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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.

In case you missed it....

During my New Year's Eve blogathon, you may have missed my #1 Franklin news story for 2007.

Here it is.

I'll bet Al McGuire is rooting for Hawaii tonight

 To many, Marquette University’s nickname will always be the “Warriors.”

You know the story.

Years ago, Marquette caved big time to political correctness and took a storied, historic nickname, watering it down to the yawner, “Golden Eagles.”

Tonight, undefeated Hawaii takes on Georgia in the Sugar Bowl.

Make no mistake about it. These Hawaiians are the “Warriors.”

They’re often called the “Rainbow Warriors.”

Let’s explain.

The Hawaii football team is simply called the “Warriors.” There is no “Rainbow” in their nickname.

Head Coach June Jones who put an exciting brand of high scoring Hawaii football on the map initiated the change soon after he took over the program in 1999. Over the years Hawaii has been known as the Rainbows and the Rainbow Warriors.

According to the football program's media guide, the nickname comes from a January 1, 1923, game against Oregon State University at Hawaii's Moiliili Field.

The score was tied 0-0 late in the fourth quarter when a rainbow appeared over the field. UH scored soon after, and sportswriters began calling the team the Rainbows.

But Rainbows apparently wasn't tough enough for Jones, who had the nickname, the uniforms and the logo changed before the 2000 season. And good for him.

By the way, not every athletic team at UH followed Jones’ lead. Women's teams are called the Rainbow Wahine (Polynesian for women), or just Wahine. The men's basketball team remains the Rainbows, the baseball team is Rainbow Warriors, and the volleyball team is the Warriors.

2008 off to a great start

The negative drumbeat from the mainstream media began before the champagne corks popped.

Despite indisputable evidence the surge in Iraq is working, the Associated Press reports 2007 was the deadliest year in Iraq.

And one medical commentator says don’t expect much scientific and medical progress in 2008.

Happy New Year.

Take that, Bush bashers

Columnist Ronald Kessler makes the observation that we have gone another year without a terrorist attack.

Kessler writes,"The reason we have not been attacked in the more than six years after 9/11 is the hard work of the FBI, the CIA, and our military, and the sweeping changes that have taken place in the intelligence community under George W. Bush."

Here's Kessler's entire piece.

How does this happen?

From, January 1, 2008

Officials, family search for missing woman

Read more

If it's New England, odds are against the Pack

The Green Bay Packers have the 5th best chance of all the NFL playoff teams of knocking off the New England Patriots.

That’s according to John Czarnecki, veteran NFL writer.

"Green Bay (20-1) — The Packers have closed the gap on the Cowboys from their earlier meeting and a Green Bay-New England Super Bowl would be every Cheesehead's favorite. Brett Favre vs. Tom Brady is a billboard special. The Packers' cornerbacks can press New England's receivers and possibly cause some problems for Moss and Welker. But as much as you love Favre, he doesn't have the arsenal to compete with New England. Also, I don't see Ryan Grant running over the Patriots, either."

Here’s his entire analysis.

Szakacs answers the District Attorney

Last spring, the District Attorney’s office asked numerous direct questions of then-Franklin Superintendent Bill Szakacs about the various issues surrounding the April 3rd school referenda.

Here are the questions and the responses from Szakacs in their entirety as they appeared in a letter Szakacs sent to the DA’s office that I obtained.   

April 30, 2007

Via Telefax & U.S. Mail

Dr. William Szakacs
District Administrator
Franklin Public Schools
8255 West Forest Hill Avenue
Franklin, Wisconsin 53132

Re: DA Case No. 2007EL025-C

Dear Mr. Szakacs:

I am an Assistant District Attorney assigned to the Public Integrity Unit of the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office. This office has received a complaint alleging that School District resources were used to promote a vote in favor of two public referenda on April 3, 2007 concerning school finance. My inquiry is a civil, not a criminal, inquiry and its focus is the use of public resources to promote a YES vote on one or both of the referenda. I am at the fact-gathering stage of this inquiry. In this connection, I would respectfully request your response to the following questions and requests for information and documentation.

Thank you for your anticipated cooperation.
If you have questions concerning this correspondence, you may contact me at (414) 278-2178. 

Very truly yours, 
Bruce J. Landgraf
Assistant District Attorney 
BJL/bl Enclosure

May 29, 2007 

Dear Mr. Landgraf:

In responding to your inquiry regarding the Vote Yes Flyer, High School Assembly, and Other District Publications, please find each of your questions below with the requested information to follow.


1. Please refer to the attachment labeled as Exhibit A. Is this an accurate reproduction of the School District’s policy on the distribution of printed materials through the schools?

  • Exhibit A is the Administrative Rule regarding Distribution of Printed material to Pupils.
  • A copy of the Board Policy for Printed Material Distributed to the Pupils (#1360) is enclosed.

2. Please refer to the attachment labeled as Exhibit B. When, if ever, did you first see this flyer (hereinafter “the flyer”)?

  • I first saw the flyer when the copies were delivered to the district office about a week or week and a half prior to the April 3rd vote date.
  • I did not see the flyer prior to copies being printed.

3. Who showed the flyer to you and under what circumstances did you see the flyer?
  • It is my assumption that the flyers were dropped off at the district office by either Todd Ahrens (of the Franklin Citizens for Better Schools) or another representative of the citizen group. I was never consulted by any representatives of the Franklin Citizens for Better Schools.
  • All flyers that are distributed to students must first be approved by the District Administrator (Superintendent), per Board policy. I approved the flyer for distribution at the elementary schools and middle school.
  • I approved the flyer for distribution because I did not believe it violated the standard set forth in the Board Policy 1360, Administrative Rule.

4. Did you see the flyer before it was mass-produced by the group headed by Mr. Todd Ahrens, the Franklin Citizens for Better Schools?
  • No.

5. Who would you identify as the person from the Franklin School District who has the most contact with Mr. Ahrens concerning either (a) the contents of the flyer, (b) the placement of the words at the foot of the page, i.e., “This was prepared by the Franklin Citizens for Better Schools…,” or (c) the distribution of the flyer through the Franklin Public Schools?

  • All flyers that are distributed to students must first be approved by the District Administrator (Superintendent), per Board policy.
  • The District was not provided with a copy of the vote yes flyer prior to copies being made and delivered to the district office.
  • Our legal counsel advised that the disclaimer statement, “This was prepared by Franklin Citizens for Better Schools and is not affiliated with the Franklin School District” be included on the flyers. The disclaimer statement was given to Todd Aherns from the Franklin Citizens for Better Schools committee. The disclaimer was not stated on the flyer in the form it was recommended.
  • The district’s practice in distributing flyers is that all copies be delivered to the Education and Community Center (district office). The Superintendent’s Office coordinates the distribution to schools. Flyers are always delivered to the schools with other inter-district mail on a regularly scheduled district mail delivery.
  • No (“No Vote”) flyers were ever received by the district. If the district had received a request to distribute “No” flyers, the request would have been approved with the use of the same disclaimer statement that was provided by legal counsel for the Franklin Citizens for Better Schools committee.

6. Was the flyer, or one substantially like it, distributed to the Franklin School District students for those students to take home to their parents?
  • Flyers were included in take home folders at the elementary schools, which is how all materials that meet the standards stated in Board Policy 1360 are distributed.
  • Flyers were available to be picked up by students at the Middle School.
  • Staff members at the Middle School were directed to have flyers available for student pick up. They were instructed not to discuss or distribute the flyer. (Enclosed is a copy of the instructions from the Middle School Principal to staff.)

7. Please identify the person who received the flyers on behalf of the School District in anticipation of distribution to the students.
  • The flyers were dropped off at the Education and Community Center. The Superintendent’s Office coordinates the distribution of flyers to schools.

8. Please identify the schools where the flyers were distributed to the students.
  • Flyers were included in the take home folders at Ben Franklin Elementary School, Southwood Glen Elementary School, Country Dale Elementary School, Robinwood Elementary School, and Pleasant View Elementary School.
  • Flyers were available for students to pick up as they left class at Forest Park Middle School. Teachers at the Middle School were directed to have the flyers available for pick up. They were instructed not to discuss or distribute the flyer. (Enclosed is a copy of the instructions from the Middle School Principal to staff.)

9. Please identify the means by which the flyers were distributed from the central office of the school district to the schools you identified above.
  • Flyers were delivered to the schools with other inter-district mail on a regularly scheduled district mail delivery.

10. For each of the schools identified as a point of distribution, who was the school district employee responsible for the distribution of the flyers at that particular school?
  • Secretaries received the fliers and distributed to teachers. Teachers and/or educational assistants at the elementary schools put the flyers in take home folders. Teachers at the Middle School were directed by the Middle School Principal to set the flyers near the door to be available for pick up as students left class. They were instructed not to discuss or distribute the flyer. (Enclosed is a copy of the instructions from the Middle School Principal to staff.)

11. What was the means of distribution of the flyers at the individual schools?
  • Flyers were included in take home folders Flyers were included in the take home folders at Ben Franklin Elementary School, Southwood Glen Elementary School, Country Dale Elementary School, Robinwood Elementary School, and Pleasant View Elementary School.
  • Flyers were available for students to pick up as they left class at Forest Park Middle School. Teachers at the Middle School were directed to have the flyers available for pick up. They were instructed not to discuss or distribute the flyer. Had the district received any “Vote No” material, that material would have been subject to the same procedures.

12. How many flyers were distributed in all to students?
  • Approximately 2800 flyers were distributed to students through take-home folders at the elementary schools and available for students to pick up at Forest Park Middle School.

13. In how many classrooms were the flyers distributed?
  • The flyers were made available to students through take-home folders at the elementary schools and available for students to pick up at Forest Park Middle School. (Teachers at the Middle School were directed to have the flyers available for pick up. They were instructed not to discuss or distribute the flyer.) No “distribution” should have been performed in classrooms by any district employee.

14. I have read e-mails attributed to you wherein you wrote to parents that “this particular flyer was approved by our legal counsel.” Is this true?
  • No. The Communications Coordinator was advised by legal counsel on the addition of the disclaimer statement for the flyer. Legal counsel did not review the flyer prior to distribution, nor was he asked to review its content.

15. If true, how much did you pay School District attorneys for review and approval of the “VOTE YES” flyer to be distributed to the students?


16. Were flyers distributed to the students that set forth a “VOTE NO” position as respects the April 3 referenda?
  • No, the district did not receive any “Vote No” flyers.
  • Flyers from a “No” group would also have been approved for distribution with the disclaimer provided by a legal counsel.

B. High School Assembly

I am advised that an assembly was held at the high school during which time students were given a presentation on issues relating to the referenda. With respect to that assembly: 

1.Who determined to hold an assembly on issues relating to the April 3 referenda? 
  • Each year, the High School administration discusses end of the year and graduation requirements with the graduating seniors. This year, the end of the year discussion was combined with a presentation about the April 3rd referendum. The primary purpose of referendum portion of the assembly, like all informational presentations, was to inform students about facts of the referendum.

2.Who were the persons responsible for organizing the assembly? 
  • The High School administration organized the assembly.

3.Who were the presenters at this assembly as relates to the “VOTE YES” position? 
  • The assembly was informational and there were no presenters from the vote yes position.

4.Who were the presenters at this assembly as relates to the “VOTE NO” position? 
  • The assembly was informational and there were no presenters from the vote no position.

5. Kindly identify all citizens or groups solicited to present a “VOTE YES” position? 

  • The assembly was informational and we did not solicit any citizens or groups to present a vote yes position.

6. Kindly identify all citizens or groups solicited to present a “VOTE NO” position? 
  • The assembly was informational and we did not solicit any citizens or groups to present a vote no position.

7. Did the assembly presenter(s) utilize a PowerPoint presentation similar to that which the district published on its web site? (As requested below, please provide me with a copy of the presentation materials.)  
  • A PowerPoint presentation was not utilized for the assembly.
  • Students viewed an informational video, which also aired on cable channel 96 for about three weeks leading up to the April 3rd referendum vote.

8. Did the presentation to the students include a slide like this one I saw on the Internet consisting of the words, “EVERYONE WILL BENEFIT”? 
  • A PowerPoint presentation was not utilized for the assembly. Students viewed the informational video that also aired on cable channel 96 for about three weeks leading up to the April 3rd referendum vote.

9. What was the date and time of the assembly?

  • March 30, 2007.
  • 7:45-8:30 a.m.

10. How long did the assembly last?
  • Approximately 45 minutes.

11. I am informed the assembly was for seniors only. Is this true? If not true, please advise as to the dates and times of the other assemblies for other classes.

  • The assembly on March 30, 2007 was for seniors only.
  • This was the only senior assembly held.

12. How many students are in the 2007 Senior Class at the high school and, of these, how many were 18 years or older as of April 3, 2007.
  • The total number of seniors is 314. On April 3, 2007, 182 of the seniors were 18 years old.
C.  Other Publications

1.Please refer to the attachment labeled as Exhibit C. Is this an accurate reproduction of a School District publication concerning the two April 3 referenda?  
  • Yes.

2. Please note the language from Exhibit C, “The District asks that if you approve the question on building the facility, that you also approve the additional operating funds.” Is that language not reasonably read as advocacy for a YES vote on one of the two referenda? 
  • The statement does not ask or tell voters how to vote. It simply states that IF they approve of the referendum project by voting yes for the first question, the second question also needs to have a yes vote for any part of the project to move forward.
  • It was never intended to urge citizens to vote yes on the referendum issue, as clarified by the use of the word “if” in the language which you have cited. Throughout this process the District, as advised, scrupulously avoided advocacy of the “yes” position on the referendum, presenting only the facts surrounding the issue. The District believes that it made every effort to adhere to this procedure.

3. Please provide me with copies of all of the School District publications, presentations and documents which were funded by the School District and which concerned the two April 3 referenda. In this regard, I would prefer electronic copy in PDF format. As to any PowerPoint presentations, I will happily accept the PPT format. 
  • Please see enclosures.

4. Please describe how each publication was used. I would ask that you identify what means were used to publish each of the publications. I would also ask that you specifically identify the publications that were utilized at the high school assembly for the seniors. 
  • News releases were submitted to the Franklin NOW newspaper, posted on the FranklinNOW on-line site (, and posted on the district website. Some news releases were also distributed at or following presentations to citizen or community groups. Copies were made using district copy machines.
  • New flashes were emailed to parents signed up to receive electronic updates from one or more of the district schools. Paper copies of news flashes were sent home intake-home folders at all elementary schools. News flashes were posted on the district website. Copies were made using district copy machines.
  • Staff updates were emailed as attachments to all Franklin Public School District staff. (Staff updates were identical to the news flashes.)
  • A referendum PowerPoint was used at all staff and most community presentations and was posted on the district website. Please note: the PowerPoint presentation was not used at the high school seniors’ assembly.
  • The referendum video was produced by High School staff and students. The District had additional DVD copies made by a local business. The video aired on cable channel 96 and the district website for the last approximately 3 weeks leading up to the April 3rd vote. DVD copies were also available to be picked up at all district schools, the district office, at some presentations, and at the community library. The video was used for the high school seniors’ assembly.
  • A referendum newsletter was mailed to all Franklin Public School families and residents of the Franklin Public School District. The writing, design, and layout for the newsletter was completed in the district. The Franklin House of Correction printed the newsletter, put labels on, and delivered to the post office.
  • Informational display boards were set up at all district schools, the district office, and in the community. Copies of all materials included on the informational display boards are enclosed. Informational display boards were assembled at the district office. The boards provide information only and were not the source of any advocacy. (An assembled informational display board is not included with this request, but could be furnished upon request.)
  • The parent note was sent as a news flash to all middle and high school parents signed up to receive electronic updates from the school. Paper copies of the note were sent home in take-home folders at the elementary schools.
  • The citizen note was posted on the district website, available for pick up at the district office, and distributed at or following presentations to citizen or community groups. Copies of the citizen note were available at the high school assembly for students to read and/or take with them.
  • Two informational handouts, titled informational handout and Voter Information handout were available for pick up with all display boards. These were also posted on the district website. (The informational handout was modified slightly throughout the informational campaign to address a variety of parent and citizen meetings or groups. The modification included a date and time for upcoming meetings or presentations.) The Voter Information Handout was available at the high school assembly for students to read and/or take with them.
  • A letter was mailed to members of the District’s Key Communicators organization who were unable to attend the presentation scheduled for Key Communicators. Enclosed with the letter were copies of the PowerPoint presentation, and two informational handouts.
  • Referendum Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document was posted on the district website, available for pick up at the district office, and distributed at or following presentations to citizen or community groups.
  • A one-page informational handout was created to specifically address the Community Education and Recreation Program. This document was printed in the district, posted on the district website, and available to be picked up at or following presentations to citizen or community groups.
  • None of the material produced by the school district presented a vote yes advocacy. Instead, materials were informational in nature and were intended to provide residents of the district with sufficient background incorporation so citizens could make a decision based upon fact, not speculation.


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Watch a Democrat self-destruct

It's Iowa caucus time.

Remember 2004?

I sure do.

It's always fun to see a liberal behave just like his political party's symbol.....

Read more

Before the end of the Iowa caucuses, read this.....

The mainstream media would have us believe that America is going to hell in a hand basket, that nothing is going right, and that we are all doomed.

Daniel Henninger of the Wall Street Journal has a different, and I submit,  a more appropriate perspective.

The Pre-Election Paradox
While 70% say U.S. is a mess, 84% say they're happy. Is progress possible?

Thursday, January 3, 2008 12:01 a.m.

On New Year's Eve, Gallup's poll delivered unto us the good news that 84% of Americans say they are satisfied with how things are going for them personally. What Woody Allen might say about that phenomenal datum of good cheer one can only guess. One then has to account for the darker data Gallup released two weeks earlier: Some 70% of those responding believe the nation is headed in the wrong direction.

Explanations for this paradox would fill screen after screen of comments on Internet blogs, written no doubt by the 16% who can never be satisfied with "how things are going." Sample: It's the 46 million uninsured, stupid!

Read more

Get rid of your snow, even if we don't have to

Debra Johnson of La Crosse wrote a letter to the editor that appears today in the La Crosse Tribune.

She writes:

“It is true, we have 24 hours or whatever to clear our sidewalks…………………”

And then she continues:

“……..but how long does the city have to clear the streets?”


By the way, Franklin has a similar ordinance, 226-A, that requires residents to remove snow within 24 hours.

Similar requirement for snow plows?

Don’t make me laugh.


Read more

Franklin aldermen to discuss bar involved in Christmas hit and run fatalities

Last week, I raised the question of whether a Franklin bar was responsible, in part, for the deaths of a couple who were killed by a hit and run driver on Christmas night.

Today, Shari Hanneman of Citizens for a Safe Wisconsin sent a mass e-mail to many residents informing them that this issue and the future of the bar’s license will be taken up by the Franklin Common Council next Tuesday night.

Greg Kowalski has already blogged the e-mail. (By the way, I responsibly asked for Shari Hanneman’s permission to blog her e-mail and her information. Kowalski did not).

Hanneman wrote, “According to the criminal complaint, the driver had been drinking extensively at The Buckhorn Inn at 27th and Ryan.  The bartender is on record having admitted to continuing to serve the driver in his already intoxicated condition and he also indicates that this was not the first and only incidence.I shudder to think what might have happened if this driver was going by Southwood Glen school in mid-day when the children were walking or riding bikes home from school.

I have spoken to 4th district alderman Pete Kosovich about my concerns regarding the Buckhorn Inn and I told him that I would like the City to revoke the liquor license from that establishment on the grounds that it failed to live up to the responsibilities that go along with the privilege of holding a liquor license.  The criminal complaint strongly suggests that this business has knowingly and repeatedly sent intoxicated drivers out onto our streets.”

Stripping a license is less difficult if there is a great deal of public outrage. It’s important those concerned citizens who can offer information or personal experiences about the bar in question turn out at the Common Council meeting and voice their objections to this bar continuing to operate.

My take on recalls

Recalls should not be utilized or threatened liberally.

And by liberally, I don’t mean in the political persuasion sense. The recall tool should not be used like salt on a burger.

For example, one of the most abusive uses of the recall was used against former state Senator George Petak.

Petak fought and fought and fought to try to get Racine County removed from the list of counties to be charged the Miller Park tax. In the end, when the deck was stacked against him, he still voted against the Miller Park legislation in the Senate. Then, when he changed his mind and his vote, the recall petitions started flying.

Never mind that Petak saved Major League baseball in Milwaukee. (Did you enjoy last season’s pennant run? You wouldn’t have experienced it, if not for Petak). The recall movement against Petak was waged because of one, single solitary vote.

Petak lost the recall to Kim Plache who never lifted a finger to get Racine County off the stadium tax.

Stirring up a recall because of one vote I find inappropriate. There needs to be a pattern of impropriety in office. That pattern exists with the current Franklin School Board.

For almost a year now, I’ve been blogging and writing about the inept management of the Franklin Public School district. It’s well-documented in my year’s worth of blogs and other findings by bloggers Janet Evans, Bryan Maersch and former blogger Fred Keller that School Board members, the administration, and yes, even teachers and staff have not acted in the best interests of the taxpayers of the school district.

We now clearly have the first step necessary to achieve a successful recall: 




Citizen extraordinaire Fred Keller has taken that step, and is in the process of organizing. To that end…. 


Someone needs to collect those signatures, knock on doors, be out in the elements, talk with voters, etc. That takes time and sacrifice. Many legitimate signatures are needed. This isn’t some unofficial petition to make sure Windex is used twice a week at the new Target. A number of signatures well above the official number needed must be collected to withstand challenges. 


Are there upstanding citizens to come forward who will run for the right reasons and won’t be rubber stamps of the people being recalled? 


That will take more organization, more volunteers, and more hard work. A recall is no guarantee the offending elected official will be removed.

From my calculations, we’re about 40% there.

The remaining 60% will be the tough part.

"I am not cavalier about time"

It was the early 80’s, and I was working in the news department at WUWM-FM, Milwaukee Public Radio.

I’ve told the story many times, so the memory has lasted for over 25 years, and I thought of it again today.

My assignment that day was to anchor our live coverage of a major announcement by Wisconsin Governor Lee Dreyfus.

Like any politician, Dreyfus did upset some folks from time to time. But you had to love him and his red vest, especially if you were a reporter.

A communicator extraordinaire, Governor Dreyfus had a warm, endearing personality and an incredible sense of humor. The man oozed sound bites.

Every time I covered him, no matter how dire the topic, the experience was a sheer delight.

Somehow, some way, in the middle of a discussion on the latest controversy, he’d blurt out a one-liner that would have the room in stitches.

I recall a news conference where the subject turned to then-U.S. Senator Bob Kasten and Governor Dreyfus’ admission that he and his wife, Joyce had admonished the Senator that if he were to score political points and at the same time, be happy, he’d better find a gal and settle down.

Again, even the curmudgeon print reporters were howling.

I have a framed picture of yours truly, dark hair and moustache, interviewing the man in the red vest at the Midwest Governor’s Association meeting in Milwaukee. As you watched him and listened to his answers, you hung on every mono-syllabic word. There he stood, looking like everyone’s favorite uncle, and you’re trying to play reporter but at the same time, waiting for the machine gun-like punch lines to be unleashed.

That is not to say I didn’t respect him. I surely did. It’s just that it was actually fun talking and listening to him and he made it so easy. There were many newsmakers that, after an interview, left you drained. Not Governor Dreyfus. You walked away excited, and thrilled that you now had more than enough material for your story.

With notepad in front of me and headphones in place, I listened carefully that day in the early 80’s as Governor Dreyfus spoke, and I’ll never forget.

“I am not cavalier about time,” he said.

He wanted to spend more time with his beloved Joyce and the rest of his family.

After one term, he would not run again.

Lee Dreyfus wasn’t perfect. To this day, there are some Republicans who are still angry over some of his decisions.

But the world of politics needs more like him. Kind, statesmanlike, humorous, sharp, engaging, decent.

I’m so glad I got to know him.

And I thank him for that all-important lesson he gave in what, for me, has turned out to be an unforgettable line:

“I am not cavalier about time.”

Franklin school system scandalous

Let’s see.

Franklin administrators and School Board members are aware of and allow Vote YES fliers on the April 3, 2007 referenda to be distributed in school during school time. The fliers are sent home with children.

They are discussed in class.

