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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.



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...


Survivors and heroes of the Minnesota bridge collapse.

The Manning family of Spooner

All those who came forward to help a boy whose lemonade stand was robbed.


The scumballs who are going to try to benefit off of the Minnesota tragedy

Barry Bonds


“I think most people would agree [outgoing Milwaukee Police Chief Nanette Hegerty’s] the first manager that we’ve had as chief and she’s been extraordinarily effective.”
Milwaukee Fire and Police Commissioner Woody Welch. I’ve known Woody Welch for close to 30 years. He’s a very good guy, but dead wrong here.

"I have four young children, and the last thing I want is a sex offender living next door. But to take specific parts of the city and say we're going to shove all the sex offenders in there isn't a constructive solution."
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, announcing he will veto a proposed ordinance that would restrict where sex offenders can live in the city of Milwaukee. Wonderful. Now the city will have zero restrictions on where sex offenders can go. Barrett continues to disappoint.

"For some of them, (to stop offending) would be like telling you or me to stop eating. There are guys here who would clearly belong to NAMBLA (the North American Man/Boy Love Association) if they could."
The Director of the Sand Ridge Treatment Center near Madison, Steve Watters, describing sex offenders. Watters was quoted in a Wisconsin State Journal article on how difficult it is to treat committed sex offenders.

“We see dogs coming in that have been used as bait or have fought. It's amazing that in this 21st century we have something so heinous going on.”
Rock County Humane Society Executive Director Chris Konetski, confirming that dogfighting does, indeed, take place in Wisconsin.

"Just as we remind all clients to protect their health, we want to remind state legislators to think of the women and families of this state as they work through the budget."
Ellen Butts, a nurse practitioner in River Falls, said in a statement issued by the Wisconsin Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association. In an attempt to get lawmakers to practice safe budgeting, supporters of women's access to reproductive health care are mailing condoms to the eight members of the legislative conference committee on the budget urging them to "Play it Safe." Clever little devils, aren’t they..

” More than 200 years after the American Revolution, taxation without representation continues to pervade Wisconsin’s political environment. All around Wisconsin, appointed boards have authority to tax residents. Taxpayers are seeing their taxes raised by people they never selected or voted for. Right now, those taxpayers do not have recourse. That is fundamentally unfair, a violation of one of the basic concepts of good, open, clean government, that if you are going to raise taxes, you should have to stand up and defend the increase and then take a vote on it.”
State Senator Mary Lazich who is introducing legislation to require all appointed boards with taxing authority to be elected bodies.

“Wisconsin counties were laid out in the 1800s when you had to use a horse and buggy to get to the county seat. Now you get in your car and go. Economies of scale work better for counties than other governments. Brown County has 260,000 people. Kewaunee County has 20,000 people, and they still have to support their own courtrooms, jail, etc."
State Representative Frank Lasee (R-Bellevue) explaining his theory that Wisconsin only needs 18 counties, rather than the current 72.


Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett vetoes a proposed ordinance to restrict where sex offenders can live. Editorial boards around the state hate restrictions on sex offenders. Where is the sympathy for families and innocent children who just want to be safe?


Even pro-choicers should object to this: The Senate Democrats’ $15.2 billion universal health plan would provide taxpayer-funded abortions.


Lindsey Lohan


As always, there are more than one.

Your office printer can kill you! A full report coming up tonight at 10:00!

Obese people are just greedy

OK. How does this guy get and keep a driver’s license?!

And my personal favorite this week….sushi chain takes a rib at Barry Bonds. Here’s the story.

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




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




Barry Bonds

Oscar Ayala-Cornejo


”This record is not tainted at all. At all. Period.”
Barry Bonds after breaking Hank Aaron’s home run record.

"Throughout the past century, the home run has held a special place in baseball and I have been privileged to hold this record for 33 of those years. I move over now and offer my best wishes to Barry and his family on this historic achievement.”
Hank Aaron, after his record was broken.

"I didn't really want to be part of history as a bad part, but I am. I’m ok with it.”
Washington Nationals pitcher Mike Bacsik, who gave up the record breaking home run pitch to Bonds.

The MATC Board "seems to lack the ability or the will to control the administration's spending. That's the most immediate issue. And I do really have a problem with an unelected board having an ability to levy taxes. There's no level of accountability."
Cedarburg Mayor Greg Myers. Ozaukee County is considering leaving the MATC school district.

