to see what Nashville’s newest genius had written lately.

Patsy Cline was no exception.  She too grabbed Nelson whenever she got a chance and begged him to share some of his latest ideas.  The very first time she heard Nelson’s “Funny How Tme Slips Away,” Cline fell in love with it.  She had a recording session in coming up and Patsy just knew that the Willie song had to be a part of it.  She called the writer to arrange a meeting.  Things didn’t turn out the way the singer had planned.

Billy Walker had known Willie since their days in Texas.  The singer had even put Nelson up at his house when Willie had first come to town.  When Willie had needed someone to cut demos, Walker had stepped in.  Billy had even sung the vocal on “Funny How Time Slips Away.”  When his label, Columbia, heard Walker’s version of the Nelson composition they opted to recut it and release it.  It had been eight years since Billy had managed a top-ten record, and the label thought “Funny” might give the man’s career a big shot in the arm.

Cline was infuriated when she discovered that Billy Walker and Columbia had beaten her to “Funny How Time Slips Away.”  She needed a follow-up to her classic “I Fall to Pieces,” and she wanted it to have the ability to cross over on the pop charts.  She urged Willie to allow her to cut “Funny” too.  The songwriter owed far too much to Billy to let that happen, so he declined.  Then the very polite Nelson, addressing the hot female vocalist as “Miss Patsy,” told her that he had a bunch of other songs that were hits back at the office.  If she wanted to record one of his numbers, Nelson assured her that he would save one for her.

At about that same time Billy Walker had entered the room, and he reminded Willie about another song that Walker had cut a demo on.  The two men agreed that Cline’s voice was perfectly suited for the piece, so they raced off to retrive it.  Patsy practically went crazy as she waited for the men to return with their song.

Willie had written “Crazy” very soon after coming to Nashville.  When he had first pitched it, the song had failed to generate any interest.  So Willie had pretty much set the song aside to collect dust.  Occassionally he would try to sell “Crazy,” but finding a home for the number was not his passion.  Yet at the moment when Patsy and her producer Owen Bradley were hot for a hit, this was what the young Texan had to offer.

“Crazy” didn’t have any special story behind it.  The song had falled together in a writing session.  Yet even though the number’s words were apparently tied to no special event in Nelson’s life, they did seem to reflect a great deal of what he was having to deal with upon his entry into the world of Music City songwriting.  Poor, alone (his family had stayed in Texas until Willie could make enough money to bring them to Tennessee), talented, but unappreciated, Willie had to be aware just how crazy he was for sticking it out in the music business.  In almost a decade of work he had very little to show for his troubles.  He loved entertainment, but it didn’t seem to express any affection for him.  In a very real sense, even if it was unintended, “Crazy” reflected Willie’s relationship with his profession.

When Nelson and Walker played the song for Cline, she couldn’t believe it.  She thought it was one of the worst things she had ever heard.  This wasn’t a ballad, this was a song where the singer spent most of the time talking to the audience.  She flatly rejected “Crazy,” and then asked Nelson what else he had.

What Patsy hadn’t realized was that she had heard “Crazy” just a few weeks before.  Her husband Charlie Dick had gotten a copy from Willie when the two of them had stopped in Tootsie’s for drinks.  Charlie had practically worn the record player out playing the demo over and over again.  His wife had gotten so tired or the “stupid damn song” that she had threatened to break it into pieces.  It was only when Charlie played it again that night that she realized that she had rejected “Crazy” not once, but twice.

Nelson’s song would have probably gone back into storage and collected more dust if not for Owen Bradley.  The Decca producer liked “Crazy” and he was convinced that it was perfect for Patsy.  He informed her that she would be recording the Nelson effort.  She told him that she wouldn’t. Much as the had with “I Fall to Pieces,” the producer and singer went back and forth with their arguing.  Finally, Bradley pulled rank.  Because of a car wreck, Cline hadn’t been able to record for months.  Owen pointed out that she needed to have a solid session filled with good records and he wasn’t going to let her act like a spoiled brat and miss recording what he thought was a great song.  Left with no choice, Patsy listened to the demo and began to pick up the lyrics.

In the studio Owen allowed Cline to tinker with the song.  She tossed out Willie’s unique phrasing and sang it in her own style.  She also tried to smooth the song’s meter.  Yet because of the pain created by her broken ribs, she was unable to really soar the way she was used to when recording her lead vocals.  After several hours of work, she quit without putting together a satisfactory cut.  When the star went home, Bradley laid down all the other tracks figuring he would catch Patsy’s vocal when she felt better.  Within a week Cline had come back in and overwhelmed the producer with a brilliant version of “Crazy.”

When Willie heard the final product, he was blown away. He would tell those at Tootsies, “It was magic!”  Even three decades later Nelson would still proclaim that recording of that song as “the favorite of anything I ever wrote.”

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"You're going to need a bigger boat"

When I was very young, my mother told me that in 1960, moviegoers inside theaters literally screamed at the top of their lungs during the shower scene in “Psycho.”


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Eggs, bacon, and Chelsea

OK, Jason, whad'ya think?

Was she cute?

A classic(al) moment at the Grammys

I didn't see all of the Grammys telecast Sunday night.

I've become less and less enthusiastic about the Grammys over the years.

The music has declined and they give out 490,000 awards so inferior talent usually gets something.

I did catch the last minute or so last night of Lang Lang and the great Herbie Hancock collaborating on one of the greatest musical pieces of all-time.

I was kicking myself that I missed the entire performance but through the magic of You Tube......Rhapsody in Blue.


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This could be.....


Guys, here's something to think about...

Watching the Weather Channel the other day, I saw a report warning that your TV remote control has more germs than a toilet seat.

The Clorox Company says there are all kinds of germ hot spots, including the must-have remote controls, door knobs, kitchen counters, toilet flushers, light switches, refrigerator handles, telephone handsets and children's toys.

And don’t forget your cell phone.

Do you really think people, especially guys, care?

Probably not.

"Anyway....we delivered the bomb"

The movie, “Jaws” that starred Roy Scheider who died this week was based on a fictional novel by Peter Benchley.

But there’s a scene in the movie that makes reference to U.S. military history.

It comes when Scheider, Richard Dreyfus and Robert Shaw are sitting around the dinner table one night, comparing their scars and tattoos. Shaw’s character, “Quint” has one of the U.S.S. Indianapolis.

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The brutal truth about partial birth abortion

Back in the early to mid-90’s when I was doing a daily radio commentary on WTMJ-AM, I was approached one day outside the radio studios by a well-known popular on-air person who shall remain nameless.

He suggested that I do one of my commentaries on partial birth abortion. Remember, this was before many of us had even heard of the term.

“Are you serious?” I asked.

My colleague was, indeed, and said more people needed to be made aware of what actually happens, and I had the forum to get the information out.

I agreed and began my work on the commentary… taking a walk into the Program Director’s office.

The management gave me free rein on topics to write about and broadcast. I would be critiqued after my pieces aired, but very much like today where no one tells me what I can or can’t say on my blog, radio and TV appearances, no one at WTMJ influenced or chose my material in any shape or form.

On this occasion back in the 90’s, I made an exception and told management ahead of time about my planned commentary on partial birth abortion. WTMJ Radio had survived my decision as News Director to broadcast the Jeffrey Dahmer trial in its entirety, live, with few listener complaints. My boss had no problem with my abortion commentary and gave me the go ahead.

Prior to explaining the details of the procedure, I warned the audience what was coming, that the details would be graphic and might offend some listeners. My commentary, as always, ran twice during WTMJ’s highly-rated morning drive program.

After the second airing, I sat in the newsroom, and waited, and waited, and waited for the phone to ring.

They’ll be screaming for my head, I thought. How could you broadcast such a thing when my children were trying to eat breakfast, etc.

But the station got only a handful of complaints, maybe because people were fine with the information, or maybe because most people, even many pro-choicers see partial birth abortion for the gruesome, barbaric procedure it is.

But there are some who don’t want to hear the truth. When the subject came up on InterCHANGE on Channel 10 many years ago, I wondered out loud if I should describe the procedure. One of the liberals on the panel immediately interjected, “I wish you wouldn’t.”

A few weeks ago at the state Capitol, a state Assembly committee held a hearing on a bill to ban the procedure in Wisconsin.

The Associated Press (AP) reported:

Wisconsin Right to Life's legislative director, Susan Armacost, told the panel that in partial-birth abortion a doctor jams scissors in the skull, enlarges the hole and sucks the brains out with a catheter.

"A premature human is deliberately pulled to just within a few inches of being, medically and legally, a live birth. Thus, the difference between partial-birth abortion and homicide is a mere 3 inches," she said.

Brenda Pratt Shafer, a nurse who travels the country speaking against abortion, told the committee she assisted in a partial-birth abortion in 1993. The doctor used forceps to pull the baby out of the womb up to its neck, then stabbed the baby in the back of the neck - "the baby jumped," she said - and sucked its brains out, she said.

"I said, "God, don't let me throw up. Don't let me cry," Shafer said.

In an insensitive and insulting move, a member of the committee, state Representative Gordon Hintz (D-Oshkosh) accused those giving the graphic testimony of putting on a performance.

"Maybe for future, people, we can tone it down," Hintz said.

Sorry, Representative Hintz, if you have difficulty listening to such testimony, but that is the stark reality of what happens during a partial birth abortion. There is no way to “tone down” the details. Hintz apparently is offended by the mere discussion of partial birth abortion but is ready to vote in support of the procedure, even though hearing the details disgusts him.

Again, back to InterCHANGE. The night we discussed Mel Gibson’s, “The Passion of The Christ,” one of the panelists questioned why movies have to be so violent.

Well what do you think they did to that poor man? Of course any depiction of the crucifixion of Christ is going to be extremely violent.

I would suggest to anyone who doesn’t want to hear graphic testimony about partial birth abortion to:

A)      Refrain from attending future hearings or,

B)      Leave the room when an opponent starts speaking.

The truth about partial birth abortion not only hurts, it kills.

The bill to re-instate the ban on partial birth abortion in Wisconsin is Assembly Bill 710. It has 53 Assembly sponsors, enough to pass in the Assembly, and 16 Senate sponsors, one vote short in the Senate.

The bill would allow a partial birth abortion if the mother's life is in danger. Changing the bill to allow the procedure to protect the mother's health would open the door to using any excuse for a partial birth abortion.

Why does Wisconsin need to pass this legislation?

The AP provides the following background:

Wisconsin passed a law in 1998 that banned the late-term type of abortion.

A federal appeals court in 2001, however, nullified the prohibition.

The court said Wisconsin's statute was too similar to Nebraska's illegal partial-birth abortion ban.

The U.S. Supreme Court in 2000 struck down Nebraska's ban, saying it was too broad and infringed on a woman's right to an abortion.The Supreme Court last year, though, ruled a federal ban was legal. The court said the national ban was narrowly defined and didn't harm women's rights.

Rep. Jim Ott, R-Mequon, introduced a bill that would change wording in Wisconsin's ban to mirror the federal prohibition, reinstating the ban here. He said it is needed to allow local prosecutors to handle violations.” 

Greatest Love Songs of All-Time: #3

Greatest Love Songs of All-Time



Lovely ballad from a charming scene in the movie, “Blue Hawaii.”

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I admit I am jealous: UPDATE

Last week, I told you about my friend who left chilly, snowy Milwaukee for the Pro Bowl in Honolulu.

As expected, my friend Marcus Wenzel had an awful time, getting interviewed by a local TV news crew…….when he wasn’t having his picture taken with cheerleaders.

Here’s the story (and yes, there is a serious news story) and to see Marcus posing with a cheerleader, click the video.

(The guy seen taking a picture of Marcus is another friend of mine, former Milwaukeean now Las Vegas resident Rob Wankowski)

More distractions for drivers: More laws?

More and more states are passing laws to restrict the use of cell phones while driving.

From the Governors Highway Safety Association:
  • 5 states (California, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York and Washington), the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands have enacted jurisdiction-wide cell phone laws prohibiting driving while talking on handheld cell phones. Many other states ban cell phone use in specific situations.
  • 17 states and the District of Columbia have special cell phone driving laws for novice drivers.
  • School bus drivers in 14 states and the District of Columbia are prohibited from all cell phone use when passengers are present, except for in emergencies.
  • In May of 2007, Washington became the first state to ban driving while texting for all drivers. New Jersey followed suit in November and a few other states are considering similar measures.
  • No state completely bans all types of cell phone use (handheld and hands-free) while driving. 
And while states keep approving new laws to keep drivers from being distracted, what do the automakers do? They keep cranking out vehicles with more and more toys and goodies that can take a motorist’s eyes off the road.

A New York Times article reports, “auto companies, likening their latest models to living rooms on the road, are turning cars into cocoons of communication systems and high-tech entertainment.”

Looking through that NY Times article, here are all the automobile extras and activities while driving that could be construed as, “distracting”:
  • G.P.S. navigation screens
  • Portable DVD players
  • Computer keyboards
  • Computer printers
  • Televisions mounted on dashboards
  • Sophisticated guidance systems that alert drivers to the nearest Starbucks and cheapest gas stations
  • Stereo systems that connect to portable MP3 players
  • In-dash computer and Internet access
  • A “dashboard of the future” that replaces traditional controls and gauges with touch-screen video displays
  • DVD screens for passengers in rear seats
  • Video games
  • Audio systems
  • Eating a sandwich
  • Arguing with a spouse
  • Applying makeup
  • Studying a map


Using the argument of those who suggest that cell phones are deadly distractions, then the next logical step is that we should certainly ban each and every one of the above-mentioned innovations, plus eating, combing your hair, paging through newspapers, talking to the person next to you or anyone in the back seat, shaving, applying lipstick, brushing your teeth, etc. 

Here’s the entire NY Times article.

The current Wisconsin legislative session ends in mid-March. It appears no bill restricting the use of cell phones while driving will be approved.

If that’s the case, Wisconsin will continue to have ZERO statutes banning the use of phones or any other distractions while driving.

That’s as it should be.

Greatest Love Songs of All-Time: #2

Greatest Love Songs of All-Time


Nat King Cole had this to say in 1954:

“My voice is nothing to be proud of. It runs maybe two octaves in range. I guess it’s the hoarse, breathy noise that some like.” (The American Songbook).

Even so, the website, “The Unforgettable Nat King Cole” writes:

“His careful enunciation of a lyric enabled him to convey a song with depth and meaning and made his rather limited vocal range seem irrelevant.”

His daughter, Natalie was only 15 when Nat King Cole died of lung cancer in 1965. Natalie began her own successful career singing R & B and soul. But when drug problems brought her to a grinding halt, Cole needed a jump start. She found it when she recorded a CD of some of her father’s greatest songs.

The CD is an eight time platinum award winner, it won numerous Grammys, and through the magic of technology, Natalie sang the title song with her father.

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Natalie Cole vs. Amy Winehouse

It’s no surprise the Grammys gave freak show Amy Winehouse so many awards. The awards show has lost credibility over the years, as evidenced by its horrible ratings Sunday for what should have been a huge attraction given it was the Grammys 50th anniversary show.

To suggest Winehouse is strange is the understatement of the year. Because she is so “different,” the Grammys went overboard in their admiration. “Different” isn’t the word to describe Winehouse. I would say, at the very least, weird. She is eminently over-rated.