An “assembly” is held the Friday before the election with voting-age Franklin High School graduating seniors to instruct them on voting. The seniors are also shown a video on the referenda and told that if they vote YES on Question #1 they have to vote YES on question #2.

Again, Franklin school administrators and School Board members are aware of the “assembly.”

Teachers and staff were also aware and involved on the fliers and the “assembly.”

Does this sound familiar to anyone, the whole notion of doing political work during school time?

It should.

The caucus scandal at the state Capitol erupted after accusations that politicians and their staff members were conducting campaign work on state time.

Four state legislators, former Republican state Representatives Steve Foti and Bonnie Ladwig and former Democrat state Senators Brian Burke and Chuck Chvala all struck plea agreements with prosecutors to avoid trials.

Burke and Chvala were sentenced to jail time. Foti's deal with prosecutors entailed his pleading to a misdemeanor and the state recommending 30 days in jail.

A case involving former Assembly Speaker Scott Jensen is still pending.

People went to jail for what Franklin officials did. People entrusted with the education of our children were campaigning for a YES vote on school time, when their focus should have been on the instruction of students. If they were state employees, they’d be looking at orange pajamas.

This is serious.

We expect those running our schools to be trustworthy. Our school system, one that has been and remains under investigation by the District Attorney’s office, has lost the respect and trust of its citizens.

The current Franklin school system is in need of a major makeover. Because of the diligence of some FranklinNOW bloggers, the pendulum is starting to swing in the direction of much-needed change. Four citizens have come forward to run for School Board. That wouldn’t have been a prospect just a few months ago.

Recalls down the road are a possibility.

Franklin school officials have had it their comfy, cozy way for too long. Now people are paying closer attention.

In the long run, if the Franklin community isn’t apathetic, they and a reformed school system can be big winners.

Another of Greg Kowalski's "fans" strikes

FranklinNOW blogger Greg Kowalski is not allowed to comment on my blog and hasn’t been for a long time.

The reason is very simple.

It’s not because I don’t like him.

It’s not because I disagree with him.

It’s because he allowed one of his “admirers” to not once, but twice, call me a "liar” on his blog. Knowing the accusation was false, having been disproved by his own colleague on the Franklin Environmental Commission, Kristin Wilhelm, Kowalski left the comment up for several weeks.

Twisting in the wind, his lame excuse was that he was told not to take it off by the management of this website. The management told him not to edit just a portion of the comment, that he could take the entire comment off or leave it up. Kowalski chose and it was the wrong choice.

To this day, I believe Kowalski still doesn’t understand the seriousness of his lack of action.

Then this morning, another “fan” of Kowalski’s commented that my journalistic career was filled with, “hate, racism, and rudeness.”

First of all, I don’t hate anybody. And I don’t take kindly to being called a racist during a blog discussion that had nothing to do with race.

After hearing from several individuals, Kowalski removed the racism comment, but again, I question how long he would have left it up if he hadn’t heard from those, “individuals.” Anyone with common sense would have removed the comment immediately and not waited to be persuaded to do so.

This is the kind of blog Greg Kowalski operates and the type of people who support him.

Last night, he resorted to another in his bag of dirty tricks.

Having been out-scooped for weeks by me, Janet Evans, and Bryan Maersch, he felt the need to garner attention.

Open the Kowalski playbook to the following cheap tactic:



ACCUSE OTHER BLOGGERS OF SOMETHING BAD THAT IS UNTRUE (Other bloggers don’t want to receive comments) 



The commenting rules mean nothing to him so let me say that whenever some desperate, dirty, cheap tactic is used like the one last night by Greg Kowalski, I am going to respond.

As for the individual who essentially called me a racist on Kowalski’s blog, Sayonara, nice knowin’ ya. You are also banned from commenting on my blog. Take your junk over to TODAY’S CONCERNS where despicable comments are more than welcome.

Going grocery shopping today?

Here are a few things to think about...


Uhhh, Jennifer, about that bag of yours.....

From today's Wall Street Journal:

Extreme Baggage

Giant handbags are getting bigger -- and are a growing concern
January 5, 2008

One of the biggest fashion trends of 2007, giant handbags are going even more extreme in 2008. Some of the largest bags, shown by everyone from Louis Vuitton to Chanel and Prada, now measure up to nearly 2 feet in length, the size of a small garbage can.

Read more

Charges against Buckhorn being considered

Possible charges are being looked at against the bartenders who continued to serve an intoxicated patron at Buckhorn Tavern on Christmas Day.  Eddie Lynn Keck killed a West Allis couple in a hit and run accident that day after leaving the bar.

Franklin aldermen are also examining the bar's liquor license.

The Journal/Sentinel has more details.

When will Jim Doyle do the right thing?

A big time donor to Democrats is going to prison. (This could be why the Journal/Sentinel buried the story).

From the New York Times:

Supporter of Democrats Is Sentenced in California

SAN FRANCISCO — Norman Hsu, the shamed political powerbroker and Democratic donor, was sentenced Friday to a three-year prison term by a California judge in connection with a 1992 plea in a fraud case in which investors lost millions of dollars in an elaborate Ponzi scheme.

The judge, Stephen Hall, of San Mateo County Superior Court, issued the sentence after denying two motions from Mr. Hsu’s lawyers, who had asked the court to drop the 16-year-old fraud case and withdraw Mr. Hsu’s no-contest plea.

Mr. Hsu, 56, a California businessman and former apparel industry executive, is expected to soon appear before the United States attorney in New York on separate but similar charges of defrauding unwitting investors out of $60 million in another Ponzi scheme.

Mr. Hsu has been a major campaign contributor for many Democratic politicians, including Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, who has returned $850,000 in contributions tied to him.

At a brief court hearing, Judge Hall also denied a motion by Mr. Hsu’s lawyer, James J. Brosnahan, that the court return the $2 million bail posted by Mr. Hsu, after he surrendered on Aug. 31, 2007, in connection with the 1992 case.

The judge said Mr. Hsu forfeited the $2 million bail when he failed to appear in court five days later and fled to Colorado.

California authorities have allotted $1 million of the bail to repay Mr. Hsu’s local victims, said Gareth Lacy, a spokesman for the California Department of Justice.

“This is a great conclusion from the California perspective,” Mr. Lacy said. “Our concern was about getting money returned to the victims.”

A spokesman for Mr. Hsu, Lance Ignon, said, “While we respect the judge’s opinion, we will be appealing this decision.”

The remaining $1 million from the $2 million bail bond will go to the federal authorities.

Mr. Hsu’s sentence here on Friday stems from a 1991 state indictment centered on a Ponzi scheme that involved the sale of latex gloves to about 20 investors. The investors were taken for a total of $1 million.

But Mr. Lacy said Friday that Mr. Hsu, a native of Hong Kong who for years has owned homes in New York and California, must face the federal charges before serving his California sentence. He has already served three months of the new three-year sentence.

Mr. Lacy said that Mr. Hsu could be transported to New York within days.

“He will be held in California until the authorities pick him up and send him to New York,” Mr. Lacy said.

Mr. Brosnahan, the defense lawyer handling Mr. Hsu’s California case, did not return telephone calls Friday. In earlier court hearings, Mr. Brosnahan has argued that the 1991 case should be dropped because the presiding judge was no longer available to rule, as required by California law.

But Judge Hall said Friday that Mr. Hsu’s decision to flee in September weighed heavily against him.

On Sept. 5, rather than appearing in Redwood City court after turning himself in to the authorities, Mr. Hsu got on an Amtrak train from Emeryville, Calif., heading toward the Midwest. But he fell ill and was taken to a hospital in Grand Junction, Colo., one of the train’s many stops.

Based on an anonymous tip, the F.B.I. and local law enforcement authorities arrested Mr. Hsu at the hospital.

Norman Hsu gave money to Governor Jim Doyle. While many Democrats are giving back their tainted donations, Doyle refuses.




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...


Reggie Damone

Choi Yo-Sam

Christmas miracle man, Alcides Morena



the cute...

polar bear.


Jeffre Cheuvront

Amy Fisher

These Einsteins


"Iowa doesn't have the best track record in determining who the party nominates. "I was never a front-runner of any significance in Iowa. I knew it had a lot of difficulties that were there in terms of my candidacy. I knew it was always gonna be hard for me."
Hillary Clinton, explaining her 3rd place finish in Iowa.

(Barack)Obama is now not only the favorite to win the Democratic presidential nomination, he's the candidate in either party with the best chance of becoming the next president.”
Fred Barnes of the conservative publication, The Weekly Standard.

"I'm the person whose name gets on the sign, but the election is not about me, the country is not about me. What happens tonight in Iowa is starting a new prairie fire of hope and zeal across the nation."
Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, coming in first among Republicans in Iowa.

"It's going to have an impact, but it's not like suddenly everybody quits."
Maureen Busalacchi, executive director of Smoke Free Wisconsin, on the cigarette tax increase that went into effect in Wisconsin on January 1.

"I don't think it's a wise choice. It's a regressive tax, he's hurting poorer people and it's encouraging crime."
Garnet Dawn Scheuer, Midwest regional director for the national Smokers Club organization, on the cigarette tax increase.

"It offended me that one of my children could be singled out by the government and assaulted by the government that way. You cannot say to the American people that everyone has all these rights except for this group that we will single out. Who's next, short people?"
UW-Oshkosh professor Bill McConkey, on his lawsuit against the state constitution ban on gay marriage.

"A 59.4 percent to 40.6 percent vote is nothing to take lightly in the state of Wisconsin. It was a very strong victory."
Julaine Appling, chief executive officer of the Wisconsin Family Council, says Wisconsin sent a loud message on preserving marriage.


Green Bay archdiocese


School tax increases the highest in a decade.


The Iowa caucuses.


Of course.

But they rarely produce the party nominees for President.

Still, the media hyper-ventilates.

This would be a close second.


Man using GPS gets hit by train

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.

Kowalski gets slimy again; Blog readers are the losers

I am sorry to see my good friend, Bryan Maersch give up his FranklinNOW blog.

Franklin has now lost the services of two talented bloggers, Maersch and Fred Keller, in part because the management of this site has failed to step in and clean up the nonsense that has been perpetrated by blogger Greg Kowalski.

His rotten stunts are well-documented.

He has allowed people who comment to engage in lies and slander, and then he plays the stupid card, claiming he thought the management wanted him to keep offensive comments posted.

Unable to come up with an original thought since his precious Target issue was resolved, he lays in the weeds for other bloggers to do the heavy lifting before finally chiming in on the issue.

When his blog becomes stale and irrelevant, he sadly and despicably tries to rejuvenate it by going after one of the bloggers, knowing a handful of clones will come to his aid and fight his battle for him.

One of them is former Brookfield blogger Cindy Kilkenny, who hypocritically says she quit blogging because of the nastiness that has emerged, but is now engaging in the same behavior.

The super naïve and unprofessional Greg Kowalski will stop at nothing to make himself look good. He even printed a private e-mail from Bryan Maersch on his blog.

Apparently, that kind of practice is ok with Greg, so, since turnabout is fair play, I want to show you an e-mail that this nice, young boy who a few of you just adore sent to me last year. Greg did not clearly specify that I was not to print it, so here goes:

From: Greg Kowalski []
Sent: Sunday, July 08, 2007 4:03 PM
To: Kevin Fischer
Subject: Tisk tisk


I'm extremely disappointed in you! Are you trying to rile me up? Or are you just whining and throwing a fit? Also, who said I'm a liberal....isn't there a term called being a moderate anymore?

Yes, I did respond to your dear new best bud Fred in an e-mail. As I said in my last entry, I don't plan on posting anything until Monday morning the earliest. 

So, why don't you just go back to ranting about how terrible our school district is. Or maybe about how Franklin residents should flee the city ASAP because of super ultra high taxes! Perhaps you should just truly go back to bragging about your fellow relative, or begin recalling the long ago past when you ate bakery at the local baker's shop.  

You had your moment of blabbing on and on about the school referendum and how that was so bad. Now it's my turn in saying Franklin needs and deserves better architecture and design than what it's getting at this particular development, and how it would be bad to see such a great community fall into the mediocre spectrum simply because they're not informed.  

Lastly, I'm sorry to hear you disagree with me so much. It's a true shame! Especially when you're the one that wants high quality dining options in our city. 


There’s your wonderful, sweet, kind, gentle Kowalski.

Meanwhile, you, the readers of this blog, some of whom hate me and Bryan and Janet, are the real losers. You may be smiling, joking, laughing about Bryan’s departure. You really shouldn’t because Bryan was a major contributor to efforts to improve Franklin. He’s passionate about this city.

The more voices the better on this website. We just lost a great one. And it was mainly because Bryan got fed up with Greg Kowalski who has been enabled to play his slimy games by the management of this website.

Greg Kowalski is an embarrassment to himself, this website, and this city.

I think most people, except for a few misguided folks clearly understand that.

By the way, on this entry, I’m going to scrutinize comments very carefully. Any off-topic comments will be removed immediately. I am not going to allow this to turn into a “You’re picking on Greg, you big, bad boy” fest.

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) Take that, Bush bashers

2) How does this happen?

3) In case you missed it.../THE TOP TEN FRANKLIN STORIES OF 2007: #1

4) Another of Greg Kowalski's "fans" strikes

5) Szakacs answers the District Attorney

Read more

Elvis photographer dies



Take a look at this photo.

It's one of the most famous pictures ever taken of Elvis.

The man who shot it, Roger Marshutz, died last week.

Here's an obit.

Culinary no-no #36

Culinary no-no's

You drink what you like, right?

Beer, wine, hard liquor……

You drink what you like.

Of course you do.

Having said that, there are obviously some combinations that are strictly taboo………say, a banana daiquiri with a steak.

In November, my wife and I took a Caribbean cruise. That means instead of hot apple cider or pumpkin martini drink specials, it was a great opportunity for mai-tai’s and one rum concoction after another.

I was rather surprised while Jennifer and I enjoyed ourselves at open-air beachfront bars that so many tourists were imbibing with Coors Light. Lots of Coors Light. Or a Bud Light.

Coors Light?????

Not even after I just came in from cutting the lawn in the middle of July.

Whatever happened to, “When in Rome, do what the Romans do”?

You’re in the Virgin Islands and you order a Bud Light?

It’s not like you can’t ever enjoy that experience ever again.

It just seems that if you’re in your swimsuit at a Tiki bar on the beach in the middle of the afternoon, you should order a mai tai, run runner…………..dare I say it? on the beach.

Tell the cute bartender in the bikini you want a bahama mama, a backscratcher, a pina colada, a mojito, a margarita, a zombie, a lava flow……………….you know, something tall, frothy, tropical. Skip the little umbrella if you must.

Coors Light?

You can drink that back home in wintry Wisconsin.

We’re now heading into the long, dreary days of winter.

Many Midwesterners are headed off to cruise ships and tropical locales.

Be adventurous.

Go for the drinks with the unusual, un-Wisconsin like names.

But if you must have a beer, can you at least make it a MILLER Lite?


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

Cold-blooded murderers on death row claim lethal injections are cruel

Topics talked about on WISN

Tomorrow, the U.S. Supreme Court will take up the case of whether potential errors in administering lethal injections to death row inmates constitute cruel and inhumane punishment.

Not surprisingly, two inmates on death row in Kentucky convicted of brutal, vicious, heinous crimes are asking the court to hear this case. They question the lethal injection used in Kentucky that calls for the administration of four drugs: Valium, which relaxes the convict, Sodium Pentathol, which knocks the convict unconscious, Pavulon, which stops his breathing, and potassium chloride, which essentially puts the convict into cardiac arrest and ultimately causes death.

Of the 38 states with the death penalty, 37 use lethal injection. Nebraska still uses the electric chair. Lethal injection was instituted in the late 1970’s as an alternative to the chair and gas chamber.

The New York Times reports lethal injections have become “troublesome.”

The paper says, “Leading medical organizations have told their members not to participate, and lawyers for death-row inmates have produced evidence showing that in the absence of expert medical attention, there is a substantial risk of error in administering the combination of anesthesia and paralyzing drugs necessary to bring about a quick and painless death.”

The inmates who were able to get their case heard before the Supreme Court are Ralph Baze and Thomas Bowling.

Let’s examine what these two convicted criminals did.

Regarding Ralph Baze, the USA TODAY reports:

Arthur Briscoe went to Baze's home, on a ridge off Little Hardwick Creek Road, on Jan. 30, 1992, to serve four warrants from Toledo, Ohio, according to 1992 news accounts.

The warrants stemmed from charges that included retaining stolen property and felony assault.

Baze acknowledges being agitated by Briscoe's visit, knowing that his wife's adult children — with whom he was feuding — had told the local authorities about the Ohio warrants.

Baze admits he was armed with a semi-automatic rifle, and pointed it at Briscoe as he came onto his property.

After that initial confrontation, Baze said he turned toward the cabin to leave and his wife saw Briscoe start to reach for his gun.

During a 1992 interview, Baze's wife Becky, who has since died, told The Courier-Journal that she grabbed the deputy's arm and yelled for her husband to run.

He did, and Briscoe got into his cruiser and went down a hill to call for backup.

That's when Bennett, who also was Briscoe's brother-in-law, responded.

Accounts differ on what happened next.

Baze said the lawmen returned to the ridge and began shooting after seeing him walk out from behind a brush pile to surrender. He claimed he was shot in the leg by their first shot and was forced to fire his own weapon.

"I grabbed my rifle and we go to war," Baze said. "These two men are trying to kill me."

But Deputy Robert Mathews, who was then a Stanton police officer and among the first on scene, said Bennett tried to talk Baze into putting down his weapon, but Baze started shooting.

Bennett was shot in the back as he tried to seek cover in the backseat of his police cruiser, Mathews said.

Baze doesn't dispute that.

"Only thing I know is these guys are shooting at me," Baze said. "I know the second he got rearranged he was going to try to kill me again. So I did not hesitate to shoot him."

Briscoe had moved behind the front of the cruiser, trying to shoot at Baze from a covered position.

"Every time he put his head above the car, I tried to put a bullet between his eyes," Baze said, adding that when he reached the front of the cruiser, Briscoe turned to run, while at the same time turning back to shoot.

"I shot him in the back," Baze said. "At that moment, it was the only shot I had at him."

As Briscoe lay on the ground, Baze said he walked up and shot him in the back of the head. Then he grabbed both officers' weapons and ran.

The other inmate involved in this case, Thomas Bowling
in 1990 rammed the car of a couple. He got out and shot the couple and their young son as they sat inside their car. He then returned to his car, but walked back to the victims' car to make sure they were dead, and then drove away. The young son did survive.

In a case of incredible irony, Baze is now begging for leniency. This criminal who murdered two law enforcement officers, one in cold-blooded execution style, is now saying a needle in his arm is too cruel.

Click this link and scroll down to a video of interview clips with Baze and listen to how he says he should not have to suffer.

Here's another video with interview clips.

I concur with Ray Larson, a prosecutor and blogger in Kentucky who writes:

Every now and then a newspaper story, editorial, or television report appears about some group attempting to keep some killer, who has been sentenced to death, from having to face execution.

The essence of these reports or opinions is that because the killer had a hard life or sad childhood, he shouldn’t have to pay the ultimate price for slaying an innocent human being. Over and over we are told by these writers, reporters and other anti-death penalty activists that a grim upbringing somehow excuses a vicious and brutal murder. They tell us that if we don't feel compassion for these condemned killers, we are not as righteous as they are.

We never hear one word on behalf of the innocent victims of these killers; only that we should show sympathy and understanding for the killer. Where is the compassion for the victim’s family and friends whose lives have been permanently shattered by the murderer?"

Supreme Court of Kentucky records say, “Baze and Bowling have not demonstrated by a preponderance of evidence that the method of execution by lethal injection in Kentucky inflicts unnecessary physical pain. Evidence was considered that other drugs were available that may decrease the possibility of pain but the constitutional provisions do not provide protection against all pain, only cruel and unusual punishment. Although alleged that there are other drugs which may further assure the condemned person feels no pain, there is no requirement to select the least severe penalty so long as the penalty is not cruel or unusual. It has not been demonstrated by a preponderance of the evidence that the method of execution in Kentucky by lethal injection inflicts unnecessary psychological suffering.”

This is a major case with major ramifications.

Quite frankly, if criminals like Baze and Bowling do suffer some pain while the lethal injection is being administered, I have no problem with that.

And if lethal injections are tossed out, remember the death penalty is constitutional.

Seriously, how are we then supposed to execute people on death row?

Liberals fear conservative speech

Here's yet another example.

Gun-free zones are deadly

As a supporter of conceal-carry laws, and as one who always gets frustrated when reporters fail to ask critical questions, I’m fascinated by the untold story of gun-free zones.

Columnist Vin Suprynowicz of the ow many more will die in 'gun-free' zones before the media start asking why?

He quotes gun rights supporter/author John Lott in a recent column:

"A Google news search using the phrase 'Omaha Mall Shooting' finds an incredible 2,794 news stories worldwide" in the first 24 hours alone. But ... none of the media coverage, at least by 10 a.m. (Dec. 6), mentioned this central fact: Yet another attack occurred in a gun-free zone. Surely, with all the reporters who appear at these crime scenes and seemingly interview virtually everyone there, why didn't one simply mention the signs that ban guns from the premises?

There are plenty of cases every year where permit holders stop what would have been multiple victim shootings, but they rarely receive any news coverage. When will part of the media coverage on these multiple-victim public shootings be whether guns were banned where the attack occurred?"

Suprynowicz offers this example of how armed citizens save lives:

“Shortly after midnight on Dec. 9, Matthew Murray, who had been rejected from a missionary school in Colorado, shot and killed two staffers there. Twelve hours later he drove to the parking lot of the related New Life Church in Colorado Springs, where about 7,000 people were present for the midday service, and opened fire in the parking lot, killing two young women.

Jeanne Assam, 42, a member of the congregation who used to work as a police officer, volunteers to guard the church.

Assam hid. She waited until Murray -- carrying a rifle, two pistols and a backpack with more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition -- entered the church. Then she "came out of cover, identified myself and took him down," she told a packed news conference Monday.

The coroner later reported the wounded assailant took his own life -- but not till Assam had blown him to the ground.”

Here’s Suprynowicz’s column.

Last month also saw brutal slayings inside a Colorado church prompting author/columnist Doug Giles to point out once again the folly of the concept of gun-free zones, even in places of worship:

Given that young people are opting for murder verses sucking it up and getting a life, ministers had better morph PDQ from imitating Mr. Rogers to mimicking Clint Eastwood’s character in Pale Rider.

Which brings me to this question, pastor: Exactly what kind of armed arrangement do you have in place when Beavis shows up at your worship service ready to kill congregants because he couldn’t sing in the choir?

What’s the plan, man of God, when some Son of Sam commanded on high by his English-speaking black Labrador enters your comfy Community Church with his 9mm with ten loaded clips?

What are you going to do? Pray? Run? Cower behind the pulpit or under a pew waiting for the cops while the dillweed empties his clip into your crowd?”

Here’s Giles’ entire column.

Why don’t we just get rid of gun-free zones entirely?

Is Britney bipolar?

Maybe things aren’t so bad for Britney Spears.

Or maybe it’s a sign of the times that no matter how screwed up your life is, you still can come out smelling like a rose.

Apparently her album sales are outta sight.

The news comes as there is speculation that Brit is bipolar.

She certainly has been demonstrating the symptoms. From

Inflated self-esteem or grandiosity Inflated self-importance; in some, delusions or hallucinations. Feeling all-powerful, invincible, and destined for greatness.
Euphoric mood Feeling “high”, excessively optimistic, better than ever before.
Extreme irritability Feeling irritable or angry; Behavior that is aggressive, provocative, or intrusive.
Decreased need for sleep Feeling rested after just a few hours of sleep.
More talkative than usual Extremely talkative and sociable; pressure to keep talking.
Racing thoughts Flight of ideas; can't keep up with your own ideas and thoughts.
Distractibility Inability to concentrate, distracted, restless.
Increase in goal-directed activity or psychomotor agitation Extremely energetic; increased productivity; a feeling of high intelligence and creativity.
Risky behavior Excessive involvement in pleasurable or high risk activities, such as sex, drug or alcohol use, gambling, or spending sprees.
Impaired judgment Reckless, impulsive, unpredictable; No perception that the mood and behaviors are abnormal.
Depressed mood Feeling hopeless, sad, discouraged, or empty.
Loss of interest or pleasure Inability to experience pleasure. Nothing seems to interest you anymore, including former hobbies, social activities, and sex.
Appetite or weight changes Significant weight loss or weight gain—a change of more than 5% of body weight in a month.
Sleep changes Insomnia or oversleeping (also known as hypersomnia).
Psychomotor agitation or retardation “Keyed up,” unable to sit still, anxious, restless or sluggish, slow speech and body movements, lack of responsiveness.
Fatigue or loss of energy Physically drained. Even small tasks are exhausting. Can't do things as quickly as you used to.
Self-loathing Strong feelings of worthlessness or guilt. Harsh criticism of perceived faults and mistakes.
Concentration problems Inability to focus. Difficulty making decisions. Can’t “think straight.” Memory problems.