“By the time he’s finished, one thing we can say for certain about Jim Doyle is that he finally returned us to the days when only the sons and daughters of the elite can dream of a college education in Wisconsin. When was the last time they asked the University to trim a dollar out of their outrageous administrative costs? When have they ever asked a high-paid administrator to trim even $5 from their bloated salaries? Why do they have to protect the fat cats who live in high-rise condos at the expense of students who have to eat at McDonald’s?”
State Senator Mike Ellis (R-Neenah) commenting after the UW’s Boards of Regents voted to increase tuition 5.5 percent for the upcoming school year.

”Under the Senate Democrats' "Healthy Wisconsin" health insurance plan, Wisconsin taxpayers will be forced to pay for the abortion of any Wisconsin woman, including:

• The married woman who isn't sure who the father of her baby is and doesn't
want her husband to know she's got a boyfriend.
• The woman who is having her third abortion.
• The woman who doesn't want the inconvenience of a baby to interfere with
her career plans.
• The woman who doesn't want to appear in her bikini with stretch marks.
• Any other Wisconsin woman, for any reason, at any time during pregnancy,
for as many times as she would choose to have one, with no restrictions

Sue Armacost of Wisconsin Right to Life.

” For tax purposes, my wife and I had to register and get both state and federal business identification numbers. Despite just being a married couple with someone watching their kids for 10 hours a week, we essentially had to become a corporation. From there, we had to pay income taxes, social security taxes, and unemployment taxes on our babysitter (as well as some back taxes, as it took a few months to figure this all out). We had to register with the Department of Workforce development to set up quarterly unemployment insurance payments – despite the fact that if our babysitter were to quit working, she wouldn’t be collecting unemployment. We had to file all the W-2 and W-3 forms with federal and state government to report her income. If you decide to pay the babysitter’s portion of the income tax, naturally that gets taxed too, since it is considered income to the sitter. Despite my wife and I both having master’s degrees (although, admittedly, mine came with the purchase of my 20th case of Miller Lite), we had to hire a professional tax preparer to sort the whole mess out. And this was for someone watching our kids for 10 hours a week.”
Christian Schneider in a column for the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute, on the bureaucratic nightmare he and his wife had to endure just to hire a babysitter so Mrs. Schneider could return to work. That’s Wisconsin.


The biggest rip off at the Wisconsin State Fair.


Governor Doyle’s Department of Revenue drops the ball. If he, as Governor, is going to tax and tax and tax and tax and tax and tax, his administration can at least get refunds out to taxpayers in a timely manner. This story should have been reported more often, and a lot earlier.

Also, attendance figures at the State Fair.


The Ames, Iowa straw poll.


When cheating on your wife is the florist’s fault.

Thou shalt not jog naked.

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




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


Those who tried to rescue trapped miners in Utah

Cal Ripken, Jr.


A 41-year-old man stormed a beauty salon and bludgeoned four grandmothers with a hammer.

Salvador and Mable Mangano

Michael Vick


”No Progress Made In Stalled State Budget Talks. Wisconsin lawmakers are continuing budget negotiations but with no end in sight.”
WISC-TV in Madison report.

”Even though the state budget is nearly seven weeks late and there are no signs a major agreement is in sight, the leader of the state Senate (Judy Robson, D-Beloit) defended the process Thursday, saying the public is being well-served. ‘We are wanting to get a good budget and we are making progress,’ Robson said.”
From an article on

"They're not doing nothing. Meeting, that's it. Meeting after meeting and nothing's been accomplished."
Corrections worker Dale Pierce on the lack of progress on the state budget.

"To come in here and say 'We want our budget' isn't exactly negotiation."
Assembly Speaker Mike Huebsch, R-West Salem, said he didn't see where more meetings would lead to a compromise on the state budget.

"The cookies stay."
Midwest Air Chairman and CEO Tim Hoeksema, at the announcement that Midwest reached a sale agreement with TPG Capital/Northwest Airlines Corp. Midwest Airlines will keep its name, identity and independent status.

"I don't know how they're going to be able to tell a 16-year-old from a 20-year-old."
State Representative Amy Sue Vruwink (D-Milladore), on proposed legislation to prevent drivers younger than 18 from using cell phones during the time they have an instruction permit or when they are within the first nine months of holding a probationary license.

” As someone who loves the guy, I’m glad he quit while he was behind rather than stay in a race he was never going to win.”
Mark Belling, on Tommy Thompson’s decision to bow out of the Presidential race after finishing a disappointing 6th in the Iowa straw poll.