Time and again, she sings in her new release, “Rehab” that no, no, no, she won’t go…to rehab. That has become painfully obvious.


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Greatest Love Songs of All-Time: #1

Greatest Love Songs of All-Time


It’s the memorable song from what is arguably the greatest movie of them all.

And the man who wrote the score for the film, Max Steiner, didn’t even like the song.


“Playwrights Murray Burnett and Joan Alison had written the song into the play Everybody Comes to Rick's. What might strike some as surprising is how insistent everyone associated with the production--with the exception of Steiner--was that the song be used. Both Aljean Harmetz and Harlan Lebo chronicle Steiner's attempts to get the song removed and his arguments that he could write an original tune that was the equal if not the superior to the Herman Hupfield standard. In fact, there is an apocryphal story that Hal Wallis finally acceded to Steiner's request and was going to allow him to write a new song for the film. Unfortunately, Ingrid Bergman, who had just started shooting For Whom the Bell Tolls, had cut her hair, and it was agreed that it would be too much trouble--if not virtually impossible--to bring her back to reshoot scenes in which the song is mentioned. Both Lebo and Harmetz pretty much discredit this tale, however, by discussing how both Wallis and Warner insisted that the song be used.

The insistence that the song stay makes sense on a couple of grounds. First, the song, published in 1931, is really perfect for the film because of its evocation of the past; its reliance on minor harmonies, moreover, serves to communicate a sense of bittersweet longing and wistful nostalgia. Second, based on trends in popular music and theater during this time, a song with some nostalgia attached to it would most certainly be received warmly by movie audiences in 1943.”

The song, of course, is  “As Time Goes By,” from Casablanca.

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Friday night on InterCHANGE

 Here are the topics my co-panelists and I discuss Friday night on InterCHANGE on Milwaukee Public television Channel 10 at 6:30 (repeat Sunday morning at 11:00).   


Who is going to win in Wisconsin?  Who is going to get the nomination?  It seems pretty clear on the Republican side, not so clear on the Democratic side.  Is it too early to count Hillary out?  Has having her husband campaign for her helped the effort, or hurt it?  Has Obama reached the point of being unstoppable?    Should the states of Michigan and Florida be allowed to have their delegates seated at the convention or not?  Are you disenfranchising the voters in those states by telling them their primary votes didn’t count, because they didn’t play along?  Does this show you just how powerful the two-party system remains to be?


The projected shortfall in state tax collections for the current two year state budget is now $650 million dollars, a whopping sixty-percent more than was predicted just one-month ago.  Will it be even worse, one month from now? Six months from now?  What happens if the country sinks into a recession, if it’s not already there?  So, do we get ready for more fighting and more rhetoric in Madison?  Will Republicans say “cut services”, while Democrats say “raise taxes?”  Who will be the winners, and who will be the losers?  What pet projects will be cut first?  Will schools and local governments be forced to cut back again, because they rely so much on state tax revenue?

3 – Miller-Coors.

Both companies were quick to deny it, but when the guy who’s going to be chairman of the new Miller-Coors says it’s likely the headquarters will be in a neutral city, not Denver (Golden) or Milwaukee, you’ve got to think there’s a strong possibility he’s telling the truth.  Will it end up in a third city? Could this just be a negotiating tactic to get everything they possibly can out of Milwaukee or Denver?  Would a third site make sense, especially if it’s an easy-in, easy-out place like Chicago?  Should Milwaukee get ready for a worse case scenario?

4 – Circus Parade.

Mayor Barrett proposes bringing back the Great Circus Parade, after a four year absence.  Where will the money come from?  It costs millions to bring the thing to Milwaukee, including transportation, insurance, and paying all the bands and entertainers that take part?  Could this be done without the fund-raising and personality of Ben Barkin?  Didn’t the Circus Museum almost go bankrupt? Should it be made an annual parade?

Liberals are embarrassed: Part Two

On Monday of this week, I blogged that liberals hate being called or using the term, “liberals” as compared to conservatives who are proud to be labeled as “conservatives.” 

A few hours after my post, conservative columnist and talk show host Michael Medved (a staunch John McCain backer) put out a similar blog, Why No Fight Over Who's a "True Liberal"? Medved had just appeared on “Larry King Live” discussing the primaries.

Medved blogged:

“The most striking aspect of the conversation involved the asymmetry in language – there was much talk of the remaining Republican candidates (McCain and Huckabee) trying to claim the mantle of “true conservative,” but no discussion whatever of Hillary and Obama seeking to portray themselves as “true liberals.” 

Why are Republicans trying to compete (as we have for months) as to which candidate best qualifies as conservative while Democrats never rush forward to identify themselves as liberal?”

Medved offered two explanations. Number one:

First, there’s the obvious fact that “conservative” remains a positive word in America at large while “liberal” still sounds like an insult. In presenting Mitt Romney to CPAC, some of his supporters presented him as “a conservative’s conservative.” Even in the midst of the Democratic primary campaign, with furious competition for the party’s ideologues and activists, has anyone designated Clinton or Obama as “a liberal’s liberal”?   

And number two:

The other reason there’s more argument over the candidates’ ideological status on the Republican side than on the Democratic side reflects the long-standing “maverick” reputation of John McCain. Though his conservative record on core issues – support for the military, opposition to tax increases, smaller government, pro-life – has been consistent for a quarter century, his critics prefer to focus on his heresies on controversies like campaign finance reform or global warming. McCain’s life-time voting record (according to the American Conservative Union) is 82.3% -- meaning he voted on the liberal side of issues some 17.7% of the time. “

Here’s Medved’s entire blog.

And I should vote for someone who’s embarrassed to admit who and what he really is, why?

The truth about Obama: He's to the left of everybody

This might be the best description of Barack Obama I’ve read so far. It comes from Ken Blackwell, Chairman of the Coalition for a Conservative Majority, a Fellow at the American Civil Rights Union, and the Buckeye Institute, and a columnist for the New York Sun.Blackwell writes:

Some pundits are calling him the next John F. Kennedy. He’s not. He’s the next George McGovern. And it’s time people learned the facts.

Because the truth is that Mr. Obama is the single most liberal senator in the entire U.S. Senate. He is more liberal than Ted Kennedy, Bernie Sanders, or Mrs. Clinton.

Never in my life have I seen a presidential frontrunner whose rhetoric is so far removed from his record. Walter Mondale promised to raise our taxes, and he lost. George McGovern promised military weakness, and he lost. Michael Dukakis promised a liberal domestic agenda, and he lost.

Yet Mr. Obama is promising all those things, and he’s not behind in the polls. Why? Because the press has dealt with him as if he were in a beauty pageant.

Oh, there’s more.

Read the rest.


Read more

Taking the fun out of The Lion King


Shame on Damien Jaques, critic for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

The man is a party poop, a fuddy duddy, a spoiler.

Jacques has written a few articles about Disney’s Broadway smash, The Lion King that is now playing in Milwaukee.

He opens one of his reviews urging theater-goers, “Get to your seat on time! Latecomers risk missing the most stunning and affecting opening scene in all of musical theater.”

Nothing wrong with that.

If you’re writing about this production, it’s imperative you make reference to the wonderful opening spectacle.

But then Jacques spends the next few paragraphs describing the opening in great detail, literally spoiling the excitement for Lion King virgins.

Normally, I’d link to the article I’m referring to.

Not this time.

I’m not going to be an accomplice to Jacques’ robbing anyone else of suspense and anticipation.

In another review, Jaques wrote that this particular tour skimped on the fabulous opening (which he spolis again). Having seen the show, I admit he’s right about that. He also comments that the seats at the end of some highly priced rows have obstructed views. Again, he’s right on.

True, Jaques, it could be argued, was merely fulfilling his role as “critic.” But I can just imagine someone holding tickets, especially first-time Lion King-ers reading his stuff, and slowly feeling the air sputter out of their balloons.

I’m sure Jaques is a decent chap. But there seems to be a pattern with most, not all, but most newspaper critics that they perceive they’re not truly doing their job unless they include something negative to grouse about.

What Jaques did is similar to a movie reviewer revealing the ending.

My critique of this critic:

Wrong, wrong, wrong.

Hey Democrats, where's the diversity?

21-year old Jason Rae, a student at Marquette University, has never voted in a Presidential election.

And yet he is a Democrat super-delegate.

Rae appeared on Live with Dan Abrams on MSNBC  to discuss the assertion that the entire issue of super-delegates is a scam.

By the way, take a good look at Jason Rae.

As white as they come.

The fact is a lot of Democrat super-delegates are white males, a fact that flies in the face of the party that hypocritically prides itself on diversity.

Allowing school employees to have guns sounds good to me

The shootings at Northern Illinois University reminded me of a blog I wrote late last year that I never updated.

I wrote about a teacher in Oregon who wanted to bring a gun to school.

The teacher lost her court case, but has filed an appeal.

I believe that trained, licensed gun owners should be allowed to bring guns to school to protect themselves and others. The notion that schools are gun-free zones is laughable. The term, “gun-free zone” is simply a message to maniacs to barge in, weapons blazing because everyone inside is unarmed.

Not good

From the State of Wisconsin Department of Military Affairs, Wisconsin Emergency Management:

Motorists are advised of dangerous conditions this weekend  

(Madison)   Motorists need to be ready for another winter storm that will hit much of Wisconsin on Sunday bringing freezing rain and heavy snow.
 Motorists are advised to stay home but if you need to drive, please take the following precautions.  Assemble a disaster supply kit for your vehicle.  Items include: 

·         A full tank of gas
·         Blankets or sleeping bags
·         Extra warm and protective clothing
·         Water  and  nonperishable food such as energy bars
·         Portable radio, flashlight and extra batteries
·         Flares and a large, brightly colored piece of cloth
·         A cell phone   

If you become stuck: 

·         Stay with your car.  Don’t try to walk to safety.
·         Tie a brightly colored cloth to the car where others can see.
·         Start the car and use the heater for about 10 minutes every hour.  Keep the exhaust pipe clear.
·         Leave the overhead light on when the engine is running so you can be seen.
·         As you sit, keep moving your arms and legs to keep blood circulating and to stay warm.
·         Keep one window slightly open, away from the blowing wind, to let in air. 

Also before you leave home, notify a friend or family member about your travel plans and when you expect to arrive at your destination.  Keep them informed about where you are at and when you have arrived safely.  Make sure you have a cell phone with you.               

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation has winter road conditions posted at or call 1-800-ROADWIS (762-3947).    

If a city restricts sex offenders, where oh where will they go?

Franklin has a very restrictive ordinance in place that limits where sex offenders can live. The ordinance is being challenged in court by a convicted sex offender. The city has filed a suit to try to get him to move.

Opponents of these ordinances often use the same old tired argument that such laws will chase sex offenders out of municipalities into other areas where tracking will be more difficult. It’s position that sympathizes with the offender, yet you never hear opponents mention a word about the victims.

Green Bay is one of many municipalities around the state to follow Franklin’s lead by enacting a similar restrictive ordinance.

So, what’s happening with sex offenders in Green Bay? To listen to ordinance critics, you’d swear they’re all heading underground.

Oh, really?



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...


A golden retriever named Belle

Milwaukee paramedics

Wisconsin Badger Brian Butch

UPDATE @ 11:13 a.m. Saturday, from

Two Milwaukee firefighters
are being credited with saving the life of a 6-month-old girl who was trapped inside a burning apartment in the 9400 block of W. Sheridan Ave. early this morning.

Lt. Scott Franken and Firefighter Thomas Hamberger ran into the apartment past burning walls and ceilings to find the baby before their backup had arrived with a hose line, according to Battalion 5 Chief Michael Payne.

"The child would have died of smoke inhalation if they had waited," Payne said.

The fire was reported around 4:45 a.m. by a Milwaukee Police officer on patrol.

Both the child and her 27-year-old mother were transported to local hospitals.

Milwaukee Police Capt. Gregory Habeck said the mother was in critical condition at St. Mary's Hospital with burns over more than 25 percent of her body. The infant is being treated for smoke inhalation at Children's Hospital of Wisconsin in Wauwatosa.

When firefighters arrived, according to Payne, they found the mother outside burned and crying that her baby was trapped.

The blaze remains under investigation. Payne estimated damages at $30,000 to the building and $10,000 to its contents.


Steven Phillip Kazmierczak

Lisa Sangrow

Sheriff’s employee dumps quadriplegic on floor

Bobby Cutts Jr.

The Kettle Moraine School District


"We had no indications at all this would be the type of person that would engage in such activity."
Northern Illinois University Police Chief Donald Grady, on Steven  Kazmierczak. Kazmierczak had become erratic in the past two weeks after he had stopped taking his medication. But that seemed to come as news to many of those who knew him, and the attack itself was positively baffling.

"Honestly, at first everyone thought it was a joke. He could've decided to get me.I thought for sure he was going to get me."
Allyse Jerome, a  19-year old sophomore from Schaumburg, recalled how the gunman, dressed in black and a stocking cap, burst through a stage door in 200-seat Cole Hall just before class was about to let out. He squeezed off more than 50 shots as screaming students ran and crawled for cover.

"Steve was the most gentle, quiet guy in the world. ... He had a passion for helping people."
Jim Thomas, an emeritus professor of sociology and criminology at Northern Illinois who taught Kazmierczak, promoted him to a teacher's aide and became his friend.

Please leave me alone. ... This is a very hard time for me."
Kazmierczak’s father, Robert Kazmierczak talking to reporters, throwing his arms up and weeping after emerging briefly from his house. He declined further comment about his son and went back inside his house, saying he was diabetic.

“Barack Obama still won’t agree to debate in Wisconsin. And now he’s hiding behind false attack ads.

Maybe he doesn’t want to explain why his health care plan leaves out 15 million people and Hillary’s covers everyone. Or why he voted to pass billions in Bush giveaways to the oil companies, but Hillary didn’t. Or why he said he might raise the retirement age and cut benefits for Social Security. But Hillary won’t. Why won’t Barack Obama debate these differences?

Wisconsin deserves better”

The full script for the Clinton campaign’s new ad, called “Deserves”

“Because I have to talk to voters. Every chance I get to talk to voters we’re not only picking up support but I’m also learning, listening, finding out from them what they are concerned about. The debate exercise is one that I think has become fairly predictable. I could make the arguments on behalf of Senator Clinton that she would make against me in a debate. We all know them; you guys could to. I’m sure the same applies on the other side. On the other hand when we have a chance to talk to voters directly we have a chance to give them a sense of where we want to take the country. And that’s my priority in these closing weeks.”
Barack Obama, telling a reporter for the NY Times why he won’t debate Clinton.

“Obama fans, please explain to me what the hell this means…“We deserve an America that allows each of us to be what we can be, with no limits to our dreams or our ability to dream. Together, we can achieve a greater sense of America, unrestrained by the policies of the past. Together, we will see our collective opportunities, our collective aspirations, fulfilled. While some hope to keep us down with more of the same, our call for change is resonating across this great land. We will not be so casually cast aside. Together, we can. Yes we can.”Seriously, what does this mean? What am I missing?”
Brian Fraley, from his blog, Daily Takes.

You know, I can assure this reader that that is not going to happen," she said. "You know, none of us can predict the future, no matter who we are and what we are running for, but I am very confident that that will not happen." 
Hillary Clinton. The senator was asked a question from a reader in Santa Monica, Calif., who was seeking assurance that "no new business or personal scandal involving Bill Clinton" could erupt if she were in the White House and give fodder to Republicans.