Don't expect charges against Buckhorn bartenders

It is probably next to impossible that criminal charges will be issued against the bartenders who served too much alcohol to Eddie Lynn Keck at the Buckhorn Tavern in Franklin Christmas Day. Bartenders acknowledge they continued to serve Keck even though he was intoxicated.

Keck went out and in a hit and run accident, killed a West Allis couple as they stood outside their truck after visiting friends in Franklin.

This passage from a Wisconsin Court of Appeals case ruling in May 2001 demonstrates state law makes it almost impossible to charge bartenders in a case like this:

Wisconsin Stat. §125.035(2) provides: "A person is immune from civil liability arising out of the act of procuring alcohol beverages for or selling, dispensing or giving away alcohol beverages to another person." The statute is clear. As we explained, it "clearly and unambiguously immunizes persons from civil liability in circumstances where one adult furnishes another with alcohol.”

The Common Council does have the authority to take away the liquor license from Buckhorn. A lot hinges on the amount and the persuasiveness of citizen input and outrage.

The Common Council meets tomorrow (Tuesday) night to consider the issue.

Thank you, Bryan Maersch

Thank you, Bryan for your many contributions as a blogger on FranklinNOW.

You are a credit to yourself, your family, and to Franklin.

I am proud to know you and call you my friend.

I am even happier that you will continue to serve this community.

You are always welcome to be a guest and comment on my very smoke-free blog.

Many will miss you, even some of your detractors, I’m sure.

Bryan’s blog may be gone from this website.

But there’s an old saying.

When a window closes.......


A door opens.



Stay tuned.

Should this man have to die?

Patrick Kennedy is on death row in Louisiana, scheduled for execution.

His case is being heard by the U.S. Supreme Court.


Because Kennedy didn’t murder anybody.

We turn back the clock to March 2, 1998.

An 8-year-old girl is sorting Girl Scout cookies in a garage in Harvey, Louisiana. Harvey is located across the river from New Orleans. The young girl is then assaulted, she tells police, by two boys.

Over a year later, the girl says she was actually raped by her stepfather, Patrick Kennedy.

Five years after the rape, Kennedy is on trial.

The state argued the following.

The girl was awakened early in the morning to find her 300-pound stepfather on top of her. He was undressing her, with his hand over her mouth to keep her quiet before forcing himself inside her. The girl suffered internal injuries and heavy bleeding.

For 18 months after the rape, the girl did insist she was assaulted by two teenage boys outside her house. The girl then changed her story to implicate the stepfather AFTER she was removed from her mother's care, put in foster care and told that her stepfather was the person responsible.

After the 300-pound Kennedy raped his small 8-year old stepdaughter, he picked up the telephone.

Kennedy called his place of work.

He told his workplace he wouldn’t be on the job that day.

Why not?

Kennedy informed his employer that he would not be coming in because his little girl had "become a lady."

Kennedy then placed another call.

He dialed a cleaning company to have blood removed from his carpets.

Then Kennedy made another phone call.

This one was to 9-1-1.

He told the operator his stepdaughter had been raped and asked for an ambulance.
Bleeding heart hand wringing liberals argued there was no DNA evidence. They claimed there were conflicting stories. They cried it was a classic “he said, she said" story.

The jury believed the young victim who did testify at the trial and found Kennedy.

That was in 2003.
According to the liberal publication, The Nation:

“At the penalty-phase of the trial, the jury heard Kennedy's goddaughter testify that she had been raped by him twenty years earlier when she was 8 or 9 years old, though Kennedy was never charged with that offense. On the basis of this evidence, and empowered with a unique Louisiana statute, the jury sentenced Kennedy to death, making him the only person on America's death row for a crime less than murder. For that matter, his sentence made him the only person on death row in any Western democracy for the crime of child rape.”

Many years earlier, in the Supreme Court's 1972 decision in Furman v. Georgia, which declared all state death-penalty statutes unconstitutional, Justice Byron White wrote:

"Rape is without doubt deserving of serious punishment; but in terms of moral depravity and of the injury to the person and to the public, it does not compare with murder, which does involve the unjustified taking of human life.... The murderer kills; the rapist, if no more than that, does not. Life is over for the victim of the murderer; for the rape victim, life may not be nearly so happy as it was, but it is not over and normally is not beyond repair. We have the abiding conviction that the death penalty, which 'is unique in its severity and irrevocability' an excessive penalty for the rapist who, as such, does not take human life."
Even so, the Louisiana legislature passed a law in 1995 allowing the death penalty for the rape of a child under 12 years old. The Legislature made the age 13 a few years ago.

Opposed, as you might expect: the Catholic Church, lawyers concerned with the constitutionality of the statute, and advocates who worried that such a law could give rapists an incentive to murder their victims. Now the Louisiana law is the focus of scrutiny by the highest court in the land.

The Louisiana Supreme Court rejected an appeal of Kennedy's death sentence, saying it did not  constitute "cruel and unusual" punishment.

"Child rape is the most heinous of all non-homicide crimes," the Louisiana Supreme Court declared. "And while the majority of other states may not provide capital punishment for child rape, many do provide capital punishment for other non-homicide crimes (that) are far less heinous."
Of the 38 states that allow the death penalty, 25 reserve it for murder. With the addition of a new law enacted in Texas last year, six states now authorize the death penalty for crimes involving rape and sexual assault, though several states limit executions to repeat offenders. Several states - including Idaho and Georgia - allow the death penalty for kidnapping crimes.

Prosecutors have traditionally been reluctant to seek the death penalty for non-murder crimes. All of the 1,099 executions carried out in the U.S. since the Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976 have been for homicide.

No, Patrick Kennedy didn’t kill his 8-year old stepdaughter. But for all intents and purposes, he may have. Kennedy did incredible physical and psychological damage to that poor girl that is no doubt irreparable.

Those who support this animal are banking on the knee-jerk reaction of many who immediately counter, “Well, he didn’t kill anybody!”

No he didn’t.

But I don’t think the U.S. Supreme Court that is on record that capital punishment is constitutional, should deny one of the states the ability to determine what is an offense that warrants the death penalty.

I submit Patrick Kennedy deserves to be executed.


Elvis Presley

Born January 8, 1935

Tupelo remembers


“By all accounts, Elvis Presley was the single greatest influence on modern day rock ’n roll in America, and much of his musical inspiration drew on the Mississippi blues.”

At Elvis’ birthplace today, a Mississippi Blues Trail marker will be placed.

It was no Graceland


Where Elvis was born.

Ed Sullivan did Elvis right


Steve Allen booked Elvis for his Sunday night TV appearance.

Elvis helped Steve Allen smash Ed Sullivan in the ratings.

But Elvis wasn’t comfortable.

Though it might have been unintentional (I don’t think so), Allen made a fool of Elvis, having him sing in tux and tails to a basset hound.

Read more

A reminder about the Buckhorn controversy

There is a lot of emotion swirling around the Buckhorn Tavern controversy that I fully understand.

Keep in mind as the Common Council meets tonight to discuss the matter that there must be “due process.”
The aldermen, in essence, are the judges. They must refrain from passing judgment until due process takes its course.

While the Police Department and the District Attorney’s office compile evidence and build their case against the hit and run driver, there is the question, as a reader posed to me earlier, as to what to do about the bartenders.

I think the statute is clear and not much can be done to criminally charge them. That's unfortunate because they certainly were culpable.
The city needs to go through the legal process of determining whether Buckhorn should keep its license. The bar owner should be and will be allowed to present his case.That's why it's important that citizens who have information pertinent to the way Buckhorn has operated turn out at tonight's Common Council meeting.Personally, based on what I know, I'd take the license away. They can't be trusted any longer to employ responsible bartenders who know when to cut someone off.But the process has to play out. Allow the aldermen to review this thoroughly.

Pucker up Miss Pepper


Elvis saw her.

Elvis wanted her.

Elvis: The impressive resume


Happy Birthday, Elvis!

If you're just joining us, shame on you. We're right in the middle of remembering the life of Elvis Presley, who would have been 73 today.

Yes, he accomplished a few things!


A great Elvis medley


From 1972.....

Elvis in concert.

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The King and the Chairman of the Board


Elvis is released from the Army.

He appears on a TV special with Frank Sinatra in 1960.

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Dancing with the Stars: Elvis-style


Va-va-va voom....Viva las Vegas!

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Elvis in the 21st Century


Still wowing them, still topping the charts....

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Common Council re-cap on Buckhorn

I was not at the Common Council meeting tonight on Buckhorn, but Janet Evans who was, as usual, provides an excellent summary

I posted the following comments on her blog:

Sounds like the Mayor and the Common Council all huddled in a room before tonight's meeting and went over the same script, a la the World Wrestling Federation.

This is why I posted what I did tonight at 6:00.

In the interest of justice, I am willing to see this play out.

But justice must prevail.

The statements made to police by the bartenders are damning.

If I had my way, the Common Council would schedule an emergency session and question the Buckhorn owner(s) and, if possible, the bartenders.

If they don't cooperate, that would damage their potential of keeping their license.

If there is doubt, please read the criminal complaint that I linked to in one of my previous blogs.

I conclude with this:

Buckhorn is culpable in the deaths of two innocent people. If not this incident, Franklin aldermen, then explain to me what the Buckhorn or any other Franklin bar would have to do in order to lose its license?

Could I see your ID please?

The state of Indiana’s photo ID law for voting is the subject of review today by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Don’t they have better things to do?

In order to get a valid photo ID in Indiana to then show to cast your vote,
you must have a validated birth certificate and two other forms of identification.

Uhhhh, that’s a problem………………….how?

According to ABC News, “An Indiana state employee has testified that as many as 60 percent of applicants for IDs are turned away because of improper documentation.”

Uhhh, that’s a bad thing………………….how?

No proper ID, guess what? You don’t get your Rambo video. You don’t get your ears pierced. You don’t vote!

This might be the biggest no-brainer in the history of the United States. If you are Joe Smith, prove it before you cast your ballot.
 Only brain dead liberals who actually are in favor of voter fraud do not understand this common sense concept.

I concur with the following editorial from the Indianapolis Star, a newspaper in the state whose law is the subject of Supreme Court scrutiny today:

State's voter ID law should pass Supreme test
January 7, 2008 
Our position: Supreme Court should uphold Indiana's voter ID law.

Casting a ballot is a fundamental right of American democracy. But it's not a right without restrictions.

Citizens must meet age and residency requirements to vote. They must in most states, including Indiana, register well in advance of Election Day. They must complete ballots in a prescribed fashion for their votes to be counted. Unless using an absentee ballot, they must show up at an assigned location within a set number of hours. Each of those requirements creates an obstacle to voting. Yet, they're generally accepted and not considered legally suspect.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday is scheduled to hear arguments on whether one other requirement for voting is constitutional -- Indiana's law requiring voters to show a photo ID at the polls.

As with other common restrictions on voting, the photo ID requirement is fair and reasonable. The court should easily uphold Indiana's law.

U.S. District Judge Sarah Evans Barker, in a 2006 ruling, demolished arguments put forward by the Indiana Democratic Party and the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana. "Despite apocalyptic assertions of wholesale voter disenfranchisement, plaintiffs have produced not a single piece of evidence of any identifiable registered voter who would be prevented from voting,'' Barker wrote at the time.

Think about that: The plaintiffs failed to find a single voter who couldn't cast a ballot because of the ID requirement. If no was injured, is there really a case?

Barker noted that the lack of evidence that the requirement has harmed the public is "testament to the law's minimal burden and narrow crafting.''

The plaintiffs on Wednesday will ask the justices to swallow the incredulous notion that in 2008 it's too demanding to ask a voter to produce a photo ID when casting a ballot in person. That argument flies in the face of modern-day reality. People are routinely required to show an ID to cash a check, use a credit card, pick up prescription drugs, fly on an airplane or complete any number of other transactions.

But isn't the ID requirement a burden for the poor? State law enables anyone to receive a free photo ID from the Bureau of Motor Vehicles.

Registered voters who object to showing an ID at the polls always have the option of casting an absentee ballot.

The General Assembly passed the ID law out of concern about voter fraud. Critics argue that prosecutors rarely if ever bring charges against voters accused of Election Day fraud. That's not the same, however, as showing that a reasonable precaution against fraud is unconstitutional.

The high court should see through the arguments against the voter ID law and allow this common-sense requirement to remain. 


Meet Andrei Junge and his great blog on voting

Bayside blogger Andrei Junge doesn’t blog often.

When he does, his effort is pretty solid.

This writer nails it with a great blog today on Voter ID.

Congratulations, Andrei. Keep up the good work!

Heartfelt testimony on the Buckhorn controversy

FranklinNOW blogger Janet Evans wrote in her summary of last night’s Franklin Common Council meeting that two citizens stepped forward to address the Aldermen about the Buckhorn fatal hit-and-run controversy.

From Janet’s blog:

Orville Seymer
spoke first and told the Council he lives just around the corner from where the incident occurred and has family and friends who have been involved in accidents and death related to drunk drivers.  He said, "I am opposed to taking the liquor license away from the Buckhorn because that simply will not solve the problem. In my opinion, what will solve the problem is tavern owners and bar tenders who take more responsibility for their actions. In other words, they simply cannot refill a patron glass just because it is empty and they have money laying on the bar.

"I am willing to go with any person who is willing to go with me and speak to every bar owner along 27th St. and exert a little peer pressure on them in a nice way so that they understand the consequences of these senseless deaths.”

Shari Hanneman
spoke and said she disagrees with Orville Seymer. This also happened in her neighborhood.  She is a Mother Against Drunk Driving. She believes the Buckhorn's license should be revoked. She said the employees admitted that Eddie Lynn Keck had repeatedly been over served. The Buckhorn should lose the privilege of having a license. 

Both Seymer and Hanneman are friends of mine and I respect them both. I am not surprised that these two upstanding citizens were willing to voice their views.

Hanneman is a member of the Franklin Planning Commission, Citizens for a Safe Wisconsin (CFSW), and MADD. Hanneman, along with her CFSW colleague Sandy Maher-Johnson did extensive research on one of the Wisconsin Statute that applies to this case. Hanneman referred to the statute in her testimony before the Common Council.

Hanneman and Maher-Johnson deserve all the credit for their hard work and for making the public aware of this angle to the story. Hanneman has given me permission to re-print her testimony to the Common Council last night:

The tragic accident of Christmas night occurred in my neighborhood. We heard the commotion and hoped that someone had simply burned their Christmas dinner.  Unfortunately two people died for no reason.  I am heartbroken and I am really angry that this happened and that it happened in my neighborhood. This incident is a black mark on the soul of this community. 


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The Catholic-bashing never ends

This time it happened on an NPR affiliate in Utah.

The media's double-standard

My friend Mike Wenzel observes and rates officials who work women’s basketball games in the Big East Conference.

Last night, he watched as the Marquette women nearly upset highly-rated Rutgers.

After the game, Wenzel tells me he saw a large crowd gathered around Rutgers head coach C. Vivian Stringer, asking for autographs.

You may recall that last year, Stringer helped bring down former national radio talk show host Dom Imus, albeit temporarily.

On the April 4, 2007 edition of MSNBC's Imus in the Morning, host Imus referred to the Rutgers University women's basketball team, which is comprised of eight African-American and two white players, as "nappy-headed hos" immediately after the show's executive producer, Bernard McGuirk, called the team "hard-core hos." Later, former Imus sports announcer Sid Rosenberg, who was filling in for sportscaster Chris Carlin, said: "The more I look at Rutgers, they look exactly like the [National Basketball Association's] Toronto Raptors."
 There was an explosion of outrage. Imus did apologize, but to no avail. He was given the pink slip.

The wacky radical left broadcasts its loony views on the not-so successful Air America network.

One of their hosts goes by the on-air name of “Lionel.” His real name is Michael Lebron.
Recently, “Lionel” decided to discuss the tragic death the San Francisco Zoo where a tiger mauled a teenager.

Lionel’s take was to root for the animal. He then gleefully cheered for the death of Steve Irwin, the well-known TV "Crocodile Hunter."  

Brent Bozell, the Founder and President of the Media Research Center, provides Lionel’s quote:

"Call me wacky, but hurray for the tiger that killed the kid who was taunting him. Now, I know this is not right but let's hear it for the wild. I loathe zoos. I'm still cheering the fact that some stingray whacked that Aussie pain-in-the-ass Steve Irwin."

That’s not wacky, that’s plain nuts.

Bozell operates the largest media watchdog around and it’s his job to keep track of junk like this.

Where’s the outrage, you ask?

Bozell says:

“Let's note that there is no definitive media account yet that shows that 17-year-old Carlos Sousa Jr. was taunting the tiger when he was killed. But if he did? He deserved death?

When the quote was circulated on blogs like NewsBusters and the Radio Equalizer, "Lionel" didn't defend his statements. Instead he did what liberals so often do: he protested that he was only joking. He denounced conservative bloggers as the kind who say "I'm either going to expose myself to children at a park, or stay home and blog." Some bloggers "apparently bored, may have commented on a comment that I had regarding Steve Irwin and the barb that shook the world." He claimed they were "obviously sardonic comments." His swaggering tone during that segment did suggest he was going to say something shocking, but his own Air America blog stated unequivocally, without any attempt at humor: "If you shoot a tiger with a sling-shot, you deserve to get mauled. That's just how it works."

Cro-Magnons would agree with this man.

Liberals would have us believe that liberalism is all about seeking the highest peak of happiness and compassion for humanity. But when that humanity clashes with the animal kingdom, left-wing crazies throw compassion out the window, suggesting a different motto: "Screw the Human." Bill Maher also mocked Irwin's death in September 2006 by attending numerous Halloween parties a month later dressed as the Crocodile Hunter, complete with a bloody stingray barb attached to his khaki shirt.

Why aren't the media elites scandalized by hateful statements like these? When liberals get called on the carpet for saying crazy things, they are always only joking. When conservatives are joking, the media see their humor as scandalous, even dangerous. Leftists like Bill Maher can argue on television that the world would be a better place if Vice President Cheney was killed by terrorists and liberal elites will yawn because, he was kidding, see. But when Rush Limbaugh's show runs a song parody of Al Sharpton lamenting Obama's popularity called "Barack the Magic Negro," the same people suddenly are outraged.

NBC put on leftists who denounced Limbaugh for having a racist show, and "the radio equivalent of a blackface minstrel show." The reporter complained that there's no "hue and cry" because his "niche audience" expects this kind of joke. The on-screen graphic screamed: "Is Limbaugh Getting a Free Pass?"

It's a question you'll never see posed by NBC about Maher or "Lionel."

When Limbaugh laughs about "feminazis," liberals are apoplectic in their fury. When the Air America types angrily label President Bush a Nazi, they're nowhere to be found.

Liberals in the Old Media who constantly decry talk radio as a haven for right-wing haters ought to have the honesty and integrity to cover both sides of the street before they present themselves as the nation's guardians of public civility and decorum.”


Here's one for you married gals...

Good move, McDonald's

Someone finally had the foresight to change the lettering on McDonald's sign facing motorists as they drive eastbound on Rawson Avenue.

For the past few weeks, the sign has been inviting customers to come in and enjoy their iced coffee.

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Friday night on InterCHANGE

Here are the topics my co-panelists and I discuss Friday night on InterCHANGE at 6:30 on Milwaukee Public Television, with a repeat on Sunday morning at 11:00.


Who’s on first?  At this point in time, who do you consider the favorites in the race to the White House? Clinton or Obama?  McCain or Huckabee?  Will Thompson do really well in South Carolina?  Will Giuliani’s strategy of betting the farm on Florida pay off?  Will it all change again in the weeks ahead?  Will Romney come from behind?  Why were all the pollsters in New Hampshire wrong?  Why did Hillary do so well?  

2 – VOTER I.D.

The Voter I.D. debate is alive an well this primary season.  As record numbers of voters and caucus goers demonstrated in Iowa and New Hampsire, all interest in the political system is not lost.  Depending on what happens in other states, Wisconsin could play an important role in the primary.  Once again the Voter I.D. proposals will surely be a subject of discussion here.  As a Wall Street Journal piece asks, “Why would anybody be against Voter I.D.?”  In fact, it is so controversial, the Supreme Court is studying the issue.  What will happen with Voter I.D. in Wisconsin?   Predictions?  


A State Senate committee approves a statewide smoking ban (effective date of January 2009), but it gives bars and restaurants an extra year.  Some folks in the Assembly say this thing isn’t going anywhere.  Are they right?  Are they just trying to get something from Doyle before they give him the smoking ban he apparently wants so bad?  Is the tavern lobby in Wisconsin really still so strong that they can stop this thing?  If you are a true conservative, can you still be supportive of a big brother government telling us what we can and can’t do with a legal product and our own bodies?  Has the pro-ban side been successful at framing this as a workplace health issue?  


Next week, Milwaukee’s Historic Preservation Commission is expected to finally admit that the abandoned Coast Guard station on Milwaukee’s lakefront is not an historic structure deserving to be protected at any cost.  This will most likely be the last roadblock in the way of the county plan to demolish the building.  This building, which the Coast Guard left in 1971, has been vacant for decades.  Various interests have been arguing about its historic significance for decades, too.  Is it in fact historic, just because it is nearly one-hundred years old?  Or, is it simply an eyesore, the victim of destruction through neglect?  Should it have been turned into a for profit enterprise, like Alterra did with the old property across the street? 

Tom Taylor for Mayor

Why wait until April.

I’m going on record that I support incumbent Franklin Mayor Tom Taylor.

Taylor is a principled man I know and respect. Having worked with him personally on some critical issues, I know that he is clearly the best choice for voters.

In today’s NOW section of the Journal/Sentinel, reporter John Neville spoke with Taylor and his opponent, former Franklin Alderman Basil Ryan.

Ryan, who was bounced from the Common Council in a recall says, “We were promised our taxes would go down with the new businesses that were encouraged to come into the city. We haven't seen that. In fact, our property taxes have consistently gone up.”

He’s right about that. Your property taxes have gone up consistently. But is that Mayor Taylor’s fault or the fault of the Franklin Common Council?

I’ve chastised the Mayor and the Common Council for increases in spending and the city tax levy. But the city tax levy is only one portion of your property tax bill. That bill includes school, county, MATC, MMSD and state taxes, all of which have risen steadily.

Take out the property tax bill you just paid. Compare city of Franklin taxes to the other taxes on your bill. There’s quite a difference. 

City leaders have attempted to hold the line. Could they have done a better job? Absolutely. But they’re not gouging us like the School Board.

Here’s another line from Neville’s story today:

If Ryan is elected mayor, he will work to bring down taxes in the city, partly by eventually reducing the size of city staff, he said.

Sorry, Basil. Giving a few city bureaucrats pink slips won’t make for significant tax savings, although it’s true salaries and benefits kill local governments. The key to providing real, honest to goodness property tax relief is to control and cut spending. A few job cuts here and there won’t solve anything.

Basil Ryan’s problems that led to his recall and subsequent ouster are well-known. Franklin didn’t want his services as Alderman. I doubt they really want him back as Mayor.

My vote is for Tom Taylor.

First shot fired in Franklin mayoral race

It comes from Tom Taylor's challenger, Basil Ryan in a press release issued this afternoon.

It appears this campaign could get quite nasty.