” No money, no rationale, no real issues. This isn’t to say that Tommy didn’t occasionally do interesting things on the trail, but they tended to get drowned out by the other stuff, like the gaffe about money and “Jewish tradition,” or his excuse that his hearing aid battery went dead just as he was asked a question about gay rights. Almost nothing else stood out, and the man who dominated Wisconsin politics for nearly a generation, quickly became the “other Thompson” – the guys who wasn’t on television and didn’t have a shot. As Tommy learned, presidential races aren’t won with resumes alone.”
Charlie Sykes, on the failed Thompson bid for the White House.

"Three women in my family have been afflicted with cancer, including my daughter and my wife. I am committed to deploying the vast resources of the United States toward the goal of ending breast cancer by 2015 just like President Kennedy committed our nation to the moon."
Tommy Thompson, quoted, and commended, in an editorial this week in the Boston Globe.

"Between 1985 and 2006, 89 wrestlers have died before the age of 50," U.S. Rep. Cliff Stearns, R-Fla., told the Baltimore Sun. "Of course, not all of these deaths can be attributed to steroid use. However, this abnormally high number of deaths of young, fit athletes should raise congressional alarms."
U.S. Rep. Cliff Stearns, (R-Fla.) after the death of former pro wrestler Brian “Crush” Adams. Adams was 43.

"It all comes down to Elvis' relationship with the fans. Elvis connects with people in a very personal and emotional way. It shows that his legacy still has momentum. I'm not going to say we're surprised by the turnout, but it certainly has blown us away by every measure."
Jack Soden, president of Elvis Presley Enterprises on the lawn of Graceland Mansion, as more than 50,000 Elvis fans participated in the annual candlelight vigil on the eve of the 30th anniversary of the death of Elvis Presley.


The Census Bureau wants raids on illegal immigrants to stop during the 2010 census.


The upcoming vote by the Franklin School Board on next year’s budget.

John Neville?

Milwaukee Journal/Sentinel?

Anybody out there?

Thank goodness for the bloggers.


The 30th anniversary of the death of Elvis Presley…….AND RIGHTFULLY SO!


Raising taxes to help wild animals cross the road

From the stupid criminal file: Why would anyone want to rob a nun?

Wisconsin Wiccan in panties chants at the moon.

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


The ELVIS edition of Week-ends


On this, the final day of Elvis Week, the following is a special edition of my regular feature, Week-ends commemorating the 30th anniversary of the death of Elvis Presley.


The 50-60,000 fans who descended upon Memphis for the biggest Elvis Week ever, who had to brave 105-degree weather. Also, the always charming and dignified Priscilla Presley, who appeared on CNN’s Larry King Live program on the eve of the anniversary of Elvis’ death. It had to be difficult for Priscilla to do the live hour-long interview inside Graceland and give a worldwide audience a tour besides. As always, Priscilla handled it with perfect grace.


Those who needlessly and cruelly feel the desire to constantly make heartless jokes about this great performer.And the idiots who insist that Elvis is still alive.


“ I don’t sound like nobody.”
Elvis, to Sun records secretary Marion Keisker when she asked him who he sounded like.

Elvis was told to return to being a truck driver.
Grand Ole Opry manager Jim Denny after Elvis performed in 1954 for the first and only time at the Opry. Elvis swore he’d never go back. Years later, Garth Brooks commented in a television interview that one of the greatest thrills of playing the Opry was that he got to play on the same stage Elvis had.

 “Rockin’ on music, if you like it, if you feel it, you can’t help but move to it. That’s what happens to me. I can’t stand still. I’ve tried it and I just can’t do it.”
Elvis, on Elvis.

”His kind of music is deplorable, a rancid smelling aphrodisiac. It fosters almost totally negative and destructive reactions in young people.”
Frank Sinatra, in Elvis’ early days. The two would later become good friends.

”I wanted to say to Elvis Presley and the country that this is a real decent, fine boy."
Ed Sullivan to Elvis during one of Elvis’ appearances on Sullivan’s popular Sunday night variety show.

Elvis was the king. No doubt about it. People like myself, Mick Jagger and all the others only followed in his footsteps."
Rod Stewart.

A Presley picture is the only sure thing in Hollywood.”
Producer Hal Wallis.