‘‘It does leave room for mischief. ‘The question would be whether Republican voters take advantage of that.’’
University of Wisconsin-Madison political science professor Barry Burden about the state’s open primary and the chance of Republican voters crossing over to vote for a Democrat.

‘‘Am I worried about 1,000 people doing this? No.’’
State Democratic Party Chairman Joe Wineke said he doesn’t expect crossover voting to impact the race unless the election is within 500 votes or so.

‘‘I hope that they all are going to love him (McCain) because that’s what we have to do. ‘We have to come together and support our candidate. I’m not going to be happy with those who aren’t going to do that. People can do whatever they want behind the curtain. I’m hoping they will support Sen. McCain and give him a good showing in Wisconsin.’’
Wisconsin Republican Mary Buestrin is one of three Republican delegates who are free to support whichever candidate they choose at the party’s convention, regardless of the state’s primary results.

"I ... don't think the state should be participating in putting something out there that you wouldn't want your average fourth-grader to read."
State Senator Glenn Grothman (R-West Bend) on the state banning certain vanity license plates.

"There's this poor person at the DMV who is going to decide what is or isn't allowed on an automobile. No one person, no one entity can keep up with the creativity of the people out there. People are really saying a lot, in eight characters or less."
Stefan Lonce, who’s writing a book on vanity license plates. Read more on this story here.

I honestly don't have an opinion on whether, in general, Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge Timothy Witkowiak is a good judge, a bad judge, or an average judge.  I do know however that at a sentencing hearing in November of 2006, Judge Witkowiak decided to "hug-a-thug" named Miguel Ayala.  As a result, a man is now dead.”
WTMJ-AM talk show host Jeff Wagner in a blog this week….read it here.

"There's a fairly strong sense a neutral site would be important. If you pick one city over another, people in the other city will say, 'They're running the deal.' I don't think that's particularly healthy."
Pete Coors, chairman of Golden, Colo.-based Coors Brewing. Chicago is among the metro areas pitching for the MillerCoors LLC headquarters, which could mean about 100 jobs and a huge mug of corporate prestige. Coors says the proposed joint venture's headquarters would probably land somewhere other than the Milwaukee or Denver areas.

"For generations, the portrait of Milwaukee included the annual Great Circus Parade.A half million people or more would line our streets, fill our hotel rooms and restaurants and take part in one of our nation's truly historic events. It's time to bring back the parade and once again showcase Milwaukee's fine tradition of hospitality and our revival. It is my hope we will be able to do this next year."
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett in his state of the city address, announcing he wants to resurrect the Circus Parade.


$652.3 MILLION


A pro-ethanol committee in the state Assembly was to vote on an ethanol mandate bill this week that could have sent the bill to the full Assembly. The committee, however, had too many concerns and questions and did not vote on the measure.

The state Senate a few weeks ago delayed a vote on a similar bill and sent it back to the Senate’s scheduling committee.

Very few newspaper stories on this one. If not for talk radio and the blogs, you would have heard nothing.


The writer’s strike is over. Many TV shows will be coming back. Ho-hum.

I’d also toss in the Grammys gushing all over an undeserving Amy Winehouse.



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.

OK, I apologize...

That’s right.

I apologize.

From the bottom of my heart.

With the utmost sincerity.

To Waukesha blogger Jim Wigderson.

Jim was faithfully monitoring my recent countdown of what I consider to be the greatest love songs of all-time, with much anticipation hoping that I would include, “Lola,” on my list.

Alas, after thoughtful review, “Lola,” just missed my top ten.

I fear that my unintended snub of Jim, Ray Davies and the Kinks may have broken poor Jim’s heart. I can’t allow that in what is left of Valentine’s week.

My heartfelt apologies, Jim.

Just for you……

Read more

This still doesn't make me feel any better

You mean to tell me there have been at least ten winters that have been worse than this one????


"The snow total for Milwaukee is currently at 76.1 inches. If 3.6 inches or more falls Sunday, it would propel this winter into the top 10 list for snowiest winters."

Just how wacky are they in Madison?


Sorry, this is plain nuts.

Thank you, Hillary

I appreciate the two large lit pieces that came in my mailbox today, in SPANISH.

Because, after all, this is Franklin, Wisconsin, USA.

No wonder your campaign is in the toilet.

City of Green Bay sex offenders not flooding into suburbs

There apparently is great interest in a blog I posted earlier today that shoots holes in the theory that a municipality's ordinance that restricts where sex offenders can live will only send the offenders underground or into rural areas where they'll basically be invisible.

It's certainly not happening in Green Bay.

Milwaukee Journal/Sentinel? Any other reporters in any other municipality where the Franklin-like ordinance was adopted......are you paying attention?

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) Culinary no-no #41

2) Liberals are embarrassed

3) Greatest Love Songs of All-Time: #4

4) My wife has a new heartthrob

5) Week-ends (2/10/08)

The Clinton's whine, David Shuster pays

MSNBC has suspended David Shuster for his “pimped out” comment about the Clinton’s. The two-week suspension ends February 22.

I find it interesting that MSNBC’s Chris Matthews has been far more negative about Hillary Clinton. writes:

Some of the names Matthews has called Ms. Clinton?”She Devil," "Nurse Ratched," "Madame Defarge." (You know, the haggy, knitting, plotting character in A Tale Of Two Cities noted for being a ruthless villain?) It doesn't end there, though. Matthews has also spouted that Clinton is "witchy," "anti-male" and "uppity." And he was one of the first to mock Ms. Clinton's laugh, saying "what do you make of the cackle?"

And yet, no punishment for the host of Hardball, and I’m not suggesting there should have been.

How many commentators and talk show hosts have called the President a “fascist” and “warmonger”? Nothing is ever said or done about that.

But the Clinton’s jump all over David Shuster and he’s sent home for two weeks. So much for the First Amendment.

Everyone knows, including the Clinton's that Shuster was not insulting Chelsea. Shuster should not have been disciplined and obviously took a fall for Chris Matthews.

Broadcasting can be cruel and unfair. This is a perfect example.

How to combat campus killers

A few days ago, after the Northern Illinois University murders, I suggested that trained, licensed gun owners be allowed to bring guns to school to protect themselves and others.

One of my favorite columnists, Doug Giles also supports conceal carry on campus. Giles writes:

The mass murderers among us have taken quite the shinin’ to shooting up our students at their schools. The principal reason is that it’s so easy for them to carry out their death wishes because university officials will not allow good guys with guns to carry in class and be an onsite deterrent to death-dealing dillweeds.

Hey, “all wise” college presidents and other admin wizards: Until you allow guns—real guns, guns that go bang and kill bad guys—you (to make it personal), your faculty and the students you’re responsible for will continue to be sitting ducks, potential fleshy sponges to soak up the hot lead from some pathetic loser’s happy trigger finger. The gun free stuff ain’t working.”

Giles is absolutely right when he says the current climate on campuses will only mean that what occurred at NIU will happen again and again and again.

Read Giles’ entire column.

Culinary no-no #42

Culinary no-no's

The Lenten season has arrived meaning Friday night fish fries are even more popular.

That means plates of golden brown cod, haddock or perch, cole slaw, rye bread, french fries, and potato pancakes. The question is, how best to eat those pancakes?

Former FranklinNOW blogger Janet Evans on a few occasions has given me her opinion on the proper accompaniment to potato pancakes. I invited her to provide guest commentary for this week’s edition of Culinary no-no. Here’s Janet’s take, and then I’ll give you mine:

Let’s face it; some people just know more than others when it comes to certain types of food.  Like potato pancakes, for instance.

I grew up on potato pancakes.  My grandfather, who was born in Latvia, was a peasant who practically lived on potatoes.  He also had homemade sour cream.  Later, in America, when he was 30 he married his 15 year old bride and taught her that when you make potato pancakes, you have to have sour cream along with them.

I make great potato pancakes.  Hand grated potatoes with grated onion, flour, egg, salt, and pepper.  Before I fry them, I cook bacon and save the bacon grease.  The pancakes are then cooked in the bacon grease so they turn out with very crispy edges.  The crispy, hot pancakes are served immediately, with sour cream, and crumbled bacon on top.  Perfection.
 When I moved to Wisconsin, I saw some strange food customs.  One of them that stopped me in my tracks was applesauce with potato pancakes!  What’s that all about?  You do not mix apples with potatoes.  Especially cold applesauce with hot, potato pancakes.  Talk about a no-no.  It isn’t like Wisconsinites don’t know what sour cream is.  Go to any restaurant in the Dairy State at dinner time and listen to the patrons order their baked potatoes with sour cream. 

So, tell me, Kevin Fischer, what is it that I don’t get about Wisconsin and potato pancakes?  And don’t tell me it is a German custom.  I’m part German too.

Potato Pancakes with sour cream?  Yes-yes. 

Potato Pancakes with applesauce?  No-no.

First of all, putting sour cream on potato pancakes is not the most blatant example of a culinary no-no. You can search online for recipes for potato pancakes and find some that suggest sour cream. However, most, if not all of the recipes that mention sour cream also mention applesauce. Not all of the recipes that mention applesauce also mention sour cream.

One year ago, the late Dennis Getto of the Milwaukee Journal/Sentinel wrote that potato pancakes were part of the trio that made a great fish fry (the fish and cole slaw the other two ingredients).

Getto had this to say about the pancakes:

“By far the best sidekick for fried fish is genuine, homemade potato pancakes. The best are made from freshly grated or ground potato, enhanced with a little minced onion. The mixture is bound with egg (or egg and flour), formed into patties and fried or grilled.

Many restaurants use batter mixes, which result in pancakes that are mushy and not at all crisp. Some offer a maple syrup option to the more typical applesauce accompaniment.”

Notice he didn’t include sour cream?

From Getto’s article, a photo of the fish fry from the Lakefront Brewery Palm Garden:

I see applesauce on the plate. You see any sour cream?

From Karl Ratzsch's Dinner Menu:

Potato Pancakes (Served with Apple Sauce) ~6.25

Again, no sour cream.

Go to the Bartolotta fish fry in the Boerner Botanical Gardens.

Guess what they put on the buffet table for your potato pancakes?

And I could go on and on.

Cold applesauce?

The applesauce served at restaurants in these parts isn’t cold.

Janet, Janet, Janet. Sour cream and bacon bits are great……….on a baked potato.

Sour cream on a potato pancake?

No, no.

Applesauce is much better.


1) Ketchup on a brat
2) Green peppers on pizza
3) The dirty martini
4) Fruity brats
5) A Bloody Mary after dinner
6) Women “manning” the grill
7) Eating pizza at Festa Italiana, brats at German Fest, or tacos at Fiesta Mexicana. (Be adventurous. You can have those items anytime).
8) Eating a cream puff as though it was a hamburger.
9) Taking your own bottle of sauce when invited to a barbecue.
10) Touching the grill if you’re a guest at an outdoor barbecue.
11) Coaching the host on how to grill.
12) Some regional flavored ice cream… black licorice.
13) Taking the husks off before you grill corn on the cob
14) Being afraid to chill red wine
15) Pizza on the grill
16) When serving exotic or strange dishes to guests, do not tell them exactly what it is. Instead, use a more inviting term (caviar) rather than being blunt (fish eggs).
17) In late summer and early fall, this time of year, don’t buy zucchini. Somehow, someway, you will find zucchini or zucchini will find you.
18) Showing disrespect to your restaurant server.
19) Eating out on a Monday night.
20) Pumpkin beer.
21) Mail-order turkey.
22) Grilled cheese is just for kids.
23) Dining in the dark.
24) Ketchup on spaghetti
25) Sneaking healthy foods into treats to get your kids to eat it.
26) Do not throw away culinary gifts received in the mail because you don’t like them.
27) Do not feel guilty about eating Oreos. (Oreos are not to blame for out of control obesity).
28) Doing something so totally ridiculous that you are desperately forced to call the Butterball Turkey Hot-Line for assistance.
29) Don’t forget the sweet potato January-October.
30) Using resource guides from the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s on gracious living to plan holiday parties
31) Eating cranberries, the best of the super-foods, only during the holidays.
32) Egg nog that isn’t spiked.
33) Putting hot spices and other weird stuff in chocolate bars and hot cocoa.
34) Don’t disregard fruitcake.
35) Sparkling wine on New Year’s Eve ain’t champagne.
36) Ordering a Coors Light or any facsimile when at an outdoor open-air bar on a tropical beach.
37) Smoking bans in restaurants and bars in Wisconsin.
38) Goat burgers and healthy items at tailgate parties.

39) The restaurant of the future, with all kinds of cameras trained on you for....research.
40) The Budweiser Chelada
41) Replating

Janet Evans' interviews with the Franklin School Board candidates

One of former FranklinNOW blogger Janet Evans’ contributions to public service was the time and effort she took to interviewing the four Franklin School Board candidates and then blogging extensively about their responses.

Now that Janet is no longer blogging, she became concerned that the interview blogs would be gone and voters would no longer be able to see them.

Janet asked me, with the permission of the candidates, to post the interview pieces that she saved on my blog, and I will be pleased to do so.

All four will be posted tonight.

Franklin School Board candidate interview: Linda Witkowski

Franklin School Board candidate interviews-2008


Linda Witkowski

A Franklin resident for 20 years, Linda Witkowski and her husband Chuck, are the  parents of three Franklin High School graduates and a current FHS Senior.

She has a Bachelor of Science Degree from UW-Green Bay, magna cum_laude.

Linda has worked in Waukesha County for 20 years with the County Executive, Department Administrators, County Board and the public.  She has analyzed budgets and programs for quality and cost effectiveness, coordinated capital plans and bond funding for roads, buildings and technology, reviewed state budget, and pushed for prudent spending and taxation and measurable program results.

She has also worked in Milwaukee County for seven years developing, analyzing and reviewing department budget and fiscal reports for the Department of Social Services.Linda is Treasurer of the Learning Disabilities Association – Wisconsin, a Religious Education Instructor at St. James/St. Alphonsous, and has been Boy Scout/Cub Scout leader.

A member of the Key Communicators Group, Linda has also been on the District Strategic Planning Committees, District Citizen Committee to re-district Grade Schools, Vice President and past President of the FHS Goal Club, a member of Forest Park Middle School PAWS group, and a member of the FHS Saber Spirit Club.

Linda is a person with high expectations.  This was made clear to me when I asked why she was running for School Board.  Linda conveyed that she had high expectations for the Franklin Public Schools; including high expectations for all students regarding achievement, for facilities, including no trailers for our classrooms, for our teachers, who should be well trained, and for our administrators, who should be held accountable for keeping high standards.

Linda believes the role of the School Board is to set policy for the district.  This is accomplished by discussion and consensus-building within the Board and with the community.  As a School Board member, she would be expected to make good choices for our students, our community and our future. 

I asked Linda what issues she thought were in the greatest need of being addressed in the district.  She believes those needs are to look ahead, rebuild trust in the board, and define future needs.  Growth in the district is an important issue and isn’t expected to go away.  Linda believes growth must be anticipated and leveraged to provide the facilities that are needed at an affordable cost and at sustainable staffing levels.

I questioned Linda on Student Achievement.  How would she rate the achievement of the students in our district?  How do you measure achievement?  What would she do to increase achievement and at what cost?