Jan. 10, 2008
Contact: Basil Ryan
                     Mayor tries to frivolously kick challenger off the ballot
FRANKLIN – Mayoral Challenger Basil Ryan called on Mayor Tom Taylor Thursday to explain his role in the Milwaukee County pension scandal, including the improper pension-boosting buybacks, after Taylor sent a bizarre note to the City Clerk bringing up Taylor’s own lavish Milwaukee County pension.
Ryan also has retained former Waukesha County District Attorney Paul Bucher (see attached letter) to respond to a frivolous challenge that Taylor filed this week to Ryan’s nomination papers. Taylor is challenging just 69 of Ryan’s 400 signatures. 200 are needed to run. “The fact that Mayor Taylor is frantically trying to prevent Franklin voters from having a choice for mayor speaks volumes,” Ryan said. “Perhaps he doesn't want to explain the tax levy and spending increases that he proposed a few months ago, or the fact he has raised taxes and increased spending every single year in office – by double digit percentages overall since becoming mayor. The taxpayers can no longer afford Tom Taylor as mayor. Then, again, they can’t afford the lavish county pensions, either.”
In a Wednesday letter to City Clerk Sandra Wesolowski, Bucher stated that Thomas’ challenge to the signatures is “ineffective and contrary to existing case law, as well as election board administrative rules.” Bucher stated that Ryan’s signatures are “clearly valid signatures.” Bucher also noted that Taylor ’s letter to the City Clerk contains “rhetoric” and is a “form of a news release improperly filed with the City Clerk.”

In that rhetoric, Taylor oddly brought up his lavish Milwaukee County pension in his letter to the City Clerk, stating: “I made approximately $104,000 per year in my last year of service (with Milwaukee County), and based on my almost 30 years of service I currently receive a annual pension of about $61,000.” Taylor then made negative comments about Ryan’s self-employment as a businessman. “It’s bizarre that the mayor apparently thinks getting a big paycheck from the county taxpayers is a positive but being a self-employed businessman is not. Milwaukee County taxpayers, including those in Franklin, are still paying a big price for the pension scandal,” stated Ryan.
A Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article dated Aug. 3 revealed how pension officials had “routinely granted pension-boosting buybacks in violation of county ordinances and IRS rules.” The buybacks could cost taxpayers $50 million. The newspaper stated that Taylor received such a county buyback . Taylor was a top county labor relations’ official and served on the Pension Board in 1991-1992, around the time “the buyback program was expanded by pension officials to include many former seasonal workers,” said the newspaper. Taylor had argued while a union activist that many seasonal workers had not been properly informed of their right to join the pension system,” the article noted. Taylor was also a county labor leader at the time of the other excessive pension enhancements.
Authorized and paid for by Basil Ryan for Mayor, Basil Ryan treasurer.

Mini-debate continues on this blog...

Are you following it?

Solid, quality commenting...

Photo ID opponents have a bad day

The folks who argued before the U.S. Supreme Court yesterday in favor of voter fraud and against photo ID did not have a very good day.

From blogger Redstate:

Liberals Look Like Losers in Voter ID Case
Anti-ID advocates embarrassed by one of their own
By Bluey

Yesterday's arguments in the U.S. Supreme Court case on an Indiana voter ID law couldn't have gone much worse for liberals who want to overturn the state's statute targeting vote fraud. Justices appeared inclined to reject arguments from the Indiana Democratic Party and ACLU and uphold two lower-court decisions favoring the Indiana law.

The court's swing vote, Justice Anthony Kennedy, dampened the left's hopes when he expressed skepticism about the requirements of the law. In questioning the lawyer for the state Democratic Party and ACLU, Kennedy asked, "You want us to invalidate a statute on the ground that it's a minor inconvenience to a small percentage of voters?" At a time when Americans are asked to show photo ID for routine things such as buying alcohol or getting on an airplane, it hardly seems unreasonable to do the same before voting.

But perhaps the best moment of the hour-long hearing came when Justice John Paul Stevens asked U.S. Solicitor General Paul Clement whether Democrats were adversely impacted more than Republicans because of the state's photo ID requirement. Clement, who supports the Indiana law, shot back that that if "this was a cleverly designed mechanism by the Republican Party to disadvantage the Democratic Party, at least in 2006 it looks like it went pretty far awry."   

It also doesn’t help when you’re arguing against photo ID and a voter you cite to back up your claim turns out to be a fraud herself.

HT: Dad29

The worst person in the world

Matt Barber has written a brilliant column tearing apart super-liberal Keith Olberman and his ridiculous attack on Wendy Wright of Concerned Women for America.

Wright doesn't buy into the concept that we should hand out condoms like candy and teach kids the 846 ways to have sex. Neither do I.

Barber has written a great piece.

A smoking ban is an economic disaster

Senate Majority Leader Russ Decker is offering a compromise on a proposal for a statewide smoking ban in Wisconsin.

Decker’s compromise plan includes:

·         Banning smoking in restaurants immediately.
·         Delaying a ban on taverns until April, 2011.
·         Grandfathering in smoking bans in Madison and Appleton.
·         Giving tavern owners the opportunity to provide a separate, non-serviced, ventilated room for smokers “to go just to have a cigarette, cigar or whatever.” 

That’s Decker’s “compromise” to an all-out ban.

Look at the first and fourth bullet points. They’re both unreasonable and unfair.

The state is going to dictate to bars that they must provide by either construction or renovation a separate area for smokers. This government mandate will come at high cost to the tavern owners.

Banning smoking in restaurants immediately is punitive and will severely hurt businesses.

Is it any wonder why Wisconsin’s business climate is in the toilet? 

Want to put restaurants out of business?

Want to kill jobs?

That’s what you get with a smoking ban.

The war vs. health care

I attended a town hall meeting this week held by Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan.

One of the audience members commented that there should be more federal money appropriated for health care because after all, look at how much money we’re spending in Iraq.

Ryan correctly pointed out where most of the federal money goes.

Many taxpayers are unaware of just how their taxes are spent.

I refer to two of my previous blogs that address your tax dollar at work.

1) What your taxes go for

2) How the feds spend your money

Breakthrough in Franklin burglaries

Within the past two weeks, the Franklin Police Department has arrested 10 suspects for burglary, clearing four separate home burglaries.

Police have another suspect identified whom they are presently looking for.

The police are still investigating these suspects for possible involvement with other burglaries in the city. Seven of these arrests were made in the early morning hours Thursday by late shift police officers.

Police Chief Richard Oliva expects that with these arrests, the incidence of burglaries in Franklin will significantly drop.

Franklin had experienced a sharp increase in break-ins and burglaries in December.

Christmas in October?

Why not.

This is why radio stations play Christmas music so early.


Taking a walk down Lonely Street


It’s not Elvis Week.

That’s reserved for August to commemorate the passing of the King of Rock and Roll.

But this is still an important week for Elvis and his fans.

Tuesday of this week, Elvis would have been 73 years old.

Two days after his 21st birthday, on January 10, 1956, Elvis had his very first recording session with RCA. The historic session produced his first gold record, “Heartbreak Hotel.”

Tommy Durden wrote the lyrics, and the story behind the song is captured in a Durden bio on that says he wrote the lyrics in the mid-50’s.

It was during this time that Durden would write the lyrics to his most famous song, "Heartbreak Hotel," and in one story that survives, the Swing Billys were the first group to play the then-unknown song. The group, however, didn't like the song because it was a rock-n-roll number, and teased Durden about it. Durden, however, would have the last laugh.

The idea for "Heartbreak Hotel" came to him after reading an article in the Miami Herald. He had glanced at the front page before turning to the racing section, and saw a story about a man who had destroyed all of his identity papers and committed suicide. The well-dressed man had left behind a note reading, "I walk a lonely street." Durden thought the story had the potential to become a great song, so he drove over to see his songwriter friend Mae Axton (the mother of Hoyt Atxon). Axton had met Elvis Presley when he had performed in Jacksonville and had promised to write him his first million-seller.

Axton liked the song idea, so Durden sat down at the piano and started to improvise. Axton, thinking of the heartbreak of the man's family, suggested that there should be a "heartbreak hotel" at the end of the "lonely street." While writing the song, a third friend, Glen Reeves, dropped by, and Axton asked if he'd like to help with the composition. Reeves declined, saying that the title was silly. Reeves left to run errands, returning "an hour later to find the song completed and recorded by Durden on Axton's tape recorder," according to Albert Goldman in Elvis. Axton then asked Reeves, who was also known for his ability to impersonate Presley, to sing the song into the tape machine. If it was in a style that Presley could relate to, she believed, he would be more likely to consider it. Reeves recorded the song, and although he was offered one-third writing credit for his help, he once again refused. Durden would later note of Reeves's involvement, "I was convinced when I heard the record that Elvis was even breathing in the same places that Glen did on the dub."

Axton approached Presley with the song at the Nashville DJ (disc jockey) convention and he liked it so much that he asked her to play it several times until he had it memorized. Axton and Durden offered Presley one-third of the writing credit to sing the song, and in 1956 "Heartbreak Hotel" became his first single for RCA and his first number-one hit. "It's ironic," Goldman wrote, "that this now-legendary composition should have been offered to him by a couple of obscure writers who had never set foot inside the Brill Building." The song, however, caught on slowly. When Presley first performed what would become one of the most famous songs in rock history, an orchestra, complete with a trumpet solo, accompanied him. The studio version, however, quickly shot to number one. "Presley never recorded anything else remotely like it," wrote Michael Gray in the London Guardian. "Nothing so spooky, moody, jazz tinged or weird." The song was also one of the few Presley recorded at the time that had not been written by professionals.

While Durden continued to have a successful, if low-key, career, interviewers inevitably wanted to know about the role he had played in penning "Heartbreak Hotel." "He wrote more songs," noted Bruce Eder in All Music Guide, "but never anything ... as successful, but the one hit gave him a degree of financial security stretching out for more than 40 years, paying the rent a good deal of the time." Durden, however, had been surprised by the song's success, and later told the Chicago Sun-Times, "Evidently, it is a better song than I thought it was when I wrote it." When asked why he was never able to repeat the task of writing a number-one song, Durden was circumspect. "I have given it a lot of thought. I have come to the conclusion that the good Lord only allows one 'Heartbreak Hotel' to a customer."

The producer of “Heartbreak Hotel,” Buddy Killen tells another great story about the song, and about meeting a very nervous Elvis Presley backstage at the Grand Ole Opry.

Elvis sang the song on the Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey TV show, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Is it ever!

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Our Packers, who art in heaven...

Lombardi, everywhere. 

A love affair passed from generation to generation. 

Welcome to the neighborhood….have a pie.

Hooters on Holmgren.

Don’t eat the grass.




Nice people.

A Seattle columnist captures the flavor of Titletown.

Judge reverses his own ridiculous ruling in sex offender trial

Here’s an update on a story I’ve blogged about in the past.

Sheboygan Judge Timothy Van Akkeren has reversed an earlier shameful ruling and has decided not to overturn a jury’s guilty verdict for a sex offender.

Before you credit the judge, keep in mind, it took a great deal of time for him to finally come to his sense and, I’m sure, a great deal of public pressure.

Too bad this judge couldn’t figure out the appropriate and obvious ruling to make in the first place.

I say he still needs to be voted off the bench.

Here's the story.

Now the question is, how severe will the judge's sentence be?

Packers vs. Seahawks: Game Notes


From Fox Sports-Game Notes for today:

·  After taking a 13-0 lead into the fourth quarter and then falling behind 14-13, the Seahawks scored 22 unanswered points and took a 35-14 home win over the Redskins last Saturday. Seattle has lost six straight postseason road games and its only road playoff win all-time came in 1983 (27-20 at Miami).
·  Matt Hasselbeck threw a 20-yard touchdown pass to D.J. Hackett in the fourth quarter last weekend, giving him 10 postseason touchdown passes in his career as a Seahawk (most in franchise history). ·  The Packers have defeated the Seahawks three straight times in Green Bay, including a 33-27 victory in the two teams' only postseason meeting all-time following the 2003 regular season.
·  Green Bay is 17-3 in its last 20 games dating to last season, including an impressive 9-1 at Lambeau Field. The Packers have outscored opponents by a combined 247-131 overall in their last 10 home games.
·  Brett Favre finished the 2007 regular season with a 95.7 rating — his best since the Super Bowl winning season of 1996 when he posted a 95.8. Favre had just 20 catchable passes dropped by his receivers this season (fewest in the NFC) and his 66.5 completion percentage was the best of his career.
·  Seattle had two interception returns for touchdowns during its fourth quarter rally against Washington last Saturday. Prior to that game, the Seahawks had just two such returns in their previous 34 contests (since the beginning of 2006 and including last season's playoffs).

·  The last time these two teams met in November of 2006, Shaun Alexander rushed for 201 yards. The performance is one of two 200-yard performances in his career (the other was against Oakland — 266 yards).
·  Despite garnering his fourth straight 1,000-yard receiving season, Donald Driver hasn't reached the end zone since Week 3 against the Chargers. Driver's two TD catches were tied for fewest among all 1,000-yard receivers in 2007.

Packers vs. Seahawks: Ryan Grant has the right attitude

Packers RB not taking success for granted

By Alex Marvez
Alex Marvez is a Senior NFL Writer for He's covered the NFL for 13 seasons as a beat writer.

Without the right attitude, Green Bay Packers running back Ryan Grant's journey from obscurity to budding NFL stardom would have ended long ago.

"My mentality is that if you work hard, things will work out in the end," Grant said on Wednesday. "They might not work out right away or the way you think. But it will work out."

Read more

Say it ain't so: Lombardi, a Seahawks fan?

It's true.

Packers vs. Seahawks: Holmgren's last game in Seattle?

Former Packer coach decides his future after season.

Packers vs.Seahwaks: Seattle player to wear hot pants

I kid you not.


Packers vs. Seahawks: More Hasselback humor?

Remember that coin flip?

Packers vs. Seahawks: Al Harris leads the defense

From the NY Times:

January 12, 2008

Packers’ Harris Is at the Front of a Defensive Turnaround

GREEN BAY, Wis. — Four years after making one of the most memorable plays in Green Bay Packers playoff history, cornerback Al Harris stepped to the lectern at a news conference this week and flatly announced he would not entertain questions about it.

Read more

Packers vs. Seahawks: America's most revered athlete

Guess who?

Packers vs. Seahawks: Al Jones

Jones wrote the story of the week.

Packers vs. Seahawks: The predictions

From around the country...

Is that really Hannah Montana?

One the eve of Hannah Montana's appearance in Milwaukee, the young singer is in the middle of a minor controversy.



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...


Iraqi soldiers

State Senator Glenn Grothman

Jane Hambleton

The Orlando-based Liberty Counsel

Jack Davis


Lam Luong

Marion Jones

Faye-Buis Ewing

Skip Legault


“Each week, I bring more stress on myself wondering if this is too good to be true.I want to continue the streak and winning. When I talk about the streak, it's not the (consecutive) starts; it's the hot streak we are on. Then, I ask what can I do better? I am trying to enjoy it because this could be my last game in Green Bay. For the first time in three years, I haven't thought this could be my last game. I would like to continue longer."
Brett Favre.

"Breleigh then spoke up and said, 'Dad, don't retire.' And Brittany said, 'Dad, I think you need to play one more year."'
Brett Favre.

"You want us to invalidate a statute on the ground that it's a minor inconvenience to a small percentage of voters?"
The U.S. Supreme Court's swing vote, Justice Anthony Kennedy questioning the lawyer for the Indiana state Democratic Party and ACLU about Indiana’s photo ID law.

(If) "this was a cleverly designed mechanism by the Republican Party to disadvantage the Democratic Party, at least in 2006 it looks like it went pretty far awry."  
U.S. Solicitor General Paul Clement, responding to U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens during oral arguments on Indiana’s photo ID law. Stevens asked Clement whether Democrats were adversely impacted more than Republicans because of the state's photo ID requirement.

“There is no voter fraud.”
Joel McNally, my co-panelist on last night’s InterCHANGE program on Channel 10.

“In Milwaukee, Wis., investigators found that, in the state's close 2004 presidential election, more than 200 felons voted illegally and more than 100 people voted twice.”
Wall Street Journal columnist John Fund.

"You're likeable enough, Hillary."
Barack Obama, taking a swipe at Hillary Clinton during a debate. Some pundits feel the remark helped Hillary win New Hampshire.

It's not a fairy tale; he might win.  I think he's a very impressive man, and he's run a great campaign."
Bill Clinton, who is now under fire for using the words "fairy tale" in connection with Barack Obama. South Carolina Rep. Jim Clyburn told Friday's New York Times that he saw the remark as a slap at the image of a black candidate running on a theme of unity and optimism. Clyburn is now reconsidering his neutral stance in South Carolina's Jan. 26 Democratic primary. The former president explained to  Al Sharpton that his comment was not a swipe at Obama reaching for the White House but rather a reference to the fawning press treatment Obama has received.

“Iron My shirt!”
Hillary protesters.

“Am I the only one who has a problem with putting our nation's fate in the hands of Iowans? A bushel of corn, sure. But the presidency? No way.I think we're all perfectly happy to let the Hawkeyes have all the hubbub, but it sure would be nice for the rest of us to participate in a primary that means something once in a while. By the time Wisconsinites vote Feb. 19, the candidates will be selecting running mates and setting rates for overnight stays in the Lincoln bedroom.”
Baraboo News Republic columnist Ben Bromley. 

"I really think it's way too much government. It's dumb to take a job at a tavern and then complain smoking bothers you."
Pamela Chahdi, a smoker from Schofield who used to own The Office, adding she's concerned about the slippery-slope it could create. Business owners ought to decide what to allow; non-smoking patrons and employees can decide whether they want to visit or work at establishments that allow smoking.

"Now it's kind of on life support.”
Senate Majority Leader Russ Decker on the statewide smoking ban legislation.

"The smoking ban has a long way to go and frankly a short time to get there. It has an uphill battle in this house and in the Senate."

Assembly Speaker Mike Huebsch.

"All that to-do last year and the state turns around and does it again. I got pretty upset. ... Who's not doing their job?"
Jane Marvin, 66, of Sun Prairie. Social Security numbers were printed on about 260,000 informational brochures sent by a vendor hired by the state to recipients of SeniorCare and other state programs. The gaffe is the second time in 13 months that mailings including the recipients' Social Security numbers on address labels were sent from state departments.

"Like all Packer fans, I am thrilled that Brett Favre will return to action next year for the green and gold … with this announcement behind us, Brett Favre and the Green Bay Packers can focus on the task at hand: defeating the Seattle Seahawks on Saturday."
Governor Jim Doyle, reacting to a newspaper story on Favre. The clock, though, is still running on Favre's announcement about next year and his return for another season is not a sure thing. The Sun Herald quoted Favre as saying "this could be my last game in Green Bay." Doyle spokeswoman Carla Vigue said Doyle's office made a mistake. "We misread the article," she said.


This.......which was then followed by this.


Two-way tie this week.

Conceal-carry works.

Photo Id does not prevent people from voting.


Hillary cries.


Get your as-cot out of my courtroom

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.


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How much credit does the Packer GM get?

Many Packer fans have wanted to string GM Ted Thompson up from the nearest tree. (That includes yours truly).

Personally, I give all the credit to the players and coaches.

Still, the Wall Street Journal says Thompson may have been ahead of his time.

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  Week-ends, January 5 

2) My most popular blogs 

3) When will Jim Doyle do the right thing?

4) Uhhh, Jennifer, about that bag of yours….

5) Charges against Buckhorn being considered

My Elvis birthday blogathon on January 8th had 18,304 hits with the most popular blog of the bunch being, Today at Graceland.

I appreciate your continued support.

Some Marquette students need class

I was fortunate to be at the Bradley Center Saturday afternoon for the 109th meeting between Marquette and Notre Dame. Normally a classic confrontation, the game was a blowout. Marquette did everything right. Notre Dame couldn’t so anything.

MU 92

ND  66

The vast majority of fans behaved themselves. The section of about 100 ND fans near me suffered no abuse.

However, there always have to be the minority group of spoilers.

Some Marquette buffoons came dressed in their anti-ND T-shirts.

There was the classic, “Notre Lame.”

Another had the words “Notre Dame” along with a picture of a hand with the middle finger extended.

Still another shirt proclaimed that Notre Dame is “French for our b*tch."


Hey Mom and Dad, your tuition payments, hard at work.

Late in the game, during a timeout, with Notre Dame soundly beaten, the student section near the Notre Dame bench cascaded the Fighting Irish with chants of, “You suck.”

Boy, that’s original.

Before the game, a video of Marquette head coach Tom Crean was shown on the jumbotron scoreboard to fire up the crowd.

On the video pre-game pep talk, Crean said Marquette had “the best student section in the country.”

I don’t think so.

Show us your breasts.....or not?

Canada is using a novel approach to generating awareness about breast cancer. 

Women are being encouraged to show pictures of their breasts online, scars from previous surgeries and all.

After being encouraged to do self-examinations, women are being asked to take photos of their breasts -- whether fully clothed, in a bra or topless -- and upload those pictures to the Booby Wall at the Web site

Many women are participating.

This concept probably wouldn’t go over very well in the tiny town of Arlington, Oregon.

Arlington’s mayor, 42-year old Carmen Kontur-Gronquist is on You Tube in just her underwear.

Why she did it is a mystery. 

She won’t say.

Her constituents are not happy.

Her honor should just hold a news conference and claim she was doing her part to support her friends to the north and create “awareness.”


In their underwear. 


Mr. Taylor,  don’t even think about it.

No Hollywood mutual admiration society tonight


HOLLYWOOD, CA, January 7, 2008 – The Hollywood Foreign Press Association today announced that the recipients of Golden Globe Awards in 25 categories will be revealed during an hour-long HFPA press conference at The Beverly Hilton to be covered live by NBC News beginning at 6:00 pm PST on January 13.  “The 65th Annual Golden Globe Awards” NBC telecast and champagne dinner in The Beverly Hilton’s International Ballroom is officially cancelled. 

“We are all very disappointed that our traditional awards ceremony will not take place this year and that millions of viewers worldwide will be deprived of seeing many of their favorite stars celebrating 2007’s outstanding achievements in motion pictures and television,” said Jorge Camara, President of The Hollywood Foreign Press Association.  “We take some comfort, however, in knowing that this year’s Golden Globe Award recipients will be announced on the date originally scheduled.”

I don’t know about you, but I am not disappointed at all that the Golden Globe winners will be announced during a one-hour news conference.

That means no three-hour telecast of arrogant, egotistical Hollywood liberals making grandiose (and sometimes political) speeches about how great they are and how conservatives should be burned at the stake.

And by the way……are Jay Leno and David Letterman, et al, "scabs?"

Where’s the outcry from the union-pandering left?

Diamond Jim Doyle not very shrewd

Governor Jim Doyle has demonstrated in the past that he surely is clueless when it comes to bargaining.

Native American groups have been more than willing to sit down at the table with Doyle and walk away with lucrative, eternal deals that leave taxpayers getting very little in comparison in return.

Last week, the Governor showed once again he lacks any semblance of a poker face.

Washington Governor Chris Gregoire placed a wager with Doyle over the outcome of Saturday's playoff game in Green Bay between the Seattle Seahawks and Packers.

Gregoire bet Washington's Cougar Gold cheese.

What did Doyle ante up?

Some Wisconsin bratwurst.

Excuse me?

Sure, Doyle won the bet, thanks to Brett Favre, Ryan Grant and company.

But he won……………some cheese?????

It’s not like we can’t find a slice anywhere around these parts.



Way to hold out for the very best, Gov!

With GB and NY in the NFC title game....

That means media attention, fascination, adulation towards the teams will be:

90% New York

10% Green Bay

Culinary no-no #37

Culinary no-no's

Enact a statewide smoking ban in Wisconsin, and watch bars and restaurants lose business to the point of having to close their doors for good.

Here’s the evidence:

As of May 1, 2007 the following went out of business in the city of Madison:

Buckeye Inn
Runway Pub
Rick N Ole’s
Green Room
CJ’s on Atlas (Currently Mexicali Rose)
Hammer Time
Capital Grill
Bennett’s On the Park
Ray’s Bar & Grill
Kimia Lounge
Bru’s Anchor Inn

As of April, 2005 the following went out of business in Appleton:

JukeBox Johnny's
Muldunes Pub
Bourbon Street
Vegas Lounge
Trim B's

Dallas Restaurant Association Study

In January 2003 the Dallas City Council passed a smoking ban in restaurants, hotels, bowling centers and other public places effective March 1, 2003. One year later, the Dallas Restaurant Association asked two professors of applied economics at the University of North Texas in Denton to examine the effects of the smoking ban a year after implementation. The study found that the smoking ban:

􀂃 Contributed to an $11.8 million decline in alcohol sales.
􀂃 Restaurants experienced drops in alcohol sales ranging from 9% to 50%.
􀂃 Caused at least 4 restaurant closings.