”A lot of people have accused Elvis of stealing the black man's music, when in fact almost every black solo entertainer copied his stage mannerisms from Elvis.”
Jackie Wilson

”There have been a lot of tough guys. There have been pretenders. And there have been contenders. But there is only one king.”
Bruce Springsteen 

”When I first heard Elvis' voice I just knew that I wasn't going to work for anybody; and nobody was going to be my boss. Hearing him for the first time was like busting out of jail.”
Bob Dylan

”Elvis is the greatest cultural force in the twentieth century. He introduced the beat to everything, music, language, clothes, it's a whole new social revolution… the 60's comes from it.”
Leonard Bernstein

”There have been many accolades uttered about Elvis' talent and performances through the years, all of which I agree with wholeheartedly. I shall miss him dearly as a friend. He was a warm, considerate and generous man.”
Frank Sinatra

”Elvis Presley's death deprives our country of a part of itself. He was unique, irreplaceable. More than twenty years ago, he burst upon the scene with an impact that was unprecedented and will probably never be equaled. His music and his personality, fusing the styles of white country and black rhythm and blues, permanently changed the face of American popular culture. His following was immense. And he was a symbol to people the world over of the vitality, rebelliousness and good humor of this country.”
President Jimmy Carter after Elvis’ death

Before Elvis, there was nothing.”
John Lennon

”If life was fair, Elvis would be alive and all the impersonators would be dead."
Johnny Carson

Elvis taught white America to get down.”
James Brown

”We’ll never know what an old Elvis Presley would have been like. He’ll just always be the King.”
Pat Boone

”When I was a child, ladies and gentlemen, I was a dreamer. I read comic books, and I was the hero of the comic book. I saw movies, and I was the hero in the movie .So every dream I ever dreamed has come true a hundred times. These gentlemen over there, these are the type who care, are dedicated. You realize if it´s not possible that they might be building the kingdom, it´s not far-fetched from reality. I´d like to say that I learned very early in life that:

'Without a song the day would never end

Without a song a man ain´t got a friend

Without a song the road would never bend

Without a song...'

So I keep singing a song.Good night.
Thank you.”
Elvis in his acceptance speech in 1971 for being one of the Top Ten Outstanding Young Americans by the national Junior Chambers of Commerce (the Jaycees).


Elvis a racist? Talented Elvis biographer Peter Guralnick laid that ugly rumor to rest in the New York Times.


Elvis’ lavish gifts are legendary. He thought nothing of giving cars, motorcycles, jewelry, cash, even houses to close friends or people he just met for the first time.He kept his many charitable donations very private, true acts of kindness rarely reported.From

”Each year, for many years, Elvis gave $1,000 or more to each of fifty Memphis-area charities, but also continually made many other charitable donations in Memphis and around the country.Most of Elvis’ philanthropic endeavors received no publicity at all. Throughout his adult life, for friends, for family, and for total strangers, he quietly paid hospital bills, bought homes, supported families, paid off debts, and much more.

Elvis' legacy of generosity continues through the work of the Elvis Presley Charitable Foundation, which is the philanthropic branch of Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc. and the creator of the Elvis Presley Endowed Scholarship Fund at the University of Memphis. The tradition of giving also continues through the work of the Elvis fan clubs worldwide, most of which are heavily involved in charitable endeavors in Elvis' memory. "

There were other monumental examples of Elvis’ kindness, again, from

”In 1961, Elvis gave a benefit concert at Bloch Arena in Hawaii that raised over $65,000 toward the building of the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor. The resulting publicity gave new life to the fund-raising effort, which had, by then, lost its momentum. The memorial opened a year later.

Audience tickets for his 1973 Aloha from Hawaii television special and its pre-broadcast rehearsal show carried no price, as each audience member was asked to pay whatever he or she could. The performances and concert merchandise sales were a benefit raising $75,000 for the Kui Lee Cancer Fund in Hawaii.”


Elvis impersonators, especially given that for the first time, Elvis Week featured an American-Idol-like, "Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist of 2007,” contest. I can count on less than one hand the Elvis impersonators I have liked. The rest of them do more harm than good to the Elvis legacy, some intentionally.


Elvis shooting out his TV’s? Elvis stopping his limo on a busy street in Madison to break up a fight at a gas station and then sign autographs? How about when Elvis, without an invitation, got into the White House in late 1970 and met with President Nixon.