Linda sees Franklin Public Schools as a high performing district overall, as measured in the school performance reports.  She believes achievement is more than just test scores.  Achievement also includes graduation rates, expulsions, extra/co-curricular activities, truancy and retention rates.  Past performance is no guarantee of future success and the district must stay current in addressing an ever changing student population with new demands in the workplace and world.

She supports research based methods to increase student achievement.  One example of this would be smaller class sizes in the early grades, which have been shown to make a difference.  Regarding technology, Linda believes more frequent assessment of student learning, with the use of technology, will allow for more effective instruction.  Online grading with open access by students and parents will redirect energy to the learning process. 

When asked about taxes, Linda said it is easy to say taxes are too high and spending must be reduced but the challenge is deciding what that means.  Her expertise as a budget analyst with Waukesha County has given her good insights on the difficulties and opportunities of tight budgets.Linda believes budgets are about choices and managing the partnership.  The partnership is with the State of Wisconsin and the City.  The State controls 2/3 funding and the City controls growth, affecting property values and student population.  This partnership needs to be better understood.

To contain costs, Linda would look for smart use of technology, partnerships and avoiding duplication:

Use technology to reduce the costs  of the business side of the education enterprise:  

Younger parents can’t appreciate the significance of the electronic lunch account but this is the kind of efficiencies we need.  Why do I receive a paper billing statement each year?  Why is the parent information card printed each year?    Can we go to textbooks on line in the future?  


Can we look to more partnerships in funding curricular, co-curricular, and extra-curricular activities?  Can we look for community and business  sponsorships of athletic and cultural facilities. 

Avoid duplication:

We don’t need two auditoriums.  Can we utilize the Sports Complex to increase recreational opportunities?  

I asked Linda which curricular, co-curricular, and extra-curricular activities contribute to student achievement, and which could be eliminated?  Also, would it be fair to charge parents of students in these activities extra fees to maintain these programs.

Linda maintains that data shows activities outside the classroom contribute to student achievement.  Strategic plans for the district have always included a commitment to extra-curricular activities.  In her 20 years in the district, she has seen sports added – boys volleyball, boys and girls tennis, hockey.  It is not a question of if we will have them, but how.  We already charge for these activities and I expect that to continue.

Linda said the
No Child Left Behind (NCLB) legislation made schools accountable for student achievement of all children.  School accountability is not going away.  NCLB does not magically solve educational difficulties but it changes the questions we ask and gets us to think about solutions in different ways and that makes it possible for things to change for all children.  Linda is the parent of children with learning disabilities.  She has been involved for more than 10 years with the Learning Disabilities Association which provides information, promotes understanding and funds research of learning disabilities.   

Academic success for these students is a fine line between remediation and accommodation.  Academic fairness is not everybody gets the same but everybody gets what they need.

On matters of accountability, Linda believes the superintendent is responsible for the organization, staff and facilities.  Any parent concerns regarding staff should be referred to the principal or district personnel.   

A superintendent’s effectiveness is measured by the success of the organization.  Are students achieving? Is the budget that is passed supported by the community?  Is staff morale high?

In response to my question regarding how well Linda thinks the district currently communicates with the community, she conveyed that listening is important in community engagement.   She has appreciated various parent advisory sessions with the superintendent and building principals in past years and would seek opportunities to be involved with citizens informally and formally at various community and school events. 

I asked Linda how she would handle differing opinions on the board.  She believes opinions will differ on the Board, however consensus can be achieved if the focus is on children. 

Finally, I asked the candidates a few questions that they were not required to answer. 

When asked how she felt about the current situation with the School Board, specifically, the issue with the Vote Yes flyers and the Senior assembly during the referendum, and the possibility that there could be a recall, Linda indicated that we should look forward.  She thinks the Board needs to get out and talk to the public whenever possible.

When asked if elected, are you willing to be an independent thinker and vocally express your opinions to other Board members, Linda said, she is definitely an independent thinker.  While she would express her independent thoughts as a Board member, she would want to work together as a Board in the best interests of the students.

Franklin School Board candidate interview: Dennis Butler

Franklin School Board candidate interviews-2008


Dennis Butler, and his wife Wendy, have been residents of Franklin for six years.  They have a son, a freshman at Franklin High School, and a daughter, an eighth grader at Forest Park Middle School.

Dennis has a Bachelors Degree in Accounting and an MBA, both from Marquette University.  As a CPA with over 20 years of accounting experience, he has had extensive exposure in the financial decision-making process.  In his current roll as a Comptroller for Marquette University, Dennis has accounting experience in higher education.  Previously, he worked as an accountant for Aurora Health Care.  Experience at these institutions provides Dennis with the financial insight that is beneficial for program evaluation.

During the time Dennis has lived in the Franklin area, and while pursuing his MBA, he volunteered as a parent on his children's Softball, Soccer and Basketball teams.  Prior to that, Dennis Chaired the Financial committee at St. Veronica's Parish and has been the Financial Advisor for St. Veronica’s Child Care Center.

During our interview, I found Dennis to be a genuine person who takes a fact based approach to decision making.  He believes his financial background, especially in the area of education, makes him an ideal candidate for School Board.  A position on the Board would be an excellent opportunity to serve his community in matters affecting education related to goals, budgets, curriculum and expenditures.

As a School Board member, Dennis would hope to represent the community by participating in decision making that will continue to strengthen our education system.  He would like to see the student ACT test scores increase.  Over the past 10 years, Franklin scores have consistently been at about 22.  Of our most recent high school graduating class, over 60% plan on attending a four-year college and almost 30% plan to attend a technical college.  Since the result of this aptitude test is one of the main factors that college admission offices use to evaluate students, Dennis believes increasing Franklin student performance in this area would be beneficial.

The Board needs to address how the school district will continue to provide first-rate educational opportunities with limited resources, in light of an increasing population base.  Dennis envisions the Franklin Public School District continually improving to serve the educational needs of our community.  This can best be achieved through open and ongoing communication between community and Board members.

Dennis evaluates Student Achievement based on test results, involvement, attendance, and graduation rates.  He would currently rate our district at about a B, or an 86%.  The
Wisconsin Information Network for Successful Schools provides statistics that are useful in evaluating these results.   This reporting shows the overwhelming number of Franklin students that are considered advanced or proficient in the core competencies.  Additionally, the results exhibit an upward trend over the past five years.  Our district performed favorably when benchmarked against the results of neighboring school districts.  Cumulatively, this information provides a favorable image of our school’s performance.

On taxes, Dennis believes, like most educational institutions, Franklin’s annual budget is committed to compensation and debt payments.  As such, there is limited flexibility in the budgeting process.  Yet, the School Board should attempt to limit the tax impact on our citizens.  Guidelines such as capping tax increases at the rate of inflation, or prohibiting the addition of new debt until previously issued debt is repaid, should be considered.  If the School Board adopted some specific financial goals such as these, it would exhibit to taxpayers how the school district is attempting to be good stewards of their tax dollars.

When considering how to reduce costs, Dennis does not feel he has enough knowledge of the details of individual programs to make specific recommendations, but rather, would suggest that a cost-benefit analysis be done on all non-core curriculum programs in order to make informed decisions.  In addition, he would recommend that an ongoing financial evaluation of these programs be implemented because, oftentimes, program costs and effectiveness varies significantly from the cost-benefit information provided during the initial program proposal and approval period.

When questioned which curricular, co-curricular, and extra-curricular activities contribute to student achievement, and which he felt could be eliminated, Dennis said these activities are important to student achievement.  Students who participate in these activities often perform better academically.  Additionally, participants learn leadership and social skills from involvement in such activities.  If needed, cost-benefit analysis should be used to justify the elimination of any programs.  Factors such as the number of participants impacted, alternative activities offered, and ongoing operating costs should be considered.

When I asked Dennis whether it would be fair to charge parents of students who are participating in these types of activities extra fees to maintain these types of programs, if it became a necessity, he responded that it may be practical to charge fees to maintain programs, especially if the alternative would be to eliminate the program entirely.

The No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) is a federal law aimed at improving the performance of U.S. schools by increasing the standards of accountability.   Annual testing of student understanding of core curriculum is administered to evaluate school performance.  Dennis conveyed that since its inception, both National and Franklin test results have shown an improvement in student performance.  If he could change the NCLB, he would recommend that testing be expanded to cover other relevant topics such as technology.  One might also consider developing a means of measuring student achievement throughout a given school year.  These changes might be accomplished through State and National School Board organization, or through our Senators and Representatives.

Regarding accountability, Dennis believes the Superintendent is to the school district what the CEO is to a company.  As such, he is responsible for the school’s operations, planning and performance.  The Superintendent’s effectiveness should be measured by how the school system meets the needs of the community and is best determined by student achievement and the final performance of the school district.

I discussed community engagement with Dennis and asked what his opinion was of how the district currently communicates with the community.  He thinks the district displayed a lack of communication with citizens through some of their actions in dealing with the most recent building referendum.  This was highlighted by the lack of a design and specific location for the proposed new high school.  Since then, the Board has made attempts to improve community engagement through efforts such as hosting community forums such as the Be Heard! initiative.  But because of the limited attendance at these meetings, a more effective means of gathering community input is necessary.

To increase community engagement, the School Board must be more proactive in soliciting community input and feedback.  Community engagement can be improved by utilizing various communication methods.  This could involve having School Board members attend other community gatherings in an official capacity.  Input could be gathered from citizens by having school district representatives speak to various Franklin organizations such as Senior Citizens, Area Junior Women’s Club, Lions Club, Library Foundation, or the South Suburban Chamber of Commerce.  Additionally, the School Board website is currently being used to disseminate information to the public.  This resource could also be used to gather information and feedback about concerns or issues important to the public by using tools such as online surveys and opinion polls.  Since the role of the School Board is to represent the community regarding educational decisions, community input is vital to the decision making process.

A question I asked Dennis, which I told him was optional, was, if elected, are you willing to be an independent thinker, and vocally express your opinion to other Board members?  Dennis replied that he would represent the views of the Franklin community as best he can. He is willing to express to other School Board members his understanding of the community needs and wants. 

When differing opinions arise on the Board, Dennis believes one should listen to both sides of the argument to better understand the issue.  These differences should be discussed between the Board members and various options should be considered.  Based upon this interaction, the group should be able to arrive at a solution to the issue.  In instances where differing opinions cannot be resolved through this process, the Board should vote on a course of action with each member voting for the solution they believe best serves the community.

We may have differing ideas about how best to operate our schools.  When all is said and done, Board members, the superintendent, principals, teachers, and community members must work together to maintain and improve the Franklin school system.  Dennis believes a good school system is an important component of a good community and hopes that as a School Board member he can contribute to that outcome.

Big announcement tonight

I will have an announcement about my future that I will post on my blog tonight.

Watch for this announcement at 9:00 this evening.

Franklin School Board candidate interview: David Works

Franklin School Board candidate interviews-2008


David A. Works

David Works has been a Franklin resident for 21 years. 
He and his wife Beverly have a nine year old daughter who attends Ben Franklin Elementary School.

David has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Metallurgy from Pennsylvania State University and a Master’s Degree in Business Management from Cambridge College.

He has been employed at United Technologies, Pratt & Whitney Aircraft Division for 22 years and is the Midwest region Metallurgical Specialist.

David is PTA president at Ben Franklin Elementary School, American Society for Metals past  Chairman, American Foundry man’s Society member, and member of the Waukesha Elks Lodge.

A member of the Franklin Public Schools Superintendent’s Key Communicator Committee, David was a also a member of the Franklin School District Strategic Plan Committee and the Citizen Superintendent Search Advisory Committee. 

He has been a regular parent volunteer at  Ben Franklin Elementary School for the past five years and has actively pursued areas of opportunity where the educational process could be improved.  David applied for, and was awarded grant funds from companies and organizations to finance these efforts.  He worked and continues to support the staff members responsible for the creation of the “Discovery Laboratory,” which enhances the classroom instruction with innovative hands-on learning instruction unlike anything else in SE Wisconsin.

He is a former paid-on-call Firefighter for the Franklin Fire Department.  He actively worked with other concerned Franklin citizens to keep a sex offender home out of our community.

David is a man compassionate about our schools and children. This is evidenced by his involvement in Ben Franklin’s PTA as President, and his work and successes in helping to improve the educational experience at that school through the financial results of grant writing and many hours of volunteer work.David conveyed to me he has a strong passion for “educational excellence” and, if elected to the position for School Board member, he would want to work to improve our standards whenever possible, to prepare our students for the future.

As a School Board member, he would be there to represent the best interests of every student and taxpayer, and do so in a professional and ethical manner, establishing better trust and communication within the school district.  David also thinks it is essential to exercise sound financial judgment, only after the review of convincing data, also in a professional manner. 

Some items of importance to David that he would like to see accomplished as a member of the Franklin Board are:

  • Scheduling regular listening sessions (perhaps on a monthly basis) at the Franklin Public Library.

  • Discuss with city officials, about having an outdoor Community Calendar with key dates and events. One possible location for this would be at the intersection of Drexel and Loomis Ave.

  • Have a Board representative attend organization meetings in Franklin (such as PTA/PTO, Lions, Women's Club) at least once during the year.

  • Have an information table at the Civic Celebration to meet and discuss questions from residents.

  • Treat all constituents with respect and address their concerns in an honest manner.  

David believes Student Achievement is important for Franklin School district students and currently rates our district at 3.5 on a scale of 1 to 5.  He measures achievement by Standard test score comparisons from similar school districts.  Possible avenues to increase achievement might be found by accessing the current methods and determining what immediate improvements could be made.  He used an example from Ben Franklin, where the PTA helped to initiate the increased use of hands-on learning aids with the creation of the “Discovery Laboratory”.  The cost of this was funded by a combination of PTA funds, grant money and budgeted school funding and it is expected some improvement on State Achievement tests, on an annual basis, will be the result of these efforts.

Discovery Lab Overview 
à read here

David said the No Child Left Behind Act (NLCB) is a federally mandated program that requires schools to ensure that all students achieve set minimum standards for each grade level.  He believes it is a matter of debate as to whether NCLB is effective and, if he had the ability, he would demand that the Federal and State governments provide the funding that was deemed necessary for the success of the program.  He would do this by lobbying with the State Legislature and Senate.

While student achievement is one of the greatest needs to address, David believes the Board must also gain the trust of the community in order to be effective.  Improving communications is a must.  Also, there are some changes in the organizational structure of the administration involving personnel and specific responsibilities that could greatly improve the effectiveness of the district. 

On matters of accountability, David feels that the Superintendent is the chief managing figure in the district.  He must ensure that his direct reports provide the necessary due diligence for their decisions.  David would measure the Superintendent’s effectiveness by how well he manages his staff to fulfill the district educational goals.

David is very adamant regarding ethics and believes the Board should agree on a “code of ethics.”  Board members should be held accountable for their actions.

When asked how he would handle comments from the community that might question his statements or actions, David said he would address them to the best of his abilities, noting that it would be unrealistic to believe that 100% of the community will agree with you 100% of the time.  But, rational people can have rational dialog if both parties really have that desire.

He feels the current communication between the district and the community has been below average and can certainly be improved, as evidenced by last year’s failed referendum and other district issues.  David believes community input is essential to his decision-making processes.  He said the taxpayer’s viewpoint must be respected because they are the ones who elect the Board into office, and he has confidence in the judgment of the citizens of Franklin.