("The Dallas Smoking Ordinance One Year Later; A Report on the Impacts of the City of Dallas Smoking Ban on Alcoholic Beverage
Sales", Terry L. Clower, Ph.D. & Bernard L. Weinstein, Ph.D., October 1, 2004)

New York Nightlife Association/Empire State Restaurant and Tavern Association Study

In July 2003 the state of New York banned smoking in all enclosed public places of employment. In May 2004 Ridgewood Economic Associates, Ltd. conducted a study on the impact of the ban on bars and restaurants. The study found that that ban had cost the bar and tavern industry:

􀂃 2,000 jobs (10.7% of actual employment)
􀂃 $28.5 million in wages and salary payments
􀂃 $37 million in gross state product

(“Economic Impact of the New York State Smoking Ban on New York’s Bars”, Ridgewood Economic Associates, Ltd. May 12, 2004)

National Restaurant Association Study

In 2004, the National Restaurant Association engaged Deloitte & Touche LLP to study the economic impact of smoking bans in thousands of restaurants. The study examined the impact of government imposed smoking bans on the sales and profits of individual table service restaurants. The analysis used data from national samples of restaurants collected during five different years during the 1990 to 2000 period. The study included information on the features of the ordinances applicable to the restaurants and the economic and demographic characteristics of the communities where the restaurants were located. The research found:

􀂃 Non-smoking ordinances have a statistically significant impact on the sales and profits of individual restaurants in certain cases.
􀂃 A temporary negative impact on restaurant sales was found in cases where 100 percent smoking bans (excluding the bar area) were in effect at the county level. The estimated declines in annual sales ranged from roughly 49 to 55 percent at restaurants where such bans were enacted two to three years prior to the survey.
􀂃 Restaurant sales declined in areas where 100 percent smoking bans (excluding the bar area) had been enacted at the place level. Annual sales declines were estimated at 36 percent at restaurants where these bans were enacted four or more years earlier.
􀂃 In cases where significant declines in sales were estimated, gross profit tended to decline by a somewhat greater percentage.
􀂃 A positive impact on total restaurant sales and gross profit was found in cases where place-level ordinances reserved the majority of seating for nonsmokers but allowed some smoking. In cases where these ordinances were enacted two to three years before the survey, sales were estimated to increase 36 percent and gross profit was up 37 percent. In cases where these ordinances went into effect four or more years ago, sales were up 43

percent and gross profit increased 42 percent.

("The Impact of Non-smoking Ordinances on Restaurant Financial Performance", Deloitte & Touche LLP, February 2004)

Restaurant Association of Maryland Study

In October 2003 Montgomery County passed a smoking ban in most enclosed public places, including bars and restaurants. In April 2004 Talbot County began enforcing a similar ban. The Restaurant Association of Maryland tracked tax data from the Maryland Office of the Comptroller and found:

In Montgomery County between April and December 2004:

􀂃 Sales tax receipts for restaurants with liquor licenses grew by only $110,480, or .025 percent, while receipts in neighboring Frederick County grew 7 percent over the same period.
 􀂃 The number of restaurants with liquor licenses fell to 402 by the end of December 2004 from a high of 526 in March 2003.
􀂃 The number of beer keg sales declined by 2,366 kegs.

In Talbot County between May 2004 and December 2004:

􀂃 Restaurant sales tax receipts fell by $2.9 million or 11 percent, while sales for similar establishments in neighboring Caroline County increased by 36 percent and in Dorchester County by 14 percent.
􀂃 The number of restaurants/bars with liquor licenses remitting sales tax to the State declined from a high of 39 establishments in November of 2003 to a low of only 29 establishments by the end of December 2004.

(Independent data analysis by the Restaurant Association of Maryland, Melvin Thompson)

Economic Impact of Smoking Bans in Ottawa, London, Kingston and Kitchener, Ontario

In a February 2005 study conducted by Michael K. Evans, Ph.D of Evans, Carroll and Associates of smoking ban in bars and pubs In Ontario, Canada, the results were striking. The analysis determined:

􀂃 After the imposition of the smoking ban, sales at bars and pubs were 23.5% lower in Ottawa, 18.7% lower in London, 24.3% lower in Kingston, and 20.4% lower in Kitchener, than would have been the case with no smoking ban.

("The Economic Impact of Smoking Bans in Ottawa, London, Kingston, and Kitchener, Ontario", Michael K. Evans, Ph.D., February 2005)

The rising cost of food has restaurants scrambling to avoid raising prices and making major alterations to their menus and service.

Impose a smoking ban, and you make it even tougher for restaurants to operate.

Wisconsin has one of the worst business climates in America. Want to see more places board up their businesses? Go ahead and pass a statewide smoking ban.

It's why they call it home field advantage

The long range forecast for next Sunday, the date of the NFC Championship game:

DALLAS (where the game would have been played if Dallas had defeated NY today): Sunny and a high of 54 degrees

GREEN BAY: Partly Cloudy and a high of 11 degrees

The New York Times tells it like it is

Sports of The Times

Lot of Good 12 Pro Bowl Picks Did For Cowboys

Irving, Tex.

Read more

Ohhhhhhhhhh, who will be...........Miss America?

The Miss America pageant is less than two weeks away.

Granted, the pageant has lost a lot of interest since longtime emcee Bert Parks died.

But the annual contest remains a huge slice of Americana.

Of course, I’m rooting for the home state gal, Christina Thompson.

But I also have a soft spot for Miss Utah.

Here are videos of Miss Wisconsin .........

and Miss Utah.

Early nominees for 2008 Parents of the Year

Please answer the following multiple choice questions:

It is appropriate, as a parent, to leave your baby or small child alone, unattended, in your locked vehicle:

A)  Always

B) Sometimes

C) Never

If you, as a parent, do leave your baby or small child alone, unattended, in your locked vehicle, that is:

A) OK, especially if it’s just for a very brief time.

B) A mistake. I mean, you could forget. That happens.

C) A crime

Whenever I bring up this topic while subbing on Newstalk 1130 WISN, I am stunned at the permissive and forgiving attitude of some of my callers who want to give a free pass to clueless parents who leave their children alone in locked cars in all kinds of brutal weather.

In cases of fatalities, the hand wringing refrain is that the poor parent has suffered enough.

That is baloney.

The parent forgot. It was an honest mistake.

That argument is best described with language I can’t use on this or any other blog.

Two plus two = six is a mistake.

Leaving your baby alone in a vehicle is negligence to the nth degree.


There are none.


But these “Parents of the Year” always come up with them.

Take this Einstein, for example.

Dave Mantor took his 18-month old baby and left his son outside in his van last week for several hours.

Where was this genius?

Inside a strip club, having some drinks.

Oh, he’s got excuses, alright.

I’m a drunk, and I was under stress.


You’re a loser who needs to go to prison and relinquish custody of that child who thankfully survived.

The story doesn’t end here.

Dave Mantor has an idiot for a wife.

She is not angry.

She is not upset.

She is in full support of her husband whom she calls, “wonderful.”

They probably deserve each other.

But they don’t deserve children.

Basil Ryan's attorney responds

On December 31, 2007, I blogged the following about Basil Ryan, who is challenging Franklin Mayor Tom Taylor:

1) The Milwaukee Journal/Sentinel reports Ryan was “sued by the City of Milwaukee for back taxes.”

2) The newspaper also reports, “A onetime tow truck operator and self-described political underdog, Ryan is no stranger to conflict in his business and political dealings. A look through Milwaukee County Circuit Court records shows that he has sued or been sued dozens of times in disputes with numerous parties over everything from harassment to failure to pay bills.”

3) The last time we heard from Basil Ryan, he was exiting Franklin politics in shame and disgrace, having been successfully recalled. He lost to current Franklin Alderman Pete Kosovich.

In response, I received the following correspondence from former Waukesha County District Attorney Paul Bucher, who is representing Ryan:

Gatzke & Ruppelt, S. C.
A t t o r n e y s    a n d    C o u n s e l o r s    a t    L a w 


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Buckhorn overreaction or good police work?

My friend at WISN, Jay Weber got an e-mail from a listener about the Buckhorn controversy that Jay forwarded to me. I spoke with the e-mailer today who wishes to remain anonymous.

He’s part of a bowling league that competes at the Skylark Lanes in Franklin and told me the following story:

This past Saturday night, about 24 bowlers who participate in the league had just started bowling at about 6:45 p.m. Midway through the first game, at about 7:15, Franklin Police officers walked into the bowling alley and asked the bartender on duty if he had the appropriate liquor license.

My anonymous bowler says he has no gripe about this, understanding that since the Buckhorn involvement in the fatal hit and run accident on Christmas, there is bound to be stepped-up enforcement.

The bowling alley has a liquor license, but the man behind the bar did not have a license to serve. An announcement was made that alcohol would no longer be served.

But here’s where the e-mailer starts to have issues.

The police officers remained inside the bowling alley and allowed everyone to stay to finish their league games. My source says it would not have been difficult to close the bowling alley down and send these two dozen law abiding, non-threatening bowlers home. Remember, they’re only halfway through their first game.

The police let the alley remain open, and two Franklin police officers stayed on the premises, apparently to make sure no alcohol would be sold or consumed, for at least another two hours until the games had been completed. My source says that at one time, as many as four Franklin Police officers were inside the bowling alley.

My source says he finds it unusual that the Police could sit inside a bowling alley for two hours instead of utilizing that time more constructively. He calls it a waste of resources.

I sent the e-mail to Franklin Police Chief Richard Oliva for his reaction.

Oliva informs me that dispatch records indicate two police officers were at the bowling alley approximately two hours, a sergeant was at the scene approximately one hour and one officer stopped in for less than a minute. 

Oliva intends to talk with the sergeant about the reason for the length of time spent at Skylark Lanes and then get back to me.

Name that bear

OK, readers.......any ideas?

You think Jim Doyle is bad?

I hope Doyle's not brainstorming with this guy.

John Norquist talks candidly about school choice

The former Milwaukee mayor still is a firm believer in the concept.

Norquist spoke with a Pittsburgh columnist.

Offense, defense, and panty hose

From today's New York Times:

TV Sports

So It Looks Cold on Camera? Try Operating One

On Jan. 10, 1982, Cris Collinsworth, then a rookie wide receiver, awakened to a report on his hotel clock radio that the temperature outside was 13 degrees below zero and that the howling 35-mile-an-hour wind made it feel like 59 below.

Read more

Buckhorn overreaction or good police work? -UPDATE

Here's a follow-up to yesterday's post about the Franklin Police Department's response at Skylark Lanes this past weekend.

Police Chief Richard Oliva promised to get back to me and he did today:


    I was advised that the investigation took about one hour and then 2 officers stayed until the bowlers were done which was about another hour.  The supervisor and officers decided to keep 2 officers at the bowling alley for the following reasons .  First, they indicated to me that, at least some of the bowlers, were into their second game by that time so they did not think they would have to be there too long.  Secondly, they did not want to leave the 17 year old unlicensed bartender there alone and risk having him start serving alcohol again.  So their choice was to close down the bowling alley and punish a lot of people or allow them to finish their match.  The bowlers were allowed to finish for public relations purposes.

     I agree that at first look, it does not seem like the best use of public resources.  But “upon further review”, I can see that it was an acceptable decision by the on scene supervisor.  The police provide many services that fit into public relations that are not law enforcement related.  I would characterize this as an extension of that philosophy.  

     If you have any other questions, please feel free to ask.  Thanks again for giving me the opportunity to look into this and respond.

Richard P. Oliva

Chief of Police

City of Franklin

9455 W. Loomis Rd.

Franklin,  WI  53132

Thank you, Chief!

On sale tomorrow

Get 'em while they're hot!

How not to win votes in Wisconsin

C'mon Rudy!!!

The Taxpayer Bill of Rights

It's back.

It is identical to this.

State Representative Frank Lasee will reintroduce the constitutional amendment to put a stop to runaway, out of control spending that is the main reason our taxes are too high.

Unfortunately, there are only two months left in the legislative session, and its chances are next to impossible in the state Senate controlled by Democrats.

Who cares what you think about Iraq!

In Milwaukee County, these questions appeared on the ballot on November 7, 2006:

City of Milwaukee Referendum - Iraq Troop Withdrawal

"Shall the United States commence a humane, orderly, rapid and comprehensive withdrawal of United States military personnel and bases from Iraq?"

Fox Point Referendum - Iraq Troop Withdrawal

"Be it resolved, that the United States should now begin withdrawing troops from Iraq, and continue steady withdrawal until all our troops are home."

South Milwaukee Referendum - Iraq Troop Withdrawal

"Should the U.S. government immediately begin an orderly withdrawal of all military personnel from Iraq starting with the National Guard?"

Wauwatosa Referendum - Iraq Troop Withdrawal

"The United States should now begin withdrawing troops from Iraq, and continue steady withdrawals until all our troops are home."

Here are the results for the above questions and similar questions in other municipalities.

In Ozaukee County, there was this question:

County Referendum - Support for the War on Terror

"Do you support the efforts of the United States and its military in waging a war on terror throughout the world, including Iraq and Afghanistan, until such time as organized terrorism is eliminated and citizens of all countries can be assured of their safety to go about their tasks of everyday life?"

The results:

Yes 26,140 66%
  No 13,248 34%
These questions were a silly wasted effort on the various ballots in November 2006.

They meant nothing.

They had zero impact.

Sorry, folks, but a Congressman from Wyoming doesn’t give a hoot what South Milwaukee thinks about Afghanistan.

The state Assembly took action Tuesday to try to restrict these kinds of measures on the ballot.

On a vote of 48-44, the Assembly passed Assembly Bill 363. Under the bill,
the governing body of a city or village is not required to act on a proposed ordinance or resolution if the proposal does not substantially relate to a local governmental function or responsibility, or if the proposal is primarily ceremonial.

According to the Associated Press:

Under current law, anyone who gathers enough signatures in support of a proposal can force city councils and village boards to either adopt it or put it to a referendum vote. To qualify any issue for a municipal ballot, organizers currently need only to gather signatures totaling 15 percent of the number of votes in the last governor's election.

Activists used the direct legislation tactic to force votes on several anti-war initiatives in April 2006, sometimes over the opposition of community leaders. A majority of voters in 24 of 32 communities - including Madison and La Crosse - approved referendums calling for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq.

Groups representing municipalities support the change to the 1911 law.

"It's basically to prevent the ballot from being swamped with provisions that express foreign policy," said Rich Eggleston, a spokesman for the Wisconsin Alliance of Cities. "Direct legislation is an important tool to provide a voice but there's a question as to how much of a voice do you want to provide if it's not on your community's agenda."

Alas, this bill has no chance in the state Senate, controlled by Democrats.

So, look for more meaningless questions on Election Days in the future.

Gee, I hope my wife doesn't read this...

My wife, Jennifer purports to love me.

Let’s be honest.

If we had a canine in the house, and we don’t………yet……. I would become Claude Rains.

Jennifer wants a dog.

I wouldn’t mind a dog.

At the moment, a dog just isn’t as high on my wish list.

And if we get a dog, here’s the hierarchy list:









You get the picture.

I might as well build a doghouse outside for me, with reading lamp and magazines.

I asked Jennifer today how badly she does, indeed, want a dog.

Here was her e-mail reply:

How badly do I want a dog...

In any spare moment I have to think, I am constantly thinking about good dog names.  Not just "how does Fluffy sound" but it has to go well with our last name.  So, Fluffy Fischer would not be an option.  And of course there is the middle name to consider as well.

I have a "The Dog" mouse pad at work.  You know the kind of photos, with the bubble lens that makes their noses look bigger than their bodies.

I tell my friends and coworkers that I want fur for my birthday and if my husband gives me a coat, I will kill him.

I have pictured in my mind where the dog dishes can go in the kitchen and how they will look.

I have planned a puppy shower and "adoption" announcements.

I intend to get a separate photo card for our digital camera just for dog pictures.

If friends have dogs and children I ask about the dogs first.

Does that start to give you an idea?

Uhh, yes dear.

Jennifer often accuses me of not blogging enough about dogs.

So here goes.

I just pray she doesn’t see this.

Catholic bishops starting to break silence on rape bill

Friend and fellow blogger Dad29 has done a good job of ripping the “The Compassionate Care for Victims of Rape” bill.

I mean, who in their right mind would be opposed to legislation with a name like that.

The nomenclature is deceptive.

I’ve talked about this on Channel 10’s InterCHANGE. Surprise, I was the lone dissenter.

Yes, I care about victims of rape.

But I also care about the medical officials who would be forced to engage in a practice they have moral objections to if this bill is approved and signed into law.

Dad29 has a legitimate beef: where are the Catholic bishops on this debate?

They’re starting to make some rumblings.

Read this……..and this.

Where are the rest?

Revolutionary test for prostate cancer?

The Mayo Clinic reports an American man's absolute risk of developing prostate cancer in his lifetime is about 17 percent. Put another way, about 17 out of every 100 men will develop prostate cancer at some time in their lives. The risk becomes greater after a man turns 50.

The New York Times is reporting that researchers say a simple DNA test can help predict a man’s risk of getting prostate cancer. 

$300 to Learn Risk of Cancer of the Prostate

Read more

Finally, an NFC Championship Game

He is the oldest, most experienced player on the roster for the New York Giants.

At 41 years of age, he finally gets the chance to play in a championship game.

Forget the X's and O's, it's the WX

When it comes to the NFL title game this Sunday night at Lambeau, the media and the players are talking about it.


is the weather.

From the NY Times:

Questions often arise about why the news media seem to really like Favre. Whether he is viewed substantially differently than other top quarterbacks is debatable, but there is no doubt that he comes across as a bit of a throwback: folksy, funny, genuine in his answers and not afraid of addressing questions that others might fend off with a shield of clichés.

He was asked about the cold weather and the seeming advantage that Sunday’s forecast of single-digit temperatures would give the Packers. Favre admitted that he has never become used to the weather (he is from Mississippi, after all), but he said you just try to suck it up for three hours. The Packers practice indoors when it is cold.

“You live in it, but I’m not out there making snowmen,” Favre said.

When the Packers lost to the Bears in Chicago a few weeks ago, Favre acknowledged: “I was freezing. It was cold. It was miserable.” And the Bears, he said, handled it better than the Packers. So weather can be a factor; the question is which team allows it to be less of a factor, which is why the Giants are taking the let’s-not-talk-about-it approach.

Still, players and coaches are being asked a lot of questions about the weather. Quarterback Eli Manning said he would not wear gloves – he never has, and is not about to now – but seemed open to the idea of wearing glove (singular) on his nonthrowing hand. It may be a good idea, given the five fumbles he had in Buffalo (two of them lost to the Bills) a few weeks ago. 

Let’s go to the experts at the Weather Channel.

Read more

Her heart is with her Giant grandson

New York offensive lineman Rich Seubert will be back in Wisconsin in April to help raise money for a good cause.

About Franklin's Environmental Commission...

I'm pretty sure they're not this goofy.

The odds so far, GB vs. NY

The Packers remain a 7 point favorite according to the oddsmakers.

Also, consider these stats (ATS= Against the Spread):

  • GB are 11-3-1 ATS in their last 15 games on grass.
  • GB are 14-4-2 ATS in their last 20 vs. NFC.
  • Friday night on InterCHANGE

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

    1– Presidential Primaries.  

    On the Republican side, Huckabee wins one, McCain wins one, Romney winds one.  Was it a shocker that Romney did so well in Michigan?  Is there a frontrunner yet?  Does Thompson have to win South Carolina Saturday to remain viable?  Giuliani is sticking to his plan of all or nothing in Florida.  Smart move?  On the Democrat side, Obama and Clinton say they’ll tone down the rhetoric.  Why?  Is it because neither one of them afford to alienate female voters or black voters?  Is race and sex a really a big issue in this campaign?  Is the economic slump the country in right now causing the war in Iraq to be less an issue of importance to voters?  Should the government step in and try to rescue the economy?  

    2 – State Computers and Privacy.  

    A number of times in the past year, state agencies have sent out mailings with peoples social security numbers clearly visible on the mailing label.  Why in the world do we have so many problems with this?  Why doesn’t anyone get disciplined?  Why does technology seem to be such a challenge for state bureaucrats?  Is it simply too complex a problem for most people to comprehend? 

    3 – Packers vs Giants.  

    Who will win the NFC Championship game, the Packers or the Giants?  Has the media coverage been excessive?  Is it goofy to allow such an important game to be played in an open air stadium when temperatures may be below zero?  

    Liberals oppose free speech

    Liberals are not staunch defenders of the First Amendment.

    If they were they wouldn’t be working so strenuously to silence conservative speech.

    Liberals are virtually unable to confront conservative speech with substantive arguments or facts, so they instead try every sleazy maneuver they can think of to stamp out messages from the right.

    Here’s more evidence, from

    The 2008 election has yet to be decided, but one thing is clear: If the Democrats win the White House, expect an all-out attack on talk radio. Political talk, as we know it, could end.

    If they win, Rush, Imus, Savage, Beck, and dozens of other major hosts will be muzzled by using federal regulations to control political talk.

    So, what's their plan of attack?

    As Newsmax magazine reveals in its just-released special report, "The Battle for Talk Radio," leading liberals in Congress, the Democratic presidential candidates, and even some Republicans speak openly of their plans to end conservative talk radio using federal regulations.

    Their weapon: a revived Fairness Doctrine, which would once again require stations to air divergent points of view — a clever ruse that makes station owners leery of airing controversial talk-radio hosts fearing law suits and federal sanctions.

    With a new Fairness Doctrine, you could see many top conservative radio hosts canned.

    This Newsmax special report also features an exclusive interview with Fox News host Bill O'Reilly who tells Newsmax there is no question a plan is being hatched. "The far-left kooks will try, but they will fail," O'Reilly says.

    Everybody loves the Packers

    I mean...everybody!

    Remember that Sports Illustrated cover?

    This one?

    It appears people really, really wanted that magazine.

    Ollie North visits Waukesha, discusses smear campaign vs.military

    I’ve blogged often about the turnaround in Iraq.

    The surge is working.

    Violence has plummeted.

    That doesn’t matter to the Bush-hating, liberal mainstream media.

    They continue to report the negative.

    Oliver North noticed while in Waukesha for a public appearance.

    He’s right.

    The smear campaign against our brave military continues, and it’s hurting recruitment efforts.

    Vote for Brett

    Every until January 23rd.

    If Brett wins, a Wisconsin charity benefits.

    Vote now!

    The "Man who dressed the King" dies


    Bill Belew, 76; designer was called 'man who dressed the King'

    By Dennis McLellan
    Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

    January 17, 2008

    When Elvis Presley made his legendary comeback TV special in 1968, he proved not only by his singing and charismatic stage presence that the King was back but also by what he wore in the concert segment: a tight-fitting black leather outfit.

    Costume designer Bill Belew conceived the iconic ensemble -- as well as a gold lame jacket and a white two-piece suit that Elvis wore in the special -- and went on to create the flamboyant, bejeweled jumpsuits, matching capes and wide, ornate belts that became Elvis' trademark stage wear in the '70s.

    "As a wardrobe designer," Belew said in an interview in 2007, "Bob Mackie had a perfect muse and a perfect canvas in Cher. I got to have that in Elvis."

    Belew, who came to be known to Presley fans as "the man who dressed the King," died Jan. 7 at Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs after a lengthy battle with diabetes, said Paul Dafelmair, Belew's longtime companion. He was 76.

    During his nearly five-decade career, Belew created costumes for plays, musicals, operas, ballets, TV specials and TV series.

    Over the years, he designed for an array of performers, including Josephine Baker, Ella Fitzgerald, Gladys Knight, Brooke Shields, Gloria Estefan, Flip Wilson and Doc Severinsen.

    But for many, Belew is best known for his work with Presley.

    "Bill Belew changed the face of rock 'n' roll fashion," said Presley costume historian Butch Polston, owner of B & K Enterprises Costume Charlestown, Ind., which sells re-creations of Presley jumpsuits and other garments.

    "Bill is the one who created the jumpsuit" for Presley, Polston said Wednesday.

    "After that, everybody wanted to dress like Elvis," he said. "He designed stuff for the Osmonds, the Jacksons, just numerous celebrities."

