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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.

The Goldmann's piece

Topics talked about on WISN

As promised, here is the Goldmann's piece I read on WISN today.

Thanks to all for your interest.

 

Is Brett Favre the greatest QB ever?

Topics talked about on WISN

Terry Bradsahw thinks so.

Here's his column that I read today on WISN.

Courageous women called "Previvors"

Topics talked about on WISN

Here is the NY Times article and video on Previvors I discussed today on WISN.

The link to the video has changed a bit since I originally posted on my blog. When you click on the video, then click on "The Story of a Previvor, Part 1."

 

Hey, Greg..what a great question!

Earlier today on his FranklinNOW.com blog, Greg Kowalski wrote the following:

“I ask, is it possible to name a development which led to our taxes going down?”

Hmmmmmm…

Verrrrrrrrryyy interesting.

Now let’s see…..

Where have we seen or heard that question before?

Let’s rewind the blogs…..

And go back to April 12, 2007.

On that date, I wrote the following on my blog to Greg:

”Now some time ago, you challenged me on your blog and asked me a direct question and I forwarded you an answer. In fairness, I now have a question for you.

You have written with confidence that the construction of new business will result in a reduction in taxes in the community. In one of your latest blogs you wrote: “the opening of new taxes for the district along the 27th Street
corridor would have most likely allowed our taxes to either stay the same or lower slightly.” You’ve made this point more than once on your Common Sense blog. (That’s what Greg called his blog back then. I still don’t know why he changed the name. He’s never offered a clear explanation).

Here’s my question. Can you pinpoint for me the last time anywhere in Wisconsin that the opening of a new business or businesses resulted in a reduction in taxes in that community?”

WOW!

Again, that was six months ago.

Excuse me, but if I’m such a big, bad horrible guy, why is Greg Kowalski taking blog material out of the Kevin Fischer playbook?

As one of Greg’s fans likes to say, I JUST HAD TO COMMENT.


In the same blog, Greg writes:

mentioned the fact that the majority of school district taxes from the Franklin Business Park, as well as all the school district taxes along South 27th Street go to Oak Creek, not Franklin.

Now I'm not saying Greg is wrong about that. I am saying I am not sure he's correct that the MAJORITY of school district taxes that he mentions go to Oak Creek. I would respectfully ask Greg to provide the data that the MAJORITY of those taxes go to Oak Creek.
Greg also wrote in this particular entry:

A few months ago, I brought up the news that the City of Franklin apparently did a comfortable handshake with our "users" next door in Oak Creek by promising them $5.5 million dollars towards an interchange on I-94 & Drexel Avenue, 100% in Oak Creek City boundaries.”

This one's misleading. The casual reader would assume that what Greg wrote is true.

The fact is that neither Mayor Taylor nor the Franklin Common Council has taken official action to promise Oak Creek anything. Greg refers to a "comfortable handshake." It could be an agreement on a cocktail napkin....doesn't matter. Where is the Common Council resolution? Where is the Mayor's approval?

I would pose another question to Greg: What did you mean by what you wrote, because it is misleading and cries out for clarification. He has prompted Franklin residents to believe a large expenditure has been appropriated when it has not.

Like other Franklin residents, I look forward to Greg's response to my two questions.

SPECIAL NOTE: I debated whether or not to post this tonight, knowing that Greg, through no fault of his own, is having technical problems with his blog. I wanted to be fair, understanding he can't respond as quickly as he might want to. However, I decided that posting tonight would allow Greg a head's up and more time to work on researching the answers to my questions.



 

Can Franklin support two Sendik's Food markets?

At first blush, that sounds like a legitimate question.

Franklin is blessed to be the only community to be the future home of not one but two of these quality stores.

But will this city of roughly 35,000 sustain them? Can Franklin do it?

The more I ponder the question, the sillier it seems. It’s like asking if Franklin can support two gas stations, two McDonald’s, two Pick ‘n Save’s, two pizza parlors, two ice cream joints, two sub shops.

Each Sendik’s is spaced far enough apart that both, I am confident, will do well. Sendik’s is so top-shelf that each of the stores will draw from their respective parts of town. My guess is the folks at business-savvy Sendik’s would never have entertained  the prospect of opening two markets within miles of each other if they didn’t have the greatest of assurances they would succeed.

Franklin, shed your doubts. For years, the city has cried out for high-quality shopping venues. Sendik’s historically never even dreamed of crossing Wisconsin Avenue to the south. When they did, they chose Franklin, twice.

I truly believe Franklin and surrounding areas will welcome Sendik’s with open arms. No need for the inferiority complex here. Opening day at Sendik’s will be a celebration times two. 

Doubting Thomas’ need to put their skepticism on hold. The beauty of two Sendik’s Food Markets competing and succeeding is that other potential developers who definitely are keeping track will take notice. If Sendik’s succeeds, Franklin succeeds. It’s like a domino effect. Others will see, others will take notice, others will want to set up shop, even if it means a dozen or so appearances before the Planning Commission to kiss the members’ rings.

I have no apprehensions whatsoever that each of the Sendik’s Food Markets will do exceptionally well. Hello!!!!……..they’re too good to fail.

Charge dropped against umpire

Topics talked about on WISN

I gave my WISN audience an update yesterday on the South Milwaukee umpire incident I’ve been following.

A charge of disorderly conduct against the umpire was tossed out, and the umpire does not have to pay a fine. Five witnesses wrote letters on behalf of the umpire to the City Attorney who dismissed the charge.

South Milwaukee police who were at the ballpark after the incident only interviewed two people. When I brought that up to South Milwaukee Police Chief Ann Wellens, she sternly asked me, “How do you know they (the officers) didn’t try to interview more people,” only to have them be uncooperative or unwilling to talk?  Well, if five people wrote letters, apparently there some individuals willing to get involved after all.

The officers told the umpire he could have walked away. Turn your back on a player who is about to punch you? I don’t think so. Show me any police officer who would turn his/her back to nay potentially violent person.

When I suggested the umpire should never have been cited, Chief Wellens told me that the umpire could hire an attorney, collect and present evidence, and get witnesses to speak on his behalf.

My response: “He shouldn’t have to.”   Why should he have to go through the hassle when he was merely doing his job and attempting to defend himself?

The City Attorney used common sense in tossing out the charge against the umpire. The case should have never gotten as far as it did.

A disorderly conduct charge is still pending against the player. The umpire has been subpoenaed to testify at a later date about what happened at the ball diamond.

If you’re scoring at home:

Error- South Milwaukee Police officers who responded to this incident

Error-South Milwaukee Police Chief Ann Wellens

Out-the offending player (the only person who should have been given a citation in the first place)

Safe- the innocent umpire

Home run-The South Milwaukee City Attorney

 

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Affirmative action hurts minorities

Two California law professors seem to have come to that conclusion. 

Of course racial quotas hurt minorities. Anytime you lower the bar and standards for a certain group of individuals, you’re not doing them a favor. It’s also insulting to assume that the only way the group is going to succeed is if you establish a different and less difficult set of rules just for them.

Here’s a recent column from the LA Times I was unable to get to during my last two appearances on WISN:

Does affirmative action hurt minorities?
Racial preferences may be setting up many black and Latino law students for failure.
By Vikram Amar and Richard H. Sander

September 26, 2007

IMAGINE, FOR A MOMENT, that a program designed to aid disadvantaged students might, instead, be seriously undermining their performance. Imagine that the schools administering the programs were told that the programs might be having this boomerang effect -- but that no one investigated further because the programs were so popular and the prospect of change was so politically controversial.

Now imagine that an agency had collected enough information on student performance that it might, by carefully studying or releasing the data, illuminate both the problem and the possible solutions. What should the agency do?

This is not a hypothetical question. The schools involved are dozens of law schools in California and elsewhere, and the program is the system of affirmative action that enables hundreds of minority law students to attend more elite institutions than their credentials alone would allow. Data from across the country suggest to some researchers that when law students attend schools where their credentials (including LSAT scores and college grades) are much lower than the median at the school, they actually learn less, are less likely to graduate and are nearly twice as likely to fail the bar exam than they would have been had they gone to less elite schools. This is known as the "mismatch effect."

The mismatch theory is controversial. One of us (Sander) has advanced it in the academic literature. The other (Amar) believes that while it raises substantial questions, it has not been empirically proved. Some dismiss the whole idea as nothing more than a politically motivated attack on affirmative action or, even worse, an attack on blacks and Latinos -- the main recipients of current preferences. Many rightly point out that definitive conclusions are difficult because the data available to researchers thus far have been limited in very important ways.

Still, certain facts are indisputable. Data from one selective California law school from 2005 show that students who received large preferences were 10 times as likely to fail the California bar as students who received no preference. After the passage of Proposition 209, which limited the use of racial preferences at California's public universities, in-state bar passage rates for blacks and Latinos went up relative to out-of-state bar passage rates. To the extent that students of color moved from UC schools to less elite ones (as seems likely), the post-209 experience is consistent with the mismatch theory.

In general, research shows that 50% of black law students end up in the bottom 10th of their class, and that they are more than twice as likely to drop out as white students. Only one in three black students who start law school graduate and pass the bar on their first attempt; most never become lawyers. How much of this might be attributable to the mismatch effect of affirmative action is still a matter of debate, but the problem cries out for attention.

A lot of legal scholars who focus on empirical work agree that the mismatch effect deserves serious study. A few weeks ago, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights issued a 280-page report on these issues that came to the same conclusion.

The best data in the nation for studying any mismatch effect in law schools reside in the archives of the State Bar of California, the state agency that administers the bar exam and oversees the conduct of lawyers. Starting in the 1980s, the California bar has maintained careful records on the backgrounds of bar exam-takers and their performance on its tests. With this data, it is possible to compare how students with similar college grades and LSAT scores do on the bar when they've attended different law schools and experienced different types of legal education. It is also possible to more deeply compare the bar performance of minority students before and after Proposition 209 and use other careful techniques to test whether the mismatch effect exists.

Given the richness of the data and the intensity of interest in the mismatch issue, it was not surprising that a blue-ribbon panel of diverse scholars (including both of us) approached the bar with a detailed proposal to study its data, backed by full funding and letters of support from dozens of scholars, law school deans and public officials.

But although the California bar was initially enthusiastic, one of its committees recently rejected the study proposal. Its stated reasons are implausible; it expressed concern, for example, about disclosing confidential information; but the proposed study includes the bar's own in-house expert, thus mooting the need for any data release.

It seems more probable that the bar, like many law schools, is simply queasy about touching a delicate area. The Society of American Law Teachers captured this sentiment in a letter it sent the California bar, cautioning it against releasing the information because, it said, "SALT is concerned about the potential negative impacts upon minority bar applicants and attorneys" who "already face a variety of misperceptions about their qualifications." By this reasoning, no one should seriously attempt to get to the bottom of racial disparities in bar performance because the attempt itself would make more people aware of the disparities!

We know of no serious scholar who has denied, or reasonably could deny, that the study we're proposing would shed some important light on a vital public policy issue. It would not be the final word on mismatch theory, no doubt, but it would be an important step that would advance understanding of the subject. We hope the bar's board of governors, which oversees what is, after all, a public agency, will reconsider in the coming weeks and decide to make its make its information available for research.

A generation ago, the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun wrote in Regents of UC vs. Bakke, the famous UC Davis affirmative action case, that for society to get beyond race, the government must first take account of race. Last summer, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. countered that the way to get beyond racial discrimination was for government to stop using race as a consideration. We suspect both justices would agree that however one feels about race-conscious school admissions policies, it is vital that we do our best to understand the effects of those policies, and doing that requires more, not less, analysis of real-world data.

Vikram Amar is a professor of law at UC Davis School of Law. Richard H. Sander is a professor of law at UCLA.

 

Newspapers are hurting, but won't admit it

Fewer people are reading newspapers. Circulation is down for newspapers all across the country. Newspapers are still an important part of our daily fabric, but are certainly less relevant.

Today, the Milwaukee Journal/Sentinel announced it is looking for ways to reduce staff. One way is by “offering employee buyouts in the hope of reducing its workforce by 35 to 50 people.”

If that doesn’t work?

“The company said if not enough employees take the offer, an involuntary program will be considered.”

Having received a few pink slips, some from the Journal Company, I think that’s newspaper-ese for, “We’ll fire you.”

More from jsonline.com:

“Elizabeth (Betsy) Brenner, president and chief operating officer of the publishing group of Journal Communications (JRN) Inc., said the employee reductions are necessary because of falling revenue. In recent years, the Journal Sentinel and other newspapers have been losing revenue to Internet-based advertising. She said gains in online advertising at the newspaper aren't strong enough yet to replace traditional advertising revenue.

"It is never easy to call for staff cutbacks, but we must continue to align our cost structure with the realities of reduced revenues in the newspaper industry," Brenner said in a statement to employees.

Effective immediately, full-time employees of Journal Sentinel Inc. with 10 years of service or more as of Oct. 26 are eligible to apply. The company said it is anticipates that between 35 and 50 employees, or 3.5% to 5% of the Journal Sentinel's full-time staff, will accept the buyout offer. That number may change depending on the number of employees who apply and are accepted. The separation date is on or about Nov. 15.The buyouts will include cash severance and temporary health care coverage.

A memo on the voluntary separation program distributed to newsroom employees said participants will receive two weeks of pay for every full year of service and two months of paid medical care benefits, not including dental and vision.

Non-newsroom employees would receive 1 1/2 weeks of current base salary for every year of service and six months of paid health benefits, also not including dental and vision.”

Newspapers are getting beat up in the competition for news consumers, so the workers suffer. This is a trend that didn’t just materialize overnight. Long before the explosion of cable and talk radio, newspapers were losing the news audience to TV viewers.

There are so many choices for people to get information, including the blog site you’re reading right now. Newspapers have adapted, but they’re not the only game in town, and by their nature, are not the first and the fastest game, either.

This is how much the times have changed. The newspaper biz is now trying a Pulitzer Prize effort at putting a positive spin…………on declining readership! The New York Times just published an article on why large newspapers are happy about lower circulations.  Huhhh?? (Ironically, the same article required a major correction for an error. You’ll see later in this blog).

The New York Times writes:

“As the newspaper industry bemoans falling circulation, major papers around the country have a surprising attitude toward a lot of potential readers: Don’t bother.

The big American newspapers sell about 10 percent fewer copies than they did in 2000, and while the migration of readers to the Web is usually blamed for that decline, much of it has been intentional. Driven by marketing and delivery costs and pressure from advertisers, many papers have decided certain readers are not worth the expense involved in finding, serving and keeping them.”


Oh……………………………

my……………………………

goodness.

What a ludicrous, rip-roaring laughable argument.

What industry tells its customers that it’s okay, we don’t need you. You don’t want what we’re selling? No big deal.

Earth to the newspaper industry: The public soured on what you were selling years and years and years ago. And you know why? While you were in your ivory towers dictating what you thought was news and what you thought everyone should be thinking, the news-consuming public decided they wanted something else, and more.

Your liberal editorial rants suddenly were being met by people who thought, no, there’s another view. I don’t have to accept this.

And quite frankly, newspaper readers got fed up.  Their attitude exists today. Are there people who get the Journal/Sentinel just to read the outstanding sports section? You better believe it.

Keep writing those lefty editorials.

Keep shoving the race-baiting columns down our throat.

See how many extra subscriptions that gets you.

Here’s the New York Times article where newspapers try to make excuses for their significant drop in readership.

There are ways to address increased competition. Newspapers have tried, but have failed, in large part because they refuse to admit their failures.

While they sit at their keyboards and egotistically tell themselves, “Oh, this is great stuff,” their target audience is tuning into Fox, or talk radio, or blogs like this one.

Go ahead, newspaper big shots. Insult me again. Tell me why it’s no great loss if I don’t read your paper.

 

A Graceland no-no

ELVIS

NOTE TO NEW READERS: I AM AN ELVIS FAN. I WILL OCCASIONALLY WRITE BLOGS ABOUT THE KING THAT I BELIEVE EVEN NON-FANS WILL ENJOY AND FIND INTERESTING. PLEASE SEE MY OTHER ELVIS BLOGS BY CLICKING ON "ELVIS" IN THE TAGS SECTION ON THIS PAGE.


Here's some good advice if you're ever on the premises of a site that's listed on the National Register of Historic Places:

BEHAVE YOURSELF!

The worthless singer of a worthless band, knowing he had a new CD coming out, decided to generate publicity for the miserable project that few music lovers would purchase, by making an *** out of himself at the sacred shrine known as Graceland.

Here's the story.

While this guy was a horse's ***, there have been many celebrities over the years to visit Graceland who have conducted themselves very properly, thank you.

PS: On April 20, 2007, Linda Evans and Joan Collins visited Graceland. They even had the style, grace, and decency not to re-create their famous TV fight scene from "Dynasty" in the Graceland pool.

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The heavy tab taxpayers pay for sex offenders

This is a perfect example of why sex offenders should be locked up for much longer periods and in many cases, not let out at all.

It is outrageous that a sex offender on supervised release needs not one one, but two escorts.

Then, how is it possible that an offender on supervised release costs more than if he'd be incarcerated?

Jim Doyle's Corrections Department opposes GPS, yet condones cases where taxpayers pay through the roof to have two escorts accompany a sex offender on release.

I say lock them up for good where they can't harm innocent children.

Just when you thought they ran out of tax ideas...

Liberal Democrats love taxes.

They can't help themselves.

They want to tax just about anything and everything.

The latest loony proposal comes from Wisconsin's own Dave Obey, who disgustingly wants to impose a surtax on the war.

*MUST-SEE VIDEO: JIM BROUSSARD- HERO!*

Kevin's favorites

This is amazing video.

Watch what Jim Broussard does when he sees a Mexican flag flying above an American flag atop a Mexican bar in Reno. Watch the reaction from the cowardly Hispanic bar patrons.

Watch.

Here's audio of Broussard's interview with talk show host Mike Gallagher.

Blaming the victim

That’s quite a story in the Small Business Times that Greg Kowalski referenced in one of his blogs.

Businessman John Jazwiec claims he and his family were held hostage in their east-side Milwaukee home, victimized by an armed criminal. The response he’s getting is, to me, astonishing. 

In an angry e-mail sent to neighbors and to Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, Jazwiec sends a clear message, one that is shared by thousands of Milwaukeeans I’m sure, that he doesn’t feel safe in his neighborhood and he lacks confidence in the Police Department. 

Bring out the tar and feathers. 

Apparently, because Jaziwec didn’t sit down and write a novel for the MPD about what happened, he, the victim, is now being blamed. 

The spokeswoman for the MPD, Anne Schwartz, a former co-worker of mine and a friend, essentially is calling Jazwiec a liar. The attitude is that he made up the whole story. 

Alderman Michael (I’ve got my head firmly planted in the sand) D’Amato suggests that people shouldn’t be afraid in that neighborhood, that crime isn’t all that bad. He, too, insinuates that Jazwiec is lying. D'Amato reminds me of the mayor in the movie, "Jaws," trying to coax beach-goers scared out of their wits to go into the water. With people getting mugged and shot, D'Amato tells residents not to worry, be happy.

Nice. 

Why the hell don’t the Milwaukee aldermen and the spokeswoman for the MPD make a big deal out of cases in the inner city of residents who refuse to cooperate with police? How about issuing critical statements about them.

There’s a larger issue at play here. Crime is the biggest problem confronting the city of Milwaukee. No one wants to do anything about it. 

The Mayor’s response to crime: go out of town and attend a seminar in New York. Hand out baseball cards and Summerfest brochures. Bring out the Bookmobile. When the chief says there’s a societal crisis in Milwaukee, deny it. 

The outgoing police chief has been dismal in fighting crime. 

Instead of denouncing criminals and calling for an all-out aggressive campaign to fight violent crime, Alderman D’Amato pooh-poohs the situation and calls into question the integrity of a fine corporate citizen.  

What a joke.

The problem isn’t Jazwiec. Milwaukee suffers from a culture of not focusing in on the real problem: we need to get tough on crime and criminals.

 

A Franklin business expanding is great news, but...

Yes, it’s fabulous news that a Franklin business, Steele Solutions, Inc. wants to expand. The firm, located in the Franklin Industrial Park, is proposing a building addition of 4,012 square feet, as well as 5,347 more square feet of parking.

While I applaud this fantastic news, I want to provide some perspective. The Steele Solutions story is a blip on the Wisconsin business radar. The sad fact is, Wisconsin’s business climate is horrible.

According to the October edition of the Capital Region Business Journal, (CRBJ), a publication put out by the Wisconsin Stare Journal:

“Wisconsin had the fifth-lowest job growth among the 50 states and Washington, D.C., for the 12-month period that ended in July, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The state gained 17,700 jobs, according to the bureau, a growth rate of 0.6 percent.”

The publication reports that under Governor Doyle, the focus has been on growing businesses that are already here. While we haven’t totally given up on trying to attract more businesses to re-locate or start-up here, that idea is not a high priority, to say the least. That could explain why Wisconsin’s business climate is the 38th best (or 12th worst) in the country.

CRBJ also reports:

“Pepi Randolph, the former head of Forward Wisconsin, said focusing on in-state companies makes the most sense for the state. But he added Wisconsin needs to do a better job of marketing itself to make it easier to land firms that aren't already familiar with its assets.

Randolph said as he tried to sell the state to business through Forward Wisconsin, a nonprofit organization funded jointly by the state and businesses to promote economic development, he often ran into the perception that the state was just beer, cheese and the Green Bay Packers.”


Tom Still, president of the Wisconsin Technology Council and former associate editor of the Wisconsin State Journal agrees.

Still writes in the latest edition of the CRBJ:

 “Unless you subscribe to glamorous magazines such as Expansion Management or wait impatiently for weekly reports from the State Science and Technology Institute, you probably don't know that Wisconsin does a poor job of marketing itself as a business location.

Oh, sure, the Green Bay Packers show up on the occasional Monday Night Football game and there's no end of on-air comments about cheese, beer and frozen tundra. As a result, most Americans know everything about Brett Favre -- and next to nothing about what Wisconsin has to offer beyond cheese, beer and frozen tundra.

The full story gets told from time to time on the news side of the national press, but you'll never see an ad touting Wisconsin in Business Week or a national TV spot urging CEOs to think of us the next time they add jobs or facilities. Why? It's not because Wisconsin can't compete with other states, but that we choose not to.

So-called "business attraction" dollars in the state budget have historically been little more than a rounding error. The state Department of Commerce spends a grand total of $30,000 on business attraction, which is shorthand for marketing, and the nonprofit Forward Wisconsin gets about $320,000 a year from the state to serve as its marketing arm. Your hometown grocery store or car dealer may have a bigger marketing budget.”


Still says he doesn’t want to be misunderstood.

“This is not a suggestion that Wisconsin try to spend toe-to-toe with neighbors such as Michigan ($8 million a year), Iowa ($5.7 million) or Ohio ($5.2 million). But we should at least match Minnesota, Illinois and Indiana, which spend $500,000 to $1 million each per year.”Still’s suggested plan of attack to market Wisconsin in order to attract more business:

“The state should target sectors of industry that are a right fit for Wisconsin, either because we have existing "clusters" of similar companies, a reliable work force, a strong infrastructure and a dynamic research base.”
I find it fascinating that a monthly Wisconsin business publication would come out and confess that Wisconsin doesn’t even put up a good fight to lure out-of-state businesses here. There are probably lots of reasons why, with Wisconsin’s outrageous tax climate right at the top.

We also tend to over-regulate, a topic I’ve written about in the past.
Another reason could be the "Franklin factor."

Here’s how it works.

You say you want to open up a business here.

Your plan has to go before the Planning Commission, over and over and over and over and over and over again.

It has to LOOK just right. It has to look the way I SAY IT SHOULD LOOK.

It better have the right amount of plants and not too much asphalt or places for shoppers to park. We want them to walk or bike their way in.

After you’ve kissed our rings and jumped through hoops and satisfied every elitist environmental snob in the city, we might still have a problem.

Now, because we can’t see beyond our up-in-the-air noses, we can’t comprehend that other out-of-town businesses are paying attention and saying, “The hell with this noise. We’ll go somewhere else.”

And then, you know what, folks?

Wisconsin had the fifth-lowest job growth among the 50 states and Washington, D.C., for the 12-month period that ended in July, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The state gained 17,700 jobs, according to the bureau, a growth rate of 0.6 percent.

Gee. I wonder how that happened.

Economic development. Business and job growth. We are our own worst enemy.

Wisconsin motorcyclists ready to fight any proposed mandatory helmet law

Topics talked about on WISN

A few weeks ago, I devoted a segment while filling in on WISN and on my blog to a suggestion that every state enact mandatory motorcycle helmet laws.

I wrote:

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is recommending all states require motorcycle riders to wear proper helmets. It’s their knee-jerk response to an increase in motorcycle crashes and fatalities.

About half of motorcycle crashes are not the motorcyclist’s fault. A spokesman for the Wisconsin DOT says it’s usually the fault of another motorist failing to yield to the motorcyclist.

There are two primary reasons for motorcycle crashes: 1) A motorcyclist doesn’t initiate a curve properly, and 2) Another motorist turns left in front of the motorcyclist.

It’s not the absence of a helmet.

Callers to my program on WISN today said the helmets are heavy, restrict vision, and can cause neck injuries.

I smell a Wisconsin legislator in the future, writing the press release that we must mandate helmets because, “If it can save just one life…..”

Expect thousands of bikers to storm the state Capitol in protest if that happens.

This is one that should be left for individuals to decide, not government.

Our freedoms and liberties are slowly be stripped away.

Enough.

Here’s the entire blog entry.

During my discussion on WISN, a member of ABATE Wisconsin, a motorcyclists’ organization called in to agree with me that, if any such bill would be proposed in Wisconsin, thousands of motorcyclists would descend upon the capitol to lobby and protest.

Sure enough.

From the latest ABATE newsletter…

Thus far, no one has proposed a mandatory helmet law this legislative session in Wisconsin.

Smart.

 

Remember me

15-year old Lizzie Palmer wrote this about herself:

I'm a sophomore in high school in Ohio, and I play the flute/piccolo. I plan on joining the U.S. Army after I graduate. I only hope I can make America as proud as our troops today have, and I hope I can honor them in the way they deserve with my videos. I love talking to American military personnel, but it's not very often that I get the chance. Hope you all have a great day and God bless! SUPPORT OUR TROOPS!

Lizzie produced this amazing video that you may have already seen. I admit that I just recently came across her phenomenal production.

Every American should take five minutes to watch, especially those who don’t support the war or our brave soldiers.

God bless this wonderful girl, Lizzie Palmer.

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She’s a teacher and she wants to bring a gun to school

But not for the reason you may think.

The teacher, known as “Jane Doe,” wants to protect herself from an ex-husband who’s made threats against her. The Oregon woman is licensed to carry a concealed weapon.

Her school district won’t let her bring a gun to school, even though Oregon law says local districts, including schools, can’t pass laws or policies preventing someone from owning or possessing a firearm.

On the agreement that she’d remain anonymous, “Jane Doe,” who is pursuing legal action to exercise the 2nd Amendment constitutional rights, told the Christian Science Monitor:


"I have no doubt at all that any time a criminal has gone into a school intending to commit violence they did so knowing nobody was going to be able to stop them. We've seen what happens when teachers do nothing or can do nothing, and that's not acceptable to me."

Several states are considering bills to allow teachers to carry weapons in school.

It was one year ago that Wisconsin Assemblyman Frank Lasee made national news for his proposal to let teachers in Wisconsin bring guns to class.
Many people develop a knee-jerk reaction when they first hear this idea.

I don’t dismiss it outright.

An advocate of conceal-carry, I can understand why some teachers, with the proper training, would want to, and should be able to have a weapon on hand for protection. In practically every school in America, if an armed individual gets inside, there’s virtually no one who can stop that person.


Read the Christian Science Monitor story.

Where’s your patriotism, Barack?

Liberal Democrats hate when their patriotism, or lack thereof, is questioned.

Well, maybe if they wouldn’t pull this junk, their patriotism wouldn’t be so suspect.

 

Does Illinois think Wisconsin's P.J. Hill is soft?

It sure sounds like it.

The opinion south of the border is that Badger running back P.J. Hill hasn’t been the same since suffering a neck injury last year against the Fighting Illini.

By the way, even though unbeaten Wisconsin is ranked 5th in the nation, they’re a 3-point underdog Saturday against Illinois.

The odds makers obviously are not impressed with the Badgers.

The echoes may be asleep, but Notre Dame is Notre Dame

I am a Notre Dame fan.

That means the last 5 weeks have been tough to swallow.

It doesn’t get any easier Saturday when the Fighting Irish play at UCLA. The Bruins will try to avenge last year’s loss to ND. My wife and I were in the stands at Notre Dame Stadium last year to see one of the greatest comebacks in Irish history.

Read more

"The motorcyclist wasn't wearing a helmet"..... SO WHAT!

On June 21, I blogged the following:

Back on April 12, New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine almost died after the SUV he was riding in driven by a state trooper slammed into a guardrail after it was clipped by a pickup truck.

Corzine was in the front seat.

He wasn’t wearing a seat belt.

That little tidbit of information sent the entire country’s news media into a frenzy.

Trust me; having once been in the news business 24-7, I know that reporters are programmed to immediately bark out certain questions when it comes to a car accident. One of the inquiries, in addition to questions about speed and possible alcohol use is whether or not people were buckled up.

If a motorcycle is involved, it goes without saying: the reporter will initially ask if a helmet was worn.

I wish I had a dollar for every radio or TV news script about a motorcycle accident that ended with this sentence:

“The motorcyclist was not wearing a helmet at the time.”

The truth is the Governor’s driver was going 91 mph in a 55 mph zone when the accident occurred. Speed was the critical factor, not the lack of a seat belt.

And so I had to chuckle when I read this letter to the editor of the Janesville Gazette:

What's with helmet reports?
Editor, the Gazette:

Why is it that every time a motorcycle accident happens, the Gazette prints "and the riders were not wearing helmets"? What does that have to do with anything?

It is not a state law that you have to wear a helmet in Wisconsin as long as you meet requirements set forth by the Department of Transportation. I never read "and the motorcycle rider was not wearing underwear." As far as I know, that is not required by the DOT either.

JOE BARBIEUR
Janesville

Good stuff, Joe!

 

Ma'am, I'm sorry but you're going to have to step to the side and remove your bra

If you took a survey of women, my guess is just about every single one of them would say she hates wearing a bra.  

Certainly no woman is overjoyed or downright giddy about wearing one. 

Don’t some of them have all those wires and clasps and snaps and buttons and zippers and belts and Velcro and combination locks? 

(By the way, according to “A Smattering of Women’s History,” in 1914, Polly Jacobs took out a patent for the first bra. The purported inventor of the bra, Otto Titzling, never took out a patent, and most discount his claims. The same is true for Philippe de Brassiere. Olga Erteszek, however, held 28 bra patents. Ida (Maidenform) Rosenthal later added such refinements as sized cups. Prior to the invention of the bra, women were squeezed into corsets which, when tightened to stylish thinness, constricted their organs and caused serious illnesses. If they were large-breasted, women strapped their breasts down using bindings. Marie Tuceks did patent a “breast supporter” in 1893, but it didn’t take off.) 

It’s bad enough they’re uncomfortable (I am told) but when they trip off metal detectors????!!!!

This is yet another example of the extreme stupidity of screeners, matched by those Rhodes scholars that work in our airports. 

Can you really blame a gal if she refuses to wear one because it feels so doggone awful? 

Then there’s the more serious consideration that your bra could be a killer. 

Makes me glad I’m a man.

 

That's more like it, Franklin

The Sabers (3-4) keep their playoff hopes alive by beating last-place Racine Case.

From The Racine Journal-Times:


Prep football: FRANKLIN 42, CASE 6

BY The Journal Times staff
Friday, October 5, 2007 11:46 PM CDT

The Eagles scored on a 64-yard touchdown pass from Dirk Jansen to Ian Lutfiyya early in the first quarter to get within 7-6, but the Sabers scored the next 35 points for a 42-6 Southeast Conference victory Friday at Franklin.

Franklin’s Anthony Meyer returned the opening kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown, but Case (0-7) answered on Lutfiyya’s touchdown.

The Sabers then scored three touchdowns in a span of 43 seconds. Quarterback Jared Ciche threw touchdown passes of 35 yards to Justin Henrichs and 26 yards to Jason Davis. Alex Worzella returned a fumble 3 yards to complete a 28-point first quarter.

The Eagles’ defense held the Sabers to 46 yards rushing, but turnovers (two fumbles, two interceptions) helped set up Franklin scores. Jansen went 15-for-22 for 161 yards for Case.