The fact that he pulled it off is one thing. He had Nixon scrambling around, fumbling through an Oval Office desk trying to find mementoes for his entourage. When the President did, Elvis looked at Nixon and said, “You know, sir, these men have wives.” The President responded, “Of course, let’s see what we can find for the ladies.”Here’s what is really strange about this often-told story. As famous as that encounter was, Jerry Schilling, who was also at that meeting, writes in his book, “Me and a Guy Named Elvis”:

”I found it a little curious that our recent trip to the White House hand managed to stay secret. …...The biggest summit meeting between the worlds of politics and rock and roll wouldn’t be reported on at all until it turned up in a Washington Post column almost a full year after it happened.”

That, of course, would never happen in today’s world of breaking news, cable news services, and the Internet.




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...


Jared and Nathan Hubbard

Demetrius Dobbs. Dobbs jumped off a Madison bus in an attempt to help two other passengers after lightning caused a power line to fall into several inches of standing water at a bus stop. Dobbs and the others were electrocuted.

Butler Police Officer Phil Grabski

State Senator Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay) and his wife Jane

Minnesota mom watches son play in Little League World Series from sickbed. Her son’s team played well, but eventually…

All the We Energies’ crews who worked around the clock to restore order after all that bad weather, and for the job they did in the heat wave to keep the grid going.

Those of you who are planning on attending Monday night’s Franklin School Board meeting where the budget will be approved, more than likely with a big tax increase.

Mike Flynt

40 years old and still going strong


Mother Nature

Michael Vick

Brookfield vandals. Click on video in link


”I watched them die.”
Jamie McGee, who saw two Madison bus passengers electrocuted along with her fiancé who tried to help them after a power line fell into several inches of water at a us stop.

"There was so much electricity in the water, they were dead before they hit the ground.”
Dane County Coroner John Stanley, on the three Madison bus passengers who were electrocuted.

”Don’t be so gullible as to assume universal health care will keep prices down when all the government needs to do is keep raising taxes to meet the increasing cost of health care. Oh yes, some of us won’t have to worry about increased taxes, as we will have died while waiting for our surgeries under the socialistic universal health care system. Check it out - it is true.
Gordon Miller is president of Mid-Towne Insurance Center Inc. in Brookfield.

”I cannot emphasize enough the need for more Milwaukee police officers. The Milwaukee Police Department has 2,000 sworn police officers who carry firearms, and that's not enough. They are the ones on the front lines in the fight against street crime.”
U.S. Attorney Steve Biskupic, speaking before the Milwaukee Rotary Club.

”It's only the law-abiding citizen who would be affected by the laws. Criminals are going to continue to seek out and acquire firearms regardless of the law."
Jim Fendry, Director of the Wisconsin Pro-Gun Movement, reacting to proposals offered by Governor Doyle’s announced anti-crime plan.

”After Virginia Tech, we all were astonished, grieving, upset, and wondered if the campuses at the University of Wisconsin, all the college campuses, whether private or public, would be safe.
We had the UW System President Kevin Reilly, who after the shootings at Virginia Tech, covened a school safety task force, and they came up with their recommendations, and he said today that there is no way they can implement the recommendations to make the campuses safe because of the significant cuts to the University of Wisconsin…

You can bet that if something happens on those campuses and there is a student that is harmed, after these recommendations are going to come out, who is going to get blamed? It’s not going to be the Republicans… they should be… you know, because you’re going to cut the university, but they’re going to blame Kevin Reilly.“

State Senate Majority Leader Judy Robson (D-Beloit) remarking during budget negotiations. Her comments were printed this week on the Wisconsin Policy Resarch Institute website. WPRI also wrote, “Robson argued that the UW System couldn’t provide campus safety under the Assembly Republican version of the budget, and tied that issue to the April shootings at Virginia Tech. Clearly, she was making the case that by only increasing the UW Budget $63 million, a Virginia Tech situation was much more likely, and the campus police would have trouble dealing with the situation.“

“(Michael) Zore, 44, told a jury Wednesday there was a good reason he shouldn't be convicted of felony counts of double voting and giving a poll worker false information: He forgot. “
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporting this week on a case of double voting. Zore’s attorney argued the "stress defense," that Zore was so tense - from his sister's death a week before, from the garnishment of his wages to pay back taxes, from his divorce a year before, and from the cancellation of a master's degree class on election day - that when he found himself, after an errand, in West Allis across the street from City Hall, he forgot he'd already voted. Zore also voted in Wauwatosa. Jurors needed just an hour of deliberation, and a lunch break, to reject this claim and find Zore guilty. He now could face a prison sentence of up to seven years and a fine of $20,000.