    For Belew, the collaboration with Presley -- which included designing his personal wardrobe and continued until the singer's death in 1977 -- began with the 1968 "Elvis" special on NBC.

    Belew had already worked on a Petula Clark special with producer-director Steve Binder when Binder asked him to do the wardrobe for the hourlong Presley show.

    It didn't take the designer long to come up with his idea for what Elvis should wear in the concert segment before a live audience.

    "It always seemed like people assumed he wore black leather, but he never did," Belew recalled in an interview with in 1999.

    "He may have worn a leather jacket, but that's about it," Belew said. "At that time, though, we were into denim, and I said, 'What if I just duplicate a denim outfit in black leather?' Elvis loved it."

    Added Belew, who is said to have later helped remove the famous leather outfit from Presley's sweat-soaked body: "He was a great person to dress. He had a terrific build at that point."

    Polston said that when Elvis was preparing to make his return to live performing in Las Vegas in 1969 at the International Hotel, he asked Belew to create something unique that he could easily move around in like his karate gi.

    The result was a two-piece, karate gi-inspired garment -- in both black and white -- that Belew called the Cossack Suit.

    "I wanted the clothes to be easy and seductive," he said in the 1999 interview. "And I never wanted anything to compromise his masculinity."

    In 1970, Presley began wearing the Belew-designed jumpsuits.

    As described by Polston, they included a tall Napoleonic collar to frame the singer's face, had Edwardian pointed sleeves and featured bell bottoms that had an insert called a kick pleat to give the jumpsuit more flair.

    "If the songs don't go over," Presley joked backstage at the International Hotel in 1970, "we can do a medley of costumes."

    Belew said in one interview that, in watching the reaction of fans to Presley's onstage costumes, "we began to get more elaborate."

    Indeed, the costumes were given names such as the Burning Love Suit (red with several pinwheel designs), the Flame Suit (the first of two versions had large jewels in a flame design on the front, on the back and down the legs) and the Dragon Suit (an embroidered dragon embellished with rhinestones).

    Presley's favorite, according to Polston, was the Peacock Suit. It featured a peacock on the front and back in chain-stitch embroidery and had feathers tapering off the tail of the peacock that ran down the entire side of the suit.

    Another popular costume was the Aloha Eagle Suit, which Presley wore on "Elvis: Aloha from Hawaii," a 1973 global television concert broadcast via satellite.

    The star-studded suit consisted of a heavily jeweled eagle on the front, back and cape and a belt embellished with eagles and stars.

    "You could be daring as a designer and put anything on Elvis and he could make it work," Belew said in a news release in 2007 when Graceland in Memphis launched a two-year special exhibit featuring 56 additional Presley stage costumes in its visitor center, which also has a permanent costume exhibit.

    "The simplest outfits that didn't seem particularly remarkable on the rack transformed into something spectacular when Elvis put them on," Belew said. "He was that beautiful and powerful a presence."

    Born in Crocet, Va. on May 20, 1931, Belew served in the Army from 1952 to 1954, a stint that included working as a clerk in a medical unit during the Korean War.

    He graduated from the Parsons School of Design in New York.

    Belew, whose many TV credits as a costume designer included "The Flip Wilson Show," "Mr. Belvedere" and "Santa Barbara," received an Emmy nomination for the 1980 special "The Carpenters: Music, Music, Music."

    A memorial service in Palm Springs is pending.

    Photo gallery

    Ryan says he'll protect the taxpayers

    Franklin mayoral candidate Basil Ryan has announced his “Fiscal Responsibility Agenda" in a news release:


    Says tax and spending increases must end

    Read more

    Want to win $100 worth of Packer stuff?

    Of course you do!

    And it’s very simple.

    Just enter our Predict the Kickoff Temperature contest.

    You tell us what you think the game time temperature and wind chill factor will be at Lambeau Field at kickoff Sunday for the NFC title game between the Packers and the New York Giants.

    Make your guesses good because you only get one entry.

    The winner receives a Green Bay packer merchandise package worth $100.

    Here’s how to enter.

    Good luck and Go Pack Go!

    We'll call the new baby polar bear...


    Polar bear

    Here’s an update on a story I’ve blogged about.

    Chief Flynn's first fumble

    It didn’t take long for Milwaukee’s new police chief to drop the ball.

    After early rave reviews, generally the accepted practice in a new chief’s honeymoon period, Chief Ed Flynn made a not-so-very law and order statement to the liberal Milwaukee Journal/Sentinel Editorial Board. From today’s paper:

    Flynn, responding to a question in a meeting with the Editorial Board on Wednesday, said he doesn't have plans to alter how the Police Department deals with the immigrant community, a significant part of which he and everyone else knows is undocumented.

    (NOTE: And what is this policy? The policy prohibits officers from asking immigration questions or alerting federal authorities to suspected illegal immigrants, with some exceptions.)

    Other local departments can learn from the common sense the chief had to offer on this topic. Police departments elsewhere in the country seemingly want to turn themselves into immigration officers. A bad move. Flynn noted how counterproductive this is.

    "If someone shot you, is our first question, 'What's your immigration status?' or 'Can you describe your assailant?' "

    He said he was satisfied with the department's current policy. Which is: "If you're a felon, we're happy to get rid of you and notify the appropriate authorities."

    This is very disappointing to hear from the new chief who did appear to be off to a great start.

    There is a Franklin element to this story that I blogged about last October.

    The Presidential primary mess

    Conservative columnist Thomas Sowell has a great synopsis of the current state of the Presidential race. Sowell asks:

    What is wrong with this year's candidates?

    The short answer is that most of the Republicans are questionable and all three leading Democrats are dangerous.

    Here’s his entire column.

    Side note: Thomas Sowell’s columns were once carried by the Milwaukee Jounral/Sentinel, but were dropping in the mid-90’s. When I criticized the move in one of my commentaries on WTMJ Radio, the editorial page editor at the time called me, incredulous that I would dare take a shot at the paper.

    His explanation on why they dropped conservative Sowell: he was too dull.

    Yeh, that’s it. Sowell can’t write.

    We know the real reason Sowell was dropped.

    Good for her!

    Here’s an update on my, “Show us your breasts.....or not?” blog.

    The mayor of Arlington, Oregon has responded to angry constituents that she is NOT stepping down because of the controversy created over old pictures of the mayor in her honor’s underwear.

    Toss her out because of her record in office, not because she’s pictured in something you see a lot less of at Bradford Beach.



    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...


    The New York Giants. Think about it. If not for their victory last Sunday, the Packers would be in Dallas tomorrow. Granted, the Giants’ hero status lasted about 30 seconds after defeating the Cowboys.

    Cathy Lynch

    Wesley Autry, Sr.

    Anonymous donor


    Tiffany Fraser


    Matt Kowald

    And we can’t forget Brenda Quinn


    No one from the state or the company that prepared a mailing to Wisconsin Medicaid participants checked the address label for Social Security numbers before it was sent.”
    The Milwaukee Journal/Sentinel

    "It's the key that unlocks the door to everybody's personal information."
    State representative Marlin Schneider (D-Wisconsin Rapids), a longtime privacy advocate in the Legislature, said it was "stupid" of the state to still be using Social Security numbers as Medicaid case identifiers.

    "I think (State Department of Revenue Secretary Mike) Morgan and the governor chose not to act a year ago. I think that lack of judgment should lead to Secretary Morgan being replaced with someone who is committed to taking care of this problem."
    State Senator Ted Kanavas (R-Brookfield) said Governor Doyle should fire Morgan, who headed the Department of Revenue when that agency's contractor mistakenly printed Social Security numbers on the outside of the tax booklets. There have been three breaches of privacy by state agencies in the past 13 months.

    (EDS) "has done very solid work for the state for decades and decades. We now have to make sure it doesn't happen again."
    On the accidental disclosure of Social Security numbers in mailings to 260,000 Medicaid recipients earlier this month, Governor Doyle said this week the company responsible for the mailing, EDS Corp. of Plano, Texas, has done good work for the state in the past. The company has run the state's Medicaid program since the 1970s, but officials have left open the possibility of canceling the state's contract with the company.

    "The safety and security of each community is equal. I don't know if we can start to say this community's more important because of this or the children of that community are entitled to less protection because they live there."
    State Representative Don Friske (R-Merrill) who has proposed a statewide ban on ordinances like Franklin’s that restricts where sex offenders can live.

    "If they keep the worst of the worst — the predators — in prison the rest of their lives, you won't need these laws. That's why this (residency) law was drafted in Green Bay.We're trying to force them to keep the predators in prison. If (Friske) was a real leader, he would solve the problem instead."
    Chad Fradette, president of Green Bay's City Council, who helped create the city's sex offender residency ordinance, said it is a tool to try and keep the most dangerous people away from potential victims.

    "Is it really necessary for a kid aged 10 to actually fire a gun, or shoot a bow to actually understand the hunting experience? And he told me the answer is 'yes,' because they have to have the adrenaline rush that goes along with killing it. So, this is risky business here."
    Mark Doremus, who opposes lowering the age requirement for hunting in Wisconsin from 12 to 10.

    "My dad, he's been hunting for a long time and he teaches me a lot about hunting and safety. And I think that it'll be a lot safer and more people will want to join."
    Dakota Cooper, a young hunter.

    "He's not the happiest boy today. I think he must be a Romney voter. Look at him. He's so sad."
    Confronted by crying toddler on Tuesday, Republican presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee quipped the child must be for his rival Mitt Romney.


    Three of them this week:

    SS# debacles

    Judge should be ashamed

    Deadly waits for ambulances


    Not enough coverage on this one…..Democrats fighting with one another at the state level over taxes.


    Need you ask.

    The Green Bay Packers and their fans prepare for the NFC title game.




    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.

    You're a cruel man, Kevin Fischer!

    Very cruel!


    And he's taking no prisoners.

    The former FranklinNOW sensation has returned to the blogosphere to share his edgy commentaries and military salutes.

    No wimpy blogs about everything that's green, liberal crying towels, or building plans.

    Fred Keller is thought-provoking and stimulating.

    And his new blog has just been unleashed!

    Welcome back, Fred!

    You've got catching up to do.

    As Reggie (The Crusher) Lisowski always said, "Let's murder the bums!"

    (Can you imagine.....Fred now gets to say whatever, however, whenever he wants to. He now plays by his own rules. Awesome.)

    Football in the cold

    10 things you need to know about football when it's freezing.

    Before you go to bed tonight, Packer fans...

    The Cheesehead Prayer  

    Now I lay me down to bed, A wedge of cheese upon my head.

    Allegiance to the Packers I promise to keep, and cheer them on while I'm asleep.

    If I should die, don't let me wonder, Just bury me 'neath, the frozen tundra.

    But, Lord, before you take my soul, Let me see the Pack in one more Super bowl.

    Forgive me Lord, for those I've hated, The Lions and Vikings, they're overrated.

    The streets of heaven, so I've been told, Are paved for us in green and gold.

    If I get to heaven I'll have but one wish, A big screen TV with a satellite dish.

    I pray for this Lord, for only one reason, To cheer on my Pack to a winning season.

    I'll close this prayer by thanking you Lord, For listening to me and the time you afford.

    But one more thing....please remember
    da Bears,
    Because that's a team that needs a prayer!!



    Culinary no-no #38

    Culinary no-no's

    Does anyone really believe that the Alaskan-like temperatures on this NFC Championship Game day are going to deter die-hard Packer tailgaters?

    I’ll bet many Packer backers who don’t have tickets will have their garages open and grills going full blast today.




    Hot dogs?




    Goat burgers?

    Wait a minute!!!

    Say what????

    The Waukesha Freeman this week reported the following:

    Chris Roland, a coordinator of adult and student career services at the University of Wisconsin-Waukesha, is a Packers fan with some special connections. Roland’s fatherin-law used to be a part-owner of the Broke Spoke Saloon in Muskego with Jeff Favre, brother of Packers quarterback Brett Favre, and Stevie Haas, owner of a tavern with the same name in Kiln, Miss.

    Because of this connection, Roland gets to experience Packers game parties in a somewhat unconventional sense.

    “They bring up some moonshine, or as they call it ‘forget me juice,’ have some
    barbecue goat burgers, some jambalaya and some red beans and rice for a tailgate party,” he said. “It’s just an absolute riot.”

    Roland said if he ends up going to the party Sunday, the clan probably won’t be able to get into the stadium. Instead, they’ll go to their traditional spot at the Midway Motor Lodge and watch the game in comfort.

    And if enough of the homemade Mississippi apple moonshine is flowing, Roland said comfort won’t be a problem.

    “It tastes like Kool-Aid going down, but after about 15 minutes, your face goes numb,” he said.


    Hmmmm, let’s see, I can have steak, Angus beef, pork tenderloin, Italians, any type of brat………


    Hey Burford……………..

    Toss me one of them goat burgers, I reckon, ok…

    Umm, sorry, that’s just wrong.

    Then there’s this from, I should have known………… the Ohio State University Medical Center (They don’t know how to win a football national championship even when they have a chance two years in a row, what makes you think they know how to throw a tailgate party):

    Even Healthy Tailgating Can Be Fun

    Shirley Kindrick, team leader of the Comprehensive Weight Management program at The Ohio State University Medical Center, is teaching classes at the OSU Center for Wellness and Prevention on how to have fun and healthy tailgate parties with just a few simple changes to your tailgate routine.

    The classes teach the following tailgating strategies for success:

    · Have a nutritious snack before going to the game. Fuel up on fruit, veggies, half a sandwich, or a big glass of water or diet drink.

    ·  Prepare some light finger food to bring to the tailgate party. Try a new recipe and create something tasty and low fat.

    · Think through your strategy. Try a half portion, have the burger without cheese and try munching on pretzels instead of chips.

    ·  Have a drink on hand such as water or diet soda. Liquids fill you up at a low cost to your calorie budget for the day.

    ·  Keep your mouth busy! Have some breath mints, gum, or sugar-free candy to decrease your need to eat more.

    Kindrick also offers a variety of food suggestions, such as preparing a veggie tray with low-fat or fat-free dip, or filling a basket with seasonal apples, grapes and pears.

    Crunchy snacks such as pretzels and baked chips are always a good, low-fat choice.

    In addition, take the chill off of a cool day and make chili using the leanest ground beef or ground turkey, including a variety of beans for color and nutrition.

    And, to satisfy hearty appetites, make a barbecue using skinned turkey or chicken breasts and a bottle of low-fat barbecue sauce.

    For vegetarians, try grilling mushrooms, zucchini, sliced onions and peppers. Marinating the vegetables in fat-free Italian dressing before grilling will add extra flavor.

    If you are still hungry, you can top it off with healthy desserts. For instance, fruit kabobs with a fat-free frozen topping and pureed berries is a satisfying and healthy choice. In place of butter or margarine, select an applesauce substitution when making your favorite brownies or cookies.   

    Is she crazy?

    This is a tailgate party, not a Weight Watchers convention.

    Culinary no-no, two in one for the day, when it comes to tailgating:

    1) Don’t even think of goat burgers.

    2) Leave fat-free, health conscious foods where they belong ..….back home!


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

    A plethora of Ice Bowl memories

    A bunch of 'em, right here.

    Giants not scared...



    Do you know the significance of 43-5?

    I will tell you.

    The significance of 43-5 is pretty.....

    Brett Favre has a 43-5 career record in games played in temperatures of 34 degrees or lower at Lambeau Field.

    He's a Giant, but you've gotta love Rich Seubert

    From the NY Times today:

    Sports of The Times

    The Giants’ Country Boy in Short Sleeves

    Perhaps an ability to overcome what were once prohibitive odds to make it in professional football, much less to a conference championship game at the Green Bay shrine known as Lambeau Field, has some symbolic connection to the postage-stamp Wisconsin town in which Rich Seubert grew up.

    Read more

    There have been countless great Packers, however....

    From today's NY Times:

    Sports of The Times

    All Roads Still Lead to Lombardi

    Even the numerals in the Packers’ address, 1265 Lombardi Avenue, are significant — 12 for the franchise’s record number of N.F.L. championships, 6 when Curly Lambeau was the coach, 5 when Vince Lombardi was the coach. The 1996 team won the other title in Super Bowl XXXI with Mike Holmgren as the coach (he later defected to Seattle) and Brett Favre at quarterback (he is still the face of the franchise). But Lambeau and Lombardi remain its cornerstones.

    Read more

    Ice Bowl hero: Gale Gillingham

    In my old radio news days, I had the wonderful opportunity of interviewing former Packers great and Packer Hall of Famer Jerry Kramer.

    Yes, we talked about the famous Ice Bowl game between the Packers and the Dallas Cowboys at Lambeau Field December 31, 1967.

    Kramer shared with me, and I still have it on tape, having played it on both WTMJ and WUWM, a great story about the Ice Bowl that has rarely, if ever, been told.

    Packer fans recall the colossal goal line struggle at the goal line in the closing seconds of that NFL title game on the frozen tundra at Lambeau.

    With the Packers knocking on the door to score the winning touchdown, QB Bart Starr handed off on a few plays to running back Donny Anderson. The footing was so slippery that even with a running start, Anderson couldn’t get any traction. Anderson was dropped short of the goal line each time.

    Green Bay called its final timeout.

    On the chilly sidelines, coach Vince Lombardi talked strategy with Starr and the offensive line.

    Kramer told me that Lombardi implored his group of stars, “Does anybody have anything? “

    This group of future Hall of Famers all looked down their feet.



    Lombardi barked out again, with the seconds ticking away in the timeout, begging for a suggestion.

    “Anything?” yelled Lombardi.

    The silence was broken by unsung offensive lineman Gale Gillingham. He suggested the quarterback sneak behind Jerry Kramer.

    It was agreed that was the play to run.

    Sing along you Packer fans!

    Read more

    My most popular blogs

    Most popular

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

    1) Show us your breasts….or not?

    2) Basil Ryan’s attorney responds

    3) Culinary no-no # 37

    4) The NY Times tells it like it is

    5) Diamond Jim Doyle not very shrewd

    NOON deadline today for Packer contest

    Here are the details.


    Shorewood woman is winner in Kickoff Temperature Contest

    Congratulations to Margaret Underwood of Shorewood, the winner in the "Guess the Kickoff Temperature" Contest. Margaret was one of three people - out of more than 1,600 entries - who correctly predicted the temperature and wind chill index at kickoff of the Packers vs. Giants game on Sunday.

    Margaret, whose name was randomly chosen from the three correct entries, said the game time temperature would be -1 degree with a wind chill index of -23 degrees. Margaret wins a $100 Green and Gold prize package, filled with goodies from her favorite team.

    The other two contestants who picked the right temperatures were Kathy Underwood of Milwaukee and Betty Strand of New Berlin.

    Outnumbered by Steeler fans

    During today’s NFC title game, I’ll be thinking about a group of football fans from Pittsburgh I met this past November. I think there’s a good chance they’ll be thinking about me.

    My wife and I were on a cruise.

    On Sunday, while we were sailing, it was agreed my wife would go to a seminar about the various activities and shops in the ports, and I would go to the sports bar and watch football.

    I walked in just before kickoff and a cruise ship worker was announcing that a vote had been taken. Most people inside the bar wanted to see the Cleveland at Pittsburgh game, so the big screen would show that game and the audio would be turned up, too.

    I looked around the bar and saw a lot of Steeler jerseys. I found a seat in a corner near a smaller screen that had the Packers-Vikings game. At the table next to me were about ten Steeler fans, guys and their wives. At another nearby table sat four very quiet Packer fans.

    It didn’t take long and Cleveland jumped out in front of Pittsburgh, 14-0 as the Packers were on their way to thumping Minnesota.

    And it also didn’t take long before the Steeler fans and I got into a friendly debate.

    I believe it went something like this.

    I looked at the four sheepish Packer fans and said, “You know, they really should switch and put a good game with a really good team on the big screen in here and turn up the volume.”

    The Steeler fans guffawed.

    “You must be a cheesehead.”

    “You betcha.”

    Then the chat focused on the quarterbacks.

    “I’ll tell you one thing,” I said to the Pittsburgh table. “If the Packers were playing Cleveland at Lambeau, Brett Favre wouldn’t be down two touchdowns at home in the first quarter.”

    “OK, Madden. And Favre can throw the ball 200 yards underwater.”

    “Well, now that you mention it…..”

    That one had the Steeler fans laughing.

    For the entire week, whenever we saw each other, there would be a joke made about Favre, usually after one of the women would moan, “Oh, no, not you again.”

    On a bus ride to the beach: “Oh, Brett Favre would have gotten us there by now…..”  That kind of stuff.

    Pittsburgh is out and Green Bay is still in the playoffs.

    I will think about my friends from Steeler country and the lesson I hope they learned.

    You should never make fun of Brett Favre.

    I doubt you'll see this at Lambeau today

    Maybe these Packers fans can cheer up another Packers fan.

    Ladies, would you like to be Eli Manning's fiancee?

    I don't know.......the guy sounds kinda mean.

    The candidates on the issues

    Pete Du Pont of the Wall Street Journal has an informative synopsis of where the Presidential candidates stand on the most critical issues.

    Here's an excerpt:

    "All three Democratic candidates promise to raise taxes. None of this is surprising, for the Democratic Party today is in lockstep against higher-income tax rate reductions, even if they produce economic and job growth."

    Here's the entire piece.

    Do NOT blame Brett Favre

    The New York Giants outplayed the Packers and deserve to go to the Super Bowl.

    It's as simple as that.

    Don't believe me?

    Look at the stats.

    The Packer secondary was torched.

    Coach McCarthy, no one can cover Plaxico Burress. Care to adjustment?

    I just hope Brenda (spoilsport) Quinn is happy now.

    The Super Bore looks like it could be a blowout.

    I think the clock strikes midnight for the Cinderella Giants and Tom Brady gets an easy win.

    The NY celebration has begun


    New York Times
    January 21, 2008
    Giants 23, Packers 20, O.T.

    Giants Stun Packers and Head to the Super Bowl

    Read more

    This could have been.......


    MLK spoke like a conservative

    “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal. I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."

    Martin Luther King Jr. in his famous speech at the Lincoln Memorial in August 1963.

    On more than one occasion on Channel 10’s InterCHANGE, I’ve surmised that if alive today, King would oppose affirmative action. He would denounce racial quotas.

    “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

    That sounds to me like a perfect conservative value.

    Character- conservative candidates say it matters, and conservative voters look for it in various candidates.

    On this Martin Luther King Day,
    Arkansas Democrat-Gazette editorial page editor Paul Greenberg says:

    Martin Luther King Jr. meets the very definition of an American conservative, that is, someone dedicated to preserving the gains of a liberal revolution.

    After he was gone, a new black intelligentsia arose that knew not Martin. His would not be the name embroidered on the baseball caps of another generation. The legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. would give way to the frustrations of a Malcolm X, the demagoguery of a Louis Farrakhan, and the general hucksterism of the Al Sharptons and Jesse Jacksons.

    You can tell a lot about an age by the heroes it chooses. While the Malcolms and Farrakhans come and go in favor, Martin Luther King Jr. remains the standard by which all other leaders are measured, and not just black leaders. That's a hopeful sign.”

    Twenty-something's find voting difficult

    Sorry, but my blood pressure doesn't boil at the notion of low voter turnout.

    It's not enough to simply have more voters. My wish is that more voters that are informed and have done their homework and educated themselves on the issues and candidates would go to the polls.

    My conviction on this issue has been strengthened by a recent column by Kelly Mahoney and Rachel Zahorsky. If what they claim is true, that the 20-somethings find voting to be difficult, then our country is in a world of hurt.

    The columnists say eligible voters in their 20's:

    1) Aren't sure how to get a ballot in the first place.

    2) Can't find news resources they trust.

    3) Are confused by absentee ballots.

    4) Lack faith in the election system.

    All of the above account for these young voters turning into no-shows on Election Day.

    Here's an unbelievable excerpt from the column:

    Rhett Skelton, a 25-year-old Arlington, Va., voter originally from Houston, said the difficulty of finding out about the logistics of voting and the issues at stake are deterrents for younger voters."Since it's only one day, most people don't know about which day it is," Skelton said.

    They don't know what day Election Day is???????

    That's inexcusable.

    Here's another incredulous portion of the column:

    In Michigan, college students are required to register in the same district as their permanent address."This law really disenfranchises college students in the state," said Brandon Hynes, 20, of Canton, Mich., president of College Democrats of Michigan. "If you live on the east side of the state, in November weather could be bad, making it really difficult to vote."