Regarding fiscal issues within the Franklin School district, David believes there may be areas of opportunity where savings may be made.  Spending could possibly be reduced by the use of “Lean techniques” that demand efficiency.  Administration structure and designated responsibilities should be evaluated to ensure that the most effective structure is used, without redundancy.  This could be done without affecting student achievement.  David thinks that the "zero based" budgeting approach will be a progressive move in the right direction.  Requiring a comprehensive review of all expenditures will help identify areas of cost reduction and potential cuts.  By revisiting and justifying each department's expenses that are actually needed on an annual basis, each area will have to establish a legitimate need for the expense.

When questioned which curricular, co-curricular, and extra-curricular activities, contribute to student achievement, and which he felt could be eliminated, David responded that the core subjects, such as math and reading are essential for the success of other subjects.  A well balanced education, with such subjects as art, music, and physical education is important because it enhances creativity and confidence in the student.  He would not recommend any eliminations at this time.

When I asked whether it would be fair to charge parents of students who are participating in these types of activities extra fees to maintain these types of programs, if it became a necessity, David responded that if it meant that funds might be taken away from core educational needs, then yes, he would consider charging for these activities as a last resort.

Finally, I asked the candidates a few questions that they were not required to answer.  David was forthright in his responses.

When asked how he felt about the current situation with the School Board, specifically, the issue with the Vote Yes flyers and the Senior assembly during the referendum, and the possibility that there could be a recall, David said, from what he knows about the situation, he felt some type of public apology should have been made.

When asked if elected, are you willing to be an independent thinker and vocally express your opinions to other Board members, David said, absolutely, he would follow his own better judgment regarding what substantiation is required for any issue at large.

David believes that he is a good team participant and one who sets his goals towards the desired results and maintains the focus on them.  Many of the recent issues in the District can be attributed to poor communication and lack of cooperation between Board, Administration, and staff members.

We have many personality types in our community, and the ability to work effectively with them will determine our success or failure.  

Franklin School Board candidate interview: Edward Holpfer

Franklin School Board candidate interviews-2008


Edward Holpfer

Ed Holpfer and his wife Barbara have been residents of Franklin for 26 years. 
They have a son and daughter who both graduated from Franklin High School.

Ed has run his own Building / Consulting business since 1998 and recently accepted the position of Sales Manager for a company specializing in Commercial and office interiors.  He also has executive management experience, having served as Vice President of Administration for a thirty million dollar business with over 400 employees.  He was also the President  / Executive Director of the West Allis Chamber of Commerce.

Ed has been active in the community for well over twenty years and has served on the following Boards and Commissions:

Franklin Public School Board 2002-2003
Board and Commissions Review Task force
Franklin Board of Public Works
Franklin Storm water Management Task force
Franklin Facility Needs Study Task force
Franklin Civic Celebrations Commissions
Franklin Library Building Committee
Franklin Education Foundation - Charter member
Future Olympic Athletes Training Fund
Franklin Chamber of Commerce Board Member  - Eight years on the Board/four as President
Board Member West Allis Business Incubator
West Allis School /business Partnership 

Past Member:

Franklin Jaycees

West Allis Rotary Club

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Tonight at 9:00...

I have an announcement to make

I’ve been wanting to say the following for some time.



Circumstances being what they are…..

They wouldn’t allow me to say what I’m about to say.


It’s been well over a month.

And I’ve been unable to discuss it.


But now it’s time.


I know many of you have been waiting for some time for me to say something about this particular subject.


However, because of circumstances beyond my control, I’ve not had the ability to comment.

Until now.

I had to wait until the appropriate time.

That time has arrived.


I want to inform you that…..
I’m back on Newstalk 1130 WISN!

I will be filling in for Mark Belling for several days while he’s away on his annual listener cruise.


I will be filling in for Mark this Friday, February 22nd.

I’ll also be filling in on Monday, February 25th, Thursday, February 28th, and Friday, February 29th.


WISN Program Director Jerry Bott will be filling in the other days.


Also, my role on WISN will be expanding in the future.

Stay tuned for more details.


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Happy Birthday...


You're the best wife in the world!


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The Dems and infanticide

Columnist, author and blogger Phil Harris writes a blistering piece on how Americans, especially Democrats have lost their nerve, unwilling to stand up and fight a war against those who spend every waking moment plotting to kill us.

Harris is blunt.

Harris is correct.

Whether you say it precisely this way or not, the following is what you have purchased, in essence, as the wisdom of enlightened thinking: “F…” Bush, the “moron who lied” and now the “soldiers have died”, and “he did it for the oil to make his rich oil buddies even richer” and “he did it because Saddam tried to kill his father.” So, despite the unified resolve we all felt and thought on that infamous September day, just seven years ago, the truth of the matter reveals that a large number of America’s people haven’t the intestinal fortitude to stand for anything. The fatigue of having our sons, daughters, nephews, nieces, mothers, fathers, co-workers, friends, and neighbors engaged in a very real war has a great many hollering uncle.

May I say that such a turn of thinking is just plain ignorant? Does that make you angry, that I might challenge your lack of stamina and scold you for it?”

Then Harris lays out the truths about the war in Iraq, truths that liberals like Russ Feingold who want to raise the white flag and skedaddle will never grasp.

On Tuesday, thousands of Wisconsinites will vote for either Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton. Harris, in the same piece about the war, manages to also appropriately segue into Obama’s and Clinton’s total disregard for human life, both supporters of abortion on demand.

Here’s Harris’ blog about delusional Democrats who get all warm about infanticide.

Yes, it’s true. They do.

I'm on WISN Wednesday

Vicki Mckenna is under the weather so I'll be filling in for her Wednesday from 10-NOON on Newstalk 1130 WISN.

So, why do we need a special prosecutor?

When I first read this on FranklinNOW, I was surprised:

The Franklin Common Council voted Monday night to hire a special prosecutor to investigate the Buckhorn Tavern, 9461 S. 27th St.

The panel unanimously agreed to retain Roger C. Pyzyk, a private practice attorney who also is the Greenfield city attorney, to see if Franklin officials can take action, including lifting its liquor license, against the tavern.”

My first thought was, don’t we have our own City Attorney to make these kinds of decisions?

We do.

But the Franklin City Attorney is also the legal counsel to the members of the Franklin Common Council who, in this case, are the judges. So there’s an obvious conflict of interest.

The resolution adopted by the Franklin Common Council calls for spending up to $5000 on the special prosecutor.  The appropriation will come out of the City Attorney’s budget.

The Common Council will decide its next move after it reviews the special prosecutor’s findings.

I understand a certain process must take place. But the Mayor and Aldermen should, and probably do understand that the public wants to see some action take place. I suspect residents aren’t real patient, and I don’t blame them.

In the meantime, I just happened to see this in the office mail today. Most of you probably could care less but I think you Common Council members might find some interest in this.

Paper or........paper? I told you so

Remember this blog?

As promised, here is the proposal.

Note Senator Jauch says the bill takes the step of "encouraging retailers and consumers alike to use viable alternatives.”

The correct word is "forcing, " not "encouraging."

Wal-Mart in the news

Thursday night, Wal-Mart genuflects before the Franklin Plan Commission and kisses their rings, a customary procedure in the process of attempts to build anything in this city that would create jobs and revenue.

As reported on FranklinNOW, “The Franklin Plan Commission will take up a request by Wal-Mart on Thursday evening for a 64,906-square-foot expansion to the store at 6701 S. 27th St. The proposed addition is planned for the grocery store portion of the super center retail outlet.”

Can’t you just feel the blood pressure skyrocketing all over town at the mere mention of these two words in the exact same sentence:



The blurb on FranklinNOW continues:

“Expansion plans were initially presented at a public hearing before the commission about one year ago.”

One year ago?

My goodness.

Minor revisions to those plans are on Thursday’s agenda. Can you imagine if the revisions were major? We’d still be discussing this when Britney Spears is a member of AARP.

Here’s one voice that’s urging the Commission to consider the revisions post haste, approve them, and let’s move on with this project.

Meanwhile, big, bad evil Wal-Mart continues to open their own medical clinics, providing health care options for consumers.  Wal-Mart has several clinics in Wisconsin.

I know it's freezing out, but....

How cool is tonight’s total lunar eclipse? reports, “Not until Dec. 21, 2010, will there be another total lunar eclipse.”

Hell, Fountains of Franklin won’t even be done by then.

The timetable for the eclipse, again from

"The main event begins at 10:01 p.m. ET, when the moon is completely covered by the darkest part of Earth's shadow. That translates to 9:01 p.m. CT, 8:01 p.m. MT and 7:01 p.m. PT. The total phase of the eclipse lasts 51 minutes, and the moon starts coming out of the darkest shadow, or umbra, at 10:52 p.m. ET.

There is nothing complicated about how to view this celestial spectacle. Unlike an eclipse of the sun, which necessitates special viewing precautions in order to avoid eye damage, an eclipse of the moon is perfectly safe to watch. All you'll need to watch are your eyes, but binoculars or a telescope will give a much nicer view.

The eclipse will begin when the moon enters the faint outer portion, or penumbra, of Earth's shadow. The penumbra, however, is all but invisible to the eye until the moon becomes deeply immersed in it. Sharp-eyed viewers may get their first glimpse of the penumbra as a delicate shading on the left part of the moon's disk about 20 minutes before the start of the partial eclipse (when the round edge of the umbra, or central shadow, first touches the moon's left edge).

During the partial eclipse, the penumbra should be readily visible as a dusky border to the dark umbral shadow.
The moon will enter Earth's much darker umbral shadow at 8:43 p.m. ET Wednesday, which is also 7:43 p.m. CT, 6:43 p.m. MT and 5:43 p.m. PT.

Seventy-eight minutes later the moon is entirely within the shadow, and sails on within it for 51 minutes (about average for a total lunar eclipse), until it begins to find its way out at the lower left (southeastern) edge.The moon will be completely free of the umbra by 9:09 p.m. PT Wednesday, which is 12:09 a.m. ET Thursday (11:09 p.m. Franklin time).

We had no choice, Franklin

The city of Franklin is already trotting out its sob story about how this nutty winter has forced snow plowing and salting operations to test the city budget.

DISCLAIMER: I’m on record applauding the snow plow efforts this season. Overall, the drivers have been terrific.


If the city is going to play this spin game and claim higher than normal expenses were responsible because of Mother Nature, then they’d better have a good explanation why trucks were out so often on sunny, non-stormy days doing cosmetic surgery on streets.

Was it necessary to be out on days when blue skies were the norm with trucks knocking down mailboxes? (Yes, they did, and yes, city officials, you’ll be hearing about that if you haven’t already).

I can hear the spin now. The winter was so horrible, etc, etc.

How does that explain a destroyed mailbox on a day when not a single flake fell?

Repeat after me, Franklin.

We are not a tax hell.

We are not a tax hell.

We are not a tax hell.

Congressmen want to investigate Body Worlds

The Body Worlds exhibit continues at the Milwaukee Public Museum.

Members of Congress are calling for an investigation to examine the show in the wake of ABC News "20/20" report on the black market of bodies coming from China to be put on display across the United States.

A tale of two referenda

When there’s a fiscal referendum on a Wisconsin ballot, it never asks voters if they want to CUT spending. It''s always to increase taxes and spending.

On Tuesday, voters approved the construction of a third, comprehensive high school in Kenosha.  They okayed a $52.5 million addition to Indian Trail Academy, 17,341 votes (59.71 percent) for the new school and 11,701 (40.28 percent) against.

The second part of the referendum, how to fund the school’s operating expenses once it’s built in 2010: 16,255 votes (56.75 percent) for funding the tax increase and 12,387 votes (43.24 percent) against.

Kenosha tax increase….here we come.

OK, let’s keep track here…….a $52.5 million referendum approved. That’s in Kenosha, the 3rd largest school district in the state. Next stop, a referendum in the much smaller Thorp, Wisconsin.

From the Marshfield News-Herald:



Taylor County
2 of 2 Precincts Reporting

YES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21
NO . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15
Total . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36

Clark County
58 of 58 Precincts Reporting

YES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 629 57.29%
NO . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 469 42.71%
Total . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1,098

If you are still keeping score, Kenosha has approved a $52.5 million dollar tax increase….oh, I’m sorry….referendum.

Thorp voters approved a much smaller $490,000 tax increase…….doh!!….there I go again…..referendum.

The Daily Reporter asked a rather enterprising question:

Two school districts are holding referendums Tuesday. One district is asking for $52.5 million, plus $2.47 million per year in operating costs. The other is asking for $490,000. If both questions pass, which district will see a bigger increase in property taxes next year?

The answer?

Remember, both referenda passed…

“So, if all questions pass, which of the referendums will cost taxpayers more? Thorp’s $490,000 referendum would increase taxes 10 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value. Kenosha’s $52.5 million referendum will not increase taxes, but its operating cost referendum will cost 11 cents per $1,000 of assessed value. The answer: Kenosha’s $52.5 million referendum will cost one penny more.


Who will be #2 on the GOP ticket?

Mike Huckabee died a few weeks ago but nobody told him.

John McCain will get the GOP nomination.
 So who is McCain’s VP selection?

Newt Gingrich?

Condoleeza Rice?

How about…….
 J.C. Watts.


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It was bound to happen

We're running out of salt.

Polka lovers for Hillary?


Friday night on InterCHANGE

Here are the topics Gerard Randall, Kathleen Dunn, and Joel McNally will discuss Friday night at 6:30 on InterCHANGE on Milwaukee Public Television, Channel 10:


What do you make of the results?  What do you make of the turnout.  More people voted in this primary than have voted in a presidential primary in twenty years!  And, the great majority of them voted democrat.  Will the same hold true for the general election?  Will Obama’s ability to excite young voters, and his appeal across racial, ethnic, and gender lines doom the chances for John McCain in a general election?  Or, will the republicans turn out in force next November to send McCain to the White House?  What do you think of the New York Times piece insinuating there was a cozy relationship between a pretty lobbyist and John McCain many years ago? A smear job, or responsible journalism?  

2 – McGEE.

Give us your thoughts on how an allegedly crooked alderman who’s been sitting in jail for months can get more votes than all seven of his challengers in a Milwaukee aldermanic primary?  What does that say about his constituents?  Are they stupid?  Are they loyal?  Or, do they think he’s a black man being unfairly treated by the white majority power structure?  Or, do they like the fact that he “stands up to the man.”  Will Michael McGee, Jr. win the general election, too?


Does the fact that Fidel Castro has given up the presidency of Cuba, mean that he has given up power and influence as well?  Or, does it just mean that after fifty years in charge, and nearly two years of being ill, he’s no longer able to run the country on a day to day basis?  Is there any reason to believe that the last remaining communist regime in the western hemisphere is closer to opening up its borders to more capitalism, democracy, and Americans?

I will not be on the show this week. InterCHANGE will be taped Friday afternoon while I am filling in for Mark Belling on WISN.   

Reminder: I'm on WISN Friday

I fill in for Mark Belling Friday from 3-6 on Newstalk 1130 WISN.

I'm also in for Mark next Monday, Thursday and Friday.

Office troubles is right

Greg Kowalski does a pretty good job recapping last night's crazy Plan Commission meeting.