“As a nurse, I am in favor of "universal" health care as long as obese people are mandated to lose weight, smokers are required to quit, drug abusers go into rehab and anyone choosing to drink alcohol is not covered. Anyone not eating a healthy diet or not getting regular exercise would need to pay more – a high risk by choice premium.”
A respondent to a survey put out by state Senator Joe Leibham (R-Sheboygan)

”We don’t say anything about people who shoot deers and shoot other animals. You know what I mean? From what I hear, dogfighting it's a sport. You know, it’s just behind closed doors and I think it’s tough that, you know, we build Michael Vick up and then we break him down. And I think he's one of the superb athletes and he's a good human being. I just think that he fell into a bad situation.”
Stephon Marbury of the New York Knicks, defending Michael Vick.


The developments surrounding Elvira Arellano and those who have sympathy for her.


You know that plan by state Senate Democrats to have universal government health care in Wisconsin? The plan, called Healthy Wisconsin (HW) calls for the creation of a 16-member un-elected board that would have far-reaching taxing authority.

The non-partisan Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance reports:

“What is unique about HW is the dollar magnitude of the board’s potential revenue. Initially put at $15.2 billion in 2007 dollars, given prevailing trends in wages and health costs, its taxing authority could approach $20 billion in three to five years.”

I think that’s big news.


Nicole Ritchie serves 82 minutes in jail.


As usual, you just can’t narrow it down to one.

This is not the way to find out if your husband is cheating on you.

No surprise this story is from the state of Arkansas.

Beware the big, bad, belching Scandinavian moose.

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.


Mark McCormick is no Eugene Kane

I am a fan of the work of Mark McCormick, a black columnist for the Wichita Eagle.

His work is so refreshing compared to the constant race baiting by the Journal/Sentinel’s resident race columnist.

Here are two of McCormick’s latest columns; the first is on how Michael Vick leaving football will benefit society, the other about the excuses used to enable minorities.

Michael Vick: character vs. consequence

So you like Atlanta Falcon quarterback Michael Vick? Think he's cool? Like the style, the swagger?

How do you like him now?

Were you crushed when he announced Monday he plans to plead guilty to federal dogfighting charges?

I wasn't.

In fact, I thought it might turn out to be a good thing for kids to learn how expensive cool can be.


The symbolism of Vick's fall is worth more than a lifetime of public service announcements.

Kids who want to emulate his swagger should see this collapse for what it is -- a lesson of how values do matter.

I don't know Michael Vick and can't vouch for his character.

But given his recent troubles, his life appeared to be out of control.

In the past couple of years, Vick allegedly used the alias Ron Mexico in seeking diagnosis or treatment for an STD. He waved the wrong finger at fans and tried to get a water bottle with a false bottom through airport security and was suspected of smoking marijuana.

He was vindicated of the marijuana accusations. But how much does that matter now?

Nike pulled its endorsement deal. Reebok stopped selling Vick's jersey. Two companies and counting have dropped his trading card. The Falcons may insist that he repay upwards of $20 million of his $37 million signing bonus. And, of course, now he probably has a sizable lawyer bill.

Pretty cool, huh?

As part of the deal struck with federal prosecutors, Vick will plead guilty to felony charges of conspiring to travel in interstate commerce in aid of unlawful activities and conspiring to sponsor a dog in an animal-fighting venture.

He faces a year in prison, the loss of millions in future endorsements, the loss of a $130 million NFL contract and possibly the end of his career.

All because he wanted to watch dogs kill each other.

Vick created his own problems by indulging in this disgusting practice, but they were compounded by the crew he ran with, some of them family.

Police stumbled onto Vick's dog fighting enterprise after the April 20 arrest of his cousin, Davon Boddie. A drug dog alerted its handler to a marijuana scent in Boddie's vehicle; he now faces possession and intent to distribute charges.

Police then raided a Vick-owned property where Boddie lived, looking for drugs, and found dog-fighting evidence.

I was a Michael Vick fan.

You needed a seat belt just to watch this man compete. He's the only player to run as well as pass for 1,000 yards in a season.

But as dangerous as he may have been on the field, he could be more effective off it in making the connection between character and consequence for young people.

We have a generation of youth seemingly obsessed with avoiding pretense but adhering to one big pretense of hollow machismo and shallow, consumer-driven self-esteem.

Kids missing the link between character and consequence.

Perhaps from his cell, in prison-issue clothing, having lost a sports empire and its fortune, Vick can help shatter the image of ignorance that many young people seem so wrapped up in.