    That's right. You can't just plop your lazy butt down at a computer and e-mail your vote.

    It might be cold???

    Funny how all those senior citizens find a way to the polls.

    If this is how some of the younger crowd feels, all the more reason to be happy with a low voter turnout.

    Here's the entire column by
    Kelly Mahoney and Rachel Zahorsky.


    To FranklinNOW blogger Janet Evans, who doesn't look a day over 35.

    Dress codes for banks

    I like this.

    Bank robberies have skyrocketed in Florida.

    To no one’s surprise, most bank robbers wear some sort of disguise, a hat, sunglasses, etc.

    So, some banks have instituted a dress code for customers.

    Want your check cashed?

    Then don’t look like you’re going to hold up the place.

    The Clintons are in enough trouble with blacks...

    It doesn't help when Bill falls asleep during a Martin Luther King event.

    Taxpayers, don't you get it? You need "educating"

    Great blog from Jo Egelhoff of

    She points out that the Kenosha school district is going to spend $10,000 in their campaign to persuade voters to approve a $52-million dollar referendum next month.

    This is classic.

    One school official says it’s not so much about “convincing” as it is about “educating.”

    Don’t you just love that condescending, arrogant tone coming from someone who thinks they’re just so much smarter than the rest of us.

    It’s really not that difficult.

    I am going to vote NO on a huge tax increase when student achievement is poor to average,  each and every time.

    I don’t need “educating.”

    When my tax dollar isn’t getting the bang for the buck, why should I blithely concede and agree to spend even more of my hard-earned money.

    In her blog, Egelhoff writes about the Kenosha campaign:

    “So, that’s $10,000 of your taxes going to pay for efforts to spend more of your taxes. Now, if you’re a local community group that believes the referendum should not pass – for one reason or the other – where do you suppose your $10,000 is for campaigning against the referendum?”

    Here’s her entire blog.

    Roe v. Wade in numerical perspective

    During these catastrophic events in American history, there were the following number of deaths:

    Hurricane Katrina fatalities: over 1800

    Pearl Harbor: approximately 2350

    9/11 victims:  approximately 3000

    American deaths in the Iraq War thus far: over 3900

    American deaths in the Vietnam War: approximately 58,000

    World War Two American casualties: approximately 418,500

    There have been more than 48.5 million abortions in the United States since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 35 years ago today that abortion was legal.

    All of these deaths were significant. All of the victims’ lives were important. All of these moments in history deserved massive attention.

    So where is the news coverage about the millions of unborn children?

    And when there is coverage, if it isn’t on C-SPAN2, are the stories objective and unbiased?

    Back in 1990, the not-so-conservative Los Angeles Times wrote a four-part series on
    a comprehensive study the newspaper conducted that found the press often favors abortion rights in its coverage, even though journalists say they make every effort to be fair.

    Even though the study was done in 1990, I daresay the situation hasn’t changed. In fact, the coverage has probably become even more unbalanced.

    Highlights of the LA Times series' findings:

    • The news media consistently use language and images that frame the entire abortion debate in terms that implicitly favor abortion-rights advocates.
    • Abortion-rights advocates are often quoted more frequently and characterized more favorably than are abortion opponents.
    • Events and issues favorable to abortion opponents are sometimes ignored or given minimal attention by the media.
    • Many news organizations have given more prominent play to stories on rallies and electoral and legislative victories by abortion-rights advocates than to stories on rallies and electoral and legislative victories by abortion rights opponents.
    • Columns of commentary favoring abortion rights outnumber those opposing abortion by a margin of more than 2 to 1 on the op-ed pages of most of the nation's major daily newspapers.
    • Newspaper editorial writers and columnists alike, long sensitive to violations of First Amendment rights and other civil liberties in cases involving minority and anti-war protests, have largely ignored these questions when Operation Rescue and other abortion opponents have raised them.
    • Most media organizations, including the Associated Press , the world's largest news agency, use the label "pro-choice", the preferred label of abortion-rights advocates, but not "pro-life", the preferred label of those who oppose abortion. During the first nine months of 1989, the TV networks used "pro-choice" in 74% of their references to abortion-rights advocates and used "pro-life" in only 6% of their references to abortion opponents.
    • When the Supreme Court issued Roe, initial news accounts emphasized the part of the ruling that said a woman would be allowed to have an abortion without restriction during the first three months of pregnancy. Even now, some in the media write about Roe in terms that suggest it legalized abortion only during that first trimester, even though it made abortion legal for any reason throughout the first and second trimesters of pregnancy (and for broadly-defined "health" reasons even in the third).
    • The Alan Guttmacher Institute in New York is probably the single-most widely quoted source for studies and statistics on abortion, for example, but the media rarely point out that the institute is special affiliate of Planned Parenthood of America, a major leader in the battle for abortion rights.
    • The media is generally careful to include comments from abortion-rights advocates in stories about abortion protests, but coverage of abortion-rights activities sometimes fail to include balancing comments from abortion opponents.
    • When Roman Catholic bishops individually spoke out on abortion or, collectively, hired a public relations firm to aid them in the battle against abortion, some in the media grumbled about the church's intrusion into the political arena. Similar media lamentations were forthcoming when bishops criticized (and raised the specter of ex-communication for) public officials who refuse to oppose abortion. But no such criticism was levied at the bishops in earlier years, when they endorsed a nuclear freeze or opposed Reagan Administration economic policies.
    • The major media paid no attention to the discovery by Bob Woodward of the Washington Post that two justices who had played a major role in the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion had conceded, in private memos, that they knew they were "legislating policy and exceeding (the court's) authority as the interpreter, not the maker of law," as Woodward wrote.
    • “When pro-choice candidates win, it is perhaps more easily accepted than it should be that their pro-choice position was the reason, and when pro-life candidates win, perhaps it is more easily accepted (than it should be) that that was really irrelevant to the race," says Douglas Bailey, an abortion-rights supporter who publishes the nonpartisan "Abortion Report," a daily compendium of news on abortion and politics. There have been a number of races in which the media said an abortion-rights advocate's victory showed the political strength of that movement when, in fact, most of the votes in the race actually went to anti- abortion candidates.

    Here is the 4-part LA Times series, July 1-4, 1990, on a study of major newspaper, television and newsmagazine coverage over 18 months, including more than 100 interviews with journalists and with activists on both sides of the abortion debate that confirms that this bias often exists.  

    Read more

    Now what do the photo ID opponents have to say?

    In October 2005, Ryan Paul Haygood, assistant counsel at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund wrote an opinion piece on photo ID that appeared in several newspapers around the country, including the photo ID-hating Milwaukee Journal/Sentinel.

    Haygood wrote, in part:

    The move to require voters to present a photo identification is misguided. And it will prevent many of our nation's most vulnerable from exercising the cherished right to vote.

    Strong evidence suggests that the proposed requirements would reduce political participation by otherwise eligible rural, elderly, disabled, poor and racial minority voters, who are less likely to have photo identification or the means to acquire it.

    Four decades after enactment of the federal Voting Rights Act, we still must protect our nation's racial minorities and poor from voting laws that, by failing to recognize the impact of race and class, create new barriers to the ballot.”

    January 14, 2008, Eliza Newlin Carney, a contributing editor and writer for National Journal and Government Executive wrote a column entitled, “Voter ID Laws Could Disenfranchise Millions.”

    Carney wrote, in part:

    As (Barack) Obama put it in a floor speech last year: "Now, why won't poor people be able to get photo IDs or Real IDs? It's simple. Because they cost money. You need a birth certificate, passport or proof of naturalization and that can cost up to $85. Then you need to go to the state office to apply for a card. That requires time off work, possibly a long trip on public transportation assuming there's an office near you. Imagine if you only vote once every two or four years? It's not very likely you'll take time off work, take a bus to pay $85 just so you can vote."

    Photo ID laws could affect millions of voters. There were 172.8 million registered voters in 2006, according to the Election Assistance Commission. If 1.2 percent of them lack photo IDs, that adds up to more than 2 million voters -- a significant number, given the razor-thin margins in recent presidential elections.

    Oh, really…

    Today, the Washington Times gives a totally different account that is bound to drive those opposed to photo ID who favor voter fraud absolutely out of their minds.

    The Times reports:

    Two-thirds of Americans, including a majority of racial and ethnic minorities, say the government should make voters show photo identification before voting, according to a new Fox 5/The Washington Times/ Rasmussen Reports survey.

    The numbers come as the voter-identification battle is heating up, with more states considering requiring photo identification and with the Supreme Court two weeks ago hearing oral arguments in a challenge to Indiana's photo identification requirement.

    "Support for the concept is overwhelming," said Scott Rasmussen, who conducted the poll, taken Jan. 16 and 17 of 1,000 adults. "What this number suggests to me is, it sounds like common sense in a society where you have to show ID to do just about anything."

    Overall, 67 percent said they support requiring photo identification, and that support ran high across all demographic groups. More than three-fourths of Republicans supported showing identification, as did 63 percent of Democrats and independents. And 58 percent of blacks, 69 percent of whites and 66 percent of other ethnic or racial minorities backed the concept.

    The question was: "Should voters be required to prove their identity by showing a government issued photo ID before they're allowed to vote?"

    After the U.S. Supreme Court upholds the tough Indiana photo ID law, every state in the nation should pass similar legislation, including Wisconsin.

    Want some handcuffs with those fries?

    A former Racine police officer now working in Clearwater, Florida could be the target of a lawsuit because he arrested a little old lady trying to order coffee and fries at a McDonald’s drive-thru.

    Former FOX 6 News Milwaukee reporter Peter Linton-Smith has the story in this video.

    Then there’s the other side of the story: the police report describes this little old grandmother as mean and nasty.

    So, is this a case of an overzealous officer or a belligerent grandma who wouldn’t cooperate with the authorities?

    I say the officer overreacted. In a day and age when police are spat upon and swore at, should they be hauling off senior citizens in handcuffs and detaining them behind bars just because they were waiting for fries?

    This officer doesn’t seem equipped to handle a rather innocent situation that he treated too seriously.

    I’m not one for frivolous lawsuits, but this woman might have a case.

    There are those girls again!

    Sure their popularity is growing, but I ask you, have they ever been on WISN with Kevin Fischer?????

    Read more

    The media is biased and the public knows it

    There’s a pattern that continues to see, year after year, a recognition by news consumers that the news media is liberal and is not always to be trusted.

    From the Media Research Council:

    6th Poll in a Year Finds Public Recognizes Liberal Tilt to Media   

    For the sixth time in a year, a national survey has found many more Americans see a news media bias to the left than to the right, and the latest poll released earlier this month by the Sacred Heart University Polling Institute, discovered "significantly declining percentages of Americans saying they believe all or most of media news reporting," with MSNBC (at a piddling four percent) and PBS (three percent) the least trusted for accurate reporting. Fox News, at 27 percent, was the most trusted, way ahead of second-best CNN at 14.6 percent. The Fairfield, Connecticut University's January 8 press release reported: "Just 19.6 percent of those surveyed could say they believe all or most news media reporting. This is down from 27.4 percent in 2003."

    By a three-to-one margin "Americans see news media journalists and broadcasters (45.4 percent to 15.7 percent) as mostly or somewhat liberal over mostly or somewhat conservative," but for NPR and the New York Times recognition of a liberal tilt is closer to four-to-one.

    [This item, by the MRC's Brent Baker, was posted early Monday morning on the MRC's blog, ]

    An excerpt from the January 8 press release about the survey, based on 800 interviews, conducted November 26 to December 5:


    A Sacred Heart University Poll found significantly declining percentages of Americans saying they believe all or most of media news reporting. In the current national poll, just 19.6% of those surveyed could say they believe all or most news media reporting. This is down from 27.4% in 2003. Just under one-quarter, 23.9%, in 2007 said they believe little or none of reporting while 55.3% suggested they believe some media news reporting.

    ...The perception is growing among Americans that the news media attempts to influence public opinion -- from 79.3% strongly or somewhat agreeing in 2003 to 87.6% in 2007.

    And, 86.0% agreed (strongly or somewhat) that the news media attempts to influence public policies -- up from 76.7% in 2003....

    By four-to-one margins, Americans surveyed see The New York Times (41.9% to 11.8%) and National Public Radio (40.3% to 11.2%) as mostly or somewhat liberal over mostly or somewhat conservative.

    By a three-to-one margin, Americans see news media journalists and broadcasters (45.4% to 15.7%) as mostly or somewhat liberal over mostly or somewhat conservative.

    And, by a two-to-one margin, Americans see CNN (44.9% to 18.4%) and MSNBC (38.8% to 15.8%) as mostly or somewhat liberal over mostly or somewhat conservative.

    Just Fox News was seen as mostly and somewhat conservative (48.7%) over mostly or somewhat liberal (22.3%).

    The most trusted national TV news organizations, for accurate reporting, in declining order included: Fox News (27.0%), CNN (14.6%), and NBC News (10.90%). These were followed by ABC News (7.0%), local news (6.9%), CBS News (6.8%) MSNBC (4.0%), PBS News (3.0%), CNBC (0.6%) and CBN (0.5%).

    In 2003, CNN led Fox News on "trust most for accurate reporting" 23.8% to 14.6%.

    For the press release in full:

    HT: Marquette Warrior, John McAdams

    Re-thinking huge developments...and the Wal-Mart effect


    The mere mention of the name causes polarization, the widest range of emotions.


    “I hate them.”


    “I love Wal-Mart.”

    I am not a member of the Wal-Mart Haters Society. Nor am I all goose-pimply about the stores, either. However, I am supportive and do not have the utter disdain so many seem to foster for this monstrous chain.

    People enjoy shopping there because of the variety and value. Employees enjoy working there. Thus, I don’t see a problem.

    Then there is Menards.

    In Monroe, Wisconsin, a recent editorial in their local paper says there has been “consternation created in Monroe in recent years by proposals for new big box stores.”

    Given that alleged sentiment, one would expect a certain degree of public outrage at the prospect of a huge new Menards that’s been proposed.

    A public hearing on the 242,000-square-foot development was held last week.

    Not a soul from the general public made any kind of statement at the hearing.

    None of the Monroe City Council members questioned the project.

    The vote to approve Menards' planned unit development (PUD) application was unanimous.

    Now the fun begins as Menards begins the ever-so-pleasant ordeal of applying for state permits. That usually amounts to over a year of bureaucratic nightmares and the forfeiture of several first-borns.

    The Monroe Times editorializes, “Of course, as we have seen with the Wal-Mart Supercenter project, entering the state permitting stage doesn't necessarily speed the process. Ironically, the final plans for a Wal-Mart Supercenter will end up being approved by the City Council after Menards' proposal. A revised PUD for a smaller Supercenter is scheduled for a public hearing Feb. 5.”


    Not one but two super development projects going up in Monroe, and no townsfolk carrying lanterns and pitchforks.

    What could it mean, the Monroe Times asked.

    The paper supplied its own answers:

    “First, it appears the Monroe community has at least grown to accept, if not embrace, the reality of large-scale retail development. Today seems a long way from the day when voters rejected by a two-thirds vote in a non-binding referendum the idea of such a store coming to Monroe.

    In the Times' online reader poll the past week, there were 481 responses to the question: "What kind of impact do you think a Wal-Mart Supercenter and a Menards megastore will have on the Monroe economy?" Of those responses, an overwhelming 77 percent (368 votes) said the large-scale stores will have a positive effect. Only 18 percent said they would have a negative effect, and 5 percent said they'd have no impact.

    The public in general seems to have looked past that initial, knee-jerk resistance to large-scale retail stores. Yes, there are certain challenges presented to existing businesses when large-scale developments come to town. But those are far outweighed by the tax benefits they bring and the economic growth opportunities they create.”

    The paper then offers a suggestion that Franklin should consider:

    “Now, with Menards' application process done and Wal-Mart's revised plans likely to be approved next month, the city would be wise to reassess the large-scale retail development application process - before what hopefully will be another round of proposals occurs.

    Are there ways the process can be speeded up? Menards' interest in Monroe has been public knowledge for a year and a half. Do the drawn-out proceedings jeopardize development projects? Do adjustments in the community attitudes toward large-scale retail developments merit changes in the city's approach?”

    The answers to the above questions are yes, yes, and yes.

    Meanwhile, the fedgazette in its latest newspaper has written a lengthy report on the Wal-Mart effect.

    It leans toward an over-all positive impact from Wal-Mart on communities they serve.

    Here’s the complete report.


    93% of Wal-Mart employees are insured, about half through the company.

    John Menard continues to show why he’s one of the best corporate citizens in Wisconsin.

    Why I'm not doing cartwheels over the tax rebate

    Don’t get me wrong.

    When my rebate check comes, I will happily accept.

    However, there are a few reasons why I’m not overly thrilled, but I will focus on my main complaint.

    I’m not happy about what was left OUT of the rebate plan:

    Permanent tax cuts.

    Republicans admitted their top priority was not included.

    Want to truly stimulate the economy?

    Then give people more of THEIR money to use the way they want to, permanently.

    That’s a far better remedy than a one-time gimmick.

    But Republicans caved and the taxpayers ultimately lose.

    Favre will not play in Pro Bowl

    My friends who now live in Las Vegas, are big Packer fans and have season tickets to the Pro Bowl won't be happy.

    Tonight on InterCHANGE

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

    1. The roller-coaster economy, and what it means both nationally and -- with reference to Doyle’s State-of-the-State message -- here in Wisconsin.

    2. Presidential politics: The Republicans.

    Thompson’s out, McCain’s up, Huckabee’s pulling back, and Giuliani is still waiting for Florida. How does it play out?

    3. Presidential politics: The Democrats.

    It’s getting ugly out there! Who’s got the upper hand, and what -- if anything -- does all the fighting mean for November?

    4. The Packers: How shocked were you?

    Did they play it right? Should they have adjusted their game plan? Was Favre’s last lifetime pass an interception? What do Wisconsinites do for the rest of the winter?

    What's up Doc? Aren't you going to wash up?

    I remember the Cryptosporidium outbreak in the Milwaukee in the mid-90’s, having managed the radio news coverage of that issue at WTMJ.

    Jay Marvin (remember him, the midday talk show host pre-Charlie Sykes?) was instructed by the Program Director to voice a public service announcement that we aired frequently, reminding people to wash their hands. That seemed so strange, to have to tell people when they had to wash up.

    Of course, maybe more reminders are in order, given that so many men especially are pigs.

    One would expect such reminders are unnecessary for health care practitioners who are surrounded by germs and instruments in need of sterilization.

    Guess again. reports:

    “Doctors, nurses and other hospital staffers too busy, too distracted — or, sometimes, too arrogant — to wash up are the target of a growing movement aimed at cutting rates of hospital-acquired infections that kill nearly 100,000 people in the U.S. each year, according to federal estimates.

    At best, hospital staffers wash adequately about half the time, repeated studies show.

    In hundreds of hospitals across the country, patients are being urged to speak up when workers fail to scrub. Posters in patient rooms, tray-top cards, brochures, buttons and direct invitations from staff all deliver the same reminder: “It’s OK to ask.”

    Workers’ reasons for not washing range from simple forgetfulness to being too busy to pause between patients. Others rely on gloves, forgetting that they need to scrub before donning them. And a few doctors and other health workers seem to believe they’re immune to basic rules of sanitation.

    National guidelines say they’re supposed to use alcohol-based hand rubs or soap and warm water for at least 15 seconds before and after every direct contact with a patient, with excretions, or with contaminated surfaces or objects. Too often, however, they don’t.”

    Read more.



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


    Tim Patterson

    Dan Bearss

    Dax Crum


    Brice Whaley, Darrell Nance and Jessica Lane

    Melissa Arrington and her friend, Little Joe

    Toby Taylor

    Tomas Delgado

    Lawrence Tynes. Not a bad guy, but hey…

    Read more

    OK ladies......what is wrong with you????

    There’s a pattern going on with you women that has me shaking my head.

    Studies are showing that for too many women, in my estimation, sex is no big deal.

    Several months ago, I mentioned this tidbit while filling in on WISN:

    The average woman would prefer to abstain from sex for up to 15 months in exchange for a closet full of new clothes. Two percent of these women were willing to abstain for three years.

    Four out of ten women would rather go shopping than have sex.

    And now this…

    What turns moms on?

    What gets them in the mood?

    A new poll by says foreplay.

    Foreplay was mentioned by 45% of the moms surveyed.

    That’s not a news bulletin.

    But get this.

    Fifteen percent of the moms who took the survey, when asked what turns them on said…..
    You really want to know what they said, don’t you….
    15 % said…


    What the hell is choreplay?

    Choreplay is when the husband helps out around the house.

    I am not making this up.

    Seems that some women, upon seeing their men take out the garbage, get all hot and bothered.

    Guys, time to drag out those vacuum cleaners…



    'Choreplay' vs. foreplay

    By Heidi Stevens

    Read more

    My most popular blogs

    Most popular

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

    1) Twenty-something’s find voting difficult

    2) This could have been...

    3) NY celebration has begun

    4) MLK spoke like a conservative 

    5) Do not blame Brett Favre

    I still admire and respect Miss Utah

    I was rooting for Miss Utah, Jill Stevens (and Miss Wisconsin, of course) in last night’s Miss America pageant.

    Read more

    Would you like paper or.........paper?

    The city of San Francisco has banned them.

    Several other cities around the country, including Madison are also considering a ban.

    Last week, Whole Foods announced it will stop offering them in all its stores nationwide by April 22, Earth Day, after a trial run at two of its Austin, Texas stores.

    I’m talking about plastic bags, viewed as weapons of mass destruction by environmentalists.

    Some Democrats in the Legislature are going to introduce a bill to ban retail stores in Wisconsin from providing non-biodegradable plastic bags to customers. Watch for more on this in the next week.

    Of course, an all-out ban is an extreme move.

    Fox News reports many grocers have found that about 90% of their customers still request plastic when they check out.  Why is plastic so popular? The bags are light, yet durable.  Store owners love them because at 2 cents a bag, plastic is cheaper than paper at 5 cents per bag. That doesn’t matter to the enviros, who cry that too many plastic bags are getting caught on tree limbs.

    Grocers have responded, starting recycling programs and offering reusable bags for purchase.

    The debate rages on.

    The plastics people say to make paper bags, you have to cut down trees. It takes seven fuel-burning trucks to transport paper bags to stores compared to just one for the same number of those evil plastic bags. So, plastic is better for the environment.

    Not so fast, say the green folks. They claim paper bags can be produced from recycled material.

    Some of the industry's largest plastic bag producers say they are taking steps to address consumer concerns about their products.

    For many people, the word, “plastic” automatically means, “litter.”

    If the nation has a litterbug problem, let’s not go overboard. Banning popular plastic bags is the wrong route to go.


     I walked into Milwaukee South Division High School on Martin Luther King Day to time some games for a basketball tournament.

    Looking to my left as I entered the building, I saw on the wall a sign on the wall welcoming visitors to South Division.

    Nothing strange about that…..except that this particular “Welcome” sign was in four separate languages. Not one, two or three……..four.

    I can assure you that none of the four included German, Polish, French, or Italian.

    If the goal is to be inclusive, why stop at four? Why not do a dozen or more, just like those pamphlets at the DMV.

    The United States continues to be its own worst enemy when it comes to slamming the brakes on illegal immigration.

    Come to America, but don’t worry about learning English. We’ll plaster your language up everywhere.

    Pick up today’s newspaper and you might be led to believe we’re actually getting tough at the borders.

    The Journal/Sentinel reports:

    Anyone planning to truck up to Canada to go camping or take a road trip into Mexico: The rules for getting back into the United States are going to change, as the government tries to beef up security and smooth border crossings.Beginning on Thursday, adult citizens will be asked to show a passport or a birth certificate and driver's license. Children will need to have a birth certificate. Those without such identification won't be turned away - at least not yet, according to federal officials.

    What does that mean? Are we going to start enforcing new rules or aren’t we?

    The article also states:

    The change is part of a plan, endorsed by the Sept. 11 commission that kicked in last year and requires anyone flying to Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean to have a passport. Airlines no longer board someone traveling to one of those countries without a passport, Sturgeon said. (Brett Sturgeon, spokesman for U.S. Customs and Border Protection.)