I'm not taking sides. It sounds like the developer and Commission members were both upset.

The point I want to make is this: if you're a businessperson or potential developer and you hear about what went on at this meeting, what in the world would ever make you want to do business here?

New NCAA rule attempts to prevent coerced abortions

Topics talked about on WISN

Yesterday while filling in for Mark Belling on Newstalk 130 WISN, I spoke about an ESPN documentary that was broadcast during May 2007. The documentary prompted the NCAA to enact a new rule that prohibits colleges and universities from rescinding female athletes’ scholarships because they become pregnant.

ESPN reported that at Clemson University, “At least seven current or recently graduated student-athletes terminated their pregnancies, primarily because they were afraid of losing their athletic scholarships.”

One of the athletes tried to seek counsel from a university administrator when she found out she was pregnant.

ESPN reported this about that meeting, quoting the athlete:

"She was just like, 'You know that's going to be hard? Everything that you got … gone,'" the athlete said, recounting her conversation. "And she was like, 'Just think about your options. You know Coach isn't going to give you back your scholarship just like that. If she finds out and if you decide to keep it, that's gone.'"

The student-athlete said she was asked to sign a team document prior to the 2005 season that stated: "Pregnancy resulting in the inability to compete and positively contribute to the program's success will result in the modification of your grant-in-aid money."

The document the athlete was forced to sign was roundly criticized as gender discrimination, a clear violation of Title IX.

Cassandra Harding signed a similar document at the University of Memphis. The document listed all the possible scenarios that could lead to a loss of scholarship. Getting pregnant was one of them. When her coaches found out Harding was pregnant, her scholarship was stripped immediately.

Here is the ESPN report that also has videos.

As a result of the ESPN investigation, the NCAA has approved a new rule to help female athletes who feel coerced to get abortions. The rule that goes into effect August 1, 2008 prevents schools from taking away scholarships from women that get pregnant.

The rule only prohibits schools from dropping scholarships during the year the athlete gets pregnant.

One of the many callers on the topic asked, “What about the breeders?” What about female athletes who keep getting pregnant?

Under the new rule, schools could still take away scholarships for future years from students who become pregnant and don't have an abortion.

Here are more details on the new rule, a good step by the NCAA. 



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...


'He was trying to protect her'

In NIU lecture hall, Daniel Parmenter sacrificed his life to save girlfriend

By Russell Working


February 20, 2008

Daniel Parmenter and Lauren Debrauwere had been dating for only two months when they sat side-by-side in the front row of an ocean science class at Northern Illinois University on Valentine's Day.

On their first date, he had brought her a rose, and Thursday he was planning to give her a silver necklace.

But he never got the chance. When Steven Kazmierczak entered the hall and began emptying a shotgun and three pistols into the crowd, the couple dropped to the floor, and Dan began praying aloud. Parmenter tried to protect Debrauwere, both families said.

"He covered her up," said Mark Debrauwere, Lauren's father.

"This kid was enormous, he's like 6-foot-5. He was like a refrigerator."

Debrauwere suffered serious injuries but survived the attack. Parmenter did not: He was shot twice in the head, twice in the back and once in the side and was pronounced dead at Kishwaukee Community Hospital later that day, said his stepfather, Bob Greer. Debrauwere, a 19-year-old sophomore from Hoffman Estates, suffered gunshot wounds to the hip and abdomen, but she was out of intensive care Tuesday at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, her father said. One bullet lodged in her upper chest, and it will stay there.

As his daughter struggled with her injuries those first hours after the shooting, her first concern was for her boyfriend. She was unable to talk at first because of a tube in her throat, her family said, but she would write, "Dan?"

The family didn't know how to answer. Mark Debrauwere and his ex-wife, Mary, didn't want to upset their daughter and set back her recovery.

"For a day or so, we told her, 'He's all right,'" her father said.

Finally, after consulting with a hospital social worker, the parents decided it was better to hear it from them than on TV. They broke the terrible news Saturday.

It didn't come as a surprise. "She said she knew he was dead," her father said.

On Monday, Brittany Debrauwere told her sister she was going to a visitation for Parmenter.

"She got very emotional," Brittany said. "She said he was trying to protect her."

Though they lived only about 15 miles apart as high school students -- he at York Community High in Elmhurst, she at Barrington High -- the two met at the DeKalb school. They had known each other for about a year before dating.

A miracle baby

Parmenter, 20, was raised in Elmhurst, the son of Gary Parmenter and Linda Greer. He was born with a heart defect and underwent surgery when he was a toddler. The family considered him their miracle baby, friends said.

As a youth, he helped rescue a smaller child from a tree and later stuck up for the boy when he was being bullied, said Diana Smith, his former principal at York, where he was an honors student.

On the football team, Parmenter started at defensive end his junior year, said head coach Bill Lech. He was injured the summer before his senior year, and his doctor didn't clear him to play until the Monday after the first game. By then, someone else had won Parmenter's position, but a spot opened up on offense.

Parmenter offered to switch, telling his coach, "If it's what's best for the team, that's what I'll do," Lech said.

His high school football career came to an end his senior year.

"He acquired a fracture somewhere in the back, and the doctor said, 'You can no longer play football, otherwise you risk damaging your back permanently,'" said his stepfather.

So Parmenter picked up rugby, a sport he played at NIU. At first, his mother admitted, she didn't know what rugby was.

Greer cleared it up: "'Linda, rugby is football without the padding,'" he told her.

Parmenter was a finance major and a member of the fraternity Pi Kappa Alpha; Lauren Debrauwere, a communications major, was a member of the next-door sorority Sigma Kappa.

But when they met, she was involved with someone else. Then he was.

Only in December did they begin dating each other.

"He was feeling special, excited about the relationship," Mark Debrauwere said. "Lauren was excited too. She'd liked him for some time."

Parmenter had a way of making the women in his life feel cherished. He called both his mother and his sister on Valentine's Day to say he loved them.

Parmenter's funeral Tuesday at Christ Church of Oak Brook was the third of five for students who died in the shooting.

2 funerals Wednesday

On Wednesday, a memorial service will be held for Gayle Dubowski, a 20-year-old from Carol Stream, at 7:30 p.m. at Glenbard North High School, 990 Kuhn Rd., Carol Stream. Funeral services will be private.

Also Wednesday, services will be held for Julianna Gehant, a 32-year-old from Mendota, at 10:30 a.m. at Holy Cross Church, Mendota. Burial will be in Holy Cross Cemetery in Mendota, with full military honors.

Of the 16 people injured in the shooting, at least four remain hospitalized Tuesday, including Debrauwere. At Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove, Maria Ruiz Santana, 20, remained in serious condition and Sherman Yau, 20, remained in fair condition. The condition of an unidentified victim at Rockford Memorial Hospital could not be updated. The victim was listed in fair condition on Monday.

Teaching assistant Brian Karpes was discharged from St. Anthony Medical Center in Rockford on Tuesday.

At Parmenter's funeral, a cross was draped in lenten purple and photos of his life were shown on a screen. His sister Kristen recalled that she and her brother talked for about 10 minutes on Valentine's Day, and he asked about her plans. He told her he had bought a special necklace for his girlfriend.

"I told him I loved him," Kristen Parmenter said Tuesday, choking back tears. "And I said goodbye. I never thought it would be the last time I got to hear his voice. It'll be a long time before I get to see Dan again."

The story of Daniel Parmenter's last minutes inspired those who knew him, fraternity brother Josh Boldt told a congregation of several hundred.

"In his final act, Dan completed what he was ultimately meant to do: save the life of another," Boldt said.

The couple's parents didn't meet until after the tragedy.

But when Parmenter's family visited Lauren Debrauwere, "they gave her the Valentine's Day present he had planned to give to her but never got around to wrapping," Mark Debrauwere said.

Dan's sister had picked it up at his fraternity house. It was the silver necklace.

Tribune staffer John Bisognano contributed to this story.
Copyright © 2008, Chicago Tribune

PETA’S worst-dressed list….heroes in my book

Outdoor workers

Andy DeWeerdt

Aaron Fotheringham


Scott Ziegler

State Patrol

Thrill killers


"I will work hard to make sure Americans aren't deceived by an eloquent but empty call for change.”
Arizona Sen. John McCain unveiling a new line of attack against Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., following his Tuesday win in Wisconsin's Republican primary.

"For the first time in my adult lifetime, I'm really proud of my country . . . not just because Barack has done well, but because I think people are hungry for change."
Michelle Obama, speaking Monday in Milwaukee.

“I am proud of my country. I don’t know about you. If you heard those words earlier, I am very proud of my country."
While introducing her husband at a rally in Brookfield, Cindy McCain spoke about her two sons serving in the military and her husband’s presidential credentials as she always does. But then she unveiled a new line – she boasted about her American pride.

"I have never lived a day, in good times or bad, that I haven’t been proud of the privilege" of being an American. "Don't tell me what we can't do.  Don't tell me we can’t make our country stronger and the world safer.  We can.  We must.  And when I'm President we will."
John McCain

“I ask that you carefully consider who you sentence to work release.”
Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker, calling on judges to back off granting work-release privileges unless they're sure an inmate poses no public-safety risk
.  “I am disappointed in both sides of the debate on the smoking ban bill. Both sides are creating reasons not to compromise. I put forth a reasonable compromise that could actually pass the Senate and gives everyone about 85% of what they want. Unfortunately, neither side is willing to compromise enough to get this done.”
Senate Majority Leader Russ Decker.

"There has not been any kind of hue and cry from customers and consumers that they want change. You're finding more and more grocery stores providing receptacles for their customers to bring the bags back. And there is a market for those bags."
Brandon Scholz of the Wisconsin Grocers Association, responding to a proposed ban on plastic bags in Wisconsin.  He said the technology needed to manufacture biodegradable bags is very expensive and those costs would be passed on to consumers.

"What the governor is really saying is 'I want you to lock down virtual charter schools ... and if you don't do that I am going to burn the schools down'." "This is a special interest group getting its way."
State Senator Luther Olson (R-Ripon), after state Senate Democrats introduced an amendment that would kill virtual schools. The amendment was offered after Governor Doyle threatened to veto any bill to save virtual schools that did not contain an enrollment cap for virtual schools for the next two years.

U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore wrongly said on the radio recently that some 17-year-olds can vote in today's presidential primary.The Milwaukee Democrat said on WMCS-AM (1290) that 17-year-olds who will turn 18 by the Nov. 4 general election are eligible to vote in the primary. But that is inaccurate - all voters must be 18 to cast a ballot today, according to the Government Accountability Board, the state agency that runs elections.
The Milwaukee Journal/Sentinel

"You've got respected members of Congress spouting out complete inaccuracies, which will encourage underage voters to go out and vote, and that is illegal."
Reince Priebus, chairman of the state Republican Party, called the comments by Moore irresponsible.

 “Another one would be a younger congressman, (the) ranking Republican on the Budget Committee and a tax cutter, Paul Ryan. Somebody like that who would, who would be younger than McCain, which isn’t hard to find, and, and somebody who would be much more regular on taxes than McCain has been.”
Conservative television commentator and syndicated columnist Robert Novak named (Wisconsin Congressman Paul) Ryan as a possible vice presidential candidate Sunday on NBC’s “Meet The Press.”When asked by host Tim Russert for McCain’s possible choice, Novak offered two names, both of which he admitted were not on the “A-list.”The first was Rob Portman, a former congressman and U.S. trade representative from Ohio. Then, Ryan.


The NY Times sits on a story alleging an improper relationship John McCain had with a  lobbyist. The newspaper releases the story after McCain sews up the GOP Presidential nomination, and is now getting a heap of critcism, rightfully so.


State Senator Tim Carpenter (D-Milwaukee) changes his vote on a virtual school bill. As a result, the future of virtual schools in Wisconsin is in jeopardy.


The Oscars are this Sunday.  It could be a somber occasion. Viewership might be at an all-time low.

Big deal.


Those nasty apostrophe’s

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.

Former White House official says GOP doesn't care about conservatives

When I was on WISN yesterday, I wanted to read a great column by Douglas MacKinnon, but ran out of time.

It's called, GOP to Conservatives: Drop Dead.

Take a look.

Democrats have defeatist mentality

Many liberal Democrats:

1)       Do not support the war In Iraq

2)       Do not support our troops

3)       Do not  want to admit the surge is working

4)       Do not want to admit our successes in Iraq

5)       Want America to fail in Iraq  Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer wrote a great piece this week on Democrats in denial that appears in today’s Journal/Sentinel. (Saturday’s edition is the least-read of the week). FYI: The Journal/Sentinel titles the piece, “Dems determined to deny gains in Iraq.”

The Washington Post headline is, Democrats Dug In For Retreat.”

Elvis' #1 team vs. #2 tonight


The state of Tennessee, most notably the city of Memphis, is totally up for grabs today.

The #2 ranked college basketball team in the country, Tennessee, led by former UWM coach Bruce Pearl plays the #1 ranked team, Memphis in Memphis tonight.  Memphis is the only undefeated team in the nation. The Tigers have won 47 in a row.

Excitement, as you might imagine, is riding high.

Even Graceland and Priscilla Presley are getting involved in the party atmosphere.

As for the game, this’ll be the 38th time since 1949 when the two top teams face off. No. 1 has won 19 of the 37 meetings against No. 2, but has lost five of the last 6, including Wisconsin’s 49-48 loss to Ohio State last season.

Go Memphis! Win it for the King!

Another cougar sighting

Remember when the hunt was on in Franklin for a cougar?

If it's the same big cat, it has headed south where Kevin Edwardson of Milton saw it up close, real close.

The fact that a cougar was seen where it was is troubling.

The Chicago Tribune has the story.


Coming Sunday to This Just In...

My weekly list of the top five blogs

The weekly Culinary no-no

And a shocking guest blog from Janet Evans

They don't write them like they used to, or.....Musically speaking, the Oscars are a joke



The 80th annual Academy Awards will be presented Sunday night. Here are the nominees for the Oscar for the Best Song:


"Falling Slowly"
from "Once"
"Happy Working Song" from "Enchanted"
"Raise It Up" from "August Rush"
"So Close" from "Enchanted"
"That's How You Know" from "Enchanted"

How many of these songs will you remember 10 years from now?

Read more

Best movie lines of 2007

Anna Uhls of the Washington Post writes:

With the Academy Awards coming up on Sunday night, there is a category that is definitely missing from the 'best of the best' night: The Best Line. Now, I know there is a Best Screenplay category, but "The Best Line” is different. The Best Line has nothing to do with art of dialogue, the three act structure, or the development arc of a character - for it is simply, one line.  The winner is a combination of memorable and meaningful words that are delivered with fierce acting.

And the nominees are….

10. Homer: "Spider Pig, Spider Pig... Does whatever a Spider Pig does..."
-The Simpsons Movie

9. "I think I may be beginning to disappear"
- "Away From Her"

8. “Call it, friendo.”
- "No Country for Old Men"

7. Remy: "If you are what you eat, then I only want to eat the good stuff.”
- "Ratatouille"

6. Seth: "Number 2: it doesn't even have a first name, it just says "McLovin"!”
- "Superbad"
(There were other quotes in this movie that probably would've trumped this quote if it weren't for our anti-profanity discussion policy.)