Pouring it on in high school football

BRADLEY TECH 64
MILWAUKEE WASHINGTON 6

That was the final score of the high school football game last night at historic South Stadium where I’m the public address announcer.

Bradley Tech remains undefeated and is clearly the best team in the City Conference, a conference not famous for high-quality football. The Trojans are a talented, disciplined, physical squad that like Milwaukee Riverside last season could go deep in the playoffs.

But what happened last night at South Stadium should serve as a lesson to other high school football programs. You don’t run up the score on a team that is already hopelessly beaten.

Everyone knew the Tech-Washington match-up would be lopsided. On Tech’s first three plays from scrimmage, they scored three touchdowns, and the game was quickly out of hand.

Leading 44-6 with about a minute left in the first half, Tech got the ball again near midfield. Refusing to run the ball or have the quarterback take a knee, Tech put the ball in the air, desperately trying to put 50 on the scoreboard before halftime. Tech got down to the one-yard line as time expired. Thinking there was still a second left on the clock, the Tech coaches frantically tried to call a timeout. Again, not satisfied with a 44-6 lead, Tech coaches (I emphasize coaches, not the players) wanted another TD.

As the referees huddled with the football on the half-yard line, I turned on the microphone and said, “Our clock has run out.” Admittedly, I was hoping common sense would prevail and the half would be over.

A few seconds later, crew chief Chuck Hinz picked up the football, faced the press box, and lifted the football above his head, signaling that yes, the half had indeed run out and no, Tech was not going to score 50 just yet.

That made the score 44-6 going into the second half. By WIAA rule, whenever the point differential between the two teams in the second half reaches 35 points or more, there is a running clock that only stops on a score, a charged timeout, the end of the 3rd quarter, or an injury.

Trust me. Had it not been for the running clock, Tech could have scored 80 points.

With 20 seconds to play in the game, Tech again refused to take a knee at Washington’s 2-yard line. Instead, the quarterback handed the ball off to a running back who scored an unnecessary and unsportsmanlike final touchdown to make the score 64-6.

I want to be clear. As I mentioned, this is a very good Tech team. The players only do what they are instructed, and Tech’s decision to run up the score at the end of both halves was uncalled for.

The counter-argument is that you should let the kids play and that competition is good and that you can’t fault Tech for Washington’s inability to stop them, etc, etc. etc.

We’re not talking NFL here, folks. This is high school football. There are many ways you can continue to play and keep the score respectable and avoid a brawl from happening.

You put in subs. You run the ball. You don’t call timeouts when you’re ahead by a mile. You take a knee and let the clock run out. All of these ideas were apparently lost on the Tech coaching staff.

Remember, this is a game featuring high school kids, many from the inner city. You start rubbing the other team’s face in it, and they get frustrated. I’ve seen it time and time again. They take swings and punches. Two Washington players got ejected as well as a coach. While I don’t condone those actions, Tech helped manufacture the bad attitude on the field.

Thankfully, no one got hurt in this one-sided affair.

Coaches are also teachers. The Tech coaches blew a golden opportunity to demonstrate to the athletes and the fans in the stands the value of fair play.

Tech also may have done a disservice to MPS football. It’s rare a TV crew shows up at South Stadium to film highlights, but last night, Fox 6 was there. After the 64-6 debacle, my guess is the TV sports directors will be reluctant to send cameras to future MPS games. What for? A 64-6 shellacking isn’t dramatic video.

And by the way, I’ve been going to City Conference football games for 40 years. I’ve NEVER seen a team fall behind the way Washington did last night and rally for a comeback victory. NEVER.

Shame on the Bradley Tech coaching staff for a total lack of good sportsmanship.

 

Week-ends

Week-ends

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...


HEROES OF THE WEEK

Brett Favre

Deanna Favre 

Bart Starr 

Jim Broussard




VILLAINS OF THE WEEK


The Milwaukee Journal/Sentinel. As noted by Karen in the comments section of this blog entry, the paper has always ripped Scott Walker for making cuts on behalf of taxpayers. Now they’re making cuts to make up for their inability to compete in the marketplace.

Ron Becker

 

QUOTES OF THE WEEK


Yes. I believe we are close enough we could have a deal done in a day.”
Governor Jim Doyle, on the state budget impasse.

It is not likely that the conference committee will resolve the fundamental budget differences on taxes and spending by October 15.”
Assembly Speaker Mike Huebsch (R-West Salem) on the state budget impasse.


“Basically, this hospital tax is a sick tax. And it would mean that we’re going to balance the budget on the backs of sick people in the state of Wisconsin. It’s wrong.”
State Representative Leah Vukmir (R-Wauwatosa) after the Wisconsin Hospital Association dropped its opposition to Governor Doyle’s hospital tax.


"We don't have money for everything. The UW is going to have to set priorities, whether they like it or not."
State Representative Steve Nass(R-Whitewater), a frequent critic of the UW System.

"I don't think Hillary(Rodham Clinton) will have me."
Tommy Thompson, secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services during President George W. Bush's first term, commenting on whether he would entertain another cabinet job.

“The sky is falling in Franklin. It’s just ridiculous.”
Sex offender Steve Hanke’s attorney, Andrew Arena, claiming Franklin officials and some residents are overacting on the topic of registered sex offenders. Hanke now lives in Franklin. Franklin has filed a suit against Hanke for violating Franklin’s ordinance restricting where sex offenders can live. The suit is an effort to evict Hanke.


"I am personally fed up with the number of sex offenders being dumped in this community. If this continues, this city will be ruined, in my humble opinion."
Waukesha Alderman Emanuele Vitale. Waukesha is enacting tough restrictions on where sex offenders can live.

“For those scoring at home, their argument is essentially “our schools still stink out loud, so school choice must not be providing us with the incentive we need to teach kids.”  This is an amazing argument. So, by their logic, the worse MPS gets, the less necessary the school choice becomes, as it shows they are not being provided with enough incentive to compete for kids.  Maybe they can just run all the public schools into the ground to really prove their point.”

Christian Schneider of the Wisconsin Policy Resarch Institute, on a WEAC study of Milwaukee schools that finds competition generated by vouchers does not lead to higher student test scores. Milwaukee has the longest-running voucher plan in the nation.

"It's with a great amount of shame that I stand before you and tell you that I have betrayed your trust. I have been dishonest and you have the right to be angry with me. I have let (my family) down. I have let my country down, and I have let myself down. I recognize that by saying I'm deeply sorry, it might not be enough and sufficient to address the pain and hurt that I've caused you. Therefore, I want to ask for your forgiveness for my actions, and I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me."
Olympic Gold Medalist Marion Jones, admitting she used steroids.


OUTRAGE OF THE WEEK

Light sentence in case of terror stalking in Sheboygan


MOST UNDER-REPORTED STORY OF THE WEEK

A memo by the non-partisan Wisconsin Legislative Fiscal Bureau shows that the Senate Democrat budget proposal exceeds the Assembly Republican budget by $1.1 billion.

A billion dollar difference in taxes and spending.

That, my friends, is the #1 reason Wisconsin doesn’t have a budget yet.



MOST OVER-HYPED STORY OF THE WEEK


Britney Spears loses custody


STRANGEST, MOST UNUSUAL STORY OF THE WEEK


How NOT to explain how a bill becomes a law.


Steroids and Barry Bonds in the sack.

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Developments take too long

I have argued constantly that local and state policies discourage rather than encourage economic development here, and contribute to our extremely slow pace of growth. Excessive taxing and spending and over-regulation present major obstacles.

Today's MIlwaukee Journal/Sentinel features an excellent letter to the editor that nails it:
 

DEVELOPMENT

Too much time spent on planning

A quote in the Oct. 2 article "Close vote advances freeway funding," attributed to Waukesha County Supervisor Patricia Haukohl of Brookfield, struck me. She said regarding the Pabst Farms development, "It's all happening too fast."

Read more

Using violence to save lives

He was a gang member.

Then he joined the Marines and served in Iraq.

Awarded the Navy Cross, Marco Martinez writes about his first-hand account fighting for our country and why he supports the war In Iraq.

Like my colleague on FranklinNOW.com, Fred Keller, I want to urge more Americans to remember why our brave men and women soldiers put on the uniform to defend America and battle for freedom and an end to terrorism.

Please read Marco Martinez’s amazing column about the 5 reasons he fully backs our military effort in Iraq, including mass graves and the tongue-less man.

Culinary no-no #20

Culinary no-no's

When October and fall roll around, I do love what you can do with pumpkin.

There’s pumpkin pie.

And pumpkin cheesecake.

Pumpkin crème brulee.

Pumpkin bread.

Pumpkin muffins.

Pumpkin cookies.

Pumpkin ice cream.

Pumpkin seeds.

Pumpkin soup.

Sometime this month, I’ll venture over to Maggiano’s Little Italy restaurant at Mayfair and have one of their seasonal pumpkin martinis.

The San Francisco Chronicle newspaper website says:

Maggiano's is part of a nationwide chain of Italian restaurants, and the Pumpkin Martini was created by David Pennachetti, director of beverages.

The drink is a simple affair that calls for pumpkin liqueur, spiced rum and half-and-half. It's a great cocktail for this time of year. There are so many liqueur flavors on the market that it's possible to make drinks that taste of almost any fruit, nut and herb. To find the best liqueurs, look for the percentage of alcohol in the bottle. You'll pay more for a higher alcohol content, but the alcohol boosts the flavors in the liqueur and adds a sophisticated dryness to the product. Bols and Marie Brizard are very good brand-name liqueurs with extensive ranges of flavors, and both the Mathilde and Edmond Briottet lines, while not hugely wide-ranging, are superb products.

The Pumpkin Martini Recipe adapted from Maggiano's Little Italy restaurant.

INGREDIENTS:

3 ounces Bols Pumpkin Smash liqueur

1 ounce Captain Morgan Original Spiced Rum

1 dash half-and-half Ground cinnamon, for garnish

INSTRUCTIONS:

Shake the ingredients over ice, and strain into a cocktail glass rimmed with sugar and cinnamon.

Sprinkle a little more cinnamon on top.

Serves 1 PER SERVING:

375 calories, 0 protein, 38 g carbohydrate, 0 fat, 1 mg cholesterol, 6 mg sodium, 0 fiber.
 


Ok, so I love pumpkin. When do we get to the no-no?

Right now.

Our own Milwaukee-based Lakefront Brewery and others make a seasonal pumpkin beer

I’m sure people drink it, otherwise breweries wouldn’t make it. This weekend while dining out, I saw a woman putting a pumpkin beer down. Seems to me that’s just not right.  Imagine pouring a Miller Lite into a glass, and then opening a can of pumpkin paste and spooning out a dollop to drop in the glass.

This whole notion of fruity beers has me scratching my head. Lakefront also makes a cherry lager. Now I can understand lemon or lime flavoring for beer since ales are bitter in the first place. But cherries and strawberries and chocolate and……………..pumpkin?

Rick Steves of Rick Steves’ Europe program on PBS visited Scotland this week. Steves was in a Scottish pub, talking to the proprietor behind the bar while sampling some Scotch whiskey. Ever so accommodating, the bartender said, of course, they’d serve the Scotch any way the customer wanted, but straight up was the best way to go. As he told Steves, if someone wanted pineapple juice in their Scotch whiskey, that’s what they’d get, but they be “ruining” or “wasting” good quality alcohol.

That’s my point.

In my book, pumpkins should be on your plate, not in your beer.


PREVIOUS CULINARY NO-NO’S

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…..like 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.

 

I remember James Groppi, too

The Milwaukee Journal/Sentinel has been writing about the 40th anniversary of the open housing marches in the city of Milwaukee, with emphasis on the late James Groppi, then a Catholic priest.

In today’s paper, local historian John Gurda writes about his experience with Groppi.

I have my own Groppi memories. Here are a few, in chronological order starting with the earliest:

1) The hot summer months of 1967. I was in grade school and didn’t like the fact that at 7:00 at night, with daylight still blazing, I had to be in the house because Mayor Henry Maier had imposed a curfew for public safety.

The newspaper hasn’t focused much attention on the ugly side of those “marches,” including the riots, fires, property damage and violence.

2) In the late 70’s, I’d catch the U-BUS to take me to UWM. Often times, the bus driver was citizen James Groppi.

3) In the early 80’s, I covered a contentious meeting of the Milwaukee Common Council’s Public Safety Committee for WUWM. Seated across the aldermen was Police Chief Harold Breier, who was testifying before the committee on some police matters. Further down the table was Groppi. Many of his supporters and Breier opponents packed the hearing room.

Groppi kept hounding Breier and the two bickered back and forth.

Finally, Breier would have no more of Groppi’s interruptions and criticisms of the police.
 In typical Breier fashion, the chief barked out at Groppi, reminding him of those marches in 1967 across the viaduct where angry south side residents waited on the other side.

Breier shouted at Groppi that, “WE (the police) SAVED YOUR ASS THAT NIGHT IN
KOSCIUSZKO PARK!” 

Classic.

 

Milwaukee's violent crime

 I still haven't seen this anywhere else, so I'll repeat: 

Out of over 300 metropolitan areas in the country, the Milwaukee-Waukesha area ranks #65 when it comes to violent crime, according to the latest figures from the FBI.

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No faith in the Windy City

The Chicago Tribune sports staff has their predictions about tonight’s Green Bay-Chicago game. 

Most are picking the Pack: 


Reporters pick 'em: Bears-Packers
7:32 PM CDT, October 5, 2007

Terry Bannon
It's hard to see the banged-up Bears breaking all that feel-good momentum the Packers have going. Big plays are the Bears' best hope, but who will make them? Offensively, they haven't been making the basic plays. And Devin Hester has to catch the ball before he can score. The defense is hurtin', so Brett Favre and Donald Driver will be hard to stop.
PACKERS 24, BEARS 17

Mike Downey
Look who's back. It's good ol' boy Brett the Quarterback Guy. Great to see Brett Favre pass on almost every down. Not so great to see Brian Griese do it. Rookie tight end Greg Olsen, it's time for your first TD catch. You could tie Moose Muhammad and John St. Clair for the team's lead. Cheeseheads, please ... we need this one more than you do.
BEARS 27, PACKERS 24

David Haugh
The Bears' defense will sack Brett Favre five times, stop Green Bay running backs so cold Packers fans start missing Samkon Gado and play well enough to win. Won't matter. The offense will sputter against a Packers "D" that's better than Detroit's. It takes a deep passing game to beat this secondary and the Bears just haven't shown they have one.
PACKERS 28, BEARS 23

Melissa Isaacson
Were the last two weeks the beginning of a free fall? Sunday will go a long way toward answering that question for the Bears, who still give us no reason to think their offense is capable of winning games. But it's the defense, injuries or not, that will have to save the season.
PACKERS 28, BEARS 13

Vaughn McClure
You know Brett Favre's getting old when he's doing ads for Wrangler, but the future Hall of Famer has found the fountain of youth. Favre will pick apart a banged-up Bears secondary.
PACKERS 28, BEARS 10

Fred Mitchell
It would take a Lambeau Leap of faith to believe the Bears can overcome enough of their deficiencies to outwit an energized Packers team playing at home. The Bears can only hope that Brett Favre becomes reckless in his enthusiasm and turns the ball over a few times.
PACKERS 24, BEARS 20

Rick Morrissey
Don't ask me why. I have no idea. Maybe it's a sympathy vote. They have to win again some day, right? How about Sunday night against the Packers in Green Bay? If that challenge can't get the Bears pumped up, things are worse than we thought.
BEARS 17, PACKERS 14

John Mullin
One team is jumping around, the other is just jumpy, and Bears have simply not found ways to win when things start to unravel. Expect the Bears to start fast in a desperation game, but Green Bay and Favre are just feelin' it and Favre is hard to beat when he has the mojo rocking.
PACKERS 24, BEARS 10

Dan Pompei
The Bears are too banged up to hang with the Pack at Lambeau. It isn't that difficult to imagine Brett Favre putting up big numbers.
PACKERS 23, BEARS 20

It's in the bag, Franklin!

My wife and I shop regularly at the Franklin Pick ‘n Save.

Kevin, you actually grocery shop?

As Fonzie somewhat sarcastically said to Ritchie in a “Happy Days” episode when he was spotted in a supermarket, “No, little elves drop the bags off at my door.”

Of course I grocery shop.

And boy, am I glad I do at Franklin’s Pick ‘n Save. The Franklin store has an award-winning bagger.

This past Wednesday in Madison, the Great Wisconsin Bag-Off took place at the Wisconsin Grocers Association (WGA) Innovation Expo. A Franklin resident captured 1st place in the competition.

Adam Ferry from Pick ’n Save in Franklin won first place.  Erik Malach from Pick ’n Save in Two Rivers finished fourth.

“I was really surprised and shocked,” said Ferry of his first place win.  “I was expecting to go have a fun time and meet a lot of people and experience something new.  I really wasn’t expecting to win.” 

Bagging groceries shouldn’t be all that difficult. (Will that be paper or plastic?)

And yet, how often does this happen to you.

You get one or two really heavy bags and one or two really light ones.

He put the canned vegetables right on top of the bread!
 Oh no! The eggs!

So it’s easy to mess up.

Adam Ferry didn’t.

As the 1st place winner, Ferry receives $500, a trophy and a trip to Las Vegas to represent Wisconsin in the National Best Bagger Contest during the 2008 National Grocers Association Convention, February 5th - 8th.  Ferry plans on taking his fiancée along on the trip.  (Hmmmm…..fiancée….. going along……to Vegas. Well, that’s another story).

Ferry is 20 years old and has worked at Pick ’n Save for five years.  He attends the University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire, majoring in Information Systems.  Because of his schedule, he now works at the Franklin store one weekend a month and during his winter and summer breaks.

So how do the judges determine the best baggers?

The baggers are judged on speed, proper bag building techniques, number of bags used, uniform bag weight and style, attitude and appearance.

Congratulations Adam Ferry!

The best of luck to you, in more ways than one, in Vegas!

 

Franklin, will you help get rid of a sex offender?

In August, I wrote a 5-part series on the top issues Franklin faces. One of them is the ongoing struggle to protect the city and its families from sex offenders.

An informational meeting was held on September 24 at the Forest Park Middle School library, called by 1st District Alderman Steve Olson, to heighten awareness about the lawsuit filed against sex offender Steven Hanke.

Hanke bought a Franklin home five months after Franklin adopted a milestone ordinance restricting certain sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of schools, day-care centers and other places where children might congregate. Hanke bought a residence in June in the 8200 block of South 77th Street that is 300 feet from Forest Park Middle School, a clear violation of Franklin’s ordinance. Hanke is now refusing to leave and Franklin has taken the necessary legal action to force him out. The city of Franklin has filed a lawsuit to evict Hanke, a registered sex offender. Hanke was sentenced to nine years in prison in 1996 for second-degree sexual assault.

Hanke's attorney, Andrew Arena, made the incredibly insulting comment that Franklin residents are over-reacting."The sky is falling in Franklin," he said. "It's just ridiculous."

Arena doesn’t comprehend the history of the sex offender issue in Franklin. Otherwise, he’d understand why Franklin is rightfully concerned about sex offenders in their neighborhoods.

At the recent informational meeting, concerned residents were told that if the city loses its lawsuit against Hanke, that would practically nullify the city’s tough restrictive ordinance that communities all across the state are using as a model to pass their own similar laws. Should Franklin lose this lawsuit, the teeth would be taken right out of its ordinance and the fear that a facility to house numerous sexually violent persons could be built in Franklin would start all over again. 

What can you do? 

There will be court proceedings. Attend and try to bring someone else who lives in another community that has passed a similar ordinance to Franklin’s. Support is critical from other communities, not just Franklin. 

The first hearing date in the Hanke case is scheduled for Monday, November 5 at 1:30 before Judge John Franke. Judge Franke is an honorable man, but he is a liberal judge. The greater the show of support in his courtroom, the better. 

Yard signs and buttons will be produced for citizens to display and wear. 

Please check back on my blog. I am working with concerned citizens and my blog will provide the most up-to-date information about this case and how you can get involved to take a stand to make your neighborhoods safe from sex offenders.

Share this information with a friend or neighbor. This is one of the most important issues our community is confronting right now.

 

Packer night games can be hazardous to your health

There are several problems that could occur during a televised Packer night game: 

Your house could be on fire. None of your neighbors would notice. 

Your spouse could be cheating on you somewhere else in the house. You’d never know. 

Your spouse could threaten to leave you. You’d never hear it. 

Your spouse could threaten to charge the hell out of the Visa. You’d be oblivious. 

Your spouse could announce she’s inviting her mother over to spend a week. You’d offer a lame response like, “No problem, dear.” 

Your spouse could ask you if she looks fat, and, just like the commercial… 

A tornado could be rumbling right down Rawson Avenue. You’d know, but you wouldn’t care. 

The moral of this blog is, Packer night games can be dangerous.

Note the time I am posting this entry: Halftime at Lambeau Field.

I have no idea what the hell happened between now and 7:15 this evening. 

 

The Chicago Marathon should have been postponed

Chicago didn’t learn from past history.

In 1995, from July 11-27, a total of 465 deaths were certified as heat-related in Chicago during a heat wave when temperatures ranged from 93-104 degrees. During July 13-21 (when most heat-related deaths were certified), a total of 1177 deaths occurred in Chicago -- an 85% increase over the same period in 1994 (637 deaths).

On Sunday, the Windy City staged the annual Chicago Marathon. It probably should have been postponed. Instead, it was held on schedule, placing thousands of runners in danger.

The New York Times reports:

As temperatures soared into the upper 80s, hundreds of runners in the Chicago marathon fell ill and at least one died on Sunday, prompting officials here to halt the annual race for the first time in its 30-year history.

As runners set off at 8 a.m., temperatures were in the 70s — warm for a fall day in Chicago but not unheard of — and organizers said they had anticipated a normal race day. But as the morning went on, temperatures kept rising, and calls began pouring in: Some runners were telephoning 911; others were flooding into the 15 aid stations along the course; still more were reporting that there was not enough water or Gatorade or even cups along the course.

By 11:30 a.m., race officials, who were consulting with city fire officials, medical experts and the police, stopped the run, setting off waves of confusion and chaos in some parts of the course.

“It was a tough call,” Carey Pinkowski, the marathon’s longtime director, said Sunday night. “It’s my responsibility to make a decision on people’s health and on public safety. All the indications were that it was only going to get worse.”

More than 300 people were picked up by ambulances along the course, many of them suffering from nausea, heart palpitations and dizziness from the stifling heat, fire officials said. Forty-nine were hospitalized for their illnesses, race officials said, and the rest were treated at race-sponsored aid stations and a medical tent.

“I had no faculties whatsoever,” said Dawn Dowell, who was among the injured, having blacked out at Mile 19. Ms. Dowell, 37, of suburban Wheaton, said she could not provide her address or phone numbers in the minutes after she awoke with an emergency medical technician attaching an IV bag to her arm. Ms. Dowell, who spent two hours in a hospital, said she was running her first marathon.

In the 18th mile, a 35-year-old man collapsed. He was later pronounced dead. The Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office identified him as Chad Schieber, 35, of Midland, Mich.

As runners began falling ill on the course, city authorities sought help from suburban fire departments in case they ran out of ambulances. Fire hydrants were opened, creating an enormous spray along a downtown street. Fifteen city buses — air-conditioned to the coolest levels — were sent out as aid stations.

The Times added this:

Ideal marathon conditions include temperatures in the high 40s or low 50s with low humidity. By just after 11 a.m., marathon organizers here said the temperature was already at least 88 degrees, a cooling cloud cover had cleared off, and humidity had reached the level of some of Chicago’s most grueling and dangerous summers.

There are certainly going to be a lot of second-guessers, and who can blame them.

More evidence the pro-illegal movement plans to use kids

Illegal immigration

Last month, I wrote about a disgusting trend I saw developing in the pro-illegal immigrant movement: the exploitation of children.

More evidence of this trend is reported in today’s USA TODAY.

The goal is to whip up sympathy for children of illegal immigrants and essentially reward them for the illegal acts of their parents.
 

Here’s the story.  

 

Toll roads are catching on

When you think of the most unpopular policy ideas in Wisconsin, what comes to mind?

A tax on beer would have to be near the top.

Within recent memory, the automatic yearly increase in the state gasoline tax became so unpopular it was eliminated.

How about the notion of toll roads?

The mere mention of such a proposal instantly brings visceral reactions.

Not so elsewhere around the country.

“American City and County” Magazine reports:

According to the Federal Highway Administration (FHA), 21 states allow the use of PPPs to fund transportation projects. Also, since the passage of the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA) in 1991, 27 states and one territory have implemented major toll road operations, according to the August 2006 FHA study “Current Toll Road Activity in the U.S.: A Survey and Analysis.”

States are using PPPs and tolls to raise revenue and handle the increasing cost of building and maintaining new infrastructure, says Jack Basso, chief operating officer for the Washington-based American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials. “Especially if it's ‘green field’ projects, meaning new construction, it's a way of generating the necessary revenue to get those facilities built a lot faster than you can do them in the traditional way, where you have to build up a lot of capital over a lot of years and you're being chased [by inflation] the whole time you're building that capital,” he says. The “Current Toll Road Activity in the U.S.” study shows that 168 toll projects planned or implemented since ISTEA could provide up to 14,565 lane miles of capacity to the nation's highway system. Also, the study projects that toll road development will increase from 50 to 75 miles per year between 1991 and 2001 to 150 miles per year for the next 10 years. Finally, the study's authors reach the conclusion that “we may be on the verge of transitioning to a robust mix of highway funding options in which tolls play a significant role.”

The rap on toll roads is the heavy volume of trucking traffic they would send to other roads not equipped to handle the load. 

Tony Giancola, executive director of the Washington-based National Association of County Engineers (NACE) says, “One of the unintended consequences is the fact that there may be parallel local roads or other state roads which are not interstate or big freeway-type roads, which could, in fact, witness … an influx of truck traffic to avoid the tolls. These roads could be overwhelmed, not only with congestion but also because they are designed to a different level [and] may not be able to handle the repeated truck traffic that's going over them.” That already happens in some states with toll roads, Giancola says, and drivers of smaller vehicles may do the same, adding to congestion.  

I hate the idea of toll roads and I think most people do. 

Most, but not everyone.

 

Baby Jesus is back!

In July, I wrote about vandalism at my parish church, St. Anthony’s, on 9th and Mitchell Street.

Amidst all the hoopla and trips down memory lane with the closing of Goldmann’s right across the street from my church, I’ve been trying to point out that my church is a jewel on a street that went to hell a long, long time ago.

This summer, as you’ll read in the blog I’ve linked to, someone took the figure of Baby Jesus from the Nativity scene in our church grotto on Mitchell Street and broke the head, then placed the shattered pieces on the altar inside the church.

My guess is the culprit(s) will be punished in due time.

I am happy to report that a new Baby Jesus is in the manger in the nativity scene in the grotto. I’m not sure how it was replaced, by whom, and for how much, but the Nativity scene is once again intact and looking beautiful.

This time, I hope the dirty, rotten creeps keep their hands off.

Dave Schulz dies

The former MIlwaukee County Executive died Sunday of respiratory failure.

I covered him extensively in my radio career. In his final days of office, I conducted a live one-hour call-in radio show with him on WTMJ.

Here are the details.

Schulz was not only a source of news but a friend. I'll have more to say about him in the days ahead.

 

Note to Brewer owner Mark Attanasio

If the New York Yankees are so foolish as to fire Joe Torre, then you need to make the smart (and brilliant) move and fire Ned Yost and make Torre your 2008 manager.

 

Franklin's Christine Rathke should serve as a reminder to local police

Illegal immigration

It was the greatest girl’s basketball team to ever play at Franklin High School.

In March of 1999, Franklin entered the state championship game against Kettle Morraine undefeated at 26-0. While the Sabers failed to capture the title, the team was clearly the best in school history.

One of its amazing stars was Christine Rathke, a gutty, hard-nosed player with tremendous hustle and determination, the unquestioned leader on the team.

In February of 2000, Bobbi Roquemore of the Milwaukee Journal/Sentinel wrote, “Over the past four years, Franklin has gone from a doormat to the dominant team in the Southeast Conference. Rathke, a flashy, do-it-all guard, has been the catalyst in the rise of Sabers' basketball program and has smashed records along the way. Rathke has played all four years on the varsity and owns the school's all-time scoring mark with 1,446 points.”

Roquemore told of little children in Franklin asking for Rathke’s signature.

"I didn't expect to be signing autographs, but I like it when the little girls come up and talk to me," Rathke said. "I tell them what it takes to get to that level."

After leaving Franklin, Rathke
played for Southeast Missouri State University before transferring to the University of Wisconsin-Parkside in 2002.

On Sunday afternoon, February 16, 2003 at about 1:00 pm, Rathke was driving from a UW-Parkside team banquet heading west on Ryan Road at about 36th Street when a car heading eastbound crossed the centerline and collided head-on into her car. Rathke died at the scene. She was 20 years old.

The driver of the other car was Victor Sanchez, who was 19 at the time and living on the city of Milwaukee’s south side. He was charged with homicide by negligent use of a vehicle. Sanchez was speeding and passed in a no-passing zone at the time of the fatal crash.

Former Milwaukee Journal/Sentinel reporter and WTMJ-AM talk show host and well-known blogger Jessica McBride has confirmed that Sanchez was an illegal immigrant. Another highly reliable source involved in law enforcement has confirmed for me that Sanchez was in the country illegally at the time he killed Rathke. Sanchez is no longer in the United States. He has been deported, not soon enough to save young Christine Rathke.

Rathke came to mind as my blood boiled reading the Milwaukee Journal/Sentinel’s report that some local police departments are caving in to a radical pro-illegal immigrants’ group. Voces de la Frontera is asking police departments to develop new policies to prevent officers from asking potential suspects about their citizenship status.

Shockingly, as the newspaper reports, “
Some departments are going along.”  (The article is a typical Journal/Sentinel puff piece, relating incidents intended to drum up sympathy for illegals).

We also learned that the Milwaukee Police Department, under the leadership of outgoing Police Chief Nannette Hegerty, implemented its new policy in April. And yet, despite the normally chatty, far from camera shy Chief and her spokeswoman, we didn’t hear about the policy until October 8th.

“Milwaukee police spokeswoman Anne E. Schwartz released a copy of her department's policy and confirmed that it was updated in April, but she declined to comment further. According to the policy, Milwaukee officers can question a person's immigration status or alert federal authorities only in cases of violent crimes, suspected terrorism, street gang crimes or other limited cases.”

This is outrageous on several counts.

The MPD institutes a new policy on procedures dealing with the public, but doesn’t go public about it for six months.

Police officers in Milwaukee are not going to question certain suspects about their immigration status in effect, giving them a free pass for possibly violating the law.

How many other police departments are going to cave to a radical pro-illegal immigrant group? Who’s in charge of protecting our streets, the police, or Voces de la Frontera?

Does Hegerty or any other police chief contemplating this go-easy policy need to be reminded that not long ago, one of their own, a Kenosha deputy was killed by an illegal immigrant?

Rathke’s and the deputy’s killer were both familiar with the criminal justice system prior to the offenses I referred to. Our lenient, politically correct methods let them back on the streets to break the law again, and this time, kill decent, innocent people. These deaths were preventable, but a system that isn’t tough enough on illegal immigrants is partially complicit for these deaths.

In our country, the rights of those here illegally are paramount. It’s disgusting and indefensible. Shame on any police chief or police department that develops a policy to look the other way when confronted with illegal immigrants.

Christine Rathke should serve as a reminder that too many people are in the United States illegally, and yes, a great many of them are not nice people who are only here to try to better themselves. Rathke’s picture should be posted inside every police department to remind our officers that illegal immigrants are here and they are committing violent crimes against the law-abiding citizens our police are entrusted to protect.

Franklin, keep your eyes on West Bend

Franklin budgets

 Fiscal insanity has erupted in West Bend.

You thought Franklin’s $78-million referenda were eye-popping?

On November 6, voters in West Bend will go to the polls to cast ballots on a $119.3-million referendum, the largest in the history of the state of Wisconsin.

In a story in the Waukesha Freeman, you have to wait until 32nd paragraph, the 32nd paragraph, before you read the sentence, “Regardless, the referendum causes a tax hike.”

YA THINK???

Franklin School Board members must be literally salivating, grinning from ear to ear as they watch West Bend from the sidelines. And I’ll throw their hand-picked superintendent in the mix, too.

This predictable bunch just keeps wanting to tax and tax and tax and tax and tax the bejeebers out of us.