That would be so cool.

I'm sorry, but I won't enable you anymore

I'm this close to leaving you. This relationship isn't working. A lot of us middle-class black folks aren't sure how things got so bad between us and you -- our brothers and sisters mired in hopelessness and helplessness. Those falling further and further behind. Those I don't seem to know anymore.

I love you. I always will.

But I have to love you enough to tell you the truth.

You have to stop living in the past. You're still marching and pointing fingers at white people the way you did in 1963 and expecting the same results.

I wonder, were we together then, or did we just have the same enemy? When that part of the movement died, you went your way and I went mine.

We ended up here, with so much hurt between us that I wonder if we'll ever be the same.

We don't talk much anymore, and when we do, we argue. We have almost nothing in common.

You won't listen to anyone. Bill Cosby tried to tell you some of this, but you got angry. No, he wasn't nice about it, but he was right. We do need some community behavior standards.

I know I can be self-important and saditty. I know I throw my success in your face. I'm sorry. That's wrong. I should view my accomplishments as something that can make me a better friend.

But nothing's ever your fault. It's always me or "the system" holding you down. You're too easily offended and unnecessarily confrontational.

You ridicule me for trying to live better, for trying to learn. You ask me, "How does Uncle Tom's cabin look on the inside?"

Yet you still expect me to fetch and carry for you.

I get up and bust my butt at work or at school or at both every day, and when I get home, you're still on the corner or on the couch with a new excuse as to why you can't work.

Do you really think I face a racism-free world?

I don't, but I face it. It is bad sometimes, but nothing close to what our parents and grandparents faced. You have to summon the courage to try and to fail and to accept responsibility for all of it.

And then try again.

But it doesn't appear that you're even trying to change.

Look at what you're doing to the kids. They're out of control.

They're joining gangs, shooting at each other, marking up their bodies, wearing their pants below their butts (boys and girls), speaking at best a variant of English. And then you blame the schools, the ministers, everyone -- everyone but you.

And this seductive hip-hop hoochie they're always with fills their heads with shallow, ignorant and profane images.

They need to drop her like she's hot.

The kids aren't bad. They've just never had anyone love them, teach them or put them first. The streets and the prisons dine sumptuously on them daily.

For this and for other reasons, white flight from neighborhoods isn't just white anymore. Today, the races have come together, if only to flee uncivil behavior.

It's difficult to face what you and I have become.

I remember when about all that sustained us was the love we had for one another. It really felt like us against the world.

You used to talk about us learning to run uphill so that if the ground ever leveled, we'd be stronger and faster. That's how I so fondly remember you. Strong. Funny. Generous. Smart. Creative. Industrious. Warm.
I know what I'm saying sounds harsh, but I've got to know: Do you want this relationship? I do.

I'm this close to leaving, but I haven't. I'm here for you if you want to change, but I won't enable you anymore.

Maybe the second time around, we'll get what we wanted and save what we had.

For your sake and for ours, I hope you decide soon.

I won't wait forever.

Time to face reality, Franklin: You're about to get a big fat school tax increase

Franklin budgets

If tonight’s Franklin School Board meeting was any indication, hold onto your wallets.

Franklin, you’re going to get hit with a big school tax increase.

And, as I predicted some time ago, Franklin school officials are using this as their mantra: There is no other choice because the state isn’t giving us enough money.

There was no talk or consideration or even thought of making cuts to avoid a whopping 5.6% school tax levy increase.

A large crowd that I estimated at 150 nearly filled the room. Apparently, the bloggers touched a nerve with tax increase supporters who voiced nervous comments about their favorite programs (generally arts) they didn’t want to see cut.

If there were tax increase opponents in the room, they more or less stayed quiet.

From the outset it was clear the intent was to label the state as the villain. School Board member Sue (God I wish I could triple your taxes right this second) Huhn started the state-bashing by saying the state “doesn’t always give money when we need it.”

Huhn also offered an ominous note, referring to the “need to revisit how to address that situation,” meaning the capacity of the school buildings. Translation: here comes another referendum.

Huhn quoted ultra-liberal State School Superintendent Elizabeth Burmaster (I’m sure Huhn has a shrine to Burmaster set up in her house) asking the Legislature to approve a budget by September 28.

Then Franklin School District Business Manager Jim Milzer was sent in to spearhead what could only be described as “OPERATION GLAZE THEIR EYES OVER,” giving a loooooooonnnnng numbers-heavy, yawner of a presentation on every single line of Franklin expenditures.