5. Patrick Kenzie: “I always believed it was the things you don't choose that makes you who you are.”
-"Gone Baby Gone"

4. Plainview: "Did you just tell me how to run my family? How about if I came to your house in the middle of the night and slit your throat. What would you think of that?"
– “There Will Be Blood”

3. Juno MacGuff: "As far as boyfriends go, Paulie Bleeker is totally boss. He is the cheese to my macaroni.”

2. Gust Avrakotos: “There's a little  boy. On his 14th birthday, he gets a horse. Everyone in the village says, 'How wonderful. The boy got a horse.' But a Zen master says, 'We'll see.'  Two years later, the boy falls off the horse and breaks his leg. Everyone in the village says, 'How terrible.' The Zen master says, 'We'll see.' Then a war breaks out and all the young men have to go out and fight - except the boy can't because his leg is all messed up. And everyone in the village says, 'Oh, how wonderful.'..."
-"Charlie Wilson’s War"

And the envelope, please....

1. Plainview: “I... drink... your... milkshake! I drink it up!”

-“There Will Be Blood”

Watch Daniel Day-Lewis give an oscar-winning performance of slurping that milkshake:      

Read more

I bet church is crowded today

Topics talked about on WISN

At Relevant Church in Ybor City, Florida, it won’t be the typical Sunday church service today. Parishioners have been told that the subject matter today and the next few Sunday’s will be………….AHEM!!.......quite different.

I spent an hour on this subject on WISN the other day and I was impressed at the quality of the callers who refrained from snickering and off color remarks.

The message to have sex more often coming from the pulpit isn’t all that frequent (At my church, it has never happened). But the message, surprisingly, isn’t new.

On WISN I also referred to a 2006 article about San Diego minister Joe Beam who holds seminars telling Christians it’s not good enough just to have sex. It has to be quality sex.

From the article, in my view, it’s difficult to argue with Beam’s message:

“It’s a simple one: Sex is good. Good sex makes people happy. It deepens relationships. So it helps marriages last and that pleases God and makes society better.”

Here is the article on Joe Beam that while I discussed on WISN, I edited carefully.

DISCLAIMER: The article does contain some adult material that some readers might find offensive.

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.

Special note about this week’s top five: two of the top five were individual interview pieces Janet Evans did with the four Franklin School Board candidates. I feel it would be unfair to post those two blogs and not the other two. If you would like to read all four blogs, click here.

1) I have an announcement to make

2) The Dems and infanticide

3) Reminder….

4) Big announcement tonight

5) Culinary no-no #42

Franklin, WI on the Monopoly board?

Fans around the world of the popular MONOPOLY board game are now voting to choose which global cities will be included on the first-ever worldwide MONOPOLY edition. Visit to have the chance to pick from more than 68 candidate cities from six continents. The United States has six candidates on the ballot: Boston, Chicago, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, New York City and Washington, D.C.

According to a Hasbro news release, here’s how the global cities will be selected:

“The 20 cities earning the most votes will automatically win a spot on the new MONOPOLY Here & Now: The World Edition game board and will be placed on the game board in rank order from highest rent property to lowest rent property. So as the election begins, pundits may ponder whether Oslo, Tokyo, or Toronto -- or another great global city -- will claim the coveted spot traditionally occupied by Boardwalk. Others may wonder if wintry Montreal will cozy up next to warm weather Rio de Janeiro and be neighbors on the board. And theres always the possibility that former political foes will find themselves as friendly members of the same property group.

Fans may cast votes for up to 10 of the candidate cities from (January 22, 2008) until Feb. 28, 2008. To facilitate voting for MONOPOLY fans worldwide, the website is available in more than 30 languages.”


So where does Franklin come in?

Back to the Hasbro news release:

“While the ballot of candidate cities attempts to capture the greatest cities on the planet, game maker Parker Brothers acknowledges that some fans may feel that their favorite city didnt make the list. Fortunately, fans visiting can nominate virtually any city on Earth via
a wild card (a.k.a. write-in) vote component on the website. Then, beginning Feb. 29, 2008, the top 20 most nominated wild card cities will compete in a one-week face-off for the opportunity to be featured as one of the two members of the low rent property group, traditionally home to Baltic Avenue and Mediterranean Avenue. This means the new game board may feature property spaces representing Paris, France AND Paris, Texas. Or Kalamazoo could become a worldwide household name if it joins the board alongside such famous cities as Sydney and Cairo.”

So let the write-in campaign begin!

The odds aren’t the best, I’ll grant you.

But wouldn’t it be cool, and wouldn’t it do wonders for our image and marketing, to see FRANKLIN, WISCONSIN on the global edition of Monopoly?

On Presidents' Day, Hasbro found a George W. Bush look-a-like to help 'Mr. Monopoly' encourage people to vote for a US city to be included in a new world edition of Monopoly.

On Presidents' Day, Hasbro found a George W. Bush look-a-like to help "Mr. Monopoly" encourage people to vote for a US city to be included in a new world edition of Monopoly. (RAY STUBBLEBINE/HASBRO/REUTERS)

Culinary no-no #43

Culinary no-no's

NOTE: For the benefit of new readers, Culinary no-no began on my blog last summer when I wrote about my wife’s preference for ketchup on a brat. I consider such a selection to be taboo. I started discussing improper (in my view) food issues, a departure from most foodie articles that focus on what’s good to eat and drink. I thought I’d write until the summer grilling season was over, but over 40 consecutive weekly blogs later, I’m still writing about culinary no-no’s.  A complete surprise to me, the feature has become one of the most popular items I write about.

Since tomorrow is Monday, you’ll be dining at home. SmartMoney reports that one of the ten things that restaurants won’t tell you is:

"Never go out to eat on a Monday."

Christine Bockelman on SmartMoney writes:

“If you think that Monday, when restaurants tend not to be crowded, is a great time to eat out, think again. "You're being served all of the weekend's leftovers," says Francis, the exposé co-author. Kitchens prepare food on a first-in, first-out basis, meaning whatever is oldest gets served first. It's a way to ensure that everything on the menu is as fresh as possible.

The system works great most days, but it can run into a little glitch over the weekend. Distributors typically take Sunday off and make their last deliveries Saturday morning, which means that by Monday any food not used over the weekend is at least three to four days old. And it will be served before the same ingredients arriving in Monday's delivery.

What to do if you wish to dine out on a Monday? Ignore your instincts and go to a place that's perpetually crowded. "If you are open 24/7 and busy all the time," says New York chef Lucia Calvete, "all your ingredients are fresh all the time."

So, what will you preparing for your home meal Monday night?

Beef?  Chicken? Pork? Lamb?

How about none of the above.

Why not consider a meatless Monday as a means of eating healthier?

That’s right.

A meatless Monday.

Oh, and that means all day Monday.

No bacon with the eggs.

No burger for lunch.

No meat at dinnertime.

A meatless Monday, all day Monday.

Meatless Monday is the brainchild of the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Health that says, “
Meatless Monday is a national health campaign to help Americans prevent heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and cancer - four of the leading causes of death in America.”

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution recently wrote about Meatless Mondays. As you might expect, writer Jeanne Besser viewed Meatless Mondays as a wonderful endeavor to benefit all mankind, the greatest thing since sliced bread, sans meat of course.

Besser writes:

I’m going to try it. In addition to being good for my family, it’s a great way to educate my kids about the benefits of eating more vegetables and fruits as part of a more healthful diet. It’s also a good way to get back on track after weekend splurging (hopefully no one saw us a Dairy Queen last night…)”

Yeh, yeh, yeh. Because Dairy Queen is just so awful.

Here are just a few of the comments from Besser’s readers:

“We go meatless at least three times a week now but, of course, the problem is keeping “meatless” from translating into a cheesy goo-fest. A vegetarian meal that involves 2 pounds of melted cheese is probably not doing my family any favors.”

“Lets see, I believe Monday I’ll have the bacon smothered/slathered chops ala bacon-lard-glazed onions. Meatless Mondays are for the wabbits!”

“Not only is it healthier for you, but it’s sure healthier for the animal. Anyone who has watched this week’s video of the tasering of a sick cow laying on the ground—sticking it in the eye, etc.—and can still eat the meat of that poor animal needs some empathy classes. And some rethinking about what is food and what isn’t. PS—a pig has a higher IQ than a dog.”

“Why would you go meatless in order to be more healthy? Moderate servings of meat along with plenty of fruits and vegetables through out the day are just fine. If you want to be more healthy, cut down on your refined sugars and starches! Then try taking a walk.”

“To all the superior vegetarians out there: We are at the top of the food chain for a reason. We are animals and we require meat protein. There’s nothing more pasty and sickly looking as a vegetarian starving for protein. It’s all moderation. Why is a lion eating a gazelle nature and a human eating a cow inhumane?”

“All this burger talk is killin me! I’m going for a Big Mac. Maybe, if I’m lucky, my fries will come from the bottom of the pile. Really soft and greasy that way!! Wish they still used trans fats. MMMM MMMMMMMMMMMMM!!”

“Vegetarianism - veganism in particular - is little more than the dietary equivalent of Scientology. Eat some meat and like it. That’s why we were made with canine teeth.”

And my favorite:

“I will support Meatless Monday as soon as all Vegans eat meat one day a week!”

Well, here we go again. Another do-gooder organization trying to tell me what to do to live better. They use the tired tactic of trying to make me feel guilty about meat, that, I hate to tell them, is necessary and can be very healthy.

It’s interesting that I should stumble across the Meatless Monday campaign this past week. It’s Lent. I’m Catholic. I’m now enduring Meatless Friday’s. And let me tell you. Every Friday in Lent, I wake up craving hot dogs, pork chops and filet mignons.

I’ll listen to a lecture on the importance of incorporating more fruits and vegetables into my diet.

Pontificating about how I need to eat less meat?

Been there and heard it all before.

Meatless Monday?

Pass the A-1.


1) Ketchup on a brat
2) Green peppers on pizza
3) The dirty martini
4) Fruity brats
5) A Bloody Mary after dinner
6) Women “manning” the grill
7) Eating pizza at Festa Italiana, brats at German Fest, or tacos at Fiesta Mexicana. (Be adventurous. You can have those items anytime).
8) Eating a cream puff as though it was a hamburger.
9) Taking your own bottle of sauce when invited to a barbecue.
10) Touching the grill if you’re a guest at an outdoor barbecue.
11) Coaching the host on how to grill.
12) Some regional flavored ice cream… black licorice.
13) Taking the husks off before you grill corn on the cob
14) Being afraid to chill red wine
15) Pizza on the grill
16) When serving exotic or strange dishes to guests, do not tell them exactly what it is. Instead, use a more inviting term (caviar) rather than being blunt (fish eggs).
17) In late summer and early fall, this time of year, don’t buy zucchini. Somehow, someway, you will find zucchini or zucchini will find you.
18) Showing disrespect to your restaurant server.
19) Eating out on a Monday night.
20) Pumpkin beer.
21) Mail-order turkey.
22) Grilled cheese is just for kids.
23) Dining in the dark.
24) Ketchup on spaghetti
25) Sneaking healthy foods into treats to get your kids to eat it.
26) Do not throw away culinary gifts received in the mail because you don’t like them.
27) Do not feel guilty about eating Oreos. (Oreos are not to blame for out of control obesity).
28) Doing something so totally ridiculous that you are desperately forced to call the Butterball Turkey Hot-Line for assistance.
29) Don’t forget the sweet potato January-October.
30) Using resource guides from the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s on gracious living to plan holiday parties
31) Eating cranberries, the best of the super-foods, only during the holidays.
32) Egg nog that isn’t spiked.
33) Putting hot spices and other weird stuff in chocolate bars and hot cocoa.
34) Don’t disregard fruitcake.
35) Sparkling wine on New Year’s Eve ain’t champagne.
36) Ordering a Coors Light or any facsimile when at an outdoor open-air bar on a tropical beach.
37) Smoking bans in restaurants and bars in Wisconsin.
38) Goat burgers and healthy items at tailgate parties.

39) The restaurant of the future, with all kinds of cameras trained on you for....research.
40) The Budweiser Chelada
41) Replating
42) Sour cream on potato pancakes, as opposed to applesauce

Read more

Two Shocking Facts about Wisconsin Teens – What You’ve Probably Never Been Told by School Personnel

The following is a guest commentary by former blogger Janet Evans

As a parent, I’m aware of the many stresses that must be dealt with regarding teens. 

I believe a parent must stay involved with their children in order to stay on top of what is going on in their lives.

Even if that means being annoying or being told you are the meanest parent in the world. 

You need to communicate with your child, know where your child is going and you need to know their friends.

One of the best ways to know their friends is to open your home to those friends.  Even so, there will be times when you still don’t know everything going on.

As a parent, I was never told of the curriculum that is introduced in health class. 

I didn’t ask.

As far as sex education, I’m all for a parent teaching that at home, but don’t have a problem with it being taught at school. 

I never checked into what is mandated by the Department of Public Instruction to be taught to students regarding health or mental health.

With the unfortunate issue of teen suicide brought to my attention this past month, I happened to be checking the WI DPI web site, and found some information that really threw me for a loop. 

I discovered the statistics of suicide and alcohol use for teens in Wisconsin. 

If you are not aware of these statistics, and have teens, you will be shocked. 

If you are like me, you will wonder why you have not been informed by school officials of these statistics and surrounding facts. 

These facts could help save a child’s life. 

These facts are mainly given to school administrators and professionals. 

I believe they should be given, at a minimum, to all parents.

But why not publish them in a yearly newsletter to all citizens?

The shocking facts ….

Wisconsin was ranked 8th in the nation for teen suicides in 2006. 


Wisconsin fluctuates between 8th and 14th from recent data. 

Wisconsin ranks 1st in the nation for alcohol use among teens. 


Teen suicide mainly stems from depression. 

Alcohol use goes very much hand-in-hand with depression.
 I recently spoke with a friend, a psychologist who works with teens, and he told me that when a teen mentions the word suicide, s/he in almost all instances is truly contemplating the act. 

That teen needs help in all cases. 

A depressed teen may not be talking to you, the parent. 

A depressed teen may not have any friends to talk to, period.

Following are two DPI documents that are given to school professionals:   

Here are some questions for you, the parent. 

Do you think, if you have a teen in a public school, and you have never been made aware of these facts regarding teen suicide, that it is the responsibility of the district to inform you of these facts?

Is your district training their school professionals to the state mandates regarding suicide prevention?

And, are students being instructed, in health classes, about suicide, with up-to-date information?

I would also ask my school-aged child exactly what they have been taught about suicide and alcohol abuse in health class, and when, and who instructed them.

This needs to be an open discussion, at home and at school with your teen.

On the slide presentation in the link below, it is a lesson to see the photo and read of a 28-year old Golden Gate bridge jumper who survived his suicide attempt:
Baldwin recalls, "I instantly realized that everything in my life that I'd thought was unfixable was totally fixable-except for having just jumped."

Youth Suicide Prevention     Ã

What a gut wrenching reality for every parent. 

For every adult. 

Isn’t there a teen, or a young adult out there that we, as adults, can reach out to?



 National Suicide Prevention Lifeline:  Toll free hotline, 1-800-273-TALK (8255).   
 How to answer teen questions about suicide, statistics, what to say and what not to say.    Ã
American Academy of Pediatrics: Some Things You Should Know About Preventing Teen Suicide.    Ã
Frequently asked questions about youth suicide.    Ã
Information on teen suicide prevention.   Ã
Suicide Awareness/Voices of Education (SAVE).