Like Pavlov’s dog, they’re waiting and hoping, keeping their fingers cross that the West Bend referendum either passes, or comes close enough to passage that they can proudly proclaim, “You see. Taxpayers don’t mind spending lots of money on schools. They did it in West Bend. We can do it in Franklin!”

And they’ll propose a big, fat whopping referendum that they’ve almost certainly begun working on the day after the $78-million tax increase went down to a stinging defeat in April.

Referendum supporters in West Bend have gone to the same old, tired playbook for their spin and talking points.

There is the obligatory use of the word, “invest.” Approving the referendum is an “investment.”

Translation: They want to “spend” more money. INVEST=SPEND.

The $119.3-million referendum will be spaced over a period of a few consecutive years.

Translation: You’re going to get several big tax increases every year for the next few years. Doesn’t that feel much better?

And, if the referendum should fail, West Bend will simply do what Franklin and every other school district does when the voters say NO: 

1)  They will ignore the voters.
2) They will come back again and again and again and again and again until they get a referendum that ultimately passes.


Here in Franklin, a big school tax increase is likely. The School Board operates like there’s a skip in the record: “The state doesn’t give us enough money. The state doesn’t give us enough money. The state doesn’t give us enough money.”

If that were indeed the case, and it’s not, the Franklin School Board does have options, despite what member Sue Huhn says.

Huhn says the board has no other choice but to raise taxes, and by a lot.

Sure, that’s an option. It’s been used time and time again by the taxers and spenders, which has put us in a deep tax hell.

But there is another option, one that Huhn and her colleagues don’t want to consider. It would be a common sense approach taken by most hard-working families at times when costs outweigh incoming revenue: YOU STOP SPENDING.

Nothing, absolutely nothing today, even with the uncertainty of the state budget, is precluding the Franklin School Board from making cuts to avoid an outrageous, beyond the rate of inflation school tax levy. But they won’t do it. Why?

1) That would require hard, tough choices. They don’t want to do that.(Even though that’s what they were elected to do).
2)   
It’s much easier to simply round up a bunch of fellow tax-lovers, herd them to a School Board meeting, put cards in their hands telling them what to say at the appropriate time when called upon, and orchestrate and vote for a tax increase. (The card example actually does happen, for those who’ve never been to a meeting).  And taxpayers are inconsistent when it to comes to their wallets. They will get in their cars and drive in any kind of weather several miles to the polls in April to vote NO on the referenda, yet they won’t get off their lounge chairs or couches to pick up a phone and call School Board members to politely ask them to hold the line on spending.

And why does that happen?

Maybe they’re just tired of fighting knowing that this prize fight never ends. The tax and spenders keep answering the next bell for the next round.

Karen Taubenheim of MenomeneeFallsNOW.com offers some great analysis on this, calling it “Tax Fatigue.”  

Franklin, you are about to be held up, robbed, tied up, and tossed to the lions.

Don’t say you haven’t been warned.

FRANKLIN SCHOOL BOARD MEMBERS ARE PLANNING A 5.6% INCREASE IN THE SCHOOL TAX LEVY, AND ANOTHER HUGE REFERENDUM. CONTACT SCHOOL BOARD MEMBERS NOW TO TELL THEM YOU OPPOSE BIG TAX INCREASES!

 

Is Brett to blame for not beating the Bears?

It is amazing to me how these so-called “experts,” these sportswriters with keyboards in front of them can supposedly be watching the same football game that everybody else is, and still be so utterly, completely wrong.

Consider this headline that is opposing up in newspapers around Wisconsin and the rest of the country following Green Bay’s 27-20 loss to the Chicago Bears Sunday night:
 Favre looked brilliant until ... Bad Brett returns and it all unravels  The headline accompanies a story written by Colin Fly of the Associated Press.

Here’s an excerpt from Fly’s story:

“Up 10 midway through the third quarter, Favre was picked off by Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher and Chicago scored on the next play to start a stretch of 17 consecutive points to beat the Packers 27-20 on Sunday night.

Favre’s folly was the kind of mistake he had become infamous for as the Packers slid from Super Bowl champion to perennial playoff team to recent NFC also-ran over the last decade.

But Favre looked different to the start this season. He dropped a down-the-field approach for a dink-and-dunk management style he’d previously shunned.

And Green Bay began winning – first with four games to end last season 8-8, followed by four more to start 2007. Favre was positioned at the half to start 5-0, something he’d never done in his 17-year career.

Through 4 1/2 games, Favre had completed 68 percent of his passes for 1,448 yards, nine touchdowns and two interceptions.

His passer rating, meant to judge quarterbacks over the course of a season, not games, was 101.7 – better than any of his three consecutive MVP campaigns beginning in 1995.

Then it all fell apart.

Favre had a brutal second half, going 10 of 18 for 79 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions, the last a desperation heave in the waning seconds that tied him with George Blanda for the most all time at 277.

‘‘We got out of a rhythm,’’ Favre said. ‘‘It just wasn’t clicking.’’

While Favre failed, Green Bay set the stage for a collapse early and staggered to the finish late.


So it’s Favre’s fault the Packers blew that big lead over the Bears.

I expect this kind of knee-jerk reaction from an armchair QB in the corner bar who’s had one too many boilermakers.

Do we all wish Favre hadn’t thrown that pass?

Of course.

But if you truly want to look for reasons the Packers lost, that errant throw would be at the bottom of my list.

I would start with those two fumbles by rookie wide receiver James Jones when the Packers were driving. That’s 14 points right there. Huge.

How about no run support, again, especially in the 2nd half when the Packers amassed just 19 yards on the ground.

How about the head coach Mike McCarthy’s highly questionable use of a timeout to challenge a call late in the game that cost the Packers a timeout when the challenge failed.

There was the penalty during a Bear field goal. Bears accept the penalty, take three points off the scoreboard, and go in for seven instead.

Charles Woodson fumbled a punt.

The Packers played ultra-conservative in the final two minutes of the game, throwing 5-yard passes down the middle with one less timeout because they lost one on the challenge of a previous call.

Blaming Brett Favre for that loss is like saying the usher at Ford’s Theatre should have yelled, “Look out, Mr. Lincoln!”

 

Favre or Ripken, Jr.?

This week’s edition of “NFL Films Presents” on ESPN was a humorous, entertaining discussion with all of Brett Favre’s back-ups.

I believe it was Matt Hasselback who made the comparison between Favre and Cal Ripken, Jr.

Sunday night, Favre started his 242nd consecutive game, an NFL record.

Cal Ripken, Jr. played 2,632 consecutive games for the Baltimore Orioles, from May 30, 1982 to Sept. 20, 1998.

It makes great barroom fodder or talk radio material: Which streak is more impressive?

They’re both incredible.

But at the risk of being a homer, I’d have to give the nod to Favre because of the sheer pounding taken each game and the greater risk of getting injured, especially at the QB position.

And yet, putting on a baseball uniform every game for ten times the number of games Favre has started is amazing.

That’s why it’s a great question.

 

Disturbing trend: Vigilante violence against sex offenders

Murder charges have been filed against two men who set fire to a sex offender’s home in Tennessee. 

The man escaped.

His wife did not and died in the blaze.
 

Here are the details. 

This is yet another story in a disturbing trend of vigilantes going after sex offenders.
 

Expressing anger and outrage against sex offenders and the pursuit of every legal and policy move to protect communities from sex offenders is always appropriate.

Committing vigilante violence against sex offenders is always wrong. It can even result in a backlash against anti-sex offender measures, such as laws to restrict where sex offenders can live or congregate.

 

Who benefits from a 5.6% school tax levy increase? Not the students!

Franklin budgets

We now know, thanks to Fred Keller and his blog that every Franklin taxpayer must read, why the Franklin School Board is so hell-bent on raising the school tax levy by the incredibly unreasonable rate of 5.6%.

The money isn’t going to go directly to classroom instruction of our students. The huge tax increase the Franklin School Board is poised to pass will go toward bloated salaries and benefits of top school administrators.

No wonder Franklin School District Business Manager James Milzer spent so much time at the August School Board meeting rattling on and on with dizzying figures that put the audience into a trance. He had to fight for his soon to be growing salary of $119, 893 with total salary and benefit package of $169, 489.

Two months ago in one of my blogs, I asked the following:
 

If the Franklin School Board adopts a budget with a large, bigger than the rate of inflation tax levy increase of 5.6%, and I sense they will if the board doesn’t hear from enough taxpayers, then I have a simple question for the members: What?

What do we get for that 5.6% tax levy increase?

What does Franklin get for all that extra tax money?

Do we get greater student achievement?

Do we get higher GPA’s?

Do we get more graduates going on to college?

Do we get more graduates going on to college in Wisconsin?

Do we get higher reading scores?

Do we get higher math scores?

Do we get higher SAT scores?

Do we get higher ACT scores?

Do we get better attendance?

Or do we just, as some school members have been quoted, take care of “bodies” (i.e., teachers) and programs?
 

We now have our answers.

We now know why the Franklin School Board doesn’t want to entertain the idea of any potential cuts to save the beleaguered taxpayers.There certainly are places to cut, especially in a top-heavy administration.

To stand up shamelessly at a public meeting and blame the state for not providing enough funding (a falsehood) and use scare tactics in the form of threatened cuts to popular programs when in reality you’re pushing for a tax increase to keep funding large salary and benefit packages for the top administrators is disgraceful.

No talk of a hiring freeze.

No talk of a salary freeze.
 Instead, Franklin taxpayers get trampled on again.

There’s a difference, though. 

This time, the public knows what’s going on.

This time, the public is wise and gets it.

This time, the people who run the schools have been exposed, time and time again.

We’re on to you guys.
 And sooner or later, this game of screwing the taxpayers is going to end.

 

Read more

So, Greg Kowalski likes toll roads....

A few days ago, I blogged about the increase in toll roads across the country.

Then, a few days later, FranklinNOW.com blogger Greg Kowalski wrote about toll roads, too. That’s no surprise. Greg is very reactive when it comes to my posts.

Greg wrote:

“…you really don't hear much discussion concerning relief for taxpayers on this issue. Whenever an alternative is discussed, like Illinois's tolls, it gets unanimously shot down. But what if Illinois has the right idea?”

Everyone knows the extremely unpopular idea of toll roads ranks right up there with being as desirable as banning tailgating at Lambeau Field.

Greg continues:

“The question looms: Why are Illinois residents given free reign to use our freeways, and don't pay a penny for it?”

In Greg’s defense, he hasn’t been around long enough to possibly know the history of why Illinois has toll roads and Wisconsin does not.

Following the lead of Pennsylvania that enjoyed great success after World War II with the Pennsylvania Turnpike, other states used that state’s financing method. Several states, including Illinois, but not Wisconsin, created a toll authority to issue bonds. Revenue from the bonds provided the funds, up front, to pay for construction of the roads. Revenue from the tolls enabled the toll authority to repay bond holders with interest and pay for the administration, maintenance, and operation of the highway. Turnpikes turned up in many states, built without any Federal highway funds or other Federal tax dollars.

In the past 16 years, the feds have made provisions, as pointed out in my previous blog, to allow for more toll ways.

Greg asks:

“So, why don't we return our friends in Illinois the favor? Why don't we have Illinois residents foot the bill on the next big interchange project in the Milwaukee area? Why have Wisconsin taxpayers partially foot the bill for freeways when tolls could cover the bill?”

There are three very, very simple reasons why tolls are an incredibly bad idea: 

1)       HELLO!!!! If we institute tolls, Wisconsin motorists will also have to pay them. 

2)       We already pay our fair share in taxes, not to mention one of the highest gas taxes in the nation to support our roads. We don’t need extra fees to pay, and what is probably the most important reason tolls are an incredibly bad, even stupid idea… 

3)       JUST ABOUT EVERYBODY IN WISCONSIN HATES IT!!  

Hopefully, despite Greg’s affinity for the state of Illinois, he’ll understand.

Gee.

You think Greg was secretly rooting for the Bears Sunday night?

 

Police should uphold the law

In my blog about Franklin’s own Christine Rathke, I blasted the prospect of some local police departments caving into political correctness when it comes to illegal immigrants.

The Beloit Daily News agrees in an editorial.

 

If only we could be more like Canada

That’s what the socialists tell us when it comes to health care.

That Canadian system…

It’s simply the greatest.
 

Oh, really?

 

A Cheesecake Factory in Franklin?

 I want to explore the following two questions:

1)       Should Franklin recruit and open a Cheesecake Factory restaurant?

2)       Could Franklin recruit and open a Cheesecake Factory restaurant?
  

I will get into the specifics of those questions, but first…. 

Just a few years ago, my wife and I were walking down the main drag of downtown Honolulu, Kalakaua Avenue.

We were headed to Duke’s Canoe Club in Waikiki for dinner when we passed it. A Cheesecake Factory.
 

Right there, pressed up against the sidewalk appeared to be 50 times the outdoor seating you’d see at a typical Cheesecake Factory. What my wife and I saw was one of two outdoor seating areas.  After all, this was Hawaii.

And how many Cheesecake Factory restaurants do you see adorned with one tiki torch after another.
 Needless to say, the restaurant was jammed, buzzing with lively activity. 

The Honolulu Cheesecake Factory, located on the ground level of the Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center, has only been open a few years, but is going gangbusters. In October of 2003, the Honolulu daily newspaper, the Honolulu Advertiser, wrote about the coming of the Cheesecake Factory: 

For a company that doesn't advertise, advises customers they may have to wait up to an hour or three for service, and gets complaints about putting too much food on a plate, The Cheesecake Factory does well.

The California chain of casual-dining restaurants with industry-leading sales is about to enter the Hawai'i market with its biggest restaurant yet, expecting the operation to be among its top five doing more than $1 million in monthly sales.

With room to seat almost as many people as the old Cinerama Theater, the nearly 600-seat Cheesecake Factory scheduled to open in early December at Waikiki's Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center also expects a lot of Hawai'i residents to visit a part of O'ahu that many kama'aina prefer to avoid.

But if there's any doubt that the 33-year-old debt-free company can succeed here, you don't hear it from analysts who study the business or from shopping center owners who compete fiercely for the restaurant as an anchor tenant.

"They have yet to open a bad restaurant," said Sharon Zackfia, a restaurant industry analyst for investment banking firm William Blair & Co. in Chicago.

According to analysts and consumers, there's a simple formula to what makes the Cheesecake Factory work: value and volume.

Customers find generous portions of quality food at good prices in a casual setting with decor that's more upscale than usual. Howard Gordon, company vice president for business development and marketing, said 70 percent of customers have leftovers wrapped up to take home.The average restaurant serves 3,000 people a day, and brings in $1,000 per square foot in sales, or $11 million a year.

The average Cheesecake Factory customer check is $16.

The busiest Cheesecake Factory, in Chicago, does $18 million a year in sales.

"They do enormous volume," said Malcolm M. Knapp, a restaurant industry consultant in New York who said the average Cheesecake Factory restaurant revenue is higher than any competitor's.

One of the keys to the restaurant's being able to draw so much business is a huge menu, which lists some 200 items, including 36 varieties of cheesecake.

Zackfia said such a wide selection would hurt cost efficiencies of most restaurants, but Cheesecake Factory uses it to draw a big enough mass of customers that makes the menu manageable.

In Hawai'i, the restaurant will be among the largest — bigger than the roughly 300-seat Palomino or Ryan's, the 420-seat Todai or 550-seat Sam Choy's Breakfast Lunch & Crab.

Waits at other Cheesecake Factory restaurants, none of which take reservations, can be as short as 10 minutes or as long as three hours.

Gordon said he doesn't know what to expect in Waikiki, given that the restaurant is bigger than others but will see more than normal traffic because of the tourist population.

Gordon also said the company expects a strong mix of residents visiting the restaurant. "A lot of locals want to come down here," he said. "A lot of the action is happening here."

Charlian Wright, Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center marketing director, said she expects the customer mix at the mall to change from 80 percent visitor and 20 percent kama'aina to 70 percent and 30 percent, respectively.

"A lot of the local residents told us, 'You get that (Cheesecake Factory) here, we'll be there,' " she said.

OK, I’m convinced. 

The answer to question #1 is YES, Franklin should try to secure a Cheesecake Factory. 

But what about question #2…..could Franklin pull it off?

According to the Motley Fool on www.fool.com, an investment and personal finance website, Cheesecake Factory “is among the best restaurant concepts for squeezing the most dollars out of each site.” Jeremy MacNealy wrote this on fool.com last December about this popular restaurant chain:

One of the qualities I find very appealing in the Cheesecake Factory concept is that it original enough to differentiate itself from other casual restaurants. O'Charley's (Nasdaq: CHUX), Chili's by Brinker (NYSE: EAT), Applebee's (Nasdaq: APPB), Ruby Tuesday (NYSE: RI), and Bennigan's all just kind of seem the same, but whether it is the restaurant decor or its monstrous menu, Cheesecake has set itself apart from the rest of the pack. Its distinctive quality will prove to be a major advantage when the company enters new markets that already have a strong presence from the aforementioned concepts.

Note what he then writes about new (Franklin?) markets:

Before addressing new markets, it is worth mentioning that Cheesecake still has plenty of opportunity for growth in existing markets. CFO Michael Dixon made it very clear in the call that filling out existing markets will be an important part of its expansion efforts, stating, "The strategy of capturing additional profitable market share in areas that we know very well and where our brand recognition is high has worked well for us and we will continue to maximize this opportunity in the future."

Look for the company to fill in existing markets with a slightly smaller version of the mammoth-sized Cheesecake Factory that most of us have become accustomed to; these newer sites average about 5% less "productive seats." The advantage of the smaller design is that the company can fit a restaurant to the size of "preferred sites" in high-traffic markets.

So, is Franklin out of the question? MacNealy continues:

As for new markets, management is very pleased with the performance in such locations as Albany, Oklahoma City, and Omaha. These cities are smaller markets than where many of the concept's first 100 sites are located, but the results have been no less impressive, with sales averaging in excess of $250,000 per week in the first four weeks of operation.

If there were any doubts as to where Cheesecake was going to find growth going forward, Dixon removed them, stating, "We remind our investors that the majority of our expected revenue growth for the next few years will continue to come from the opening of new restaurants." In the fourth quarter (of 2006) it will open 13 new locations -- a record high for the company -- adding to the 126 sites already in the portfolio. In 2007, it will open an additional 21 locations, giving it an estimated 18% increase in square footage growth. Again, the bulk of these openings will come in the fourth quarter.

That would give Cheesecake Factory an estimated (and incredible) 160 sites.

I repeat, is Franklin out of the question?

Let’s go back to MacNealy:

Management has stated all along that they believe the market can sustain 200 Cheesecake Factory operations. With 126 sites in existence today, (as of the December 2006 date of this internet column) there is still plenty room for growth. And given the recent success it has found in some of the smaller markets, my hunch is that we will eventually see that 200 target revised substantially upward.

So obviously, Franklin is not out of the question if Cheesecake Factory’s explosion of new sites continues.

I am not that close to Franklin and its efforts to woo new business. As they say in the restaurant business, that’s not my table.

But it’s clear to me that the answer to each of the two questions I have proposed is YES.

And to borrow a phrase from a famous movie, if you build it, they will come, especially given that this side of town has no Cheesecake Factory.

Sure beats a DQ Chill and Grill or Grill and Chill or whatever the hell you call it.

My only gripe with Cheesecake Factory: the wait time is part of the deal so please, build more seating space around the bar.

Should Franklin get a CF? YES!

Could Franklin get a CF? Given the proper approach and recruitment effort, I think it could!

 

Read more

I'm on WISN and Channel 10

InterCHANGE

Friday morning I fill in for Jay Weber on Newstalk 1130 WISN from 8-10 am. WISN Program Director Jerry Bott fills in for Jay from 6-8 am. 

On Friday night on InterCHANGE on Milwaukee Public Television Channel 10 at 6:30, these are the topics my co-panelists and I discuss: 

 1 – Miller/Coors.  

Will this be a good combination for one of Milwaukee’s oldest companies?  The Miller / Coors combination may mean just one place for a corporate headquarters.  They say the decision hasn’t been made.  If it comes down to Denver or Milwaukee, who will get it?  The new top exec is a Coors guy?  Coors is a non-union brewer?  What about taxes, crime, condition of the plant, weather, livability, ability to attract corporate talent, culture, schools, airport, etc?  Does it look good for Milwaukee?  800 corporate jobs are at stake here.  Should the city be doing something right now to persuade them to locate here?  

2 – Crandon.  

As is always the case after these tragedies, many are wondering if this could have been prevented.  Should even small town departments do psychological screening before they give a cop a gun?  Why do you think there were so many calls placed to 9-1-1 before there was a response?  How has the media reporting been?  

3 – Dave Schulz.  

Was Dave Schulz a good Milwaukee County Executive?  Was he truly not cut out for politics, or exactly the kind of politician we need today?  Was it his ego or his intellect which alienated so many people?  

4 – Brewers/Torre.  

If the Yankees let Joe Torre go, should the Brewers make him their new manager?  Or, do we stick with Ned Yost?  Or, do we go for someone else, like a Dusty Baker, or Tony La Russa, or a Don Mattingly?  Or, after 30 some lucrative sell-out games at Miller Park, would you be inclined to leave everything as it presently is, and hope for yet another financially successful season next year?

 

The Gipper's body

It is a classic scene from a great sports movie.

Ronald Reagan’s portrayal of Notre Dame football legend George Gipp, the “Gipper,” will never be forgotten.

Gipp died more than 86 years ago, but is now back in the news. His family had his body exhumed, but won’t say why.

ESPN filmed the affair for an upcoming documentary.

As a Notre Dame and college football fan, I’m intrigued.

Here are more details.

Sex offender signs popping up

You’re starting to see yard signs on properties all over Franklin that read:


OUR KIDS SAFETY

OUR LAWS

SUPPORT 167


167 refers to the strict city of Franklin ordinance that restricts where sex offenders can live or congregate.

Released sex offender Steve Hanke bought a home in Franklin several months after the ordinance took effect and is in clear defiance and violation of the law. The city has filed a lawsuit against Hanke who refuses to move, in an effort to evict him.

A court hearing is scheduled in early November and a large contingent of residents from all over Milwaukee, not just Franklin, is being urged to attend.

I’ll have more updates and details in the weeks ahead.

BEST DINING IN FRANKLIN-AREA: Care to comment?

Back in June, I announced the results of my Best Dining in Franklin-area survey of readers.

Since then, I have a lot of new readers. And because Friday is normally the day we look to the Journal/Sentinel for restaurant news and reviews, I thought it might not be a bad idea to show the results again to allow you the opportunity to comment, an opportunity you didn't have in June.

So here are those results, and feel free to comment away.


Your votes are in and here are the results of the 1st Best Dining in the Franklin-area Survey!

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

The survey comes at a time when there’s a buzz about future retail developments in Franklin and the anticipation of bigger and better things to come. It is my hope that the survey recognizes and acknowledges the quality establishments we have in and around Franklin.

Survey responses were taken between May 21, 2007 and June 9, 2007. Selections were limited to restaurants in the Franklin-area, including Franklin, Greendale, Greenfield, Oak Creek, and Hales Corners.

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


THE WINNERS:


Best Bakery

1) GREAT HARVEST BREAD COMPANY, Greendale
2) SENTRY FOODS, Franklin


Best Breakfast
1) MEYER’S RESTAURANT AND BAR, Greenfield
2) GEORGE WEBB’S, Multiple locations


Best Lunch

1) HANLEY’S, Franklin
2) WEGNER’S, Franklin


Best Burger

1) BOULDER JUNCTION, Greenfield
2) KOPP’S, Greenfield


Best Coffee Shop/Café

1) BROAD ST. COFFEE COMPANY, Greendale
2) FIVE STAR, Franklin


Best Décor

1) MR. MIYAGI’S, Greenfield
2) WEGNER’S, Franklin


Best Desserts

1) SUNDAY BRUNCH AT BARTOLOTTA’S IN BOERNER BOTANICAL GARDENS, Hales Corners
2) HEINEMAN’S, Greendale


Best Fish Fry
TIE

1) BARTOLOTTA’S AT BOERNER BOTANICAL GARDENS, Hales Corners and WEGNER’S, Franklin
2) WENDT’S, Greenfield


Best Frozen Custard

1) KOPP’S, Greenfield
2) CULVER’S, Multiple locations


Best Patio

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


Best Pizza

1) MICHAELANGELO’S, Franklin
2) TRATTORIA DI CARLO, Oak Creek


Best Romantic Restaurant

1) MIA FAMIGLIA, Hales Corners
TIE
2) HUGO’S STEAKHOUSE, Franklin and MR. MIYAGI’S, Greenfield


Best Seafood

1) MR. MIYAGI’S, Greenfield
2) BARTOLOTTA’S FRIDAY FISH FRY AT BOERNER BOTANICAL GARDENS, Hales Corners


Best Steak

1) HUGO’S STEAKHOUSE, Franklin
2) CASA DI GIORGIO, Franklin


Best Subs/Sandwiches

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


Best Family-Friendly Restaurant

1) MEYER’S RESTAURANT AND BAR, Greenfield
2) CHAMP’S, Greenfield


Best Asian

1) LE BISTRO SHANGHAI, Hales Corners
2) LOTUS CHINESE RESTAURANT, Franklin


Best Italian

1) CASA DI GIORGIO, Franklin
2) TRATTORIA DI CARLO, Oak Creek


Best Mexican

1) ROMINE’S MEXICAN RESTAURANTE, Greenfield
2) LOS MARIACHI’S, Greenfield


Best Bar Food

1) HANLEY’S, Franklin
2) BOSCH’S, Hales Corners


BONUS CATEGORY
Top two restaurants (names or types of restaurants) you’d like to see at Fountains of Franklin



The winner in this category was the most dominant response in the survey. Just about everyone who responded gave what ultimately would be the #1 selection:

A BARTOLOTTA or BARTOLOTTA-type restaurant.

Here are just some of the many other ideas suggested for Fountains of Franklin restaurants:


ELM GROVE INN

A RESTAURANT WITH OUTDOOR SEATING

CEREALITY CEREAL BAR AND CAFÉ

JAPANESE HIBACHI STYLE, like SEIGO’S

CHEESECAKE FACTORY

RED LOBSTER

PF CHANG’S

JOSE’S BLUE SOMBRERO

ANY RESTAURANT RUN BY JOHNNY VASSALO (JOHNNY V.)

ESPN CLUB OR ESPN ZONE



My sincere thanks to everyone who participated!

Why conservatives love the military

Topics talked about on WISN

This morning while filling in on Newstalk 1130 WISN, I asked the following question:

If a soldier, sailor, airman, or Marine in Iraq were to receive an anonymous care package or letter of support, who likely would have been its sender: a liberal or a conservative?

The question originally came from Marco Martinez, former street gang member, now decorated Marine.

He wrote a great column on this question that I read on the air today. As promised, here it is.

Ok, ladies...

Barry White...

Read more

Franklin wins a wild one

The Sabers knocked off South MIlwaukee tonight in overtime, 35-28 to pull even at 4-4 on the season.

Franklin must now win at Muskego Wednesday night to secure a playoff spot.

The Muskego game is winnable. Muskego is struggling at 2-6.

UPDATE:

From jsonline.com:

Jared Ciche threw for 406 yards and five touchdowns for Franklin, but it took his 10-yard strike to Nate Soddy in overtime to give the Sabers a 35-28 victory over South Milwaukee. Ciche also threw a 54-yard scoring strike to Justin Henrichs late in the fourth quarter to tie the game. He completed 25 of 40 passes with one interception. South Milwaukee's Jerome Lipp ran for 200 yards and two scores.

Read more

Thumbs up to Bradley Tech

Topics talked about on WISN

Last weekend, I drilled Bradley Tech football coaches pretty hard, and rightfully so, for running up the score on Milwaukee Washington, 64-6.

I even talked about it on WISN during a talk show segment Friday morning.

Now, I'm not sure what happened last night, but the same unsportsmanlike Tech team of last week played totally different in their ballgame against Bay View at historic South Stadium.

Tech could have easily poured it on again vs. the hapless Bay View Redcats.The Trojan's top-quality QB Jeff Lemmer was 14 out of 16 in the first half, leading Tech to a comfortable 38-0 halftime lead.

Unlike last week, when Tech had a 38-point lead at halftime against Washington and came out in the second half with the same killer zeal to score even more, last night was a different story.

Tech played their subs. They didn't throw the football. There wasn't a single questionable call or attempt to rub Bay View's face in it.

Final score:  TECH 38  BAY VIEW 14

Read more

The New England Patriots aren't the only cheaters

It’s been going on in college football….for over 50 years.

Spies dressed up as priests. Is nothing sacred anymore!

Read about “skunking” in the LA Times:
 

Spying in college football is an open secret
The game abounds with tales of 'skunking' -- those spying for rivals who have dressed as painters, even priests.
Schools turn to guards and other measures to protect practices.

By David Wharton
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

October 11, 2007

Three men with walkie-talkies keep watch on nearby buildings, looking for spies. Anyone who approaches the front gate is scrutinized.

If you're not on the list, you can't get in.

Tall fences and tight security make Spaulding Field seem a bit like a military installation. In fact, it is a patch of turf where the UCLA football team holds afternoon practice.

The Bruins, who next play California at the Rose Bowl on Oct. 20, do not want rivals getting a look at special formations or trick plays before the game. Coach Karl Dorrell talks about rogue Internet postings that chronicle "how we practiced, how many throws we made, who ran the football, who's hurt."

Recent news has focused on espionage in the NFL, where the New England Patriots were caught videotaping the opposite sideline, recording hand signals that rival coaches flashed to their defensive players. But spying isn't unique to the pros.

The college game abounds with tales of "skunking" -- intruders dressed as painters, even priests. Practices can be hard to protect, what with boosters, high school coaches and recruits often hanging around.

It is impossible to know how much spying actually occurs, but athletic programs erect fences and plant trees, even hire private security firms, to guard their facilities.

"You could see where coaches get paranoid," said Barry Switzer, the championship-winning former Oklahoma coach who was accused of spying in the mid-1970s. "Everyone's wanting an edge."

Soon after NFL officials punished New England in September -- Coach Bill Belichick and the team were fined a total of $750,000 and the team will lose one or more of its top 2008 draft picks -- the University of Georgia closed its practices. The Bulldogs were preparing to play Alabama, a team coached by Nick Saban, who spent four seasons as Belichick's defensive coordinator with the Cleveland Browns.

Georgia Coach Mark Richt stopped short of making the connection, saying: "We just wanted some privacy . . . probably what happened in the NFL recently brought some awareness that this stuff might be going on."

Coaches are hard-pressed to cite a specific play or game in which the outcome might have been affected by spying. But they can point to a history of rivals who have ignored an NCAA rule on improper scouting.

Before the 1950 Sugar Bowl, the Oklahoma Sooners were preparing to play Louisiana State when they caught a man watching practice through binoculars from behind a nearby house. He was a former LSU player who claimed to be scouting talent for a professional team. Oklahoma Coach Bud Wilkinson doubted his explanation, saying: "I can't believe LSU would do such a thing."

Some 20 years later, an Oklahoma booster allegedly dressed as a painter to get inside Memorial Stadium during a Texas practice. Switzer was a Sooners assistant coach then.

"I knew it happened," he said. Asked about how the plan was hatched, he replied: "That's so . . . long ago, I can't remember."

By 1974, Switzer had become head coach and was accused of spying on Texas again, a contention he seemed to acknowledge in a 1990 autobiography but now denies.

There were no denials from Florida after an NCAA investigation found the Gators sent a graduate assistant to rival campuses each week In the early 1980s. About the same time, according to the Memphis Commercial Appeal, an unidentified man appeared at Notre Dame practices dressed as a priest. It was later believed that he was a gambler looking for inside information.

Last season, a West Virginia student was caught diagraming plays at a Marshall University practice. Police found him carrying telephone numbers for the West Virginia coaching staff.

In addition to spies from opposing teams, coaches worry about a newer form of infiltration. Sportswriters covering practice know better than to write about trick plays, but some bloggers and fans have unwittingly posted such details on the Internet.

They might describe a fake punt the team is practicing, or a double-reverse pass.

"If stuff gets out there, it could be damaging," said Dennis Slutak, the director of football operations at USC. "We're cognizant of that."

The Trojans, who play Arizona on Saturday at the Coliseum, have a reputation for letting big crowds into their practices. An assistant staffs the door with a clipboard, but it is not uncommon to find scores of reporters, family members, high school coaches and boosters at Howard Jones Field on a given weekday.

Coach Pete Carroll doesn't believe visitors get a clear view of what his team is doing from field level. He is more concerned about the vantage point from nearby parking structures and atop the adjacent baseball and track stadiums.

"We kind of know the tricks and feel like we monitor it very well . . . we're doing it subtly," Carroll said.