Milzer could have saved a lot of time and energy had he just got up and said, “TAX INCREASES……GOOD! STATE OF WISCONSIN………BAD!"

Milzer tried to explain the state’s equalization aid formula for schools. Never mind the fact that since it went into effect, no one, including the people who developed it, have ever been able to describe what it is. There was Milzer, sounding like he never attended a Dale Carnegie course.

He continued the state-bashing his comrade in crime, Sue (pickpocket) Huhn did by blasting the state, calling it an “educational Robin Hood.”

If people weren’t nodding off, they might have laughed out loud to hear Milzer boast that they, ”try to run the school district like a business.”

After whining, and sounding a lot like MPS, that Franklin has to accept everyone, including kids who can’t speak English and kids with special needs, Milzer lectured the audience on the QEO and the Consumer Price Index. Hmmm…. I wonder why he chose to talk about the CPI? Inspired by bloggers, ya think?

Milzer also gets the most non-relevant quote of the night award, claiming the Franklin tax rate has gone down 56% since 1986. Uhhh, sorry Jim. It’s the tax levy, stupid, not the tax rate that counts.

This was a typical government public hearing. The so-called experts talk first, and talk a lot before the actual public hearing gets underway at 8:10, one hour and ten minutes after the meeting started.

Most of the speakers sounded as though they were afraid of what the Board might do as far as programs are concerned. With no disrespect intended, I merely inform you what these people said:

My children are involved in the music program. Don’t cut it.

I support the music program. My kids were shy and socially not accepted. Now they have friends thanks to the music program.

Don’t make any cuts. Every person working in Franklin schools is invaluable.

No school district is more dedicated.

If it costs a “few dollars” to raise taxes, go for it.

One speaker said what the heck, we’re paying for Miller Park every time we go to McDonald’s. Not sure what that had to do with local Franklin spending, but he said it, and he also wondered what bloggers would say about the meeting. I hope he’s reading.

A Franklin High student says it’s too crowded in the hallways at school, so again, what’s the problem if it “costs a few dollars more.”

One gentleman actually got up and said he doesn’t like tax increases, but pass this one anyway.

There should have been a video made of the hearing to show Franklin why your taxes are so high. You have yourself to blame.

Fellow blogger Fred Keller spoke at the hearing, and discussed what nobody else in the room wanted to talk about apparently….the proposed tax levy.

Keller accurately said there was an obvious theme: blaming the state, and he didn’t hear any talk about possible cuts to live within the district’s means if state aid wasn’t what it was thought to be.

Board member Sue Huhn, who never interrupted any of the other speakers, snapped at Keller, demanding what cuts he would suggest.

That’s her job, not Fred’s. And what was Fred supposed to do? Whip out a list of cuts Johnny on the spot?

Fred asked if he had the floor, and new School Board President Dave Szychlinski told Huhn that this wasn’t going to turn into a debate.

Fred made comparisons to New Berlin, which has passed a 0.9% tax levy increase, but was bombarded with all kinds of excuses why New Berlin isn’t Franklin.

Fred made a great observation: blame the state if you want, but all school districts have to live under the same laws and rules and conditions. If other districts can open new buildings and only raise the levy 0.9%, why can’t Franklin?

Bryan Maersch also stood up for taxpayers and asked what is the Franklin School Board personally doing to make sure that the state pays for its mandates.

Sue Huhn answered that Franklin belongs to a lobbyist group (she didn’t say lobbying group but she mentioned one) that works on Franklin’s behalf. I, personally, would get new lobbyists or just save Franklin some tax money and lobby on your own.

Huhn also said the “only way” is to increase taxes if state aid is less than anticipated. Wrong. There are always alternatives, if you have the courage to consider them. Unless you’re a big tax and spender. That would be you, Sue.

BOTTOM LINE: Their minds are made up. Get ready to be screwed. I believe it will take an avalanche of public opinion to undo this done deal.

There was a great deal of speculation after the meeting that the buzz inside the Franklin machine has been a lot of rumors that arts classes and teaching positions would be cut. A school board member wondered why so many e-mails to that effect were coming in. No one has said a word about cuts of any kind. I wish they had.

So we can’t cut, not anything, not a single thing, ever. No way, no how. And you wonder why your taxes are so high?

I told you so, Franklin.

Here it comes. Maybe not until late October, but it's coming.

Hold onto your wallets.

What’s inside will be gone very soon.

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