I'm on WISN Monday

I fill in for Mark Belling on Newstalk 1130 WISN from 3-6 p.m.

As promised, I will talk with state Senator Glenn Grothman on his proposed constitutional amendment to do away with affirmative action practices in Wisconsin.

Also, some updated information about photo ID you may not be aware of.

CFSW has worked hard to protect your family- Now it's time to say thank you

A few years ago, the Franklin community was stunned by the very real possibility of a facility being built here to house multiple sexually violent person’s.

Residents were shocked and angry.

Surely, a fight had to be waged.

But someone had to lead the effort.

Someone had to organize, gather the troops, buy the yard signs and buttons, and order the busses that brought over a thousand people to a state public hearing at State fair Park, the most-attended legislative hearing in the history of the state of Wisconsin.

Citizens for a Safe Wisconsin (CFSW) worked with Senator Mary Lazich and state Representative Jeff Stone on legislation to ensure that a facility to house sex offenders would not be funded or built anywhere in Milwaukee County.

What else has the group accomplished?

  • Instrumental in the passage of “Jessica’s Law” in the State of Wisconsin
  • Instrumental in passage of AB591, a bill now enacted into law which requires active GPS monitoring of several classes of sex offenders
  • Served on the special Legislative Council on Placement of Sex Offenders which will result in stronger reporting requirements for sex offenders and improved communication with the public
  • Supported and lobbied for the Governor’s SAFE initiative which has led to capture of a large number of sex offenders who have failed to register with the State or have not met their supervision requirements
  • Continue to work tirelessly on enhancements to Chapter 980 (Sexually Violent Persons Commitment Law) to have the legislature enact “burden equity” whereby communities won’t become dumping grounds for the State’s worst of the worst.

The volunteers have given up work and vacation days, sacrificed time away from their families, and have all too often dipped into their own wallets to pay for their dedicated efforts on behalf of, not just Franklin, but parent and children all across Wisconsin.

Now CFSW needs your help.

This Friday CFSW holds their first annual fundraiser. It is sure to be a fantastic evening with great food and outstanding entertainment by one of Milwaukee’s hottest dance bands, the Boogiemen.

There will be amazing items available through a silent auction and raffles. One of the items up for bid will be a PRIVATE FIREWORKS SHOW donated by Bartolotta Fireworks.

The fundraiser will be held at the Oak Creek Community Center this Friday night at 6:30.  It’s a wonderful opportunity to say thank you to a group that has been working so tirelessly for you and your children. The CFSW needs and deserves your support.

Ticket prices are now a family-friendly $25. That’s less than 50 cents per week to help support a group of your neighbors to continue to fight for our most precious commodity….our children. Think about it. Is the health and safety and welafre of a child worth 50 cents a week?

Click here to order your tickets.

I have seen firsthand the hard work, devotion and success of this wonderful group of citizens. I am honored and proud to serve as the Master of Ceremonies for what promises to be a very special evening. I hope to see you there, and thank you!

One year later, Mayfair's teen chaperone policy a success

Topics talked about on WISN

It was called unnecessary, an overreaction, discriminatory and unfair.

Mayfair Mall management felt the need to implement new rules that required teens 17 and under to be with an adult after 3:00 p.m. on Frday and Saturday.

Rowdiness is down. Crime is down. More adult shoppers are back. Sales are up.


Here is the Business Journal story I talked about on WISN today.

Now they need to enforce the policy everyday.

CFSW has worked hard to protect your family- Now it's time to say thank you!

Is a Twinkie more dangerous than a suicide bomber?

Topics talked about on WISN


Depends who you ask.

If you ask most reasoned Americans, they'll tell you the suicide bomber.

Ask some egghead professor.........that's a different story.

Obesity is more dangerous than of the conclusions reached at an international conference today in Sydney.


The next time someone's bombing your country, don't call the U.S. begging for help, until your homeland is overrun with people who couldn't exhibit self-control.

Don't call us.

Call Richard Simmons.

CFSW has worked hard to protect your family- Now it's time to say thank you!

Read more

When it comes to gas, have we hit the boiling point?

I remember last summer, filling in for Mark Belling on WISN.

Yet another story about gas prices going up.

Yet another story about a nation’s frustration.

Would American motorists park their cars in their garages and close the doors?

No way.

As mad as we were, no way were we going to drive less.

Have we hit the breaking point?

The Boston Globe says yes.

From their newspaper:

Gasoline prices have risen so high and stayed high for so long, that Americans are finally doing what once seemed unthinkable: driving less.

Inveterate drivers are carpooling, combining errands to eliminate trips, trying mass transit, and even walking. As a result, gasoline consumption, which grew steadily in recent years as prices passed $2, $2.50, and $3 a gallon, has flattened and even declined, according to the US Energy Department.

Average daily gasoline consumption in the United States has decreased in each of the past four weeks from a year ago, according to recent data. In the past six months, average daily consumption slipped two-tenths of a percent from a year earlier, after growing 2.5 percent in the previous year.

Since crude oil began its run to $100 a barrel, average gasoline prices have soared from less than $1.50 a gallon in January 2003 to $3.12 on Friday, according to the American Automobile Association. Still, gasoline demand grew steadily through much of this period, sometimes falling when prices spiked, such as after Hurricane Katrina, but then rebounding.

But with prices lingering near or above $3 a gallon and with economists expecting them to stay there, consumers are changing behavior, analysts said. Demand appears to have plateaued, with consumption holding flat or slipping over the past several months, compared to the previous year.

"People don't see gas prices going back to $2 a gallon," said Juan Pablo Fuentes, energy economist at Moody's in West Chester, Pa. "They're making long-term decisions, like switching from big cars to smaller cars."

Sales of compact cars rose 10 percent in the last two years, while combined sales of large cars and sport utility vehicles fell 7 percent, according to, an automotive consumer website.”


More evidence to support photo ID

Topics talked about on WISN

While filling in for Mark Belling on WISN Monday afternoon, I talked about photo ID. I referenced a blog Senator Mary Lazich posted earlier this month about a major study by American University that shows photo ID’s are not obstacles to voting.

Then I discussed how Wisconsin is going to blow a golden opportunity to finally adopt a photo ID requirement because Democrats who control the state Senate will not allow a vote on a constitutional amendment on photo ID to take place before the current legislative session runs out on March 13th.

The constitutional amendment must pass two consecutive sessions of the Legislature, and then be approved by voters in a statewide referendum.

After the Legislature approved three photo ID bills, only to see all three vetoed by Governor Doyle, the constitutional amendment requiring photo ID was introduced on May 3, 2005. The state Assembly passed the amendment, 57-36, on November 1, 2005. The state Senate then passed the amendment, 19-14, on March 9, 2006.

The amendment must now be approved in this, the current session of the Legislature before it can go to voters in a referendum. On April 17, 2007, the state Assembly approved the amendment, 54-43. Now the amendment must be approved by the state Senate, but its fate is all but dead. Democrat leaders in the Senate are refusing to schedule the amendment for consideration.

Wisconsinites would certainly vote to change our state constitution, if they had the chance. According to a statewide survey released by the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute in October 2005, “Wisconsin residents, by a 63% to 30% margin, clearly favor a constitutional amendment to require photo ID’s for voting. This number is slightly less than general support for the measure where 69% of the residents support requiring photo ID’s to vote, while only 27% oppose such a requirement.”

The measure could have been on the ballot April 1, 2008. Thanks to Jim Doyle, who pressured Senate Democrats, former Senate Majority Leader Judy Robson, who could have scheduled the measure for a vote when she was in charge of the senate, but didn’t, current Senate Majority Leader Russ Decker, and Senator Spencer Coggs who chairs the senate Elections Committee and refuses to hold a hearing and executive session on the amendment, state voters are being denied an opportunity to vote on the idea.

Remember that.

Remember who prevented this popular, common sense requirement from becoming law.

That was the discussion on WISN on Monday.

The very next day, the Milwaukee Police Department’s Special Investigations Unit issued a lengthy report regarding the widespread voter fraud in the City of Milwaukee in the November 2, 2004 election.

Here’s a brief excerpt from the “Recommendations” portion of the report:

“It is the opinion of the Task Force investigators that more than any other recommendation we could make, our investigation has concluded that the one thing that could eliminate a large percentage of fraud or the appearance of fraudulent voting in any given Election is the elimination of the On-Site or Same Day voter registration system.”

Two paragraphs later, the report adds:

“As an alternative, if On-Site registration is to continue in its present form, then the presentation of a government issued identification card that includes the voter’s name, address (including city) and date of birth should be presented before that person is allowed to register and vote.”

Here's the entire report. (H/T: Brian Fraley)

Everyone in the state realizes that an important piece to restoring honesty and credibility to our voting system is to require photo ID…..everyone, that is except Jim Doyle, Senate Democrats, and Democrats who support voter fraud because they feel they benefit.


Have you ordered your tickets yet?

Great food. Great live music. Great silent auction.

Great cause.

It's going to be a special night this Friday.

I hope to see you there!


And yes, tickets will be available at the door if you decide you'd like to come out and just party with some very nice people!

Welcome back, Janet Evans!

Now let's see.

Fred Keller left.

Then he came back.

Bryan Maersch left.

Then he came back.

Then Janet Evans left.

And now she's back!

It's a lefty's worst nightmare: more intelligent, reasoned, common sense voices.

A certain melody keeps going through my head.

Now, how does that song go again?


I'm on WISN

I fill in for Mark Belling on Newstalk 1130 WISN Thursday and Friday from 3-6 p.m.


And yes, tickets will be available at the door if you decide you'd like to come out and just party with some very nice people!


Very cool!


And yes, tickets will be available at the door if you decide you'd like to come out and just party with some very nice people!

This time, Southwest Airlines got it right

Topics talked about on WISN

Remember Kyla Ebbert?

She was the young blonde who was tossed off a Southwest Airlines flight because she was wearing this outfit:

A male airline employee informed her the outfit was inappropriate.

When Ebbert asked nicely what was wrong with her ensemble, she was told, "Everything."

Once the world saw the outfit, Southwest was wiping the omelette off their corporate face.

Now Southwest is in the midst of another, "Too sexy to fly" controversy.

Here are SOME of the details.


That's one account.


Here is a statement issued by Southwest Airlines:

"Southwest Airlines would like to set the record straight regarding a situation involving two female Customers, Ms. Sarah Williams and Ms. Nisreen Swedberg, on Flight #3600 from Tampa Bay to Los Angeles on February 14, 2008. During this flight, the Flight Crew and several witnesses confirm that Ms. Williams and Ms. Swedberg's unruly behavior was touched off by an occupied lavatory. After banging on the door, Ms. Williams and Ms. Swedberg became verbally abusive and threatening toward the Customer who had been using the lavatory.

When Our Flight Crew addressed the situation with Ms. Williams and Ms. Swedberg, the two Customers continued their threatening behavior and abusive language. At this time, the Flight Crew requested that local police meet the flight upon its arrival in Los Angeles. The police questioned several witnesses, as well as Ms. Williams and Ms. Swedberg, who were later released. Contrary to reports, we did not ban these Customers from flying Southwest Airlines.

Our Employees must maintain a Safe and comfortable environment onboard the aircraft at all times. Despite some news reports, this story has nothing to do with Ms. Swedberg and Ms. Williams' appearance, but rather, their use of what other Passengers tell us was profanity and threatening behavior onboard one of our flights. Finally, we would have gone out of business a long time ago if we discriminated against beautiful women -- or anyone else for that matter. We carry almost 100 million Customers a year, and they are all beautiful in our eyes."

Based on what we know, in my view Southwest dropped the ball on Kyla Ebbert. That outfit is conservative using 2008 standards.

Southwest did get it right when employees objected to behavior on an airline flight that would have been unacceptable pre-9-11. Those 18 year old women didn't act like adults but instead behaved like spoiled brats. Probably accustomed to getting what they want with little discipline from Mommy and Daddy, they thought their demand sof rbottled water NOW and a toilet NOW should have been honored because the rest of the plane wasn't as drop dead gorgeous as they were.


This isn't over.

Mommy and Daddy have to talk to their lawyers.

After all.

Poor darlings had to wait for a glass of water and to use the bathroom.

Oh, the outright discrimination.

Oh my goodness.

The blatant discrimination.

It's tough being so good looking.


And yes, tickets will be available at the door if you decide you'd like to come out and just party with some very nice people! 

Corrections vs. education

Topics talked about on WISN

A brand new study was issued today on prisons in America that I assure you will have liberals in a tizzy. From a news release by the Pew Center on the States’ Public Safety Performance Project:

“For the first time in history more than one in every 100 adults in America are in jail or prison—a fact that significantly impacts state budgets without delivering a clear return on public safety.  According to a new report released today by the Pew Center on the States’ Public Safety Performance Project, at the start of 2008, 2,319,258 adults were held in American prisons or jails, or one in every 99.1 men and women, according to the study.  During 2007, the prison population rose by more than 25,000 inmates.  In addition to detailing state and regional prison growth rates, Pew’s report, One in 100: Behind Bars in America 2008, identifies how corrections spending compares to other state investments, why it has increased, and what some states are doing to limit growth in both prison populations and costs while maintaining public safety.

As prison populations expand, costs to states are on the rise.  Last year alone, states spent more than $49 billion on corrections, up from $11 billion 20 years before.   However, the national recidivism rate remains virtually unchanged, with about half of released inmates returning to jail or prison within three years.  And while violent criminals and other serious offenders account for some of the growth, many inmates are low-level offenders or people who have violated the terms of their probation or parole.”

The reaction from the left is predictable:

We are spending too much on corrections.

Violent crime is still a problem.
 We have too many non-violent offenders locked up. It’s all putting a great strain on state budgets.

We need to spend less on correction.
 We need to lock up fewer criminals.

We need to spend the money we’re spending on corrections on education.

As I talked about on WISN today, lefties always try to frame the argument as corrections vs. education that I feel is a flawed argument.

But let’s play the game.

Using data from this very same report:

At the end of 2006, Wisconsin had 23,431 inmates.

One year later, at the end of 2007, Wisconsin had 22,690 inmates. That’s a decrease of 741 inmates, or a 3.2% decline. Wisconsin is bucking the national trend of locking up more bad guys.

Yes, corrections is expensive.

What’s the price tag in Wisconsin?

In fiscal year 2007, according to this report, Wisconsin spent $890 million, or 6.7% of the state’s General Fund.

How does that compare to education spending in Wisconsin?

In fiscal year 2007, Wisconsin spent $1.214 billion on education.

Education is always half of the massive state budget, spending that is above the national average. Education doesn’t get shortchanged in Wisconsin.

As for the high cost of incarceration, it would be costlier to let inmates out earlier and lock up fewer criminals.

Senator Mary Lazich makes the case: we can’t afford to not lock them up.


And yes, tickets will be available at the door if you decide you'd like to come out and just party with some very nice people! 

No one can argue with this blog

During tonight's Wisconsin Badger-Michigan State basketball game, ESPN 2 was running a crawl of spring training baseball gane scores.

There is light at the end of the tunnel.


And yes, tickets will be available at the door if you decide you'd like to come out and just party with some very nice people! 

Tonight's the night


And yes, tickets will be available at the door if you decide you'd like to come out and just party with some very nice people! 

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