Other teams are more overt. Many close their practices to all visitors, including the media. Or they restrict access to NFL scouts who travel the country evaluating talent.

At Oklahoma, the athletic department pays for private security officers to patrol its tree-lined field.

The current Sooners coach, Bob Stoops, recently told ESPN.com that he "may have made a big mistake" by practicing in the Louisiana Superdome before the 2003 Bowl Championship Series title game.

"I'm just saying there were too many people to track or keep up with," he said.

That's not a problem at UCLA practices, said Bob Lopez, the director of football operations. Though the Bruins welcome media and immediate family, they try to limit the number of visitors who come through the gate each day.

Lopez and his assistants position themselves around Spaulding Field with walkie-talkies, hurrying into nearby parking structures on those occasions when it appears someone has been watching for too long. They try to memorize faces of everyone permitted inside.

"I can pretty much tell you who everybody is in the stands," Lopez said. "I'm not sure we've ever had anyone spying on us but you'd hate not to be on your guard."

Times staff writers Chris Foster and Gary Klein contributed to this report.

david.wharton@latimes.com

ON THE WEB

To view video about how USC football team officials go about protecting their practices against "skunking," go to latimes.com/sports.

Signage at Sendik's

Big, bright, white letters now adorn the soon-to-be open Sendik's at 51st and Rawson.

Some merchandise could hit shelves (non-perishable) next week as final preparations are made.

The target opening date is October 31st, with only a slight chance of a delayed opening by a couple of days.

Those interested in working at the new Sendik's should apply ASAP.

And by the way, that building looks great so far!

Week-ends

Week-ends

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...

HEROES OF THE WEEK

Marani Oranis

Michael Murphy

All of the Franklin homeowners putting up yard signs advocating support for Franklin’s ordinance restricting where sex offenders can live. The signs are a show of support as the city tries to evict sex offender Steve Hanke, who bought a home in Franklin several months after the ordinance took effect. Hanke refuses to move.


VILLAINS OF THE WEEK 

Tyler Peterson 

Al Bore…I’m sorry….Gore.


QUOTES OF THE WEEK

“A worthless pig.”
What someone called Tyler Peterson, forcing him to snap. The Forest County sheriff’s deputy then shot and killed seven of his friends.

“Never in Wisconsin history has a Governor had to introduce a second budget due to his failed leadership in getting his first budget passed by the legislature. I am absolutely amazed that Governor Doyle would abandon the budget negotiations and instead choose to jam a supposed compromise budget down the throats of the legislature. In reality, this compromise is merely a compromise with himself as it will still likely include more than $1 billion in new spending that the taxpayers cannot afford.”
Senate Republican Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) on Governor Doyle calling a special session of the Legislature to consider his budget compromise.

"I’m looking forward to this proposal getting a vote in the Legislature. Every representative and senator will have the question in front of them: can the people of Wisconsin afford a budget that raises taxes by $1 billion?”
Assembly Speaker Mike Huebsch (R-West Salem) on the Governor’s proposed budget compromise the Legislature will vote on this Monday.

“States that are having budget problems at this time need to look at their spending priorities, not so much at their tax revenue …. The only reason a state would even be thinking about a budget deficit would be because of out-of-control spending.”
Curtis DuBay, an economist with the Tax Foundation in Washington, D.C.

“(Patrick) Fiddler, the east side mugging victim, knows the reality of crime. He said he tried to report the Oakland Ave. mugging, but police did not show up when he called. After waiting for officers for half an hour, he said, he took the names and phone numbers of two witnesses and went home. He said he later complained, but police didn't take a report. The department has no record of his case.Now, Fiddler said, as police officials release statistics showing violent crime is down, he looks "at those reports with a grain of salt."
The Milwaukee Journal/Sentinel, in an article on the increase in aggravated assaults in Milwaukee.

“If you vote Rerepublican you are Trash. EVERY life-affirming, positive public policy over the last 200 years has been fought by the people against entrenched Republican power. (Also a lot of Democrats weren’t the best on these issues, but they were generallmuch better than the slimeball Republicans.)
Peace.”
A comment from a reader to the Madison Capital Times news paper website…obviously a warm, compassionate liberal.

“Dave was a larger-than-life figure in absolutely every sense of the word. He has to be one of the most colorful politicians that Milwaukee has had in the last 50 years"
WTMJ talk show host Charlie Sykes, on former Milwaukee County Executive Dave Schulz, who died this week. Sykes was a former aide to Schulz.


OUTRAGE OF THE WEEK


Baby drowns while mother shops online for shoes


MOST UNDER-REPORTED STORY OF THE WEEK


The Governor orchestrates a news conference, a blatant example of using state resources fro political purposes. Had this been a Republican, the press would have been in a tizzy. If not for the bloggers and talk radio, we never would have heard about it.


MOST OVER-HYPED STORY OF THE WEEK

Again, the entire Britney Spears custody affair.

A close second- Anna Nicole Smith.


STRANGEST, MOST UNUSUAL STORY OF THE WEEK

Honest, officer. It’s cat pee.

These guys will never be confused with Bell Ambulance.


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.

 

Hey man, we just DID the Ed Sullivan Show!

Nostalgia

When I was growing up, you had but a handful of TV options: Channels 4, 6, 10, 12, and if UHF wasn't real snowy, Channel 18.

On the weekends, there were certain family traditions where everyone huddled around the TV.

On Saturday night, it was the Lawrence Welk Show (not real cool).

On Sunday night, it was The Ed Sullivan Show (very cool).

The Sullivan Show was entertaining, historic, groundgreaking television.

Sullivan had Elvis, the Beatles, the Stones, Sinatra, Broadway performers, acrobats, he had everybody!

One of the classic shows involved the Doors.

Anybody who was anybody was a guest on Sullivan. Many stars got their start on his show.

Here are some great R & B performances.

Read more

Sex and robots

I stumbled across this too late to include in my Week-ends round-up today but it certainly qualifies for one of the strangest stories of the week.

Sex and marriage with robots? It could happen
Humans could marry robots within the century. And consummate those vows.


Here's the complete story.

Actually, a lot of my male friends who are married wouldn't find this story so strange.

Pregnant and hungry

It’s not a news bulletin that pregnant women get weird food cravings. Here’s one I’ve never heard of before.

Last night, my wife and I dined at Casa Di Giorgio in Franklin. We had Joliet as our waiter, a super guy we’ve known since his days working tables at the old Boulevard Inn downtown.

Joliet told us his friend’s wife is expecting and suddenly loves pita bread. 

There’s more.

She likes to stuff the pita bread......... with Kit Kat candy bars.

(No, this is  not today's Culinary no-no, although it darn well could be).

One night, no Kit Kat’s in the house. She elbows hubby at 2:00 am to send him to the store to get some. 

I may never look at a gyro the same way ever again.

 

Ladies and gentlemen...the cholive

What, you may ask, is a “cholive?”

A cholive is the creation of Joe Hausch of Hausch Design Agency in Franklin, who came up with it while thinking about a chocolate martini.

“The Cholive is an olive-shaped morsel with dark chocolate on the outside and creamy truffle chocolate on the inside. Its primary function is to be stuck with a cocktail pick and used as a garnish for chocolatinis and other dessert martinis”

Read more from today’s Milwaukee Journal/Sentinel.

Seems a perfect place for this novel invention woud be the Kä Lounge on Rawson Avenue.

Best of luck to you, Joe, in your new exciting venture!

The Badger blues

 Back on August 25, I asked the following:

OK sports fans, between now and, let’s say, next April, which sports team will provide the most excitement?

1) The Milwaukee Brewers

2) The Green Bay Packers

3) The Wisconsin Badgers football team

4) The Wisconsin Badgers basketball team

5) The Marquette Golden Eagles

6) The Milwaukee Bucks


 I then proceeded to answer my own question:

BADGER FOOTBALL: They are currently ranked 7th in the nation. With 9 starters back on offense and 7 starters returning on a defense that last year gave up fewer points than anyone except Virginia Tech, the Badgers should be solid. ESPN-TV analysts this week predicted that after the first 7 games of the season, the Badgers will be undefeated and ranked 3rd in the country.

Wisconsin has tough back to back games vs. Ohio State and Michigan. Win those games, then avoid a letdown against Minnesota, and you’ve got a potential national championship team. Now that’s what I call excitement.

The Wisconsin Badger football team will be the most exciting sports story in Wisconsin over the next 8 months.
 

OOOOOOPPS!

 

4 hours? 4-get it!

Saturday afternoon, with remote control in hand, I kept switching from the Wisconsin game to the Notre Dame game.

Normally, the college games with 2:30 start times finish between 5:45 and 6:00. So, I’m thinking, 6:05, my wife and I are out the door for dinner.

The problem is, the Notre Dame game went late……… very late……… very, very late.

From the official box score of the Notre Dame-Boston College game:

Kickoff time: 3:43 pm   End of Game: 7:36 pm   Total elapsed time: 3:53 

That’s almost 4 hours long, and that’s far too long. After all, this was not a mega-scoring West Coast contest with 90 passes being thrown. It didn’t even go into overtime.

Four hours!

It seems college football games are getting longer. And yet the numbers claim otherwise.

USA TODAY reports in the 2006 college football season, NCAA Division 1-A
lasted an average of 3 hours and 6 minutes this season, 13 minutes fewer than 2005.

The reason: New rules instituted last year to speed up the game included starting the clock when a ball is kicked off rather than when it's received and winding the clock on a change of possession when the ball is marked ready for play by the referee, not when it's snapped.

The result: Teams combined for about 13 fewer plays, 67 fewer yards and five fewer points a game.

You could have fooled me. If my assumption is correct, and games are longer this season, the rules might have to be changed again.

A dramatic rule change would be necessary to have any impact. The most significant change would have college football not stopping the clock when a team gets a first down to move the chains. I don’t see that happening because that would convert a Saturday game into how they the game on Sunday.

Another way to keep games from flirting with the 4-hour mark would have referees keeping the yellow laundry in their pockets. Flag-happy officials call too many penalties. In yesterday’s ND-BC game, there were 22 penalties that were ACCEPTED for 195 yards. Note to the zebras: The fans don’t pay and come to see you.

Don’t get me wrong. I love college football. But four hours is too long, even if it is Wisconsin or Notre Dame.

 

Culinary no-no #21

Culinary no-no's

 It is not too early to be thinking about Thanksgiving.

And what will be on the bill of fare?

Ninety-seven percent of Americans eat turkey on Thanksgiving. The other three percent are Communists.

Williams-Sonoma is urging turkey lovers to get their orders in now for fresh free range turkeys and fresh organic turkeys.

I’ve had the occasion to step into a Williams-Sonoma store, and they do sell marvelous, quality products.

But take a look at those turkey prices!

Are you kidding me? $76 for a 14-lb. bird? I don’t care where it was raised, how it was raised, how it was shipped…..$76 for a turkey???? 

Last Thanksgiving, the cost of making Thanksgiving dinner went up slightly (and inflation will probably send the cost up just a bit this year, too).  The 2006 annual Market Basket survey from the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation found only a small increase in the cost of feeding your family on Thanksgiving Day. The survey of prices in 25 Wisconsin communities said the cost of making dinner for a family of eight last Thanksgiving was $38.53 this year, compared to $37 in 2005. That’s for the whole freakin’ dinner. Williams-Sonoma wants an arm, a leg, another leg and the breast just for the turkey.

Mail-order turkey?

I think it’s a bird-brained idea.


 

 PREVIOUS CULINARY NO-NO’S

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…..like 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.

Liberals want the U.S. to lose in Iraq

One out of five Democrats feels the world would be better off if the United States loses the war in Iraq.

Here’s the poll.

Disgusting.

Despicable.

And no one is supposed to question their patriotism?

How about their sanity?

 

Teenage hunters nothing to worry about

Should teenagers be allowed to hunt?

They are in Wisconsin and they do.

Using the rationale of liberals, thousands of armed teenagers in the woods should result in unspeakable carnage.

As usual, the liberals are wrong

The same tired old anti-gun argument

InterCHANGE

At the end of each InterCHANGE, the pundit panel roundtable discussion program I’m a guest on every week on Milwaukee Public Television Channel 10, columnist Rick Horowitz offers a commentary. Horowitz (a good guy but extremely liberal) usually bashes the President or rants on another lefty perspective for two minutes, then host Dan Jones says goodnight, and the closing credits roll. 

The panel, or at least its conservative members, never gets the opportunity to respond to Horowitz’s preposterous statements.

Imagine if the situation was reversed, and a conservative got two minutes of uncontested, unchallenged air-time every week. The libs would be apoplectic.
 

On this week’s edition, Horowitz pulled an oldie but not a goodie from the liberal playbook: the same old tired lament about guns.

In a liberal’s mind, it’s never the rotten, evil person who pulled the trigger to commit violence who is to blame. No, the problem is the inanimate object.
 

Horowitz said in his commentary that,”Every gunman is a potential mass murderer.” 

That is outrageously false, absurd, and insulting to the millions of law-abiding decent citizens who exercise their constitutional rights by owning guns. 

It reminds me of a similarly ridiculous comment made after former Indiana University basketball coach Bobby Knight told Connie Chung during an interview, "If rape is inevitable, relax and enjoy it.” As offensive as Knight’s comment was, so was a feminist’s response that, “Every man is a potential rapist.” 

Or, if he owns a gun, a potential mass murderer if you ask Rick Horowitz.

Just a few days ago, I blogged about one teacher’s crusade to be allowed to carry a gun in school.

I believe that momentum for this idea, considered crazy if one only applies a knee-jerk reaction, will slowly start to build.
 

Author and talk show host Doug Giles just wrote a column on this very topic. Giles writes:  

As far as I’m concerned, a responsible and trained teacher should ab-so-frickin’-lutely be able to carry on campus. And none of this “concealed weapons” crap. I’m talking about visibly carrying their piece on their hip. And not just one but two massive nickel-plated S&W Model 29 .44 magnums with 7 1/2 inch barrels with bandoliers thrown around their shoulders, and next to their juicy apple and pencil jar on their desk they should have a mounted .50 cal. machine gun. You know…“just in case.”


Here’s his entire column.
 

The criminals already have and will always be able to get their hands on guns. Let’s even up the odds and give innocent, law-abiding citizens a fighting chance.

Because guns don’t kill people. Really bad people with guns do.

 

Smoking bans: I told you so

Back in March, I wrote that the anti-smoking Nazi's today were going after your workplace, tomorrow, your homes.

I referred to a town in California, Belmont, that was considering banning smoking in private homes.

Guess what?

HT: The Game

 

The next Milwaukee Police Chief

Today at the state capitol in Madison, I ran into some friends of mine from the Milwaukee Police Association.

I asked them, off the record, who they support to be selected as the next police chief to replace outgoing chief Nanette (major disappointment) Hegerty.

Because they're my friends and associates, they told me. But it was off the record. And if word gets out who the union wants, it's that candidate's kiss of death.

So, for many reasons, the most important that our conversation was off the record, I will not go public with whom the union wants to be the next chief.

I am told the selection will be made soon, within a few weeks.

And yes, Franklin and other suburban residents should and need to care about this selection.

More on that later.

In the meantime, remember this date and this blog. When the chief is selected, I will report back on my blog to tell you if the union's preferred choice got the job.

 

Real life meets a comic strip

One of the saddest episodes in TV history had Henry Blake, the CO of the 4077th  M*A*S*H* given his orders to go home, only to be killed when his plane was shot down over the Sea of Japan.

According to Wikipedia (yes, I know, but this account, I believe, is true), The script pages with the scene were handed over by the producers, Larry Gelbart and Gene Reynolds, only a few minutes before filming, so none of the cast knew about that development until a few minutes before Gary Burghoff was told to go in and report that Blake had died. Up until then, as far as anyone knew, they were going to get a message that Blake had arrived safely home. This was deliberately planned so that the emotions shown by the actors during that scene would be as real as possible, and it worked well, so much so that one of the actors accidentally dropped a surgical instrument on the floor which made a loud clank (and subsequently required a second take of the shot, even though the first shot was used.)”

CBS was flooded with complaints. How could they do this? How could they kill off such a beloved character?

The answer should have been obvious.

The TV series was about war. And in times of war, nice people die.

That was in the 70’s. A similar scenario has materialized in a comic strip series more than 30 years later.

In this comic strip, a female character dies of breast cancer. Readers are furious. They shouldn’t be. Like the MASH episode, characters do die, and that includes women, and that includes breast cancer.

 

Franklin's Environmental Commission-"We never do anything"

A few weeks ago, I ran into a member of Franklin's Environmental Commission (EC) at a local restaurant.

I asked the individual how things were going on the Commission. The reply: "I don't know. We never do anything."

My wife, who was also with me, heard the comment.

This is an issue because, as I stated in the comments section of current Commissioner Greg Kowalski's blog, there must be some reason why the proposed city budget calls for elimination of the EC, especially when elimination saves the city nothing.

If an un-elected, unaccountable commission, by one of its own members, admittedly doesn't do anything, even though the work and volunteerism of those members is commendable, it's time for the EC to go.

A frequent guest on rthe comments section of these blogs made an unfounded accusation that I lied about what a commissioner told me. I'm not surprised an unfounded statement made its way onto Greg's blog since Greg makes them all the time.

I do take the accusation, a false one, very seriously. As a result, that individual is now barred indefinitely from making comments on my blog.

A reader asks: Is it time to dissolve Franklin's Environmental Commission?

The proposed city of Franklin budget submitted by Mayor Tom Taylor includes elimination of some volunteer commissions, including the Environmental Commission (EC).  The decision to cut the EC was made long before I blogged about the issue today.

In my previous blog that generated a great deal of interest, one of my readers, Tara commented:

Do you still think it's time to dissolve the (Environmental) commission?  To me, it would seem a shame to reject a group of volunteers who work to make the community better because of political posturing.  I am relatively new to the community and don't necessarily know the back story here, but this doesn't make any sense to me.  I would welcome your response.

It is highly commendable that civic-minded individuals step forward to give of themselves and their time to serve their community. Volunteer boards and commissions exist in all levels of government.

Here is the charge for the Franklin EC:

  Membership. The Environmental Commission shall consist of seven members, including one alderman and six citizens, all appointed by the Mayor and subject to confirmation by the Common Council. The term of the Alderman member shall be one year, only while in the office of Alderman, and expiring upon the April 30 following the appointment. The citizen members shall be appointed for three-year terms, expiring upon the April 30 of the third year following the appointment; excepting that the initial appointments shall provide for two members to serve a one-year term and two members to serve a two-year term, expiring upon the April 30 of the first year and second year following such appointments, respectively.

Oaths. Official oaths shall be taken by all members, in accordance with § 19.01, Wis. Stats., within 10 days of receiving notice of their appointment.

Read more

Best wishes to Jim Ryan

From HalesCornersNOW.com:

Ryan says he won't seek re-election

Hales Corners Village Board President James Ryan announced in a letter to the Hales Corners Village Board that he will not seek re-election next year.

Ryan, who has cancer, said he did not want health concerns to interfere with his ability to serve the village. He said that he wanted to give "plenty of notice" to allow potential candidates to consider running for village president.

"I can't tell you how much I have appreciated serving with each of you over these many years," he said in a letter dated Oct. 12 but faxed on Monday.

In one capacity or another, Ryan has been a member of the Hales Corners village government for 24 years.

Ryan also thanked the board and Village Administrator Mike Weber for their work on behalf of the community.



I first met Jim Ryan when I started covering the Milwaukee County Board in the late 70’s for WUWM. Ryan was a Milwaukee County Supervisor.

Jim Ryan is a thoughtful, decent, honorable guy. I congratulate him on his many years of public service and wish him the very best.

 

An unfortunate divide in the fight against breast cancer

This is the month set aside to draw attention to the deadly disease, breast cancer.

There are pink ribbons and numerous products marketed and packaged in pink to generate funds for breast cancer research.

But while some raise awareness, others raise questions.


Read more

Meet Summer Williams

Take a look, a good look, a good, long look at this woman.
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OK, did you get a good look?




I know I did.



 Question....



 Is the woman in the picture:



A) A rocket scientist….




or........







B) A professional cheerleader.

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Woman swears at toilet, Fischer agrees with ACLU?

Yes, I agree with the ACLU that a citation for this is pure nonsense.

From the Scranton-Times Tribune:

West Side woman faces jail time for swearing at toilet
BY KIMM R. MONTONE
STAFF WRITER
10/16/2007 

A West Scranton woman could face up to 90 days in jail and a fine of up to $300 for allegedly shouting profanities at an overflowing toilet while inside her Luzerne Street home.Dawn Herb, whose potty mouth caught the attention of an off-duty police officer, was charged with disorderly conduct recently, prompting her to fire off a letter to the editor and vow to fight the charge.

“It doesn’t make any sense. I was in my house. It’s not like I was outside or drunk,” said Ms. Herb, who resides at 924 Luzerne St. along with her four young children. “A cop can charge you with disorderly conduct for disrespecting them?”

The obscenities hit the fan when she battled her overflowing toilet around 8 p.m. Thursday, she said.

Although Ms. Herb doesn’t recall exactly what she said, she admitted that she was frustrated and let more than a few choice words fly. Unfortunately, it was near an open bathroom window.

“The toilet was overflowing and leaking down into the kitchen and I was yelling (for my daughter) to get the mop,” she said. “A guy is yelling, ‘Shut the f--- up,’ and I yelled back, ‘Mind your own business.’ ”

Her next-door neighbor, Patrick Gilman, a city police officer who was off-duty at the time, apparently had enough of Ms. Herb’s foul mouth and asked her to keep it down, police said. When Ms. Herb didn’t stop, he called the police.

Patrolman Gerald Tallo responded and charged Ms. Herb with disorderly conduct.

The citation accuses the defendant of using obscene language or gestures “with intent to cause public inconvenience, annoyance or alarm or recklessly (creating) a risk ...”

“There was no intent to do anything,” Ms. Herb said. “I just feel so violated and irritated ... I don’t even have a criminal record.”

Efforts to reach Patrolmen Gilman and Tallo were unsuccessful.

Scranton Public Safety Director Ray Hayes said if anyone feels they were unjustly accused, they can address it before a judge.

“At the end of the day, the opinion that counts is of the magisterial judge,” he said. “It may be something open to interpretation. The officer has his own and this person had the opposite opinion.”

The use of obscene language or gestures is an offense under the state criminal code. But cursing at a police officer isn’t a punishable offense, said Mary Catherine Roper, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union based in Philadelphia.

“It cannot be the basis for a citation. You can’t prosecute somebody for swearing at a cop or a toilet,” she said. “We bring one of these cases a year and sue some police departments because they do not remember that they are not the language police.”

Former Packer great Willie Wood battles disability

Willie Wood, one of the Green Bay Packer stars from the Vince Lombardi era, now struggles to perform simple everyday tasks. Here’s the story in Wednesday’s Los Angeles Times:

Paying price of football


The sport has been hard on Willie Wood, the former USC and Packer great. But as he battles disability, teammates again line up on his side.

By Greg Johnson
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

October 17, 2007

WASHINGTON — The body that made open-field tackles on legendary running back Jim Brown now struggles to get out of bed. The sure hands that snared 48 interceptions during a 12-year career fumble a Styrofoam cup. The sharp mind that got him into the NFL Hall of Fame now tricks him into believing that he is back in training camp for another season with Vince Lombardi's Green Bay Packers.

Willie Wood, 70, is paying the steep price for being a football hero.

Two knees and one hip have been replaced. Doctors have performed four major surgeries on his back and fused two vertebrae in his neck. And last year he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease.

"He used to go down low and really hit the big guys to take them down," said Willie Davis, a defensive end from Grambling who played alongside Wood in the Packer heyday of the 1960s. "It was probably very tough on his body. He has almost every element you'd expect from football injuries."

Yet Wood isn't facing his uncertain future alone. A posse of aging NFL and college teammates is using its financial resources, business savvy and, when possible, their fading football celebrity to ensure that their friend, who came dangerously close to losing his longtime home, isn't stripped of his dignity.

"You don't plan these things," Bob Schmidt said when asked why he signed on early this year as legal guardian for a guy he played football with at USC nearly 50 years ago. "You just do what you have to do."

Schmidt, 68, already had plenty to do, what with starting up a new telecommunications company and his family obligations -- he has 11 children, four of them adopted, and eight grandchildren.

"The whole concept of team camaraderie is something that anyone who has been on a team treasures," Schmidt explained. "And the issue is basically taking care of people, who, for whatever reasons, have not succeeded as they wanted after football."

Wood's band of brothers is typical of players from his generation, said Jennifer Smith, executive director of the Gridiron Greats Assistance Fund, which helps retired players cope with medical and financial crises.

"It's a brotherhood in its simplest form," Smithsaid. "It freaks you out at first to hear these big guys saying 'I love you,' and to see them hugging each other. But it's just genuinely that simple. It speaks to a generation of players from a different era."

The dominant free safety of his era, Wood is now recovering from a fall and subsequent surgery at an assisted living facility. He desperately wants to return to his home in the nation's capital, but it is questionable whether his battered body and brain will grow strong enough to make that three-mile trip.

With frustrating frequency, Wood has begun to initiate conversations that lead nowhere. Schmidt tells of one recent episode: "He asked me, 'Bob, where am I?' He said that, for a minute, he thought he was at St. Norbert College, in northern Wisconsin, where the Packers practiced. I told him that we're in Washington, D.C., on Thomas Circle. And, after a while, he said, 'Oh, OK.' "

In the fall of 1957, William Vernell Wood became one of the first to break the color barrier at quarterback in what is now the Pacific 10 Conference. In 1959, Schmidt -- a transfer from Notre Dame who had become homesick for California -- was ready to wrest the job from Wood. It was no contest. Wood easily won the USC quarterback derby, but also won an enduring friendship.

Besides Schmidt, Wood's posse now includes Brown and fellow football greats Calvin Hill, Sam Huff and Paul Hornung, all of whom attended a dinner last year that raised about $50,000 to help Wood pay down his considerable debt. One former teammate dashed off a $5,000 check. Another, Herb Adderley, Wood's Packers roommate for nine years, got Wood to autograph some football memorabilia last month and then sold the items, raising $3,000 in what he called "pocket money" for his longtime friend.

A football charity founded by Mike Ditka -- the Chicago Bears' great who squared off against Wood on the football field -- also has contributed financial support, and Gridiron Greats, which former Packers star Jerry Kramer founded, helped Wood to qualify for $50,000 a year from the 88 Fund, an NFL program that provides financial assistance for players who've been diagnosed with Alzheimer's and dementia.

The issue of pro football old-timers who are struggling to survive has drawn significant attention over the past year, including several congressional hearings. This, in turn, led to the National Football League and the NFL Players Assn. to establish a $7-million program to assist those who face medical and financial problems.

Yet some former players -- including members of Wood's posse -- say it isn't enough. Three times in the past year, irate NFL veterans have testified before Congress about alleged shortcomings in the league's retirement and medical disability program. Adderley and other former players have sued their former union, alleging improper financial dealings. Kramer and Ditka have been vocal in their demands for a more-responsive medical disability plan.

Players association Executive Director Gene Upshaw last month countered the criticism with a website that bills itself as a "truth squad" that will "do its best to debunk" what the union characterized as "serious misstatements of fact" by many of those former players.

Schmidt said that the relatively small percentage of aging former players who are receiving medical disability benefits "screams that something is wrong. I think we're going to see this issue getting to a lot better focus during the coming months."

Meanwhile, he is trying to ensure that Wood gets what he needs.

"Willie is still the most gentle, wonderful human being you'd ever want to meet," Schmidt said. "Willie is [still] the fun-loving guy. . . Everyone loves Willie."

That wasn't always the case when Wood was helping break the color barrier.

After playing quarterback for an all-black high school in Washington, he came to California in 1956, having been recruited by Coalinga Junior College (now West Hills Community College). He led them to a 7-2-1 record.

The youngest of Wood's three children, Willie Wood Jr., 39, remembers what his father said of his Coalinga reception: "As a black man, he was told that he wasn't allowed to eat in restaurants or even go to stores on their Main Street."

Yet, after that successful season, the junior college "held a parade for him down that same street," the younger Wood said.

A year later, Wood transferred to USC and began taking snaps, a development that upset some students and alumni, according to Ron Mix, who played on the Trojans' offensive line.

Wood and Mix were elected co-captains during their senior year, an unlikely development at a time when "99% of the fraternities on campus would not allow either of us to become members," said Mix, who is a Jew.

Trojan teammates "judged us only as individuals," Mix said, but the response elsewhere occasionally was chilling -- such as the time a mailman delivered a hefty parcel filled with anti-Semitic and anti-black brochures.

"The material contained cartoons depicting stereotypes of Jews and blacks going after white women, Jews counting money, blacks stealing," Mix said. "I never showed it to Willie."

On another occasion, Wood was excluded when a prominent USC alumnus invited several Trojans to dinner.

The alumnus "said that Willie had not been invited because the club did not allow blacks as members or guests," said Mix, who went on to play for the San Diego Chargers and, like Wood, is in the Hall of Fame. "I told the man that I would not go. Sadly, our teammates went anyway. I called Willie and we had dinner together at the hotel."

Former Packer teammate Davis said that Wood's reaction to the racism mirrored his own response.

"You realize that football is your first reason for being there," Davis said. "And you considered everything else a bit secondary. Did I have a few situations that upset me? Yes. But that's when you have to say to yourself 'Why am I here?' "

Schmidt said he has "never heard Willie utter sour grapes about anything. Even now, with all that has happened, Willie never utters a cross word."

Wood also played defense at USC. During his senior year, in addition to running the offense, Wood intercepted five passes, made four unassisted tackles, assisted in eight others and fielded three punts.

Yet Wood was ignored by every pro team in the 1960 player draft. Undeterred, he wrote letters to head coaches seeking permission to try out as a free agent.

"Vince Lombardi was about the only one who gave him a shot," said Adderley. Wood's pro football debut came in Baltimore during the Packers' first exhibition game of the 1960 season. Lombardi played him at right cornerback and Colts receiver Raymond Berry "took him to school all night," Adderley said. So much so that Wood feared Lombardi would cut him right there in Baltimore in order to save the airfare back to Green Bay, Adderley said with a laugh.

Instead, Lombardi put Wood at free safety. Wood thrived at the new position, often altering the flow of a game simply by appearing in the right place at exactly the right time -- he had an interception in Super Bowl I against the Kansas City Chiefs that he returned 50 yards to the five-yard line.

"Willie didn't have a lot of speed, but he had the intuition," Adderley said. "He knew to get to a certain spot on the field because he had studied what to do."

Wood's fierce competitive nature on the field extended to his teammates.

Pro Football Hall of Fame linebacker Ray Nitschke, no shrinking violet, once sheepishly admitted that, "next to Lombardi, Wood scares his own teammates more than anybody else does."

"There was never a tree too big for Willie to chop down," Davis said. "Some of the duels between him and Mike Ditka. . . I still recall the animosity that sometimes arose between the two of them."

Said Adderley: "He had to scuffle all of his life. That neighborhood he came from in D.C., he had to struggle to get out of high school and get to USC."

After his playing career ended in 1971, Wood became a regular at charitable events in Washington and also started his own mechanical services business. In 1980 Wood became the first black coach in the Canadian Football League and later led the WFL's Philadelphia Bell. He yearned for an NFL coaching job but he never made it back to the league he helped to make great.Meanwhile, his first marriage ended in divorce. His second wife died in the late 1980s. A while later, Wood's business began to slump; then his body began to pay the price for his hard-hitting style.

"He decided he wasn't going to work anymore, but at that point, his health concerns started to happen," the younger Wood said. "He was going to shove off into his golden years, and play golf, but he couldn't play anymore."

Wood never stopped doing what he could do for others, his son said: "People never got the feeling that they were imposing on him. At the same time, he wasn't the kind of guy you would try to take advantage of. He was very secure in his own skin. He had a 'submarine' type of presence, if that makes sense, in that he commanded respect without having to say or do anything."

All of which makes it hard for friends and family to watch Wood's current struggle.

During the September autograph session, Adderley said, "There were times that he forgot how to spell his name, and had to be told. . . after signing about 10 items, he had to take a break, and he would fall asleep in between signing."

Adderley returned the next weekend, when Wood was able to sign about 75 items, but said "it was more of a struggle before he had to stop."Wood's large circle of friends includes USC Coach Pete Carroll, who heard about Wood's defensive prowess and athleticism from former Minnesota Vikings head coach Jerry Burns, who was the secondary coach for the Packers when Wood played.

"Burnsie told me Willie Wood had the best hands he ever saw, so good, he could catch kickoffs like this," Carroll said, extending one arm to simulate catching a ball with one hand. "So I used to practice doing it so I could do it like Willie Wood."

When USC traveled to Landover, Md., to play Virginia Tech three years ago, Carroll made time just before the kickoff to chat with Wood, who was attending the game with Schmidt and other USC alumni. Burns "always talked about what a great guy he was and how cool he was and a great player and a great kid," Carroll said. "So when I had a chance to meet him I went out of my way to."

Wood's posse has been able to keep financial problems at bay.

"A lot of people have rallied around Willie," Schmidt said. "Unless we're [hit] with some extremely difficult circumstances, Willie is going to be OK financially."

Yet former Packer Davis, another member of the Hall of Fame, knows Wood's struggle is now more than financial.

"Almost everything about Willie's situation today is difficult for me," he said. "It's heartbreaking. . . Willie, to this day, is a very independent guy. He would probably be the last one to ask for something. And yet he would give you anything that he could afford to give.'

"To see him suffer is very devastating to me."

Kramer knows the Willie Wood he hung out with all these years is slowly disappearing. Kramer won't let go of the memories of Wood, who enjoyed returning to Green Bay long after his playing days, and in particular, hanging out at former Packer Fred "Fuzzy" Thurston's downtown watering hole.

Wood's habit, Kramer said, was to commandeer a table and share a bottle of his favorite California chardonnay with friends. And, if the mood hit, he'd sing along with Ella Fitzgerald on the juke box.

"Willie is a soft, gentle, polite, nice, caring person to be around," said Kramer, who enjoyed his share of such mellow nights at Fuzzy's No. 63 Bar & Grill.

A few months ago, Kramer and Smith, the Gridiron Greats executive, visited Wood at the assisted living facility. Smith smuggled in a bottle of Wood's favorite wine, a CD player and a few jazz discs.

"The wine brought a smile to Willie's face," Smith said. "Jerry and I opened the bottle, popped in the jazz CD and sat by his bedside drinking wine with Willie. Jerry tried to jar Willie's memory about some old times."

Wood struggled to track the conversation and needed help to get out of bed but made one thing clear.

Said Smith, "He wanted so desperately to go home."

Don't forget about those Franklin school taxes

Franklin budgets

Remember, the next meeting of the Franklin School Board is in two weeks:

Regular Board of Education Meeting
6:00 PM
Held at the Education and Community Center


Read more

The NFL turns its back on its veterans

My blog about the deteriorating health of former Green Bay Packer great Willie Wood reminded me that even former players half his age find themselves in the same dilemma.

Their careers are over and their injuries have robbed them of any chance of living a normal, comfortable life.

They’ve gone to Congress to seek aid they claim their own union won’t give them, a union that lives off the past heroics of these now broken ballplayers.
 

See the pictures and hear the voices of two of these National Football League veterans.    

Here are more details from the NY Times.

 

Bleeding hearts in press find a way to continue negative spin in Iraq

I believe it’s an unwritten rule. The American mainstream news media cannot be compelled to report anything positive about the war in Iraq. Nada. Zilch. The big goose egg.

That even applies, as disgusting as it is, when violence in Iraq is on the decline.
 What, pray tell, does one news bureau pull out of the hat to keep the gloom and doom drumbeat alive?

VIOLENCE ON THE DECLINE. SO IS BUSINESS FOR IRAQI GRAVEDIGGERS.

I kid you not. 

Read it and weep for those poor Iraqis bearing shovels whose children will go hungry because not enough Iraqis are dying. A new low for the American press.

 

NBC pays tribute to Michael Murphy

There hasn't been enough news coverage about Lt. Michael Murphy whow as killed in Afghanistan and is the recipient of the Medal of Honor.

Murphy made my HEROES OF THE WEEK list on Week-ends last Saturday and fellow Franklin blogger Fred Keller has also written about Murphy.

Pictures are powerful. Last night, The NBC Nightly News paid tribute to Murphy.

NBC Correspondent Jim Miklaszewski did the story. He's a Cudahy native and a great reporter.

Watch his stirring report.

President Bush will present the Medal of Honor to Murphy's parents Oct. 22 at the White House.

 

Franklin is headed to playoffs

Franklin defeated Muskego Wednesday night in a must-win situation, 34-3 to finish the regular season at 5-4.

The win all but assures Franklin of a playoff spot.

The WIAA wouldn't think of denying Franklin a chance of defending its state title. But because of Frankliin's 5-4 record, their first round playoff game will more than likely be on the road.

Please watch my blog Friday morning for an update on where and when Franklin will be playiing in the first round of the playoffs.

Here's the capsule of the win over Muskego from jsonline.com:

Franklin's
Jared Ciche threw for 212 yards and a touchdown, and ran for two more scores, to lead the Sabers past Muskego, 34-3. Franklin's Anthony Meyer returned a fumble 5 yards for another score.

 

Sendik's is shaping up

I got a good look inside the new Sendik’s at 51st and Rawson and it’s going to be something special, the kind of shopping experience Franklin has been wanting for a long time. 

The first impression you’ll get is just the sheer size. Sendik’s is more spacious than the Franklin Pick ‘n Save. I counted about 16 aisles of shelving and refrigerated units. That doesn’t include the separate deli, meat, and bakery areas, plus the spots for liquor and produce and other merchandise, including Christmas trees and Christmas decorations.

The majority of the shelves appear to be in place, and most are already stocked (canned and boxed goods, etc.)

The refrigerated units are also set up but, of course, are empty right now.
 

Most of the store is nicely carpeted.  

Some electrical work is still being done and there are a few hard hats going over plans and discussing what work remains. 

As of now, the only entrance is on Rawson, but work continues on S. 51st Street. Parking doesn’t seem like it will be an issue. 

Overall, Sendik’s looks fantastic. If it doesn’t open as planned on October 31st, it certainly wouldn’t be much longer after that.

The press and its negative consequences in Iraq


Josh Strupp is a frequent and often insightful contributor to the comments section on the FranklinNOW blogs.

In Fred Keller’s entry entitled, “Is the press killing the American military?” Strupp added this comment:

The traditional media has a heavy liberal bias.  This is not a secret.  In fact, I think the American people have been beat over the head so many times by these examples of media bias that to think otherwise would be rediculous.  Is this ever going to change?  No.  We should all be satisfied that conservative media outlets like Fox News have come along to counter the traditional liberal media and be done with it.
I fail (yet again) to see the connection between the obvious liberal bias in the mainstream media and it's impact on our national security.

I do know this. Our American soldiers are aware of how the mainstream media is covering the Iraq War. The never-ending barrage of one negative account after another weighs heavily on their psyche and morale. These stories give them pause about just how much support they have back home.

Here’s one example I would offer to Josh Strupp.

Fox News has reported the following:

Retired Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez made news last weekend after he called U.S. efforts in Iraq catastrophically flawed and said the media's reporting may have contributed to the deaths of soldiers.

In his speech to the Military Reporters and Editors Association in Washington, D.C.,  Sanchez made many accusations, including blaming reporters for "unscrupulous reporting, solely focused on supporting an agenda and preconceived notions of the U.S. military."

Without naming a specific company, Sanchez said "parent media organizations" have political agendas that direct the news coverage of the war and in some cases put U.S. service members in deadly situations.

Here’s the full story.

 

Time to fire Ned Yost

If the Milwaukee Brewers are serious about improving their ballclub and actually going to the post-season, they need to get rid of Ned Yost now, and hire this guy before somebody else does.

 

InterCHANGE-Friday night on Channel 10

InterCHANGE

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

1 – Presidential Candidates.  Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama both raised twice as much money as the leading republican candidates this summer, and they still have three times as much on hand left to spend as the republican candidates do.  Why are Clinton and Obama so much more able to shake the money tree than Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney are?  Are the democrats just that much more excited about their candidates than the republicans are about theirs?  Will this all change once the republicans have a nominee?   

2 – Kids & Birth Control.  A middle school in Portland, Maine has decided that it will begin dispensing prescription birth control (the patch, the pill, morning after pill, etc.) to the kids (Grades 6, 7, 8) who ask for it.  They’ve been dispensing condoms since 2000.  If the parents sign a form that indicates their children can be treated by the school nurse, those kids could then request confidential prescription birth control.  Is this unthinkable, or is it something more schools should do?  Is this too young for kids to even think that sex and/or birth control is an option, or is it just facing up to reality?  

3 – Milwaukee Chief. Will Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett select an insider or an outsider for the job of police chief?  It’s getting down to the wire.  Is the guy from Springfield, Massachusetts the favorite?  Why was he added at the last minute?  Should he be the favorite?  Is it important that the next chief be a minority? Does it matter if it is a male or a female?  An African-American, Hispanic, Caucasian?

 

Work release inmate a murder suspect-Walker to take action

Topics talked about on WISN

An inmate on work release may have committed a murder when he was supposed to be back in jail. He wasn’t, because he got another inmate to sign if for him. 

Here’s the story. 

I spoke with Sheriff David Clarke about it this morning, and County Executive Scott Walker was listening. Walker then sent me the following e-mail:   

Kevin,

I heard your interview with Sheriff Clarke this morning as I was traveling from one spot to another.  As always, the Sheriff speaks the truth on a variety of issues – from crime to education to parental responsibility. 

One issue did come up at the end of your discussion and I want to update you and your listeners.  Yesterday morning I met with the Superintendent of the House of Corrections and the head of the Community Corrections Center and about the Huber offender who was involved in a murder case.  Needless to say, I was not happy.

The most frustrating part of this story is that there are already established procedures that would have prevented something like from happening, but the staff must follow those procedures – every time.  It is clear that – in this instance - this was not the case.

That is completely unacceptable to me. 

At the end of our discussion, I directed the Superintendent to inform all staff that there is a zero tolerance policy on not following the rules and procedures.  If they cannot follow the procedures, they cannot work for at the CCC. 

Furthermore, I directed the Superintendent to immediately transfer the staff involved out of the CCC and initiate disciplinary hearings as early as allowed under county ordinances (next week).  We will discipline or fire anyone who cannot follow the procedures established to insure public safety, period. 

Scott

Want to join Mensa?

Topics talked about on WISN

As I discussed on WISN today, Saturday is the 10th annual Mensa Testing Day. Here are details and the type of questions normally asked.

Saturday, Oct. 20, is American Mensa's tenth annual Mensa Testing Day. The test fee is $40, and a photo ID is required. The test is open to any person age 14 and older, but parental permission is required for anyone age 14-17.

Oak Creek

Mensa of Wisconsin
Oak Creek Public Library
8620 S. Howell Ave.
between Fire Dept & Community Cntr
Oak Creek, WI
Registration: Both Advanced and Walk-ins
Email: testingcoord@wi.us.mensa.org
Onsite registration: 10:30 AM CDT
Testing begins: 11:00 AM CDT
Testing on 10/20/2007

TAKE THE QUIZ

Here's a sampling of previously asked Mensa questions, answers


ARE YOU SMARTER THAN A 5TH GRADER?

How about a rocket scientist? See how you fare on this quiz, which is similar to questions you'll be asked if you take the Mensa Admission Test Saturday during the organization's national testing day:

1. Pat likes books but not magazines, she likes going to shows but not the ballet, and she likes movies but not pictures. By the same rules, will she like videos or tapes?

2. Begin with the number of sisters in the group of colleges called by that number; add the number of witches in Macbeth; multiply by the number of feet in a fathom and divide by 2. What do you have?

3. What is the number that is double one-half of one-fourth of one-tenth of 80,000?

4. Colonel Browning-Browning Burnt is a liar! He was caught by the butler at the castle where he was a guest, while entertaining his host with tales of his tiger-hunting exploits in Africa. How did the butler know he was a fake?

5. Can you think of an American tree that has a name containing all five vowels?

6. Eight years ago, Jane was twice as old as Ryan. Two years ago, she was as old as Ryan is now. Now Ryan is five-sixths as old as Jane. How old are they now?

7. To the best of our knowledge, only one other word can be made from all of the letters in the word CREATIVITY. Can you figure out what it is?

8. If three typists can type nine pages in 1 1/2 hours, how many pages can nine typists type in three hours?

9. In a foot race, Jerry was neither first nor last. Janet beat Jerry, Jerry beat Pat. Charlie was neither first nor last. Charlie beat Rachel. Pat beat Charlie. Who came in last?

10. What is the 11-letter word that all smart people spell incorrectly?



ANSWERS

1.
Videos. She likes words with "O"

2. 30 (7 sisters + 3 witches = 10 X 6 feet in a fathom = 60 / 2 = 30)

3. 2,000 ( 80,000 / 10 = 8,000; / 4 = 2,000; / 2 = 1,000; X 2 = 2,000)

4. Tigers don't live in Africa

5. Sequoia

6. Jane is 12, Ryan is 10

7. Reactivity. Did you find another?

8. 54 pages (Each typist can type 1 page in half an hour. Each of the 9 typists can type 6 pages in 3 hours, for a total of 54 pages.)

9. Rachel

10. Incorrectly



SCORING

Count the number of correct answers.

9-10: Mensa Material! Try to join.

7-8: Good chance you qualify for Mensa.

5-6: Not bad, you might make Mensa.

Below 5: You must have had a bad day. Try again.

Questions and answers provided by Dr. Abbie F. Salny, American Mensa

 

My blog has gone to the dogs

My wife wishes I would blog more about dogs. 

Here you go, Sweetheart!

 

America has gone totally nuts

Topics talked about on WISN

This morning on WISN, I devoted a segment to my assertion that in America, we have lost our minds. 

I gave the following examples. 

In Maine, a middle school will give birth control to kids as young as 11. 

In Maine it’s okay to give kids condoms and the morning after pill, but In Texas, kids dare not hug each other or risk being suspended for sexual harassment. From the Dallas Morning News: 

A 7-year-old boy in Duncanville gets in trouble for telling a classmate to wear a darker shirt because he can see her bra strap. The school suspends him and labels the incident as sexual harassment.

In Keller ISD, school officials catch an eighth-grade girl holding hands with a friend and tell her to stop. Fossil Hill Middle School student Ashley Highberger, who was admonished for holding a male friend's hand, started a petition to get Keller ISD to change its policies.

From bans on hugging to labeling comments as sexual harassment, schools are cracking down on anything that smacks of sex. Critics say teachers and administrators have become too fearful of lawsuits and have stopped letting kids be kids.

Archie McAfee, executive director of the Texas Association of Secondary School Principals, said school principals and administrators are caught in the middle. If a school district punishes a student for what parents say is a minor offense, it faces scrutiny. But if a district doesn't take a complaint seriously, it could be held responsible.

But districts can also be criticized for taking too tough a stance.

In the Duncanville case, the boy who told a girl to fix her bra strap during gym class was accused of sexual harassment, suspended for two days and temporarily assigned to an alternative school. The district changed the offense to "bullying" after his parents complained that the sex-related charge was inaccurate and severe.

Some administrators say the criticism of their policies is overblown.

David Hadley, the principal at Fossil Hill Middle School in Keller ISD, said his school's ban on hugging and hand-holding is not unreasonable. Fossil Hill made national headlines recently after a teacher chided eighth-grader Ashley Highberger for holding hands with a male friend.

"Our big deal is with boy-girl affection," he said. "It's to keep kids from being inappropriate in school."

In response, Ashley started a petition drive to force the district to change its rules. She collected more than 300 student signatures but suspended her efforts because she doesn't believe the district will ease up.

"I can understand how a 25-minute hug or making out in the hallway would be PDA, but I don't see how holding hands is," she said. "You hug your parents or little brother or sister and it doesn't lead to things."

Dr. Hadley sees the issue differently. Bans on PDAs – public displays of affection – are common in school districts nationwide, he said. And he adds that his district's rule is not as rigid as it seems. If someone is grieving a lost loved one, for example, a hug is acceptable.

Pretty sad when the kids make more sense than the principal with the degrees coming out of his armpits. 

And as my last exhibit of evidence, San Francisco wants to open “injection rooms” where dope addicts can shoot up illegal drugs under the supervision of a nurse. 

We have gone absolutely nuts.

 

Citizen involvement doesn't end with abolishment of Environmental Commission

Will the demise of Franklin’s Environmental Commission lead to the disappearance of citizen involvement in their local government? 

The answer is yes, if your concept of citizen involvement involves a group of people you didn’t select and you don’t even know doing your lobbying, advocating and talking for you. 

The real answer is no. The elimination of the Environmental Commission (EC) will not and should not have a negative impact on the amount or quality of citizen input.

If anything, it might improve or increase citizen involvement.
 

During this week’s unexpected flurry of activity surrounding the rarely-talked or heard from EC, these are just a few of the comments I received from readers after I wrote that disbanding the EC was appropriate. 

Tara said, “I still struggle with the notion of eliminating a volunteer board that is chartered with acting as an environmental watchdog for the city.” 

Joel asked, “What can be done to increase participation in the civic process?  What could I do to be more involved?”

Plenty.
 

And you don’t need a bunch of no-name appointees to help or do it for you. 

1) STAY INFORMED 

Read the blogs. Read the weekly community newspaper in addition to the Journal/Sentinel. Do your homework. Keep up with what’s going on in your community. The best citizen/voter is one who’s informed. 

2) ATTEND MEETINGS IF YOU CAN 

Watch, listen, see and hear first-hand the decision-making process used by your elected officials. Don’t allow them to resolve critical issues about your taxes, schools, services in empty rooms. This takes time and some sacrifice, but it’s worth it.  

3) RESPECTFULLY LET YOUR ELECTED OFFICIALS KNOW HOW YOU FEEL 

Remember, they work for you, not the other way around (although many of them fail to grasp this concept). Contact them. Call, e-mail or write. Politely inform them of your position and why you take that stance. Clearly and concisely tell them what you want them to do. Show respect. Do not be rude or insulting. The more informed you are, the more successful your communication will be.
I’ve been blogging for many, many weeks, strongly urging citizens to contact Franklin School Board members and Franklin aldermen about the budgets they’re working on. Why wouldn’t you want to place a simple phone call or with a quick e-mail in an effort to save more of your own money?

I’ve been blogging about an important court case coming up in November about a sex offender who is defying the city’s sex offender ordinance by refusing to move. Will you go to the court hearing? Will you put up a yard sign?  

4) IF YOU DON’T KNOW, INQUIRE

About anything and everything. If you have doubts and questions, ask. Keep asking until you’re satisfied. Again, be respectful, kind, and courteous.  

5) CONSIDER RUNNING FOR OFFICE 

It’s the ultimate in citizen involvement. Several members of the current Franklin School Board ran unopposed in April. That’s disgraceful. You now have members on the School Board that weren’t elected by anybody.  

We don’t need more un-elected boards and commissions. We need more informed and enlightened citizens. How informed and enlightened the citizenry is depends on you. The elimination of the EC, hopefully, is a wake-up call to residents to commit a flagrant act of democracy and take action to get involved, rather than waiting for the next person to do it for them.

 

8%

Here’s the key line from this morning’s MJS article about a state budget compromise.

Doyle aides said the budget would spend about $58 billion, or 8% more than the last budget that ended on July 1.

That’s progress?

The drunken sailor syndrome continues in tax-hell Wisconsin.

Union goons-pictures

Jay Weber of Newstalk 1130 WISN has pictures up on his website of the union jerks who shouted profanities, blew whistles, and generally acted obnoxious at an anti-tax rally in Madison this week.

The pictures will be up for a few more days.

 

Hallmark had nothing to do with it

Today is Sweetest Day. Sweetest Day is always the 3rd Saturday in October. Hallmark didn’t invent Sweetest Day, but it has certainly taken advantage. As Hallmark puts it, “While we're honored that people so closely link the Hallmark name with celebrations and special occasions, we can't take credit for creating holidays. Congressional resolutions, proclamations, religious observances, cultural traditions, and grassroots leadership by ordinary people create these special days.”

So how did Sweetest Day begin?

The observance of Sweetest Day originated in Cleveland in 1922. Herbert Birch Kingston, a philanthropist and candy company employee wanted to bring happiness into the lives of orphans, shut-ins and others who were forgotten. With the help of friends, he began to distribute candy and small gifts to the underprivileged.

On the first
Sweetest Day, movie star Ann Pennington presented 2,200 Cleveland newspaper boys with boxes of candy to express gratitude for their service to the public.

Another popular movie star, Theda Bara, distributed 10,000 boxes of candy to people in Cleveland hospitals and also gave candy to all who came to watch her film in a local theater.

Primarily a regional observance celebrated in the Great Lakes region and the Northeast,
Sweetest Day is gradually spreading to other areas of the country. People tend to take the Sweetest Day tradition with them when they move. Ohio is the top state for Sweetest Day sales, followed by Michigan and Illinois. Texas, California and Florida are among the top 10 states in sales.

Over the years,
Sweetest Day has evolved into a time to express romantic love and also to show appreciation to friends. 

Ohio State: Athletic factory

Prior to the start of the college football season, teams likes USC, LSU, Florida, and Michigan were predicted to win the national championship.

This week, the first standings in the BCS (Bowl Championship Series) were released, and lo and behold, Ohio State is ranked #1.

That shouldn’t be a surprise.

In Columbus, athletics is very big business.

By the numbers:

980: Athletes at OSU

110, 000: Amount in dollars spent on each athlete

16: Maximum miles per hour that OSU’s $75,000 hockey treadmill can run

30: Firearms maintained by OSU’s pistol team

7,400: Yards of OSU’s main golf course, with a renovation overseen by Jack Nicklaus

1.2: Expenses of the women’s ice-hockey team in millions of dollars

1,642: Dollar amount women’s hockey brought in, all of it in arena concessions

225: Hours of private jet time allotted to football coach Jim Tressel for recruiting trips

15: Hours of jet time allotted to basketball coach Thad Matta for personal travel

107.6: University of Texas-Austin’s sports budget, the nation’s second largest, in millions.


On this college football Saturday, I bring you this Wall Street Journal article on the Ohio State athletic machine.

Inside College Sports' Biggest Money Machine

What do you get for $109 million a year? Jon Weinbach on Ohio State's record-breaking budget.
By JON WEINBACH
October 19, 2007

At $109,382,222 for the current year, Ohio State's athletic budget is the largest in the nation and the biggest in the history of college sports. It allows the school to field 36 varsity teams in everything from baseball and soccer to riflery and synchronized swimming. The school spends about $110,000 on each of its 980 athletes, which is triple the amount the university spends per undergraduate on education.

The budget for this academic year allots $65,000 in private jet time, or roughly 11 hours, to men's basketball coach Thad Matta for recruiting trips over 200 miles -- and a further 15 hours of jet time for the coach's personal travel. A just-completed $19.5 million renovation of the football team's practice facility, funded with a large donation from Limited Brands Chief Executive Leslie Wexner, added a players-only entrance, a lounge that has six flat-panel TVs, three videogame systems and a juice bar. "There's always a race to get up there after practice," says Jake Ballard, a sophomore tight end for the football team that enters this weekend ranked No. 1 in the country.

The men's and women's ice-hockey teams train on a $75,000 hockey treadmill that features a lubricated, ice-like surface that tilts at sharp angles and goes as fast as 16 miles per hour. Men's hockey coach John Markell solicited a donor to buy the equipment, which he says has become a key part of players' workouts. It's a machine most college teams -- and even many National Hockey League clubs -- haven't purchased. "We don't have the space or resources for that," says a spokesman for the Anaheim Ducks, last season's Stanley Cup champions.

Here in Columbus, the OSU athletic department is a gold-plated island in a region getting roiled by harsh economic forces. The lavish program is the most vivid example of how college sports have turned into a humongous business and created a parallel universe of high-living in the world of academia. OSU's athletic budget, which has grown 46% in five years, has expanded despite a prolonged downturn in the Ohio economy and several rounds of public-funding cuts to higher education. The state's median household income fell 9.3% between 2000 and 2005, one of the worst declines for any state during that span.

Foreclosures and Poverty

Ohio has the nation's highest rates for foreclosures and delinquent mortgages, and during the second quarter of 2007, 22.9% of Ohio homeowners with subprime loans were over 90 days late -- almost twice the national average, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association in Washington, D.C. The state is home to two of the five poorest cities in America -- Cleveland and Cincinnati, both of which had more than 25% of residents living below the poverty line in 2006, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Ohio has been ravaged by the struggling U.S. auto industry and the forces of globalization. From 2000 to 2006, the state lost about 200,000 manufacturing jobs and added just 40,000 new positions to offset the decline. Companies such as Mr. Coffee, Rubbermaid and Hoover closed plants and shifted production abroad.

From 2002 to 2005, the Ohio Legislature decreased annual support for the state's universities. In response, OSU instituted its highest annual tuition increases in nearly 40 years, boosting rates nearly 60% from 2002 to 2006.

Ohio State was one of just 19 schools to turn a profit on athletics in 2006, according to data collected by the NCAA. OSU says its athletic department is self-sufficient -- it uses sports revenues to pay for its teams and operations. It doesn't draw from the same budget that's used to fund academic departments. How much the athletic department spends is determined by how much it brings in, not by how much the university decides to give it. A 2005 economic-impact study, commissioned by OSU, estimated that the school's sports program pumps over $100 million a year into the local economy, with more than a third coming from Buckeyes fans' spending on hotels, food, parking and shopping.

In a sports-mad country, why Columbus? The alma mater of track star Jesse Owens, golfer Jack Nicklaus and basketball Hall of Famer John Havlicek, Ohio State has a long history of passionately supporting its athletes. OSU's teams are the premier sports attraction in Columbus, Ohio's state capital and biggest city, and the school has the largest enrollment in the country, with more than 52,000 students. TV broadcasts of OSU games routinely attract 60% of all local viewers, and in Columbus, the OSU football coach's Sunday-morning chat show gets better ratings than "Meet the Press."

Supporting the program is seen as a civic virtue. Over the past five years, giving to the Buckeye Club has increased an average of 12%. The booster club's membership of nearly 3,700 is up 32% from 2003. In addition to Mr. Wexner, a 1959 OSU graduate, prominent donors include Robert Schottenstein, CEO of M/I Homes Inc., one of the country's largest home builders.

The enormous financial rewards for successful programs have fueled an arms race among schools to build larger, more lavish venues that can ring up millions from luxury suites and sponsors. Over the past five years, schools in the NCAA's top six sports conferences raised more than $3.9 billion for new sports facilities, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education.

At Oklahoma State, oil and hedge-fund mogul T. Boone Pickens gave $30 million to renovate the football stadium, and put his name on it. He has also committed $165 million more to build an "athletics village" on campus. Nike founder Phil Knight recently donated $100 million to Oregon's athletic department, which plans to use the money as a safety net to cover potential operating losses. The department still plans to ask for public funds to build a $200 million basketball arena.

Other big spenders include the University of Texas-Austin, which has the nation's second largest sports budget at $107.6 million, although it fields 16 fewer teams than Ohio State. Last year, the Longhorns' athletic department paid $152,585 for nutritional supplements like Gatorade and PowerBars.

Preserving 'Opportunities'

The football and men's basketball programs at OSU are the only sports there that turn a profit -- and their revenues support teams other universities have eliminated for lack of funding. "We never want to get into the business of taking opportunities away from students," says Gene Smith, OSU's athletic director.

Ohio State's varsity synchronized swimming team competes in a two-year-old, $20 million facility, nicknamed the "Taj Mahal," that features seven bodies of water and two whirlpools for athletes to relax in during competitions. A multimillion-dollar renovation of the school's "Scarlet" golf course, completed last year and overseen by Mr. Nicklaus, added a short-game practice area and enlarged the course to over 7,400 yards.

OSU's pistol team maintains a supply of about 30 firearms for the team's 11 members, and all shooters receive an array of free Nike gear, including polo shirts, a jacket and shoes. "We're a good-looking team," says James Sweeney, OSU's pistol coach since 1999. This year, for the first time ever, OSU's rifle and pistol teams received scholarship money to recruit top competitors.

At other schools, there is a more Darwinian approach to smaller sports. Last year, Rutgers cited budget shortfalls for its decision to cancel six sports, including swimming, men's tennis and fencing. But the athletic department still gave assistant football coaches a sizable raise, completed a $12.5 million renovation of football's training complex, and is in the midst of a stadium renovation that will add nearly 10,000 seats.

At Ohio State, "nonrevenue" sports such as men's lacrosse and women's track don't have to worry about earning their funding. Excluding football and basketball, OSU's other 34 teams generate about $1.5 million in revenue. Last year, for example, expenses for the women's hockey team totaled a little over $1.2 million while the sport brought in just $1,642, all of it from arena concessions. Many sports, including rifle, pistol, and women's fencing, don't contribute any revenue at all. "I'm sure my scholarship is possible because of the football team," says Lindsay Quintiliani, a sophomore goalie on the field hockey team.

Last season, Ohio State's football program generated about $57 million in revenue. The sum included a $4.75 million payment from the NCAA for advancing to the national championship game and $31.65 million in ticket sales from home games at Ohio State's 105,000-seat stadium. Team expenses, which include nearly $2 million for meals and travel, as well as debt payments to cover stadium renovations, subtracted about $21 million. Still, football supplied nearly $36 million in profit to the athletic department's coffers. The University of Florida, which beat OSU for the national championship in January, made about $34 million on football last year.)

OSU's men's basketball team, which moved into a new, 19,500-seat arena in 1998, advanced to last year's national championship game and turned a record $9 million profit.

A significant chunk of the athletic department's budget is spent in ways that benefit the school's general fund. This year, the athletic department will spend $12 million on scholarships or "Grant-in-Aid" to pay for athletes' tuitions. A few years ago, the department contributed $5 million to help fund renovations to the campus's main library. OSU's sports program is also among the few that pays for all maintenance, security and operating costs at its facilities. (The utilities bill at the football stadium last year: $731,309.) In addition, the athletic department transfers about $1.7 million to the school's academic-support center to pay for tutors and "life skills" workshops for athletes. "I think we're paying somebody $25 an hour to tutor physics," says Mr. Smith.

Last year, the issue of swelling athletic-department budgets was taken up in Washington by the House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee. In a strongly worded letter to NCAA President Myles Brand, former Ways and Means Committee Chairman Bill Thomas criticized "highly paid coaches with no academic duties," and wrote that Division I football and men's basketball "more closely resemble professional sports than amateur sports."

Judy Bunting oversees OSU's 46 cheerleaders and four student mascots. Her team gets about $169,000 from the athletic department, and supplements it with interest income from a special endowment established by a donor a few years go. "We probably have more scholarship money than most," says Ms. Bunting. In contrast to the spirit squads at Notre Dame and UCLA, OSU's cheerleaders get seats on the football's team's chartered jets. "That's a big plus," she says. "We used to drive vans and fly commercial."

Write to Jon Weinbach at jonathan.weinbach@wsj.com3     

 

You're an Eagles fan, and you're ugly, too!

The city of  Brotherly Love, Philadelphia got horrible reviews in Travel and Leisure Magazine’s survey of America’s Favorite Cities.

The survey called the city and its people downright ugly.

Here are all the details on the survey.

And what are they saying in Philly about it...


Hey! We're not just fat - we're ugly, too

By DAN GERINGER & MEGAN SUERMANN
Philly.com
geringd@phillynews.com
215-854-5961

Philadelphia has the ugliest people in the country, according to Travel & Leisure Magazine.

Of the 25 major American cities ranked by citizen attractiveness, Philadelphia finished dead-last.

According to 60,000 respondents to the magazine's online survey, Philadelphians are slightly more repulsive than Washingtonians (24), Dallasites (23) and San Antonions (22) but way uglier than Miamians (1), San Diegoans (2) and Charlestonians (3).

"This is the city of Fabian and Frankie Avalon and Grace Kelly," said City Councilman Frank DiCicco. "Are they saying we've morphed into ugly people over the last few decades? Somebody's drinking something out there."

DiCicco took issue with Travel and Leisure ranking Miami's beautiful people No. 1.

"My oldest son, the dentist, had a condo in Miami so I've been to South Beach a few times," he said.

"Most people are walking around in thongs so everybody looks good there. But who can tell who lives there and who's just visiting?

"We have cold weather here so we're walking around for months with our noses running and our cheeks red and fur caps on our heads. How can you see what we look like under all that clothing?"

"They've got to be kidding!" said Councilman Darrell Clarke. "South Beach? How do we compete with that? I mean, give me a break!"

Upon further review, he said, "I'm a single guy so I can say, in all honesty, that while I don't traditionally look at men to determine how attractive they are, I can tell you that we have the most attractive women of any city."

Rick Vopper, senior stylist at the Adolf Biecker Spa/Salon on Rittenhouse Square, where he has been "enhancing the natural beauty" of Philadelphians for 31 years, said: "I'm going to disagree with the idea of ugly Philadelphians. I think we're much more diverse, more multicultural with our appearance than the synthetically pretty people in South Beach."

Frank Farley, a psychologist at Temple University, said: "People may perceive Miami to be a younger, hard-body city and Philadelphia to be an older, stodgy, historic place with a lot of losing sports teams. Did I say that? I didn't say that.

The missing ingredient is reality. When I walk around Center City or the campus of Temple University, there are attractive people all over the place. It's a melting pot. It's vibrant. It's beautiful. The beauty they should be looking for is the beauty of diversity."

"Miami's gross," said Leslie Rooney, 22, of Northeast Philadelphia. "I think Miami's the dirtiest city I've ever been to. Even the people in Miami, they were pretty hit-or-miss."

Victoria Morillo, 31, of North Philadelphia said: "It's disappointing to see that Philadelphia was ranked [last]. I mean, besides the stereotypes that we're, like, the fattest city, we eat all the cheesesteaks and stuff, there's still some good-looking people up in here."

Roger Bradley, 47, of Hunting Park, was "quite surprised by that [the rating] because being a Naval reservist and having an opportunity to travel around the country, I've found Philadelphia to be as attractive as any other city I've gone to."

Fred Glick, 51, of Center City said, "If Minneapolis [No. 8] beat us, it's because the [magazine] guy went around with cute girls there, because they're all born blond with blue eyes there. Maybe it's something against brunettes and redheads.

"I hope we're closer to the top of the list for brains. It's more important."

Philadelphians ranked 14th for intelligence, handily beating Miami (23rd) - but, alas, those blond, blue-eyed Minneapolitans ranked second. *

Week-ends

Week-ends

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...
 


HEROES OF THE WEEK 

Officer saves woman from train crash

State Senator Michael Ellis (R-Neenah) for setting the Governor straight on his scare tactic of threatening to shutdown state government because the state wouldn’t have enough money.

The Franklin High School football for a nice run of consecutive must-win victories that got them into the playoffs to defend their state title.  



VILLAINS OF THE WEEK 

John Westover, scumbag

Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle, for threatening to partially shut down state government, including closing UW campuses, letting prison inmates out, and laying off state workers, if the legislature didn’t approve a budget soon. 

The union goons, thugs and bullies who tried to shout down an anti-tax rally in Madison.

The New York Yankees, for letting manager Joe Torre go.


QUOTES OF THE WEEK 

“F-U” "Loser," "Bullsh--"
Some of the chants shouted by state union workers in an attempt to interrupt an anti-tax rally in Madison.


The unions intend to "welcome the out-of-state, anti-government" activists with a "peaceful, quiet, non-verbal welcome to reality."
Sara Rogers, executive vice-president of the state AFL-CIO.


"They say they pay taxes too, but they pay taxes on our dime. We're paying to be here, and we're paying for them to be here, too. That's messed up. The least you (public employees) could do is say, 'Thank you.'"
WISN talk-show host Vicki McKenna, speaking at the anti-tax rally, referring to the goons who tried to shout her down.


"They (victims’ families in Crandon) have also asked me to ask the community at large to stop talking to the press. As such, we in the law enforcement community will do our part by having no further comments to the press from Forest County."
Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen, saying he had talked with the victims’ families and they wanted the press to leave them alone.


"While Van Hollen has spoken many times of the need to make public information readily available to the public, his statement seems incongruous with his previous position."
Peter Fox, executive director of the Wisconsin Newspaper Association.

"No one has the authority to suggest that an entire community remain silent."
Wausau Daily Herald editorial


"The news media was very aggressive, very aggressive people. They're not taking into consideration what people are going through here.They set their cameras up with no regard to where they were. These people aren't running around with their brains."
Crandon Mayor Gary Bradley 


“States that are having budget problems at this time need to look at their spending priorities, not so much at their tax revenue …. The only reason a state would even be thinking about a budget deficit would be because of out-of-control spending.”

Curtis Dubay, an economist with the Tax Foundation, a Washington, D.C., think tank.
 


"I get calls all the time, 'Stick to your guns,' 'Don't pass those taxes.’ "The silent majority can't take these tax increases. People say we don't have a budget. We have a budget; the old one carries over. We don't have to be No. 1 in taxes to have a state that functions.”
State Representative J.A. Doc Hines (R-Oxford).


“Honestly, I don’t know how comfortable I would be soliciting people in that position for their participation.”
UW-Madison spokesman John Lucas, in an e-mail to a colleague. University of Wisconsin-Madison officials were concerned about asking low-income students to participate in a press conference with Gov. Jim Doyle but they did so anyway, e-mails show. Republicans have blasted UW-Madison for helping set up the Democratic governor’s press conference last week on the steps of the student union in which he criticized “extreme Republicans” for blocking a budget. Republicans said the students were used as “political props.” UW-Madison College Republicans filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education alleging the university violated a federal privacy law in contacting the students.


OUTRAGE OF THE WEEK 

Take your pick. 

There’s also this. 

If I had to choose just one....the Maine birth control story.



MOST UNDER-REPORTED STORY OF THE WEEK 

The war in Iraq is always being compared to Vietnam.

Not in this regard.



MOST OVER-HYPED STORY OF THE WEEK

Wisconsin doesn’t have a budget (It does). Wisconsin needs a budget. (Wisconsin needs a GOOD, SOUND FISCALLY RESPONSIBLE budget).  Wisconsin is running out of money (It is not). Wisconsin is in a fiscal nightmare (It would be if it passed the Governor’s first two budgets).


STRANGEST, MOST UNUSUAL STORY OF THE WEEK 

A shortage of National Health Service dentists in England has led some people to pull out their own teeth - or use super glue to stick crowns back on, a study says. 


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. 

 

Putting the fight in the "Fighting Irish"

As a Notre Dame fan, the football team has left me little to smile about this season. However, I keep cheering. I stay loyal. Better days are ahead.

Notre Dame always provides reason to be extremely proud. If pride can’t be found on the gridiron, then look to the swimming pool.

Notre Dame has not one, but two students hoping to compete in the 2008 Paralympics in China in swimming. Both are blind.

They are incredible stories.

One is Ashley Nashleanas.

The other is James Fetter.

“What though the odds be, great or small, old Notre Dame will win over all……”

 

One blogger sees eight problems with Conservatives


Last night on InrterCHANGE, I mentioned that one of the key reasons Democrats are outgaining Republicans in fundraising is that they're more energized, more excited right now.

Blogger John Hawkins outlines eight reasons why the conservative movement is spinning its wheels. He’s got a point, several of them.

But this can be fixed. It’s early. Republicans will galvanize and their supporters will start to open up their wallets. The thought of losing the White House to the evil Hillary will be the catalyst.
 

Here’s Hawkins’ column. It’s the one I promised Friday while hosting on WISN that I would post.

 

My most popular blogs

Most popular

This is a new feature of This Just In…

Every week, I will post the top five most popular of my blog entries from the previous week.


Here we go.


1) Franklin’s Environmental Commission: “We never do anything”

2) Smoking Bans: I told you so

3) The same old tired anti-gun argument

4) Liberals want the U.S. to lose in Iraq

5) A reader asks; Is it time to dissolve Franklin’s Environmental Commission


Those were your favorites last week

The Packers have a bye week: Now what?

My wife, who knows absolutely nothing about sports, and that would include football, is fully aware that the Green Bay Packers don’t play today because of their bye week.

That clever spouse of mine has already sweetly suggested a shopping trip this afternoon.

I imagine there are all kinds of things to do during a bye week.

A female blogger who goes by the name “thestarterwife” on ladiesdotdotdot.wordpress.com had these suggestions for the Steelers bye week last weekend:
  1. Do your Christmas shopping! And not just because the bargains are terrific this time of year. Come December when the NFL playoff hunt is in full swing and the malls are at their craziest, you’ll be able loaf around on the sofa every weekend guilt-free while all those sad sacks are trying to catch scores on Best Buy displays.
  2. It’s October. Think of all the pumpkins just waiting to be gutted.
  3. Go outside! It misses you. It wonders why it you weren’t out there during the summer, rolling in the grass (Excuse: the pre-season gets earlier and earlier) and why you’re presently not out frolicking through the falling leaves. Plus, as it turns out the rumors are true: reality is slightly clearer than HDTV.
  4. Eat a salad. God knows your digestive tract will appreciate a one-day reprieve from the typical assault of fried and/or alcoholic nonsense.
  5. Visit a museum. Because. You know. Culture. And stuff.
  6. If you insist on staying home, a Sunday afternoon is a good time to catch up on your Netflix and the Tivo you’ve already bloated with four episodes of “Gossip Girl”. (That naughty Chuck Bass is so evil!)
  7. Visit your non-football watching friends. Most likely they’re having a tremendously exciting afternoon of “Scene It” with a box of Cheez-Its and wine spritzers. You probably have a whole plethora of pals who think you lose your mind every fall and would love to see you.
  8. Plan “frisky time” with your mate. Having a full afternoon free for sex can do wonders for a relationship that has been severally strained since the time you begged off saying, “Hold on, I want to make sure I catch Olbermann at halftime.”
  9. Watch baseball. That’s still going, right?
That’s the female perspective.

A few years ago, Keith Hayes wrote these bye week ideas on e-sports.com:
  

Find Religion: Head to church, confess all of those sins and impure thoughts you've committed while attending and watching football games the past six weeks... Oh yes, the sins you committed during the preseason count.

Tailgate at Home: Go to you son's pee wee or mighty mites game done up in grease paint armed with air horns and noisemakers. Then, break out the grill, cook hamburgers and hot dogs for the kids while getting a sugar high from drinking gallons of Teenie Weenie juices.

Mow the Lawn: You haven't mowed since the hurricane rains, and your backyard has been labeled protected environment by the National  Wildlife Association.

Be a Father to Your Child: Reintroduce yourself to the kids as the father they knew before week one. This way they can forget all about the terrorizing lunatic who has been screaming obscenities at the TV for the past two weekends.

Get in Touch With Your Sensitive Side: Spend time with the wifey/girlfriend/significant other doing the things they like... Renting movies, watching Lifetime or the Oxygen network. For bonus points, take a trip to Christmas Tree Shops with her.

Become a Redneck: Run out, grab a Nextel phone, some chewin' tobacca', Coors beer, a Confederate flag, and practice your best south of the border southern drawl so you can spend the weekend as a NASCAR fan watching drivers make 4 left turns. Remember... It's Chase for the Cup time so try not to disrespect anyone by rooting for someone who is out of the standings.

Make it a Star Wars Weekend: Call up all of your geeky sci-fi buddies, purchase the Star Wars Trilogy on DVD, and watch it in all of it's hi-def glory as you fantasize about your wifey/girlfriend/significant other wearing Princess Leia's slave outfit from Return of the Jedi.


Now my perspective.

Uhh, guys…….get a hold of yourselves.

It’s Sunday.

In October.

The National Football League doesn’t come to a grinding halt because the Packers have the day off.

Do not succumb to the “honeydew” assault: “Honey do this, Honey do that.”

Here are Kevin Fischer’s ideas on what to do during a Packers bye week:
 
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1) WATCH FOOTBALL

There is no #2.

 

Culinary no-no #22

Culinary no-no's

You like grilled cheese? Who doesn’t like a good grilled cheese sandwich, all nice and gooey?

If you want one, you have to make it in your own kitchen. Most restaurants don’t offer one, and if they do, it’s more than likely on the children’s menu.

Seems that it would make great business sense if someone would open a restaurant that specialized in good ol’ grilled cheese sandwiches.

Well, someone has.

Former Wisconsinite Dirk Bruely opened Chedd’s Gourmet Grilled Cheese in Denver in the spring of 2003, featuring 35 cheeses, 12 breads and various meats and vegetables. Bruely even serves brats. Menus in Chedd’s are made to look like Wisconsin license plates. The restaurant has become so popular, Bruely plans to take the dining concept national.

Watch this ABC News report on Bruely and Chedd’s, and prepare to drool.

The grilled cheese sandwich is not only yummy, it’s becoming trendy. In glitzy, star-studded Los Angeles, the grilled cheese is starting to find its way beyond diners and coffee shops to highly-regarded restaurants.

So, how about one of Chedd’s creations, a Cheese Stoner (Brick cheese, Garlic and Herb Jack, Pepperoni, Pizza sauce, Tomatoes on Focaccia Bread) with some Wisconsin cheese soup.

Grilled cheese sandwiches, just for kids? No, no.


PREVIOUS CULINARY NO-NO’S

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…..like 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 

 

Sadly, airport workers really are that dumb

Topics talked about on WISN

I am on record as being very critical of airport security in America and of Transportation Security Administration (TSA) employees. TSA workers are unskilled, arrogant, rude rent-a-cops whom I have little faith or trust in providing the kind of security needed in our airports.

Friday, while subbing on WISN, I mentioned the following from the Chicago Tribune to prove my point:

Undercover investigators smuggled decoy explosives through O'Hare International Airport at alarming rates six years after the Sept. 11 attacks, leading to calls Thursday for better training of security screeners, higher job-performance standards and harsh consequences for failure.

The criticism came as a new government report heightened concerns about the security of the 2 million airline passengers who travel each day in the U.S.

It found that screeners at O'Hare's passenger security checkpoints failed to detect 60 percent of simulated explosives that were hidden in carry-on bags or in the clothing of agents working for the U.S. Transportation Security Administration.

The poor performance prompted a Chicago-area congressman, Mark Kirk, to seek a high-level meeting with U.S. Department of Homeland Security officials to see what can be done immediately to shore up checkpoint security at the airport.

The failure rate was even worse—about 75 percent—among TSA screeners at Los Angeles International Airport, according to the classified report.

Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke called in to verify that political correctness has sunk too deeply into our screening process at airports.

I submit there is a certain profile of those individuals who have attempted terrorist acts and who are most likely to attempt them in the future. They are not octogenarians in wheelchairs the TSA seems obsessed with pulling over to the side and asking to disrobe.

I also devoted a segment on WISN weeks ago to a new absurd screening process that turns these same imbecilic TSA workers into psychiatrists by having them approach anyone who looks remotely strange. The TSA “Sherlock Holmes” then proceeds to ask a series of personal questions. Failure to cooperate with the Neanderthal is not advised.

Here are more details. I’m not surprised the TSA folks flunked miserably when it came to picking out fake bombs. They wouldn’t know an explosive from an electric razor.

Our nation’s airports are not very safe. It’s an outrage caused by the fact we have ineffective people using ineffective screening measures.

 

40 Days for Life

This fall, 89 cities in 33 states across the nation (including Milwaukee) are uniting for a unique pro-life campaign called 40 Days for Life.

The campaign began on September 26 and runs through November 4.

The goal is to silently and prayerfully stand vigil outside abortion clinics, 24 hours a day, for 40 consecutive days.

In Milwaukee, the vigil is being held on the sidewalk outside Affiliated Medical at 1428 N. Farwell.

I don’t know about you, but in my book, that’s a news story.

I’ve been in the news business for 30 years. Whenever a Republican President came to town, and there was a band of liberal protesters gathered outside the venue for the appearance, no matter how small the group, the newspaper and the TV stations were always there to give the placard holders coverage.

So it’s only logical that a 24-hour vigil outside the same place for 40 straight days would fall under the category of bona fide news.

Ahhhh……but this is the news media we’re talking about. Not too many conservatives in the bunch, or running the news shops. Throw in the abortion issue, and news departments decide they’re not going near this one.

Kudos to Milwaukee Journal/Sentinel columnist Patrick McIlheran who wrote a lengthy column in today’s paper about the vigil. To my knowledge, this is the first reference the paper gave to this vigil.

Can you imagine if a sit-down protest was held outside the office of Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker. You think the press would be on top of that baby?

All you liberals, close your eyes, click your feet together and repeat after me:

There is no bias in the media.

There is no bias in the media.

There is no bias in the media.

Right.

Susan Komen Foundation funds Planned Parenthood

In a blog entry I posted last week, I directed attention to a group called, “Breast Cancer Action” that has raised questions about where the money supposedly raised for breast cancer research is actually going.

The San Francisco-based group might be on to something. 

According to lifeissues.org, the Susan Komen Foundation, by its own admission on its very own website, has been awarding financial grants to Planned Parenthood clinics all across the country. Here are some excerpts from the lifeissues.org fact sheet on Susan Komen grants to Planned Parenthood (compiled August 2005):

 
  • In the United States, there are about 115 Susan G. Komen affiliates. Of these, at least 112 sponsor a Race for the Cure to raise money for breast cancer awareness and research. To date, at least 43 of these Affiliates have given grants to Planned Parenthood Centers or other abortion clinics totaling more than 100 grants given across the nation to Planned Parenthood and other abortion clinics since 1998.
  • Of the 50 states, at least 22 states have Komen affiliates that grant money to Planned Parenthood or other abortion clinics.
  • Since the Susan G. Komen Foundation began giving grants to Planned Parenthood, purportedly for breast health services, the number of women receiving breast health services from Planned Parenthood has decreased. According to Planned Parenthood’s 2003-04 Annual Report, abortions increased by 14,000 in 2002-03, while breast exams decreased by more than 141, 000.

 

This is appalling. If I’m donating to a group like the Susan Komen Foundation under the pretense that the money is going to fund breast cancer research, I, personally would be very upset to learn the Foundation gives money to a disgusting organization whose main purpose is to provide abortions. That is extremely disingenuous on the part of the Susan Komen Foundation.

Groups that fund breast cancer research or any other noteworthy cause need to be more upfront and transparent about where their donations go.

Culinary no-no #23

Culinary no-no's

A special bonus Culinary no-no today.

OK, so call me a square.

Maybe I’m not so cool or hip or trendy.
 

But I see nothing (no pun intended) appealing about the European concept of “dining in the dark” that has now reached the U.S. in, of course, Los Angeles. 

The restaurant is called, “Opaque,” where diners eat in total darkness.

You can’t see your hand in front of your face.
 

Here’s a review.

And here’s the restaurant’s website. There’s a spot to click on a link to actually see a video report on Opaque.

Dining in the dark?

No thanks.


PREVIOUS CULINARY NO-NO’S

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…..like 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

KRM a foolish idea

I would love to come on my blog and be able to write that once, just once, Greg Kowalski was correct on a political issue.

Not today.

Greg laments that the KRM commuter rail won't be part of the next state budget.

Almost as nutty as light rail, the KRM project would be a major boondoggle funded by tax increases that very few would ride.

Don't take my word for it. Read the analysis that the author of the Racine-based REAL DEBATE WISCONSIN blog has come up with. He calls it "idiocy" that would do more harm than good.

It's a good thing there wasn't a fire in Greendale last Wednesday

That was the day of the anti-tax rally in Madison where this photo was taken and where union members, like the ones in the photo, were on hand to try to disrupt those calling for tax cuts.

HT: Dad29

Let's play THE FAMILY FEUD!

 

Hey, everybody……


It’s time to play…….


The Franklin edition of…….


THE FAMILY FEUD!!!!!!!



Everyone knows how to play the Family Feud, but in case you need to refresh your memory, here is the original host of this popular game show, Richard Dawson, with an actual question from the TV show.


Ready?


Speakers turned up, please.


Take it away, Richard!



Of course you remember!
  


So, click HERE, and let’s get ready to play the Feud!



We asked 100 residents of Franklin to identify what this is a picture of:
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Who says Republicans have no sense of humor?

They sure were funny, and right on the money, last night!

President Bush honors Michael Murphy

Fred Keller and I have both blogged about the incredible Michael Murphy, the NAVY Seal. Today, President Bush presented Murphy's family with his Medal of Honor during a ceremony at the White House.

ABC News reports:


President Bush publicly honored a fallen Navy SEAL Monday by presenting his grieving parents with the Medal of Honor and privately honored their sacrifice by wearing a dogtag they'd given him moments before. An emotional White House ceremony awarded posthumously the nation's highest military honor for valor to Lt. Michael Murphy, of Patchogue, N.Y. the first given for combat in Afghanistan.

Before the emotional ceremony, Murphy's parents Dan and Maureen Murphy met with President Bush and gave him a gold dog tag in tribute to their son.

"What we were most touched by was that the president immediately put that on underneath his shirt, and when he made the presentation of the Medal of Honor, he wore that against his chest," said the father.

After the ceremony, Dan Murphy said, Bush told the family: "I was inspired by having Michael next to my chest."

The father, who fought back tears during the ceremony, said they were "deeply moved" by Bush's gesture
. 

Here is a link to a site with a video clip of today's White House ceremony.

 

20 years of liberal bias in the media

Kevin's favorites

Remember, there is no liberal bias in the news media.

None at all.

Even so, the Media Research Center in its watchdog role has been able to find numerous examples for the past 20 years.

To mark the MRC’s 20th anniversary, it has compiled its list of the most outrageous examples of media bias.

Watch, enjoy, and keep in mind as you view these clips what the lefties moan and groan and whine all the time: There is no liberal bias in the media.

Playoff action tonight

Don't forget, Franklin is at Waterford tonight at 7:00 for their playoff opener. Both teams are on big winning streaks. From jsonline.com: 

WIAA Division 2 Football Preview

Defending champion: Franklin, a 36-29 overtime winner over Brookfield Central.

Top-seeded teams: Tomah (8-1), Kimberly (9-0), Waunakee (9-0), Waterford (7-2).

Read more

Internet anonymity as bad as Internet porn

I have no qualms whatsoever about people disagreeing with my views. In my line of work, I face the possibility every day and deal with it.

I’m proud of my extensive journalistic background. My peers, listeners and viewers have recognized my body of work, and my bio includes, as former Milwaukee Journal media critic Mike Drew once said, a “trunkload of awards.”

Even so, I recognize that ever since I was thrust into a role of offering opinions on the air and now in print, not everyone will always agree. Where I draw the line is being called a liar. For decades I’ve built a career on reporting the truth. The opinions I broadcast are based on research I’ve conducted and experiences I’ve had that have helped me form those views. I have never lied on the air or in print.

In the summer of 2006, state Representative Tony Staskunas (D-West Allis) wrote, on his letterhead, to an individual that I had lied on WISN about him and a legislative issue.

I got a hold of the letter, and the next time I filled in on WISN, I shot holes in Staskunas’ contention and essentially called him out. After discrediting his argument, I invited him to call me on the air, come to my office, talk to me in the Capitol hallway, or send me an e-mail if he still believed I had lied. I have never heard from him.

Last week, an anonymous individual wrote in the comments section of one of FranklinNOW blogger Greg Kowalski’s entries that I was a liar. This person was proven wrong, so I and others suggested the comments be deleted and that an apology should be made.

Kowalski simply didn’t know what to do and even e-mailed me privately to express his difficulty about how to proceed. I quickly responded that if he didn’t know what to do, it was pretty sad.

Kowalski allowed the offensive, derogatory, and utterly false comments to stay on his blog. I made the decision that the anonymous individual would no longer be allowed to place comments on my blog, and because Kowalski failed miserably in doing the appropriate decent thing, then he, too, would be banned from commenting on my blog.

The anonymous offender was even allowed to call me a liar a second time on Kowalski’s blog, and later, offer a far less than sincere apology. As of this posting, both statements calling me a liar are still up on Kowalski’s blog.

Today, talk show host and author Dennis Prager has written a column about his view that Internet anonymity is just as destructive as Internet porn. Prager writes, in part:

“There is something at least as awful -- and arguably more destructive -- that permeates the Internet: the lies, vitriol, obscenities and ad hominem attacks made by anonymous individuals on almost every website that deals with public issues.

Being identifiable breeds responsibility; anonymity breeds irresponsibility.”

I urge you to read Prager’s column in its entirety. Take special note of his last paragraph where Prager offers his own solution about individuals like the gutless coward who falsely accused me of lying.

 

Senate Democrats to dump leader?

Rumor at the state Capitol is that Democrats who control the state Senate will meet Wednesday to elect a new Majority Leader. 

Judy Robson is out.

Russ Decker has the votes to replace her.

Why dump Robson?

Some Senate Democrats are upset Robson couldn't get the Senate Democrats' government health care plan include din the state bduget approved tonight.

Note: Decker's cheif of staff is former Senate Majority Leader Chuck Chvala's wife.

Incredible.

Democrats in the majority in the Senate stage a coup on the day the budget is finally passed.

Read more

Franklin's season is over

In any sport, at any level, it is very difficult to repeats as champions.

Franklin's football team found that out this season.

After losing four in a row, the Sabers went on a great run of four straight victories to make the playoffs and earn the chance to defend their state title.

The rollercoaster ride stopped tonight. Franklin could not beat the #1 seed Waterford, losing 33-15.

The Sabers finish the season at 5-5. Waterford is now 8-2

Greg Kowalski steps in it.....AGAIN!

It never ceases to amaze me. Greg Kowalski never fails to disappoint.

Early Tuesday, Kowalski’s chest must have been huffing and puffing. He must have been in a gleeful mood, thinking finally that once, just one time he had caught that no-good Kevin Fischer in an actual GOTCHA moment.

He wrote in his blog, “One sentence truly sums it up” (How does he come up with those sexy titles, like TODAY’S CONCERNS) the following:

Fischer notes in his blog, Citizen involvement doesn't end with abolishment of Environmental Commission, that:

Several members of the current Franklin School Board ran unopposed in April. That’s disgraceful. You now have members on the School Board that weren’t elected by anybody.

What he fails to acknowledge is the fact that all Common Council members up for re-election in April were also running unopposed. Isn't that a tad disgraceful too, Kevin? Or is your allegiance to the Common Council finally unraveling before our eyes...

Oooooooooooooooohhh.

This is a real toughie.

Outsmarted by Greg Kowalski?

I don’t think so.

LET’S GO THROUGH THIS NICE AND EASY, NICE AND SLOW SO THAT EVEN GREG KOWALSKI CAN UNDERSTAND.

We begin with my quote that Greg re-printed:

Several members of the current Franklin School Board ran unopposed in April. That’s disgraceful. You now have members on the School Board that weren’t elected by anybody.

Actually all three Franklin School Board members who were elected in April ran unopposed.
Two of the three were NOT incumbents.

That means (am I going too fast, Greg?) that they are now on the School Board, after running against and beating….nobody.

Reporter John Neville of FranklinNOW wrote at the time:

Jeff Traylor and David Szychlinski were elected to three-year terms on the at-large, seven-member School Board. Debbie Larson, the only board incumbent running in that race, was elected to a new term. School Board incumbents Tom Walsh and John Hedstrom chose not to seek new terms, thus leading to the uncontested election for that panel.

So, to repeat, two of the three School Board members elected in April were not incumbents, ran unopposed and waltzed into office without facing any challenge.

Now, back to Kowalski’s “I GOT KEVIN FISCHER” blog. He continues:

What he (Fischer) fails to acknowledge is the fact that all Common Council members up for re-election in April were also running unopposed. Isn't that a tad disgraceful too, Kevin? Or is your allegiance to the Common Council finally unraveling before our eyes...

Oh, yes, the three seats on the Franklin Common Council were won by candidates who ran unopposed. That’s true.

BUT THEY WERE INCUMBENTS!

THEY HAD ALREADY BEEN ELECTED!

Would it have been good for the process to see some contested races for Alderman last April? Of course.

However, you think maybe, just maybe no one decided to run against Steve Olson, Timothy Solomon and Lyle Sohns because people were happy with the job they were doing?

So, you see, it’s far more upsetting that School Board members got in just by signing and compiling their nomination papers. Franklin had no choice but to accept these individuals, and now they’re going to jack up our school taxes.

There is a big difference that Kowalski apparently doesn’t see or understand.

The Aldermen who ran unopposed were accountable, having been elected years before and having taken votes and positions on key issues. The electorate knew what they were getting. The same could not be said for the unopposed School Board candidates.

Capiche?

TRANSLATION FOR GREG KOWALSKI:  Do you understand?

Probably not.

This is like shooting fish in a barrel.

Poor Greg is in way over his head.

He needs to do two things:

1) Pick fights or debates on issues he truly understands, like pie and appetizers.

2) THINK before hitting that “send” button.

Yes, indeed.

Like fish in a barrel.

Kicking some axe

She's 4 foot 5 and weighs 90 lb.

Watch.

Who are you rooting for in the World Series?

The World Series opens tonight in Boston with the Red Sox taking on the Colorado Rockies.

I can’t stand the Red Sox and I’m not that thrilled with the Rockies, either. So, with Colorado being the lesser of two evils, I’m plugging for the National League Champs.

But I needed a little more incentive; I needed a better reason to cheer for the Rockies.

And I’ve found it, in a story you may already know.

In a classy gesture earlier this month, The Colorado Rockies players voted a full share of playoff money to Amanda Coolbaugh, whose husband Mike was killed when a line drive struck him in the head during a minor-league game this summer.

Coolbaugh, a former player with the Milwaukee Brewers, was first-base coach for the Tulsa Drillers, Colorado’s Double-A farm club. Coolbaugh was 35 when he died on July 22. As he trained his gaze on a runner at first, a foul line drive struck him just below and slightly behind his left ear, crushing an artery against a bone. The artery burst. Coolbaugh died almost instantly.

A columnist for the Denver Post wrote last week, “For more than a century, the sport has been passed from fathers to sons, every red stitch on the baseball a little piece of paternal pride. Everybody who truly loves the game is family.

How else to explain that Rockies players, none of whom ever turned a double play or shared a bag of sunflower seeds with Coolbaugh, voted a full playoff share to a deceased man who worked in the organization less than a month? Should Colorado advance to the World Series, the gift could be worth more than $300,000. Now that's a team with heart.

“When I heard what the players did, I almost cried," Rockies general manager Dan O'Dowd recently said.”

S.L. Price wrote an amazing article in Sports Illustrated (SI) last month about the Coolbaugh's and the man who hit the line drive that killed Coolbaugh, Tino Sanchez. Sanchez now has to live with that reminder the rest of his life. The SI article reads, in part:

Eyewitnesses declared that they saw the ball strike Coolbaugh in the temple. But the sound of impact wasn't that of ball on bone; it was more muffled, and a preliminary autopsy released two days later found that the ball hit Coolbaugh about half an inch below and behind his left ear. The impact crushed his left vertebral artery -- which carries blood from the spinal column to the brain -- against the left first cervical vertebra, at the base of Coolbaugh's skull. Squeezed almost literally between a rock and a hard place, the artery burst. A severe brain hemorrhage ensued. Mark Malcolm, the Pulaski County coroner who performed the autopsy, says he's never seen a case like it in his 21 years of work. "Man, that's a one-in-bazillion chance," Malcolm says. "A half a hair in either direction and it wouldn't have killed him."

Coolbaugh fell to his back, his hands landing on either side of his head. Sanchez bolted out of the batter's box and up the first base line, reaching Coolbaugh first. Coolbaugh's eyes were rolling up into his head. His mouth spewed a whitish foam; his body convulsed. Sanchez backed up, sank to his knees and dropped his head into his hands.

The two team trainers and the three doctors who came out of the stands raced to the prone figure. Within seconds Coolbaugh had stopped breathing. He was given oxygen and hooked up to a defibrillator. An ambulance was called………….

Sanchez was standing now, praying for Coolbaugh to be O.K. He also begged God, Please don't do this to me. Then he heard someone near Coolbaugh say, "Don't go, Mike! Come back!"

He'll never be completely free. "I took his life away," Sanchez says, "and he took a part of my heart with him."

Before tonight’s Game 1 of the World Series, I hope that you will find a few minutes to read the SI article in its entirety.

Hey, Mike, this one’s for you.

Go Rockies!

 

I'm on WISN

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

If you don't want sex predators moving into your neighborhood, you'll want to tune in.

A classy National Anthem.....for a change

I detest celebrities who murder the National Anthem before major sporting events, especially singers who, in a feeble attempt to imitate Mariah Carey, end up warbling every word.

No chance of that tonight at Game 1 of the World Series.

The Boston Pops Orchestra, directed by Grammy-winning composer John Williams, will perform the Star Spangled Banner.

UPDATE:

Actress/pop singer Ashanti takes over for "God Bless America'' during the seventh-inning stretch in Game 1

James Taylor, a Fenway Park regular, is scheduled to sing the Anthem before Game 2, with Boyz II Men performing "God Bless America'' in the seventh inning.

Read more

How we treat our military


In recent days, I have blogged about why conservatives love the military and President Bush honoring fallen Navy Seal Michael Murphy.

So, how do liberals treat the military?

I’ve blogged that some, not all, but a good many of them want the U.S. to lose in Iraq.

How do liberal leaders regard the military? Let’s take a look.

House Democrats have refused to pass a bill naming a veterans' hospital after a Korean War Hero.

According to the Associated Press, Raymond Murphy, who was awarded a Medal of Honor for his service during the Korean War, died in April at the age of 77. The cause was a form of dementia related to Alzheimer’s disease.

Murphy retired in 1997 from a 23-year career as director of veterans services in the Albuquerque regional office of the Veterans Affairs Department. In January, New Mexico’s senators introduced Congressional legislation to name the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Albuquerque in honor of Murphy.

In 1953, as a Marine second lieutenant, he led his platoon to take a hill even though he was painfully wounded, and he then made several trips up and down the hill to rescue others. He remained behind with a rifle to cover the departure of his men from the hill and organized a search party for missing marines.

“Wounded a second time while conducting the entire force to the line of departure through a continuing barrage of enemy small-arms, artillery and mortar fire, he again refused medical assistance until assured that every one of his men, including all casualties, had preceded him to the main lines,” according to his medal citation.

Despite the support from New Mexico’s two U.S. Senators and other political leaders, Democrats in the House will not approve a measure to rename a VA Center in New Mexico after Murphy. Efforts to rename the facility began while Murphy was alive. Even after Murphy's death, House Democrats will not honor him.

Watch this video from a few months ago.

The gentleman with the sheepish grin playing foolish parliamentary games is the chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, Congressman Bob Filner (D-California).

 

Read more

Anti-war lunatics get arrested before Rice testimony

Protester Desiree Farooz confronts Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in a photograph taken today by Charles Dharapak of the Associated Press.

Rice was preparing to testify before the House Foreign Affairs Committee when she encountered Farooz inside the hearing room. Farooz had painted her hands red, apparently to symbolize her group's claim that members of President Bush's cabinet have blood on their hands because of the way they've waged war in Iraq.

Watch the raw video.

There's more footage of wackos making complete asses of themeselves.

Here's an arrest taking place inside the Congressional Hearing Room.

Read more

It's beginning to look a lot like.....

You guessed it.

Here's a larger image.

Have you contacted School Board members yet?

Franklin budgets

You have less than one week before the next Franklin School Board meeting, scheduled for October 31.

A whopping 5.6% school tax levy increase is at stake.

Meanwhile, this was reported in today’s Kenosha News:

School districts can stop wringing their hands over how much aid they will receive from the state and, in turn, how much they will have to levy from property taxpayers. (now that there is a state budget)

With no state budget in sight Oct. 15 - the statutory deadline for the state Department of Public Instruction to certify aid amounts to school districts - schools were provided with projected figures that assumed the total pool of aid would go unchanged from the previous biennial budget.

Because of that, local districts prepared to increase their property tax levies, to pay for their operations while making up for lost growth in state aid.

Patrick Gasper, a Department of Public Instruction spokesman, said state law now requires those higher levies will remain intact, despite the fact that the soon-to-be-adopted budget includes a 2.1 percent increase in aid this year.

Gasper said taxpayers will be made whole by a school property tax credit on their tax bills, which is intended to counterbalance the additional school levy they will be forced to pay.

Overall, the tax bill on the average, $170,000 Wisconsin home is expected to rise $98 over the next two years, according to a Legislative Fiscal Bureau report.

Did you catch that?

…..the soon-to-be-adopted (state) budget includes a 2.1 percent increase in (school) aid this year.

I submit a 5.6% school tax levy increase is not only unnecessary but irresponsible.


FRANKLIN SCHOOL BOARD MEMBERS ARE PLANNING A 5.6% INCREASE IN THE SCHOOL TAX LEVY, AND ANOTHER HUGE REFERENDUM. CONTACT SCHOOL BOARD MEMBERS NOW TO TELL THEM YOU OPPOSE BIG TAX INCREASES!

Rapid progress at Sendik's

Preparations at Sendik’s at 51st and Rawson for the target October 31st opening are moving along swiftly.

The shelves are about 99% stocked.

The liquor/wine area is almost fully stocked.

Right next to the spirits, the cheese area, not exactly a cheese room as it was called in one previous reader comment has been staffed and wheels of cheese are being worked on.

Some products have been put in refrigerators.

Some packaged frozen meats and seafood are out.

A large greeting card area is almost filled, and probably will be by the time you read this.

A customer service area at the front of the store has been installed.

Computer screens/scanners at the checkouts are in place and employees are being trained on how to use them.

Shopping carts are inside the entrances and ready to go.

One of the first things you’ll see when you walk in is a display featuring Thanksgiving gifts.

The selection of Christmas trees has grown.

Each area seems to have at least something already in place save one: fresh flowers.

I’m not suggesting Sendik’s could open early, but at the rate they’re progressing, it looks like they could.

It appears October 31st won’t be a problem.

More liberal hatred for our military

Topics talked about on WISN

This time from a liberal syndicated cartoonist, Ted Rall.

Words can't describe how offensive his latest cartoon is.

I hope to talk about it today on WISN.

Take a look.

More about liberal cartoonist Ted Rall

Topics talked about on WISN

I was literally swamped with phone calls at WISN today as I devoted a segment to nationally syndicated liberal cartoonist Ted Rall and his vicious, ignorant, extremely offensive cartoon trashing our brave soldiers in Iraq.

I’m also receiving a large number of e-mails and my blog entry has been deluged with hits.

As I mentioned on WISN today, Ted Rall, who also writes columns, is no stranger to controversy.

Three characters in a Rall strip described Pat Tillman as an "idiot" a "sap" and a "hero", respectively, for abandoning his NFL career to enlist in the armed forces. Tillman is depicted saying "Sign me up, as long as I get to kill Arabs."

In a June 8, 2004, blog entry published shortly after the death of Ronald Reagan, Rall said Reagan is "turning crispy brown right about now," suggesting that he is burning in Hell because of his policies.

Here’s what Michelle Malkin has written about Mall.
If you’d like to send an e-mail to Mall, here’s how, complete with Rall’s imposed guidelines.

If you e-mail Rall about this cartoon (it’s his 10/22/07 cartoon) and he responds, I’d appreciate if you’d share his reply with me.

 

Why every Conservative should thank Barry Manilow

Topics talked about on WISN

Today while subbing on Newstalk 1130 WISN, I hoped to get to mention why every Conservative in America owes a debt of gratitude to Barry Manilow.

As strange as that sounds, it’s absolutely true.

As promised, here’s a column written by Phoenix talk show host Andrew Tallman I didn’t have time for on  today’s show:


What I Learned About Liberalism From Barry Manilow
By Andrew Tallman
Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Barry Manilow recently gave a seminar on liberalism. Oh, not intentionally, of course. But sometimes unintentional seminars are the most instructive of all.

It all started when the singer suddenly cancelled his September 18th appearance on the television show “The View.” This statement was posted on Manilow’s Web site on the 17th:

I wanted to let you know that I will no longer be on “The View” tomorrow as scheduled. I had made a request that I be interviewed by Joy, Barbara or Whoopi, but not Elisabeth Hasselbeck. Unfortunately, the show was not willing to accommodate this simple request so I bowed out. It’s really too bad because I’ve always been a big supporter of the show, but I cannot compromise my beliefs. The good news is that I will be on a whole slew of other shows promoting the new album so I hope you can catch me on those.

A
lthough he had appeared twice in the past year without conditions, the fuss between Elisabeth Hasselbeck and Rosie O’Donnell back in May changed all of that. As a close friend of Rosie’s and a large Democratic contributor, Manilow didn’t relish the idea of putting himself anywhere near the token conservative. As he told TMZ, “I strongly disagree with her views. I think she’s dangerous and offensive. I will not be on the same stage as her.” When “The View” refused his “simple” request, he declined to appear.

Or did he?

Barbara Walters discussed the event on her radio show with Bill Geddie, her co-executive producer. According to them, Manilow didn’t cancel “The View.” They cancelled him. Geddie explained it this way: “He said, ‘I’ll do Barbara and Whoopi or I’ll do Whoopi and Sherri or some combination, but I won’t sit with Elisabeth,’ and I said ‘Well, then you won’t be on the show. It’s that simple. And that was the end of it. He’s not going to call the shots. You’re not going to tell me how to produce the show.”

So what did Barry Manilow teach me about liberals through all of this?

1. Liberals are very confident in their views. In fact, Manilow is so confident that he doesn’t even feel the need to demonstrate the fact in a public discussion. He’s like the kid on the baseball team who is so much better than the other players that he doesn’t even want the coach to put him in the game. Some people think this is because he can’t really play his position, but that’s only because they don’t realize how good he is.

2. Liberals really believe in free speech. Regrettably, truth is fragile and must be protected from dangerous people like conservatives. Free speech, therefore, means letting a wide variety of liberals speak as freely as possible. This is called diversity. As a good liberal, Barry Manilow opposes all forms of censorship and wants to ensure that everyone who agrees with him has full freedom of speech.

3. Liberals think clearly. Barry said that he really supports the show, which can only mean he believes in robust debate. When he also says that appearing on “The View” with Hasselbeck would compromise his principles, we must infer that he has an even stronger personal conviction that’s it’s wrong to actually be a participant in such debates. One wonders whether Barry thinks that Barbara, Joy, and Whoopi are also compromising their values by being on stage with her. Then again, their value systems probably just aren’t as refined and contradiction-free as his.

4. Liberals are friends of the minority. Of the five people, including Barry, four of them would have been liberal or liberal-leaning. You might think Barry would champion Elisabeth in her underdog status, but you would be forgetting that minorities only count as minorities when they agree with liberals. “Conservative minority” is, by definition, a contradiction. This is confusing when the conservative is a woman, often considered a minority. But one must remember that conservative women are really gender-traitors, so it’s okay.

5. Liberals are gracious to their enemies. As Manilow told one reporter, “I will not be on the same stage as her.” Given Barry’s obvious self-confidence, he probably didn’t want to risk crushing poor Elisabeth’s fragile mind with his overpoweringly rigorous political philosophy. Since he also called her “dangerous,” you might think he’d want to stop her from harming others. He must have meant that she’s only dangerous if his glorious presence on the show entices other, less-confident liberals to watch and risk being infected by her.

6. Liberals are very good at thinking ahead. Although the spat between Rosie and Elisabeth leading to Rosie leaving “The View” happened three months ago, Manilow wisely decided to make his demands the day before his show was to air. Sure, he could have declined to book the appearance in the first place or cancelled earlier, but only people who plan poorly would do that. Then, when reporters wanted to ask Barry about his provocative comments, he became frustrated, even telling one Fox TV reporter, "Alright, stop! I'm sorry this thing had to happen. Let's just talk about the album, OK?" If only all of these developments weren’t so darned impossible to foresee!
7. Liberals are honest to a fault. “I bowed out” is virtually the same thing as “They refused my silly request.” Only a grammar-Nazi would think otherwise. Besides, we all know Barbara Walters’ terrible reputation for deception over her four decades of broadcast journalism. Anyone who says Manilow’s statements were self-serving or misleading just hasn’t plumbed the depths of his honesty yet.

8. Liberals are not their own worst enemies. Whereas Elisabeth, the lone conservative-leaning voice on “The View,” sticks it out day after day with as much grace and eloquence as she can muster, Barry writes songs, attends hair-frosting parties and throws darts from a distance at people he dislikes.

The contrast between Elisabeth’s conservatism and Barry’s liberalism is stark. With role models like Barry Manilow, it’s amazing everyone isn’t a liberal already.

Andrew Tallman is host of The Andrew Tallman Show on AM 1360 KPXQ from 5-7PM weekdays in Phoenix, AZ.
 

 

Free liquor samples in the state budget

Several months ago, the state Legislature approved and Governor Doyle signed into law a bill that allows grocery and liquor stores to offer up to two taste samples of beer of not more than three ounces each. The samples can be given free of charge between the hours of 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. to customers and visitors of legal drinking age. The beer samples, that amount to about a half can of beer have to be consumed on the premises.

Prior to this law, stores could offer free wine samples, but not beer.

This week, the Legislature approved a state budget that includes a provision that allows liquor and grocery stores to hand out free samples of liquor. Each customer could have up to three samples of half an ounce or less, or about a shot-and-a-half. Stores could offer the samples between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m.

The provision regarding liquor is consistent with the laws on wine and beer.

I support all of these laws because they’re good for business and tourism.

However, the provision on free liquor samples had no business being inserted into the budget compromise at the last minute. Like the bills on fee wine and beer samples, the free liquor sample proposal is a policy item and should have been submitted as separate legislation and debated, on its merits, in the legislative process.

Governor Doyle signs the budget later today and he’s not commenting on whether he’ll veto the free liquor samples.

Let’s forget about the free samples causing people to overindulge  and cause havoc on the roads.

Even the executive director of Mothers Against Drunk Driving in Wisconsin, Kari Kinnard has said she doesn’t believe 1.5 ounces of liquor would be enough to put drivers over the legal limit. But she still wants a veto.

If the Governor vetoes this measure, it better be because it’s a policy item that didn’t belong in the budget.

That’s the only reason the veto pen should come out. Otherwise, the free sample idea is one with merits.

 

Woe is us

I stumbled across this 2005 article while doing some research and it has me wondering if the situation has improved at all.....

Probably not.

Tonight's topics on InterCHANGE

InterCHANGE

Here are the UPDATED topics my colleagues and I discuss tonight on InterCHANGE on Milwaukee Public Television Channel 10 at 6:30 (repeat Sunday morning at 11:00):

1- Doyle signs budget

Governor Doyle vetoes the part of the budget which would have limited how much local municipalities could raise property taxes levies. He also vetoes the part of the budget which would have limited how much technical colleges could raise in requested property tax money. Did he double-cross legislators who wanted those controls? Did he disappoint taxpayers?

2 - Police report

Interesting how a report/study that suggests Milwaukee's Police Department needs more civilian employees to take the place of sworn officers is released the day after the public has the opportunity to question the candidates. It's pretty obvious that the person selected for the job will be the one who agrees with the Mayor, and with the suggestions that the city might not need as many sworn officers as some had thought. Good idea, or bad idea?

3 – School Choice.

Even some of the staunchest supporters of school choice are now admitting that it is not working exactly as it was intended, and exactly as had been hoped it would work.  Is that any reason to scale back the program, or should we continue to go ahead and try to expand it?  Is it not working because many families are even more dysfunctional than school choice supporters had realized?  Is it working at all?  Has school choice forced public schools to improve?  Looking at the number of people taking part, is it a choice that parents have embraced?

4 – Cigarette Tax.Wisconsin will move into the mid-tier of states when the state tax on cigarettes goes from the current $0.77 per pack to $1.77 per pack.  Combined with the federal tax of $0.39 per pack, that makes the tax alone on a pack of cigarettes here $2.16, not including the state and local sales taxes.  Is that too high?  Not high enough?  When will it stop?  Should Milwaukee look into enacting a cigarette tax?  Some communities (see chart above) also charge county and local municipality specific taxes on a pack of cigarettes as well (e.g. Chicago Tax: $0.68 + Cook County Tax $2.00 + Illinois Tax $0.98 + Fed Tax $0.39 = $4.02 tax on a pack of cigarettes in the City of Chicago.)  Is it justifiable because it’s a tax on a product that is addicting?  On a product that kills?  Because the majority of people don’t smoke?  It is, after all, a legal product. So is gasoline, and we tax that like crazy as well.  Are we moving towards becoming a smoke-free society?

 

Jim Doyle then.....Jim Doyle now

I dug up the following blog I posted back on January 30 of this year.

Take note of item #’s 6 and 8.


Here are the top 10 statements you won’t hear Governor Doyle make when he delivers his State of the State address tonight:

10) “The state is $1.6 billion in the hole. Since I am the Governor, I am responsible for this massive deficit.”

9) “We’re very interested in businesses that want to obtain a state contract. All they have to do is write me a substantial check.”

8) “Our taxes and fees in Wisconsin aren’t high enough. That’s why auto license and registration fees and cigarette taxes have to go up.”

7) “We have to lift the QEO so Wisconsin property taxes can remain the highest in the nation.”

6) “Yes I came up with plans to raise fees and taxes and lift the QEO before the November election. Why didn’t I mention them? Are you crazy?”

5) “Unfortunately, the Department of Revenue sent out 170-thousand income tax forms to taxpayers and put their Social Security numbers for anyone to see right on the labels. But I fixed it. I took the Department of Revenue Secretary, and promoted him to Department of Administration Secretary.”

4) “Wisconsin is a state where you don’t have to provide proper identification to prove you are who you say you are when you vote because I vetoed the photo ID bill not once but three times.”

3) “Wisconsin remains one of only two states in the country where law-abiding citizens who have undergone extensive training and background checks cannot carry a concealed weapon to exercise their Second Amendment Rights and protect themselves and others.”

2) “There is a huge deficit in the Transportation Fund. That deficit was created when I raided the fund of $427-million in the last budget to give to schools. WEAC was very pleased. We might need a gas tax increase to plug the deficit.”

And the #1 statement you won’t hear the Governor make in his State of the State address tonight:

“Yes, I am still being investigated by the FBI.”

 

Where's Robert Goulet when you need him?

Why is it so difficult to find a decent performer(s) to sing/play the National Anthem at a nationally televised sporting event?

Carrie Underwood has been selected to sing the anthem before Game 3 of the World Series Saturday.

But not everyone is happy.

Jennifer, the answer is NO!

Guys, has this or anything similar ever happened to you?

You know how women operate.

Sometimes, they’re not very direct. They’re just the opposite, very subtle.

The other day, my wife rather innocently asked me if I had by chance seen this year’s edition of the Victoria's Secret Holiday Bra.

I played dumb.

My wife then went on to nonchalantly mention how interesting this little accessory is.

And she’s right. It’s very interesting, if that’s how you want to put it.

But I’m sorry, Jennifer.

The answer is NO!

Civility a lost art

Kevin's favorites

My blog posting, "Internet anonymity as bad as Internet porn" generated a great deal of reaction.

It made me recall an old U.S. News and Report article on civility from the mid-90's that I wrote a piece on when I was doing daily radio commentaries at WTMJ-AM.

The article was timely then and it's timely now.

10 years for consensual oral sex?

This is a great talk radio topic.

But unfortunately for now, I'm nowhere near a microphone.

 

You MUST get a flu shot

It's not the most egregious government mandate of all-time, but it could be in the top two.

Please read.

Sorry, but you know where you can stick that needle?

 

Here Susie, have some birth control: UPDATE

Here’s an update on the story involving a middle school in Maine handing out birth control to 11-year olds that gained national attention last week.

Apparently school officials have not been complying with a law that requires reporting to authorities of underage sexual activity.

That’s going to change.

God be with you, Mark

If it felt like a kick to my stomach, I can only imagine what it feels like to state Representative Mark Gundrum and his family.

My good friend and colleague is going to serve his country in Iraq.

Mark is a great guy, husband, and father, and one of the best representatives in the Wisconsin Assembly.
 Read about his upcoming deployment.

If you’d like to send Mark a note of support or encouragement, here’s his e-mail address:

mark.gundrum@legis.wisconsin.gov

 

Evacuate or stay?

Wildfires are on the verge of destroying your home.

Do you heed the order to leave, or do you remain behind and fight to try to save your property?

Elvis memorabilia destroyed

ELVIS

NOTE TO NEW READERS: I AM AN ELVIS FAN. I WILL OCCASIONALLY WRITE BLOGS ABOUT THE KING THAT I BELIEVE EVEN NON-FANS WILL ENJOY AND FIND INTERESTING. PLEASE SEE MY OTHER ELVIS BLOGS BY CLICKING ON "ELVIS" IN THE TAGS SECTION ON THIS PAGE.

Fellow blogger and Elvis fan John Michlig informed me about this news from the California wildfires:

Large Elvis memorabilia collection lost to Malibu wildfire

Here’s the story.

 

 

Week-ends

Week-ends

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...


HEROES OF THE WEEK

Every Republican in the Wisconsin Legislature who voted NO on the state budget that increased taxes and fees by close to $800-million and created a structural deficit of $892-million. 

Firefighters in California

Lydia Cacho 

Paulette Spears’ 8-year old son


VILLAINS OF THE WEEK

Governor Jim (I won’t raise your taxes) Doyle  

Steven Hayes and  Joshua Komisarjevsky  

Lisa Montgomery 

Paulette Spears (see above Heroes of the Week)

Javon Patrick Morris  

Worst parents ever? 

This Naples mother



QUOTES OF THE WEEK

"I think there is a handful of people who hate America. Unfortunately for them, a lot of them are losing their homes in a forest fire today."
Radio talk show host Glenn Beck


"They're being stupid. If more people quit smoking then they're not going to make any money.It doesn't matter what price they are.I'd just steal them."
16-year old Dustin Schade of Green Bay, on the state raising the cigarette tax.
 

"So after she does the heavy lifting for seven months, is working day and night trying to figure out a way to end an embarrassing budget impasse, at the end of the day, 'Hey, thanks for all your work and by the way we have concerns.' I think she's a little frustrated by that."
Spokesman for State Senator Judy Robson (D-Beloit), Josh Wescott. Robson was ousted by her fellow Democrats as Senate Majority Leader.

Read more

The press drops the ball on the state budget

That was quite an article the Milwaukee Journal/Sentinel did on Tuesday about all the surprises in the state budget.

The problem is that it came much too late. It was published on the morning of the day the Legislature took up, and ultimately approved the budget.

For eight months, the Wisconsin media chose not to laser in on all of the hidden taxes, fees, pork and unnecessary spending in Governor Doyle’s first budget, his second budget and the Senate Democrats’ budget.

Maybe if the taxpaying public would have heard or read more about all the junk in these budgets, there would have been more pressure to avoid adopting a document that increases taxes and fees by $763- million and creates a structural deficit of $892-million.

Someone needs to cut up Jim Doyle’s Master Card.

And the lazy press needs to wake up.

 

Loomis Road could get very busy later today

Greendale takes on Wisconsin Lutheran in a football playoff game at 4:00 this afternoon at Greendale.

That, by the way, should be a GREAT ballgame.

 

The Journal/Sentinel's shoddy reporting on school choice

As discussed last night on InterCHANGE on Milwaukee Public Television Channel 10, The Milwaukee Journal/Sentinel did a shameful job on its reporting of a school choice study this week.

The article is bogus and extremely misleading.
 

Start with the blaring headline: 

Choice may not improve schools, study says 

The reader obviously is led to believe school choice isn’t working. 

Then go on to the lead sentence: 

A study being released today suggests that school choice isn't a powerful tool for driving educational improvement in Milwaukee Public Schools.

The reader may feel even more strongly that school choice isn’t all that it’s cut out to be. This goes on until we get to a critical piece of information in the 12th, yes, the 12th paragraph: 

The new report focuses on parental choice within MPS, including parents who select schools within MPS or who use the state's open enrollment law to send their children to public schools in the suburbs. It does not discuss parents who select private schools in the publicly funded voucher program or charter schools that are not affiliated with MPS. 

Did you catch that? The study excludes the Milwaukee Parental Choice program and the independent charter public schools. These are the two major school choice options for parents.

How can you conduct a study on school choice, not consider these two major components, and come up with any definite conclusion about school choice’s impact on student achievement, especially the one that this study arrived at?

The aim of the study was to determine if MPS parents were making wise choices. And yet, the study never used any MPS data, and no MPS parents were interviewed or surveyed.
 The entire study is questionable at best and the Journal/Sentinel’s reporting is preposterous.

If the Journal/Sentinel wants to report on the effect of school choice on student achievement, Marquette University and the Brookings Institute, to name only two entities, have done extensive studies demonstrating that when students make the switch to choice, they do improve.

Here’s more on this issue from School Choice Wisconsin.

 

Jennifer, the answer is still NO!

When we last left my wife, Jennifer, she was drawing my attention to the $4.5-million Victoria’s Secret Holiday Edition bra.

I am reminded there is a much less expensive version.

Read the above title of this blog.

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)       Internet anonymity as bad as Internet porn

2)       More liberal hated for our military

3)      
Greg Kowalski steps in it……AGAIN!

4)      
Who says Republicans have no sense of humor?

5)       20 years of liberal bias in the media

 

It's like I've said so many times before...

There is no liberal bias in the media, especially at the Milwaukee Journal/Sentinel.

Every week, they pick their BEST OF THE BLOGS.
 Three of the four selections this week are writings from bloggers far to the left.  The fourth is a blog written by my friend and colleague Christian Schneider who is a conservative. But wait. The Journal/Sentinel selectively picked a portion of Schneider’s blog that criticized ASSEMBLY REPUBLICANS.

I guess conservative bloggers just weren’t good enough last week.

Here’s the Journal/Sentinel’s “BEST.”

 

Greenfield woman says think before you pink

Almost two weeks ago, I wrote about a group that has issues with the pink ribbon campaign used to raise money for and awareness about breast cancer.

 A local woman who shares those feelings has an interesting column in today’s Milwaukee Journal/Sentinel.

 

Don't knock on my door

Greg Kowalski has blogged this morning that he believes it’s still important to sign a petition to keep the Environmental and Economic Development Commissions from being eliminated.

He ends his blog entry by writing:

“I believe some volunteers will be going door-to-door during trick-or-treat time with the petition as well.”

This is not political time, or the Environmental Commission’s time, or Greg Kowalski’s time.

This is time for Franklin children and their families and friends.

If any “volunteer” stops at my front door, I will kindly refuse to sign the petition.

Want to do something useful for the community? Circulate a petition asking the Franklin School Board and the Franklin Common Council to hold the line on taxes.

Now that’s a petition I’ll gladly sign.

 

This is Halloween: What's a poor woman to do?

When it comes to Halloween costumes, for the guys, it’s quite simple.

Dress up as a vampire, Frankenstein, a superhero, or just throw on any silly mask.

For women, it’s not that easy.

Halloween is a perfect time for women to lose their inhibitions. It’s one of the rare times they can get wild and dress sexy and get away with it.

But this Halloween, the decision to go sleazy is more difficult.

After all, wasn’t the entire world told that this woman was too fat?

I’ll bet there were more than a few women who saw that and said if that’s fat, than what the hell am I?

So, thin is in, right?

Take a look at one of the brand new Halloween costumes for women this season.

I mean if this is too fat, then this should be the desired look, right?

Wrong.

Some call it offensive.

As one blogger put it:

"I am not kidding you people. Someone with some sick twisted mind for making money has created an "Anna Rexia" Halloween costume taking the term rexy to a new demented level. The sickening costume actually comes in "Regular" and "Plus" sizes.

Who would actually go out in public wearing something like this?"

One popular Internet costume site has taken Anna Rexia off its website.

Then there’s this story.

So let’s follow the bouncing belly.

Britney is too fat.

Being thin is offensive…”who’d go out in public looking like that?”

And beauty pageant gals in perfect shape are being told to hit Mc Donald’s.

Quite the dilemma for women.

Just how are they supposed to look?

Maybe the nun costume this year……

Live blogging 4pm - 7 pm today

I will be blogging during Franklin's Trick or Treat hours today, giving updates on who I spot out and about, who comes to my door, and what they're wearing.

I expect a host of interesting characters and will fill you in on all the details, 4-7.

 

3 days until your Franklin school taxes go sky-high!

FRANKLIN SCHOOL BOARD MEMBERS ARE PLANNING A 5.6% INCREASE IN THE SCHOOL TAX LEVY, AND ANOTHER HUGE REFERENDUM. CONTACT SCHOOL BOARD MEMBERS NOW TO TELL THEM YOU OPPOSE BIG TAX INCREASES!

LIVE Trick or Treat blogging begins.....

Right now!

Between now and 7:00, read about who's roaming the streets of Franklin, and in what...

FRANKLIN MAYOR TOM TAYLOR....

Lo and behold, isn't it appropriate that the first trick or treater at my door be the honorable Mayor of our great city, Tom Taylor, decked out as John Kerry.

When I asked hizzoner what he was doing, he replied, "I decided I wasn't going to go trick or treating this year.............................but I changed my mind."

Before he left, Mayor Taylor asked me if I'd be willing to serve as Chairman of a new volunteer governmental body he wants to create:

The Commission to End All Commissions.

FRANKLIN NOW BLOGGER JON ZAWACKI...

Jon just rang my doorbell a few minutes ago and insisted I stop handing out candy immediately.

"Just because the Franklin Common Council decreed that trick or treat hours be between 4 and 7 pm on Sunday October 28, 2007, and just because all these parents are walking the streets with their children, and just because all these children are dressed in costumes, and just because all these Franklin homeowners are ready to hand out candy treats for the next 2 hours and 53 minutes  and 42 seconds doesn't mean that this is a celebration in honor of Halloween, " Zawacki said.

I asked Zawacki, "Can you substantiate this?"

Zawacki said , "Yes, I can," and quickly pulled out his Hallmark events pocket calendar and pointed out to me the part marked, "OCTOBER 31, HALLOWEEN."

"This non-October 31st frivolity must end now," said Zawacki.

I sent him off, sans candy.

 

Read more

BARRY MANILOW...

Dressed as....let's see....too much make-up, lots of eye-liner....walks as good as he dances.....dressed as himself.

"Hi Barry!"

"Kevin, got your invitation to be on your show the next time you sub for Mark Belling. The answer is no. I'm committed instead to Joel McNally and Kathleen Dunn."

He then flew away.

Thanks, Barry.

FRANKLIN NOW BLOGGER BRYAN MAERSCH...

Unique costume.

President and CEO of Phillip Morris.

Hey!

Wait a minute!

Bryan!

Don't be blowin' that cigar in my face!!!!!

FORMER PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON...

"Did I hear you had cigars here?"

 

FRANKLIN SCHOOL BOARD MEMBERS...

Led by the lynnch-pin, Sue Huhn.....

Their costumes?

Armed robbers.

FRANKLIN ALDERMAN STEVE OLSON...

He came as the "after" ad for the Hair Club for Men.

Either that or he was Yul Brynner or Mr. Clean or Jim Doyle, who the hell knows....

 

MENOMONEE FALLS NOW BLOGGER KAREN TAUBENHEIM...

"OK, Fischer......forget the Milky Way. I want those silk stockings!"

 

IF YOU'RE JUST JOINING US....

Shame on you.

This is LIVE blogging of Franklin's 4-7 pm Trick or Treat celebration, with complete details on who's wandering our hallowed city streets and the get-ups they're wearing.

A FLOCK OF FRANKLIN GEESE

They quacked...no that's ducks. They did whatever geese do.

Since Jennifer and I were out of cracked corn, I shooed them away.

Sure wish we had some cracked corn to give them.

Good grief.....just look at that driveway!

HILLARY CLINTON...

"If you see Bill again, you just send him the Hell home, you got that?!"

Hillary got into a limo to musical strains of,  'Hail to the Chief."

OK.

Now I'm scared.

 

RACING SAUSAGES, HOT DOG AND BRAT....

But the two of them had shrunk!

A lot.

I think I'll switch to Usinger's.

 

THE COLORADO ROCKIES

"Kevin, could we pass on the Milk Duds? You got any extra Louisville Sluggers lying around?"

MILWAUKEE MAYOR TOM BARRETT

"So much safer here, you know"

ELVIS

"Oh man!

Say K-Fisch......you got  any....extra.....

Reese's Peanut Butter and Banana Creme cups?

Oh, yeh.

Keep 'em comin'

Yeh, baby.

A few more.

And some for Cilla, too.

Thank you!

Thank you vera much!"

FRANKLIN NOW BLOGGER FRED KELLER

"I don't want to get any messages, Fischer, that you're handing out stale, old candy to our young soliders in uniform on the front lines."

Best General George Patton I've ever seen.

FRANKLIN ENVIRONMENTAL COMMISSIONER KRISTEN WILHELM...

"Trick or Treat, Kevin"

I then offered the beaming Wilhelm some candy.

"Oh, I don't want any candy, Kevin."

"But Kristen, you said, Trick or Treat..."

Still smiling, Kristen said, "I know. I just wanted to be the first to wish you a Happy Thanksgiving."

AGAIN, IF YOU'RE JUST CHECKING IN...

We are in the final hour of live blogging on Franklin's annual Trick or Treat hours.

Wait......red suit, bright yellow boots.

It's the THE FLASH at my door.

Son of a gun.

Too late.

HULK HOGAN...

Said he's mad as hell and is looking for Steve Olson...

BRITNEY SPEARS...

Costume:

Yes, she was wearing one.

A thread or two.

"Mother of the Year."

She looked kinda fat.

 

FRANKLIN NOW BLOGGER MARJORIE PAGEL...

No costume.

No trick or treat bag.

"You mean, there is no craft fair here today?"

Sorry, Marjorie, no.

Contrary to what you may have heard or believe, I hate to make a fellow blogger cry.


FRANKLIN'S ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT COMMISSIONERS...

Dressed as Claude Rains.

VICTORIA'S SECRET MODELS...

In....

you guessed it...

Nice.

Very nice.

Read more

JIM DOYLE

Dressed as Batman nemesis, Two-Face.

 

UNFETTERED CANDOR...

Man/woman/thing/plant life that often leaves comments on blogs. He has been banned from coming on my blog.

Dressed as the Scarecrow from The Wizard of Oz.

I put nothing in his bag.

He skipped off, singing, "If I Only Had a Brain."

FRANKLIN NOW BLOGGER GREG KOWALSKI

I was all set to close up shop for the night when my last trick or treater showed up on my doorstep.

White wig.

Hatchet in hand.

Greg Kowalski as George Washington.

"I cannot tell a lie," Greg said.

No, he just allows people to spread them on his blog.

LIVE BLOGGING HAS CONCLUDED

Thank you for tuning in.

Happy Halloween!

My apologies to Fred Keller

I sent the following e-mail to fellow blogger Fred Keller just a little while ago:

I want to personally apologize to you for the malicious and incredibly heartless comments that were directed at you earlier tonight on my blog.

Though we’ve met only once, I know you to be a humble, decent, upstanding citizen and an exemplary father and husband. You were in no way deserving of the evil comments that were made about you tonight.

Those remarks were the only blemish on an exercise I intended to provide compelling and hopefully humorous insights on this holiday occasion. Though we are thick-skinned, I understand how hurtful the comments were. I accept responsibility for not removing them in time before you and others saw them.

As I have stated in the past, some individuals are fully capable of making anonymous contributions that are thought-provoking and worthy of public scrutiny. This individual is not one of them.

How tragic is it that this individual has such little happiness in his life that he/she has to resort to the slimiest of tactics.

And yet, people like you and me are called mean-spirited when in reality, there’s plenty of hatred being manufactured on the left.

I know the comments of some poor, broken down, lonely nameless coward won’t deter you or anyone else, Fred. Even so, I wanted you to know how deeply sorry I am that this pathetic individual’s statement made it even for a second on my blog.

Culinary no-no #24

Culinary no-no's

Dear Mom,

 I am about to write my blog and tell all 6 of my readers about my latest culinary no-no.

You know. I write about some food taboo every Sunday.

I’m tired. I had a long week. (That whole state budget nonsense).

But you know how you always told me to be nice to the ladies.

There’s this nice gal who also writes a blog. I met her at a bloggers’ meeting. As nice as she is, I think she’s crazy. She claims she really likes these culinary no-no’s.

She might be on to something. When I post these goofy no-no’s, I get a whole lot more people checking in, like……..11 or 12 or…..well….. a whole bunch more. So, I’ve just got to write this no-no deal before I hit the sack.

And believe me, this has been an adventure of a day, what with the Mayor and Hulk Hogan and Barry Manilow all stopping at my door for trick or treat.

I guess I’m just writing to tell you that I want to thank you for never serving us the slop I’m going to write about in my next culinary no-no.

You’re the best Mom ever.

Love, Kevin


I just discovered this culinary no-no, even though it’s been around since the Depression era.

That’s close to 80 years ago.
 

Way back then, when so many Americans were poor, it was customary to take ordinary pasta and make spaghetti. 

A popular dish was called, “Japanese” spaghetti.

You’d take the pasta and toss in some butter.
 

But then came the sacrilege.

Instead of spaghetti sauce, cooks would throw…………..

I shudder at the thought………………………………………

ketchup on the noodles.

Are you kidding me?

I’m not picky at all when it comes to eating. This strikes me as something you’d be served in Waupun or Taycheedah.

Alright.

Pasta. Toss in some butter to jazz it up.

I understand that……….the more butter the better. (Hey, my cholesterol is perfect). But Heinz? Hunt’s?

Resorting to ketchup in the 30’s because you have no idea where the next dinner is coming from…………..I get that.
 

But here’s the puzzler.

People today are still eating this (Mom, I’m sorry) crap.

They remember eating it as kids.
 So the folks that endured the Depression, God bless them, have handed it down, and those folks have handed it down, and people today are not only eating it, they’re claiming they love it. 

Hello!!!!!!!

It’s not the Depression anymore.

Not even close. 

The poorest of the poor can still settle for Ragu.

Ketchup on spaghetti??

* WARNING: NAME-DROPPING ABOUT TO TRANSPIRE*
 

Try serving that to my dear friend, Mrs. Joseph Campione (Yes, that Campione) and if she wasn’t such a lovely refined lady, she might just spit in your face. 

On a side note, my wife and I have seen the Butoni sweet Italian sausage tortellini and any other number of Butoni products at the grocery store.

Problem:
 The tortellini has raisins in it. (No-no) 

And a lot of the Butoni products sound appetizing, but unfortunately the pasta is of the whole wheat variety (another no-no). 

Why, Butoni, why?

OK, back to ketchup on spaghetti.
 

It’s not the 1930’s anymore. Let’s get real. There’s no need to put Heinz on your pasta.

That’s not just a no-no.
 

It’s a mortal sin.


PREVIOUS CULINARY NO-NO’S

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…..like 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.

Read more

2 days until your Franklin school taxes go sky-high!

FRANKLIN SCHOOL BOARD MEMBERS ARE PLANNING A 5.6% INCREASE IN THE SCHOOL TAX LEVY, AND ANOTHER HUGE REFERENDUM. CONTACT SCHOOL BOARD MEMBERS NOW TO TELL THEM YOU OPPOSE BIG TAX INCREASES!

Readers, you need to know how bloggers are supposed to treat your comments

 

Here are the guidelines the editor of this and the other community websites, Mark Maley has set down for the comments section of our blogs:


Managing comments 

Read more

To breast-feed or bust

This bill comes up for a vote Tuesday on the floor of the state Senate.

UPDATE: This bill passed on a voice vote in the state Senate on 10/30/07 and now goes to the Assembly. I doubt it will go anywhere there.

Elvis is back where he belongs

ELVIS

At #1

Here's what they're saying in Denver about tonight's game vs. The Pack

Five things to watch

Five things to watch in tonight's Packers-Broncos game, from a printable scouting report by The Denver Post's Mike Klis.

1. This ain't Vince's Packers

This matchup must have Lombardi fuming in his grave. The Packers rank 32nd, out of 32, with 65.7 yards rushing per game. The Broncos' defense ranks 32nd, out of 32, by allowing 176.2 yards. Something's got to give, or go. The Packers understand their one-dimensional ways will eventually hurt them. Look for DeShawn Wynn and Vernand Morency to get some early carries.

2. Jim Bates vs. Jim Bates

In 2005, Bates installed his defensive system for the Packers. He left after that season, but his top assistant, Bob Sanders, stayed behind to take over the Pack D. Bates is in his first season with the Broncos. There have been growing pains. The Packers execute Bates' system better than the Broncos do. Why? The Packers' front four, led by Aaron Kampman, and middle linebacker Nick Barnett are as good as they get.

3. Mile High Salute to Brett Favre

The Pack's living legend quarterback recently turned 38. He nearly retired two years ago. The Packers aren't on the Broncos' schedule in 2008 or 2009, so this is likely Favre's last appearance in Denver. Led by Favre, the Packers rank second in the NFL in passing offense. The Broncos rank second in passing defense.

4. Packer Backer crowd?

With all the excitement over the Rockies being in the World Series, there was fear an inordinate percentage of tickets for the game tonight at Invesco Field would be snatched up by Packers fans. A first down by the Packers could produce a roar similar to a first down by the Broncos.

5. More Air Cutler

Broncos running back Travis Henry was walking gingerly this week, the result of battered ribs. Broncos quarterback Jay Cutler is coming off the most efficient game of his 11-game career, posting a 106.7 rating against Pittsburgh. Packers cornerbacks Charles Woodson and Al Harris are right there with the Broncos' Champ Bailey and Dré Bly as the best cover tandem in the NFL. The Packers' defense has at least one interception in 12 consecutive games, the NFL's longest current streak. Expect Woodson and Harris to try to jump a route or two tonight.  

 

When vulgarity is OK

People just don’t how to behave.

We have read that hiding behind an alias, for some, is a license to be as obnoxious and rotten as possible on the Internet.

That provocative column made me recall an article on civility, or the lack thereof, from over 10 years ago that could just as well have been written last week.

And now, Paul Jacob writes that we’re a nation of potty-mouths.

Americans have become foul-mouthed. Vulgarity, swearing, cursing . . . such talk is everywhere, and it’s getting out of hand.

Now, I’m not perfect, but I do try to keep my own such outbursts to a minimum. Besides, my mother was right: The more you rely on profanity, the more stupid you appear. When you replace the perfect word with the common vulgarity, you appear intellectually lazy, not bright enough to retrieve from memory and deliver the truly apt nouns and verbs and adjectives.”

Jacob, of course, is absolutely right.

There is, however, a “but.”

“Yet, there’s a time and place for everything. I can more than sympathize with use of profanity when the situation merits it.”

Read on…

The un-meatball

Can anyone deny that this week’s culinary no-no, ketchup on spaghetti, is truly yucky?

Why would anyone want to ruin such a universally popular dish?

Seems only fair after being so icky that we get rid of that bad taste in our mouths and kick simple spaghetti up a notch.
 
I’m lovin’ this idea from the LA Times: the un-meatball.

Spaghetti takes a wild ride
There's nothing better than pasta and meatballs. Or is there? Our favorite comfort food gets crazy good.
By Amy Scattergood
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

October 24, 2007

Spaghetti and meatballs isn't just good comfort food, it's the kind of food that you crave with a beautiful desperation, that you secretly prefer to those precious items on chic tasting menus, that you'd want for your last meal. Be honest. You're trapped on one of those imaginary desert islands that doesn't have restaurants or takeout: What would you want to eat?

Some kind of magic happens when a plate of spaghetti is napped with red sauce and crowned with a few glorious meatballs. It's a magic that works even on average plates in forgettable eateries, with the most rudimentary of ingredients, at anyone's table and even if your grandmother was from a Methodist household in Massachusetts, as mine was, instead of the Old Country.

But if ordinary spaghetti and meatballs can suffuse your gastronomic dreams, imagine what would happen with the extraordinary. A plate of perfectly cooked pasta, a beautifully attuned tomato sauce and, instead of the familiar beef or pork meatball, how about one made with duck confit? You might just stay on that desert island.

Ontologically, at least in my book, spaghetti and meatballs require tomato sauce. Rigatoni and pesto, even topped with a terrific meatball, belongs in a totally different category. But who says you need to use meat for the meatball?

A combination of duck breast and duck confit makes fabulous "meatballs," as does monkfish, even rabbit. Sure, you can make great meatballs with pork, beef, veal or even lamb, but top the pasta and sauce with an "un-meatball" and the dish reaches an entirely new level -- without losing its basic nature.

Jazzing up the old formula shouldn't affront purists; the dish is a modern invention anyway, constructed in Italian-American kitchens. And when those kitchens are run by creative chefs, the comfort food can take a whole new trajectory. At A Voce, on Madison Avenue in New York, chef Andrew Carmellini laces his signature duck meatballs with foie gras. He serves them as an appetizer, atop potato purée and sour cherry sauce instead of spaghetti, but it's a dish that's so popular he hasn't taken it off the menu in a year. Esca's David Pasternack goes more traditional, topping the spaghetti and tomato sauce at his New York seafood restaurant with meatballs made with tuna and pancetta.

You get the essence of the dish, but with a new flavor profile that can entirely refresh your favorite comfort food. And when the meatball has been re-envisioned, the sauce can also get a new twist -- just build the flavors and components of the tomato sauce to match the meatball.

Playing with fowl

PAIR rich duck meatballs with a sauce befitting their rustic extravagance. Lace the tomato sauce with the mellow earthiness of porcini mushrooms and a generous pour of red wine, then cook it longer, letting the flavors and textures of the sauce build and deepen. Duck doesn't want a light sauce, but one with a long trajectory, a lower register, a soothing complexity.

Rabbit meatballs call for a bright spectrum, even a touch of the garden. Thyme, rosemary, parsley and sage go into a tomato sauce, along with white wine, leeks and shallots. Keep the flavors vibrant by just cooking it for a short time, then purée the sauce and stir in finely diced carrots. The sauce is vibrant in flavor and color but delicate and suited to the subtle flavors of the rabbit.

You can take Pasternack's lead and use fish, but instead of tuna, which is prone to drying out, use monkfish. Monkfish has a fantastic taste -- substantial and full-bodied, even meaty -- and a texture to match. It's ideal for the meatball treatment. And though these meatballs brown up beautifully, we braise them in the tomato sauce instead; they cook up quickly and are incredibly tender.

Monkfish matches well with olives and capers, so throw a generous handful of kalamatas into a simple tomato sauce and then toss capers into the sauce and the meatballs themselves. A sprinkle of crushed red pepper gives dimension and a bite without obscuring the subtlety of the fish.

None of these "un-meatballs" strays from the basic meatball technique. Some bread crumbs, an egg, chopped parsley and salt and pepper is all you need to add to a bowlful of ground duck or monkfish, the same as it is for beef or pork. Use bread crumbs that first have been softened (in either milk or water), then squeezed of excess liquid for the right texture.

Don't add grated Parmesan or chopped garlic as your grandmother might have added to her veal meatballs; they can overwhelm the more delicate flavors. Instead throw in more fresh herbs.

While the herbs, salt and pepper flavor the meatballs, the softened bread crumbs and egg bind the ingredients together. You want a balance to the mixture: some moisture, enough fat, a little structure, not too much weight. Meatballs are surprisingly delicate; there's a reason, after all, why most of us don't dream about meatloaf.

A beautiful braise

ANY kind of meatball can be braised instead of browned. It eliminates a step and it's good for more delicate flavors such as the monkfish. Before browning or braising the batch, fry up a single meatball as a tester. Even if you're confident in a recipe, it's good to taste for seasoning.

Then you can let your imagination go a little wild. Try making little tiny meatballs, scattering them down your mountain of sauced spaghetti. Or scale them so each person has one giant meatball, coconut-sized maybe -- it's your desert island, after all.

Whether browned or braised, dainty or gargantuan, the meatballs are placed in their sauce for the last half-hour of cooking. Put the cover on the pan, turn the heat to low and enjoy the happy aroma.

And because a good plate of spaghetti and meatballs requires a glorious tangle of perfectly cooked pasta, bring a big pot of salted water to a boil while you're waiting.

Good spaghetti has a nutty flavor and a distinct mouth-feel to it, a bite and flavor that can stand up to the weight of the sauce and the meatballs that top it. Fresh pasta is too tender, so choose a high-quality dried spaghetti. Take it to just this side of al dente, because pasta cooks a little after you lift it out of the water (especially since you don't want to rinse it).

Then it's just a matter of building the plate -- a swirl of spaghetti, a ladleful of sauce, a single meatball or a dozen of them. Twirl your fork, and ignore the passing ships.

I’m partial to duck, so prepare to salivate:

Recipe: Spaghetti and duck meatballs


Total time: 2 1/2 hours

Servings: 6 as a main course

2 ounces dried porcini mushrooms

1 cup coarse country-style bread crumbs

2 confit duck legs, at room temperature

2 duck breasts

1 egg

1 teaspoon plus 2 tablespoons kosher salt, divided

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped

Flour for dredging

5 tablespoons duck fat (can substitute olive oil), divided

1 cup onions, finely chipped

3 tablespoons garlic, minced

1 cup dry red wine

1 (28-ounce) can diced San Marzano or other plum tomatoes

2 bay leaves

1/4 cup tomato paste

1 pound spaghetti

1. Into a medium bowl, pour 1 cup boiling water over the dried mushrooms and set aside to rehydrate. In another small bowl, pour enough water to cover the bread crumbs and allow to stand.

2. Separate the duck confit from the bones and skin and pulse briefly in a food processor until coarsely ground. Remove to a large bowl and set aside. 3. Remove the skin from the duck breasts and coarsely chop the meat with a knife. Pulse the breasts briefly in a food processor, until the mixture resembles ground beef. Do not over-process. Remove the meat from the processor and add to the confit in the large bowl.

4. Squeeze the water from the bread crumbs and add them to the bowl. Add the egg, 1 teaspoon salt, one-fourth teaspoon pepper, and the parsley; mix to combine. Form the mixture into meatballs, a scant one-fourth cup each. Roll the meatballs in the flour, coating them lightly, and place them on a tray or baking sheet. The mixture should yield 12 meatballs. Set aside.

5. In a large skillet, heat 3 tablespoons of duck fat (or olive oil) over medium-high heat until the fat is hot and a few drops of water splatter when sprinkled in. Brown the meatballs in two batches, turning with kitchen tongs so that they brown evenly, 3 to 5 minutes. (They will be brown but not cooked through.) Set aside on a tray or baking sheet, covered with a paper towel.

6. Wipe out the pan and heat 2 tablespoons of duck fat (or olive oil) over medium-high heat. Add the onions, turn down the heat to low and sauté until soft, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook an additional 2 minutes. Add the wine, the canned tomatoes plus the juice, the mushrooms and their soaking liquid, the bay leaves and the tomato paste. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, then cover and reduce the heat to low. Cook for an hour, checking periodically to make sure the sauce is at a slow simmer and isn't sticking to the bottom of the pan.

7. After an hour, add the meatballs to the sauce, covering to coat them. Cover and simmer 30 more minutes.

8. Meanwhile, bring 6 quarts of water and 2 tablespoons salt to a boil in a large pot. When the meatballs have simmered 30 minutes, take the pan off the heat and cook the pasta. Cook the pasta al dente, according to the package instructions, and drain. Serve the meatballs and sauce over the spaghetti.

Each serving: 737 calories; 36 grams protein; 95 grams carbohydrates; 8 grams fiber; 20 grams fat; 6 grams saturated fat; 127 mg. cholesterol; 675 mg. sodium.

  

1 day until your Franklin school taxes go sky-high!

FRANKLIN SCHOOL BOARD MEMBERS ARE PLANNING A 5.6% INCREASE IN THE SCHOOL TAX LEVY, AND ANOTHER HUGE REFERENDUM. CONTACT SCHOOL BOARD MEMBERS NOW TO TELL THEM YOU OPPOSE BIG TAX INCREASES!

"The Broncos were stunned by the legendary arm of Brett Favre"

That's what Denver fans are reading in their morning paper....

I also love the "comments" section under the article:

Denver Fans??? If you live in Denver you should be embarrassed by how many Greenbay fans were at the game! You need to support your team no matter how bad the defense is. If they were 6-0 you wont have seen as many Cheeseheads. I thought we were playing in Greenbay for 3/4 of the game.

UPDATE: If you're like Fred Keller, and inexcusably missed last night's thrilling finish....

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Will Sendik's open tomorrow?

"Easily."

That's what a Sendik's official told me as final preparations are being made for Wednesday's official 10 am opening.

From what I saw, Sendik's could have opened today.

Just about everything is in place.

Great looking meat and seafood were gently being put in their displays. And I mean great-looking.

Those Hungarian sausages and stuffed chicken breasts caught my eye.

One reader asked about live lobsters. Yes, there they are, swimming in their own tank.

SHAMELESS PLUG COMING

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Taxoholics

Franklin budgets

Liberal politicians with authority are drunk with taxing power.

They can’t help themselves. Liberals see a problem.....snap their fingers, slap their knees.

“I’ve got it.”

The answer, their solution is always the same.

Raise taxes.

The only question is by how much.

And there will always be a new answer because there is no limit.  There is no ceiling. Enough is never enough.

And this tax and tax and tax and tax and tax and tax and tax and tax and tax and tax some more mentality is a sickness, a disease that runs through all levels of government.

THE FEDERAL LEVEL:

Democrats aren’t satisfied. They are proposing the largest tax increase EVER, the largest tax increase in the history of this wonderful country we call the good ‘ol USA.

THE STATE LEVEL:

Let’s look at the numbers, shall we. Here are, according to the Legislative Fiscal Bureau, the  amount of the increase in taxes and fees contained in the various budgets proposed for the next biennium:

The Governor’s proposed budget earlier this year: $1- billion, 748- million.

The state Senate, not to be outspent by Governor Doyle, proposed their budget: with their government health care plan: $9- billion, 551- million.

Someone had to come in and restore fiscal sanity.

The state Assembly’s budget: $256-million.

The conference committee budget, approved by the Legislature last week and signed into law by Governor Doyle: $763-million. (I thought Governor Doyle promised not to raise taxes).

I am not in support of the budget that was approved, but if it hadn’t been for the Assembly, it could have been much worse. That being said, that’s hardly an endorsement for a sound state budget: it could have been worse.

MILWAUKEE COUNTY:

County Executive Scott Walker, unlike Jim Doyle, keeps his promise, and proposes a no- tax increase budget. Meanwhile, the County Board looks for ways to torpedo Walker’s budget and increase taxing and spending.

CITY OF FRANKLIN:

The Franklin School Board wants to increase the school tax levy by 5.6% and is prepared to do so Wednesday night.

Mayor Tom Taylor has proposed a city budget with an increase in the city tax levy by 5.7%.

With the exception of Tom Taylor, there’s no question everyone I’ve alluded to is a flaming tax and spend liberal.

ELECTIONS MATTER!

Keep electing these people to office and you get what you asked for: tax increase after tax increase after tax increase.

These people don’t know any other way.

They claim there is no other alternative. That’s a crock. There is always an alternative. But that involves heavy lifting and hard work on their part……finding cuts on behalf of you, the hard-working taxpayers. But they don’t want to do that. It’s much easier soaking you time and again. And why shouldn’t they. You’re just going to sit back and take it, right?

The art of screwing is a two-way street.

Store in your memory banks when and how you are screwed.

You can always give them a taste of their own medicine.

It’s called Election Day.

You be the judge: Is this an appropriate way to fundraise?

My friend and colleague Brian Fraley points out a fundraising e-mail sent by State Senator Dave Hansen.

Hansen accidentally drove over and killed his granddaughter.

Read Brian's blog...

TODAY your Franklin school taxes go sky-high

Franklin budgets

 Did you contact Franklin School Board members?

This taxpayer did:


Hi Kevin,
I called D. Szychlinski, J. Ward, and S. Huhn, I got their answering machines and left a message at all basically saying that I was a taxpayer and a regular voter and wanted them to cut spending instead of raising taxes.  Then I called Mary Karolewicz, and she answered.  I said the same to her (cut spending, don't raise taxes).  Her response was that they needed the money for repairs on schools, teacher salaries & benefits, transportation expenses(the children have to take buses because there aren't sidewalks!?), special ed classes they have to have per government rules, they have cut as much as they could off the budget (oh yeah?), they have cut programs in the past (isn't that the "party line" in all schools), but couldn't let the quality of our schools suffer, and that Mr. Milzer (don't know if I am spelling that right), the man who does the budget, has cut everything possible.   I also asked why there wasn't any publicity about this tax increase, and she said that the August presentation of the budget was publicized, but she didn't really answer why this meeting wasn't.   When I said that this increase sounds like the reasons that they wanted the referendum last April she responded with a lot more of  "expenses, State Budget not approved until last week, need to hire more teachers", etc.  She is going to drop off a copy of the current budget at my home today or tomorrow, and will try to have one emailed to me. 

Let’s review that e-mail with my comments sprinkled in. They are the ones in red.  

I called D. Szychlinski, J. Ward, and S. Huhn, I got their answering machines and left a message at all basically saying that I was a taxpayer and a regular voter and wanted them to cut spending instead of raising taxes.

That was the appropriate action to take. This is a good citizen.

Then I called Mary Karolewicz, and she answered.  I said the same to her (cut spending, don't raise taxes).

Good, very good.

Her response was that they needed the money for repairs on schools, teacher salaries & benefits, (that’s the real killer….most of the money isn’t going into the classrooms to educate children) transportation expenses(the children have to take buses because there aren't sidewalks!?), (I guess Mom or Dad can’t drive them?) special ed classes they have to have per government rules, (All of this requires a whopping 5.6% increase?), they have cut as much as they could off the budget (oh yeah?), (I agree. If they cut, they didn’t cut much) they have cut programs in the past (isn't that the "party line" in all schools), but couldn't let the quality of our schools suffer, (More money spent doesn’t= or automatically result in a quality school) and that Mr. Milzer (don't know if I am spelling that right), the man who does the budget, has cut everything possible. (That is a joke!)  I also asked why there wasn't any publicity about this tax increase, (they didn’t want any)and she said that the August presentation of the budget was publicized, (Yes, by me and the other bloggers) but she didn't really answer why this meeting wasn't.   When I said that this increase sounds like the reasons that they wanted the referendum last April she responded with a lot more of  "expenses, State Budget not approved until last week, need to hire more teachers", etc.  She is going to drop off a copy of the current budget at my home today or tomorrow, and will try to have one emailed to me. 
   

Tonight, the Franklin School Board, without batting an eyelash, intends to screw over Franklin taxpayers with an outrageous 5.6% school levy tax increase.

In return, what will Franklin taxpayers receive?

I’ll tell you what you won’t get:

Improved school achievement

Higher GPA’S

Higher test scores

Better teachers
 

Fewer dropouts

More kids going on to college

More kids going on to college in Wisconsin

The School Board didn’t lift a finger attempting to find any significant cuts. If they did, we wouldn’t need a 5.6% increase.

Sue Huhn, the ringleader of this “tax ‘em until it hurts and then do it again” posse has to be the happiest person in all of Franklin today. I imagine she’s downright giddy at the prospect of robbing you blind. Rumor has it she won’t seek re-election in April. That would be wonderful except she’s going to do as much damage as she can before she leaves.

Congrats to fellow bloggers Fred Keller and Bryan Maersch for focusing the only attention on this issue.

We’ll get John Neville’s re-cap article after it’s too late.
 

So get ready, Franklin.

They won’t have masks on this Halloween night,  but they’re hold-up artists nonetheless.

FRANKLIN SCHOOL BOARD MEMBERS ARE PLANNING A 5.6% INCREASE IN THE SCHOOL TAX LEVY, AND ANOTHER HUGE REFERENDUM. CONTACT SCHOOL BOARD MEMBERS NOW TO TELL THEM YOU OPPOSE BIG TAX INCREASES!

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The Wisconsin-Ohio State blackout

No doubt college football fans in Wisconsin can’t wait for this Saturday’s epic match-up between the Badgers and #1-ranked Ohio State.

If you were expecting to see the game on ABC or ESPN, guess again. It’s b being televised on the Big ten Network. Unless you subscribe to the BTN that major cable distributors have decided not to pick up, you’re out of luck.

None of the top eight cable distributors, including Time-Warner have struck a deal with the network, which is 49 percent owned by Fox. Cable providers say the games should be placed on an optional sports tier, but BTN claims it should be on basic cable at about $1.10 per subscriber in the states that make up the Big Ten Conference.

The mess-up caught the attention of the state legislature’s best and most entertaining speaker, Senator Mike Ellis (R-Neenah). His blood was boiling on the floor of the state Senate Tuesday.

To see video of Ellis’ remarks, and they’re worth it, click here.

Under
10.30.07 | State Senate Part 2, click on Watch.

You can move your cursor to 2:32:00 into the video to catch the start of Ellis’ floor speech. It runs until 2:36:30.

I would put it in the category of MUST-SEE video.

(During his remarks, Ellis takes a jab at Poplar, Wisconsin, a reference to the home town of constant Ellis target, Democrat Senator Bob Jauch.)

How sex offenders are beating the system

Laws like the one in Franklin severely restricting where a released sex offender can live are constantly under attack. The latest scam by sex offenders is sure to bring out more opponents of these common-sense measures.

According to MSNBC.com:

“Hundreds of California sex offenders who face tough new restrictions on where they can live are declaring themselves homeless — truthfully or not — and that’s making it difficult for the state to track them.

Jessica’s Law, approved by 70 percent of California voters a year ago, bars registered sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of a school or park where children gather. That leaves few places where offenders can live legally.

Some who have had trouble finding a place to live are avoiding re-arrest by reporting — falsely, in some cases — that they are homeless.

Experts say it is hard to monitor sex offenders when they lie about their address or are living day-to-day in cheap hotels, homeless shelters or on the street. It also means they may not be getting the treatment they need.

Offenders who declare themselves homeless must tell their parole officer each day where they spent the previous night.

Those who declare themselves homeless are still legally bound by the 2,000-foot rule; they cannot stay under a bridge near where children gather, for example. But it is more difficult for parole officers to keep tabs on them.

Parole officers said some offenders are registering as homeless, then sneaking back to homes that violate the law. That’s easy to do because fewer than 30 percent of transient offenders currently wear the Global Positioning System tracking devices required by Jessica’s Law.

“If they tell you that they were under the American River bridge, we’re going to take that at face value,” said Corrections Department spokesman Bill Sessa, referring to a homeless hangout in Sacramento.

During a recent sweep in the Oakland area, parole officers discovered that two of the five offenders they checked weren’t living in the temporary shelters they had reported as their new homes. Neither had been issued a GPS device.”

The article will lead many to conclude that restrictions on where sex offenders can live are bad laws. Do not be misled. The fact that sex offenders are lying (isn’t that a shock!) does not make these bad laws. The laws are appropriate public safety measures to protect innocent families and their children. They should not be abandoned simply because scummy sex offenders are spending their waking moments trying to figure out how to beat the system so they can prey on more victims.

The city of Franklin has filed a lawsuit against Steven Henke, a sex offender who moved into Franklin four months after Franklin enacted its tough ordinance. Henke refuses to move,

A hearing is scheduled next Monday before Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge John Franke in Room 502 of the Courthouse at 1:30. A strong showing of concerned citizens is needed to help preserve Franklin’s ordinance and many others just like it all over the state of Wisconsin. I urge you to attend this hearing.

I’ll be writing more about this issue in the days ahead.

 

Halloween at the movies

Nostalgia

It’s a common topic of conversation around this time of year: what’s the best horror movie?

Many of my blogs have featured a nostalgic theme. So indulge me as I walk down memory lane once more to answer above question.
 When my older brother was in his swinging teens and I could only dream about being as cool as he was, my brother played guitar in a rock and roll band. Yes, rock and roll band. That’s what they were called in those days.

My quiet, reserved, shy brother played rhythm guitar on his bright apple red Fender Stratocaster in clubs where go-go girls danced in cages right next to him.

On Saturday nights when my brother’s band had a gig, it meant he wouldn’t get home until late. Mom and Dad would often go see my brother play, but on nights they didn’t, Dad would go to bed after the 10:00 news. Mom, who to this day loves horror movies, the spookier and creepier the better, would let me stay up with her and turn on Channel 18 to watch Shock Theater.

Shock Theater is where I saw, one after another, the Universal Studio horror classics: Frankenstein, Dracula, Wolfman. I loved each and every one of them.

Decades later, the “monsters” are revered at Universal. They single-handedly saved a studio in deep economic trouble by drawing huge crowds to theaters to see the latest in the saga of each “monster.”

I never tire of seeing those old classics.


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In case you missed the Grand Opening of Sendik's today...

The cameras of FranklinNOW.com were there to capture all the excitement.

Take a look.

Having had a few tours before its opening, having attended the VIP party, and having stopped in on Opening Day, my observations of Sendik's:

1) Sendik's is Disney-like. I know it's only day one, but they appear to have mastered customer service, much like the quality you'd enjoy at the Mouse-House in Orlando.

2) Employees are genuine. They seem to love what they're doing.

3) Variety. Is there anything they don't have?

4) Quality. The sausages have this shiny appearance that looks incredibly appetizing. The produce looks like a picture out of a magazine.The meat and seafood are stunning.

5) Presentation. Each product is meticulously placed in perfect order.

6) Parking. Yes, today was busy, but even the furthest parking spot doesn't seem that far from the front door.

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

8) Need help? There's always someone to give assistance.

9) Competiton. That's what Sendik's will provide. And it should make other related businesses better.

10) This is what Franklin wants. It doesn't want a Dairy Queen. I hope the people in power who were at the ribbon cutting get it.







 

Franklin, I told you so

Franklin budgets

From the way Bryan Maersch describes it, the Franklin School Board needed just 30 minutes to screw over Franklin taxpayers and pass a horrendous school tax levy increase of 5.9%.

Needless to say, the community did not send the strong message that was necessary to fight off this ridiculous tax increase that will go to feed the heavy salaries of Franklin school administrators and teachers, not to the kids in the classroom.
 The Franklin School Board lied to everyone on August 31 when they made a preliminary move to accept a 5.6% increase. For whatever unexplained reason, the tax increase jumped even higher tonight.

But Franklin taxpayers, you are also to blame. Unlike during the school referendum debate, you were silent, and you get the government you deserve.
 You have a School Board that is out of touch and control that has demonstrated it doesn’t care at all about you.

They need to be thrown out on their ears. It begins in April. I know I won’t forget and will continue to crusade for fiscal sanity in our school district that can only start when the current Board is removed, one by one.

 

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