    The next step is to require new identification for land and sea crossings. The way it works now is that people crossing by car can show hundreds of different forms of ID or they can say they are U.S. citizens, and that may be good enough to get in, Sturgeon said.

    No wonder illegal immigration is out of control.

    Will the new system work?

    We haven’t been able or willing to control our borders in decades.

    Why should anyone have faith now?

    Yep, that would definitely be a culinary no-no

    There’s a TV episode of “Golden Girls” where the four older gals are out on the town at a swanky restaurant.

    Unbeknownst to the others, Rose has ordered a bottle of the most expensive bottle of champagne in the place.

    As the bubbly is being sipped, the group realizes they can’t afford the luxury.

    Quick-thinking Sophia sprinkles salt in her glass, takes a swig, loudly spits it out, and proceeds to cause a scene.

    The waiter apologizes and offers to comp all the dinners.

    Of course, that doesn’t happen in real life.

    From the January 18th edition of the Waukesha Freeman:

    Fake chest pains allegedly used to dodge dinner bill
    Complaint alleges man has repeated behavior at various restaurants throughout area
    By BRIAN HUBER Freeman Staff 

    WAUKESHA – A Waukesha man went to a local restaurant, ate and faked an illness, even having an ambulance summoned, in order to get out of paying his $39 bill, according to a criminal complaint filed Thursday in Waukesha County Circuit Court.

    Robert Farnam, 52, was ordered held on $150 cash bail Thursday after being charged with issuing a worthless check, defrauding an innkeeper and two counts of bail jumping.

    The complaint against him alleged he was at the Chancery Restaurant, 2100 E. Moreland Blvd., on Wednesday night, where he ordered $39 worth of food and drinks and then complained of chest pain. But a restaurant employee heard Farnam say he did not have any means to pay for his meal while waiting for the ambulance to arrive, the complaint said.

    “The fire department personnel indicated that they have had frequent contacts with (Farnam) as he was known to call for an ambulance complaining of chest pain after eating at various local restaurants and then requesting transportation to the hospital without paying for his meals,” the complaint said.

    Farnam allegedly told a police officer he did not have his wallet on him because he left it at church earlier in the day, the complaint said.

    But a restaurant employee gave police a copy of a $41 check Farnam wrote to the Chancery on Oct. 24, which was returned because the account was closed, the complaint alleged.

    Waukesha Police Capt. Mike Babe said Thursday police have logged at least five contacts with Farnam since Dec. 30.

    The first came after he allegedly tried to write an $80 check at Pick ’n Save, 1535 E. Moreland Blvd., on Dec. 30, but the store had posted alerts regarding prior bad checks by him, a criminal complaint in that case said.

    On Jan. 4 and Jan. 9, Farnam was cited by police after failing to pay his fare for cab rides from Milwaukee, Babe said. On Jan. 6, Waukesha police arrested him on a warrant from the town of Brookfield police regarding a complaint of defrauding an innkeeper there, Babe said.

    The bail jumping charges stem from alleged new law violations committed while on bail for the Dec. 30 incident, as well as an unrelated charge of fourth-degree sexual assault. Farnam is to appear in court again Monday.

    So, yes, that’s a culinary no-no, but today’s version is still to come.

    Culinary no-no #39

    Culinary no-no's

    You’re making a deposit at the bank.

    You’re paying for gas inside a convenience store.

    You’re at the airport, or Pick ‘n’ Save.

    Cameras are trained on you, but you don’t give it a second thought, or any thought for that matter.

    Now suppose you’re dining out and you know that a series of cameras are pointed right at you, capturing every nibble, twitch and blink of an eye. Would that bother you?

    That’s exactly what’s going on at the new Dutch Restaurant of the Future. Wageningen University in the Netherlands hosts the restaurant that points 23, count ‘em, 23 cameras at diners, all in the name of researching eating and drinking habits.
    The chairs are programmed to track the heart rates of diners. A scale in the floor weighs diners as they check out.

    ABC News reports, “The Restaurant of the Future opened its doors Oct. 4 and hosts only university students and employees who have signed off on being monitored as they dine. From observation rooms nearby, researchers watch and analyze every move, studying how factors like size, smell, ambiance and packaging influence consumer choices.”

    Here’s the entire story.

    “Hello, welcome to the Restaurant of the Future. Tonight’s specials are beef Wellington and osso bucco. While you enjoy your dinner, 23 cameras will be pointed directly at you, capturing your every movement so that we can learn how to better serve you. Can I get you something to drink?”

    Time to grab the coats and exit.

    Research?  With zero privacy?

    Just hand me a survey, for cryin’ out loud.


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

    This could be the only way I enjoy the Super Bowl

    It is officially Super Bowl week......without the Green Bay Packers.

    As a football fan, I will pay attention all week. And I will watch the game. But my interest level is not very high. I have no strong affection for either team.

    The New England Patriots are cheaters. Even worse is they’re so good, they don’t have to cheat. They are heavy favorites to win, AGAIN, so in game situations like this, I generally support the underdog.

    That would be the New York Giants. With the Giants, there are no great story lines, no captivating angles, no player who guaranteed a victory to a dying child in a hospital. Plus, they beat the Packers. No Giants paraphernalia in my house or anywhere on my person or car.




    Yes, I’m aware the Patriots are undefeated and the Giants could end that streak by winning the Super Bowl.


    There is one variable that could get me excited about next Sunday’s game:

    A bet.

    A pool.

    Putting money on the contest.

    Last year’s Super Bowl saw $93 million bet in Las Vegas. Vegas is hoping to crack the $100 million mark this year and the thought was a New England-Green Bay match up between Tom Brady and Brett Favre would have all but assured that size of betting total. Because Green Bay didn’t advance, there is the conventional wisdom that there will be less interest, and less money bet, or at least less than $100 million.

    I just want to get into one of those friendly, innocent, paltry pools that the authorities seem to take so much glee in uncovering and shutting down.

    Not at my office, of course, because there couldn’t possibly be wagers, as small as they might be, in the state Capitol.

    Somewhere, somehow, I need to….let me re-phrase that…I would like to place a few dollars into some, how shall I put it……game of chance.

    At some churches in town, they call that BINGO.

    And no one’s arresting those nice little old ladies, are they…

    Getting into a pool of some sort might be the only way to heighten my interest in a game that, for me, is quite unusual. Normally in a game of this magnitude, I want one team to tear the other team’s heads off. Last year it was soooooooo easy to root for the Indianapolis Colts against the Chicago Bears. This year, I don’t like either team.

    But if, say, 5, 10, or 20 dollars is at stake, suddenly, I might actually like Eli Manning.

    In the mid-90’s while at WTMJ, I interviewed an expert on problem gamblers.

    Suffice to say that the vast majority of Super Bowl bettors are not gambling away their homes. Yes, some gamblers make huge, irresponsible decisions. That’s about one to three percent of Super Bowl gamblers, making the law enforcement effort to clamp down on such games rather silly.

    What about all that lost productivity at work because of the ultra-hype?

    Last year, the Associated Press reported the week before the Super Bowl, “A consulting firm estimated that lost wages could exceed $16 million a minute as millions of Americans chat about the game, plan parties, organize betting pools or research big-screen TVs. That's more than $820 million from the week before the game alone. Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc. based its estimate on an anticipated audience of 90 million tuning in to the game, along with figures about the national employment rate and average pay. Its analysts calculated that employers around the nation will pay football fans $162 million for every 10 unproductive minutes they spend discussing the game or reading about it online.”

    That’s not to say all the attention paid to the big game is bad.

    The AP also reported, “John Challenger, the firm's chief executive, emphasized that his firm isn't trying to put a damper on the fun or suggest that companies ban betting pools. He acknowledged that some productivity gains can come from a friendlier workplace and higher employee morale.”

    So there.

    It’s going to happen. Lighten up everybody. What’s a few bucks between friends.

    For guys like me, it might be the only way to truly get into and enjoy this year’s Super Bore.

    The Super Bowl: Say what?

    Tuesday is Media Day at the Super Bowl, the single largest gathering and collection of stupid questioners and questions of the entire year.

    Some are the result of the NFL allowing just about every news outlet, including Nickelodeon and Animal Planet, to participate. Others are clearly intentional.

    Internet sources list some of the dumbest inquiries in Super Bowl history.

    ·          Reporter to Kurt Warner before the 2000 Super Bowl:  "Kurt, two questions: Do you believe in voodoo, and can I have a lock of your hair?" Warner: "No.

    ·         St. Louis Rams receiver Isaac Bruce was in a car accident in early December 1999. Before the 2000 Super Bowl, he talked to reporters about the accident, saying, "When I flipped in my car, I called on the name of Jesus. That's the name that I know saves me. And when I did that, I knew everything would be fine."
    Reporter: ''Did you say 'Jesus, Jesus, Jesus?' Or just 'Jesus?' ''
    Bruce: ''It was one Jesus. That's all it takes.''

    ·         At the 2000 Super Bowl, a reporter asked St. Louis DE Jay Williams, "Is Ram a noun or a verb?"

    ·         At Dodger Stadium in 1993, Troy Aikman of Dallas was asked, “Troy, does it seem a little strange answering football questions in a baseball stadium?" Aikman: "Not really."

    ·         A reporter asked Oakland Raiders quarterback Jim Plunkett, "Is it your mother who's blind, and your father who's deaf, or the other way around?"

    ·         Denver’s John Elway was asked, “Are you going to listen to Stevie Wonder perform at halftime?"

    ·         The Tennessee Titans’ Jevon Kearse wore a religious symbol around his neck. Reporter:  "What's the significance of the cross?"

    ·         At the 1996 Super Bowl, Dallas guard Nate Newton was asked if he noticed that the Pittsburgh Steelers wore helmets that are "missing" a logo on one side.
    "I really don't care about the Steelers -- what they are missing or what they have," Newton replied. "I'm more interested in when they run a 3-4 defense or send a corner on a blitz. Other than that, I don't care what their uniform is, how they smell or what they look like. I don't care."

    ·         At the 1994 Super Bowl, Buffalo's Cornelius Bennett was asked, "Do you believe you can win?" His response:  "What kind of question is that? What kind of question is that? What kind of question is that? That's a (expletive) stupid question. I'm (expletive) you asked me that question. I didn't come anywhere to lose."

    ·         At Super Bowl VI, Dallas RB Duane Thomas refused to answer any questions before the game. After the Super Bowl, he was asked, "You're fast aren't you?” Thomas looked into the camera and said, “Evidently."

    ·         In 1990, a reporter asked Denver RB Bobby Humphrey, "Why do you take your earring off for the game?" Because he preferred not to have a diamond "to be pushed through my ear to the middle of my brain."

    ·         In 1994, Buffalo’s Thurman Thomas replied this way to a question about how he got psyched up for big games. Thomas said he "reads the newspaper and looks at the stupid questions you all ask."


    Read more

    Goodbye Cameron's

    Cameron’s Steakhouse didn’t last long. 

    The Bayshore restaurant has closed, almost a year after the late Dennis Getto ripped it in one of his  Journal/Sentinel reviews.

    This one’s not to difficult to analyze. It had nothing to do with the mall or the restaurant’s location. Milwaukee is simply saturated with steakhouse options, many that are simply better than Cameron’s.

    Another senseless murder in a deteriorating neighborhood

    A few weeks ago, I attended a luncheon meeting at one of Milwaukee’s Mexican restaurants near National Avenue.

    A politico from the area told me he was concerned about an increase in crime in the neighborhoods, escalating even though temperatures had gone below freezing. The restaurant we sat in, one frequented by many city and suburban whites, was suffering from a 30% drop in revenue. People are simply afraid to venture into the area or, if they live there, afraid to come out at night.

    The area had its eye blackened again this past weekend when a Miller Brewing Company executive was shot and killed at 2nd and Walker early Saturday morning.

    According to, two suspects approached 43-year old Lodewikus "Vic" Milford and three women in a parking lot around 1:10 a.m. Saturday. Milford and the women gave up their valuables, but a suspect still shot Milford after Milford was in his car. His friends survived and have given their stories to police.

    Miller Brewing has now offered a $10,000 reward for information leading to the apprehension of the suspects.

    The near South Side is infested with crime. I grew up there and have blogged about how the Mitchell Street area has literally gone to hell. I still attend church there very Sunday and have friends and family living in the area who I worry about.

    Crime is, by far, the most important issue affecting the city of Milwaukee. Hopefully, the new police chief, the Mayor, and other city leaders will embark upon an aggressive campaign to reduce the violent crime that is plaguing Milwaukee. So far, I don’t see it happening.

    It’s also time that Wisconsin become the 49th state to enact a conceal-carry law. If Wisconsin had such a law, it’s entirely plausible that those punks, upon seeing Milford and his friends early Saturday morning would have thought twice about confronting them, unsure if one of the four was armed.

    The lack of conceal-carry is actually causing deaths in Wisconsin, not preventing them.

    God bless President Bush

    Great moments from the President’s State of the Union Address tonight…


    Unless the Congress acts, most of the tax relief we have delivered over the past 7 years will be taken away. Some in Washington argue that letting tax relief expire is not a tax increase. Try explaining that to 116 million American taxpayers who would see their taxes rise by an average of $1,800. Others have said they would personally be happy to pay higher taxes. I welcome their enthusiasm, and I am pleased to report that the IRS accepts both checks and money orders.

    Most Americans think their taxes are high enough. With all the other pressures on their finances, American families should not have to worry about the Federal Government taking a bigger bite out of their paychecks. There is only one way to eliminate this uncertainty: make the tax relief permanent. And Members of Congress should know: If any bill raising taxes reaches my desk, I will veto it.

    Just as we trust Americans with their own money, we need to earn their trust by spending their tax dollars wisely. Next week, I will send you a budget that terminates or substantially reduces 151 wasteful or bloated programs totaling more than $18 billion. And this budget will keep America on track for a surplus in 2012. American families have to balance their budgets, and so should their Government.

    The people's trust in their Government is undermined by congressional earmarks -- special interest projects that are often snuck in at the last minute, without discussion or debate.

    Last year, I asked you to voluntarily cut the number and cost of earmarks in half. I also asked you to stop slipping earmarks into committee reports that never even come to a vote.

    Unfortunately, neither goal was met. So this time, if you send me an appropriations bill that does not cut the number and cost of earmarks in half, I will send it back to you with my veto. And tomorrow, I will issue an Executive Order that directs Federal agencies to ignore any future earmark that is not voted on by the Congress. If these items are truly worth funding, the Congress should debate them in the open and hold a public vote.


    Since September 11, we have taken the fight to these terrorists and extremists. We will stay on the offense, we will keep up the pressure, and we will deliver justice to the enemies of America.

    While the enemy is still dangerous and more work remains, the American and Iraqi surges have achieved results few of us could have imagined just 1 year ago.

    When we met last year, many said containing the violence was impossible. A year later, high profile terrorist attacks are down, civilian deaths are down, and sectarian killings are down.

    When we met last year, militia extremists -- some armed and trained by Iran -- were wreaking havoc in large areas of Iraq. A year later, Coalition and Iraqi forces have killed or captured hundreds of militia fighters. And Iraqis of all backgrounds increasingly realize that defeating these militia fighters is critical to the future of their country.

    When we met last year, al Qaida had sanctuaries in many areas of Iraq, and their leaders had just offered American forces safe passage out of the country. Today, it is al Qaida that is searching for safe passage. They have been driven from many of the strongholds they once held, and over the past year, we have captured or killed thousands of extremists in Iraq, including hundreds of key al Qaida leaders and operatives. Last month, Osama bin Laden released a tape in which he railed against Iraqi tribal leaders who have turned on al Qaida and admitted that Coalition forces are growing stronger in Iraq. Ladies and gentlemen, some may deny the surge is working, but among the terrorists there is no doubt. Al Qaida is on the run in Iraq, and this enemy will be defeated.

    When we met last year, our troop levels in Iraq were on the rise. Today, because of the progress just described, we are implementing a policy of "return on success," and the surge forces we sent to Iraq are beginning to come home.

    This progress is a credit to the valor of our troops and the brilliance of their commanders. This evening, I want to speak directly to our men and women on the frontlines. Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen: In the past year, you have done everything we have asked of you, and more. Our Nation is grateful for your courage. We are proud of your accomplishments. And tonight in this hallowed chamber, with the American people as our witness, we make you a solemn pledge: In the fight ahead, you will have all you need to protect our Nation. And I ask the Congress to meet its responsibilities to these brave men and women by fully funding our troops.


    God, please get us out of January!

    Only in California...

    Could you find this nonsense.

    Would you choose a "Choose Life" license plate?

    How many “special” license plates are sanctioned by the state of Wisconsin?

    A bunch.

    We’re not fortunate to have this one, but we do have quite a collection.

    OK, let’s get serious.

    How would you feel about a Wisconsin license plate that proclaimed, “Choose Life”?

    A federal appellate court has ruled that the state of Arizona must go along with an anti-abortion group’s request for a special “Choose Life” license plate.

    The court based its ruling on the assertion that Arizona’s system of approving special license plates established, in essence, a public outlet for private speech. Therefore, the title, “Choose Life” could not be dismissed. Denying this particular plate would be a denial of First Amendment rights.

    Way back in January 2002, the Arizona Life Coalition placed an application for “Choose Life” license plates.

    Guess what?

    They were rejected.

    Now there’s a real shocker.
     So the Arizona Life Coalition sued the state of Arizona in September 2003.

    What was the Coalition’s motivation?

    For the answer, let’s go to the website of the Center for Reproductive Rights, an organization that strongly opposes “Choose Life” license plates. (Apparently, plates that would say something like, “Abort your baby” would be just fine with this bunch).

    Here’s what their website says about these dastardly license plates:

    “Choose Life" license plates are specialty plates that bear an anti-abortion message. Motorists who purchase the plates pay a fee above the cost of a standard license plate. The revenue generated from the sale is then funneled to non-profit, anti-abortion organizations, including so called "crisis pregnancy centers" that often promise comprehensive medical advice and services but deliver anti-abortion propaganda. Any organization that mentions abortion as a neutral option – including counseling, referrals or advertising – is prohibited from receiving any of the funds.

    My goodness, how awful.

    Because we all know, Planned Parenthood doesn’t raise or accept any money whatsoever for their campaign to kill the unborn.

    A little over a handful of states have “Choose Life” license plates.

    Can you imagine the pandemonium that would erupt if someone suggested Wisconsin adopt these special plates?

    Why, we can’t promote the birth of children…….but a pro-abortion plate, now that’s a different subject.

    Thank God for that appellate court in the Arizona case that ruled “Choose Life” is protected free speech.

    Lefties love free speech……when it’s their speech. They hate when it’s speech that directly confronts their views because then they have to try to come up with facts to combat it, and ultimately, they lose the debate.

    So they seek, instead, means to silence speech from the right rather than meet it head on.

    “Choose Life.”

    How wonderful that sounds.

    Sorry, lefties.

    Barack Obama should have just stayed home

    If an elected official misses a vote, is that a big deal?

    That depends.

    Did he/she have good reason to not be in attendance?

    A family or personal situation?

    There are circumstances where an absence is understandable.

    Now suppose an elected official attends meetings, but when it comes time to make a decision, doesn’t vote yay or nay, but instead abstains. Let’s say this individual abstains from voting again, and again, and again, and again, and again.

    When Barack Obama was in the Illinois Legislature, he abstained an astounding 136 times!

    I agree with Obama’s critics who say that’s just like being absent.

    Some very liberal friends of mine (Yes, I have them) are defending Obama’s abysmal voting record in the strangest way.

    My leftie friends say Obama was merely doing a service for his legislative colleagues. By refusing to take a stand, any stand on certain tough issues, he was bailing out colleagues from both sides of the aisle who were in tough spots on some bills.

    I kid you not, that’s their argument in support of not voting up or down 136 times. In their minds, essentially not voting makes Obama a statesmanlike hero.

    Kathryn Jean Lopez, editor of National Review Online lasers in on one of those times that Obama voted, “present,” in the Illinois Legislature. This particular vote was on a “Born-Alive Infants Bill.”

    The issue was clear. Obama was faced with taking a position on babies who survive abortions and are left to die. He took none, refusing to even offer these babies protection.

    Lopez writes in a column for the Newspaper Enterprise Association:

    His reason: He didn't want to cede ground to crazy pro-lifers. He warned: "Whenever we define a pre-viable fetus as a person that is protected by the Equal Protection Clause or the other elements in the Constitution, what we're really saying is, in fact, that they are persons that are entitled to the kinds of protections that would be provided to a -- a child, a 9-month-old -- child that was delivered to term. That determination then, essentially, if it was accepted by a court, would forbid abortions to take place."

    Obama wouldn’t even support the requirement that when a baby survives an abortion, at times for hours, that a second doctor be on hand to care for the child.

    No wonder Obama received
    a 100 percent rating from the Illinois Planned Parenthood Council.

    Obama might be the candidate of hope for many, but that certainly doesn’t include the unborn or any young infant who somehow survives an abortion.

    And the more we learn about his left of Ted Kennedy record, the more dangerous he looks.

    The state of Milwaukee County

    Here are excerpts from Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker’s State of the County address today. I applaud Walker on all these fronts.


    Recent statistics from the FBI show that violent crime continues to rise in the City of Milwaukee. This is unacceptable for the city, for the county and for this entire region.

    If people don’t feel safe in their homes, at work or in their neighborhoods, nothing else matters. Public safety is my number one priority because it trumps all other issues.

    Historically, the county has not played a direct role in public safety, but times are changing. We must work with local police departments and the Sheriff to fight crime.

    Our 2008 budget includes support for the Sheriff’s Targeted Enforcement Unit that will continue patrols on the lakefront and expand coverage to our parks and other key areas across the county. We just transferred funding for new vehicles for that unit.  

    We will also work with the Community Justice Council to implement a program to replace the old system of checking in Huber offenders at night with a new GPS system that will track them every hour of every day. Once a judge sentences someone to work release, we need to know where he or she is 24/7.   


    I made a commitment to hold down taxes. For six straight budgets, my proposals have not raised the tax levy from the previous year. I commit to doing that again. And even though the members of the County Board and I sometimes differ on the size of the tax levy, we have changed the terms of the debate. When I arrived, budgets were increasing almost 6% per year. Now, even with the increases enacted by the County Board, the annual increase in the tax levy is just a little over 2%.  

    That is progress and it gives me hope that we can do even more to control costs and lower taxes in the future.  


    I will seek to increase the hours of work in the park system by using seasonal employees for entry-level work and will seek to expand the number of public/private partnerships like the Starbucks in Red Arrow Park.  

    In addition, there will be plenty of improvements in the parks system in 2008. Soon, we will break ground on the David F. Schulz Aquatic Center at Lincoln Park, which will be a major water destination on the north end of the county. We also hope to help the Friends of Hoyt Park Pool finish off a major capital campaign for a new aquatic center.  The Domes will receive a major facelift after four decades of service, the Oak Leaf Trail will continue to grow and new splash pads will go into place at several parks.   


    I want this region to move forward with a way to dramatically improve the transit system. Our Bus Rapid Transit plan will connect people with an exciting new system of hybrid buses. Used successfully in nearly 20 other urban areas, this technology can reduce travel times, increase riders and improve environmental conditions – all at a fraction of the cost of fixed rail.

    I have found my reason to root for the Giants

    There were early reports that was taking orders for books about the New England Patriots’ perfect season.

    There is a reason they play these games, folks. Even though New England is the better team, is highly favored and should beat the NY Giants in the Super Bowl Sunday, they still could lose.

    It is highly premature to start taking orders for a book with a theme of a team’s perfect season before they even achieve a perfect season. smartened up, and is taking orders for Super Bowl books, no matter who wins.

    But at first, they only were ready to market a book based on a Patriots victory.

    I had been leaning toward the Giants but now I really hope New York spoils the Patriots’ perfect season.

    Go Giants!

    John McCain: Pro and con

    It’s becoming clear that John McCain has the momentum to be the Republican nominee for President.

    Here are two distinctly different views on John McCain by two conservatives.



    John McCain is scary, an unpredictable maverick who delights in stabbing true conservative Republicans in the back.
    I fear many conservatives who hold true to their values will stay home in November rather than vote for a RINO. That helps Democrats immensely.

    Watch me pull a tax increase out of my hat

    For many years, a lot of states (not including Wisconsin) were swimming in money, so much revenue that they were building new schools, roads, and cancer centers.

    The surpluses are all gone and revenues are down.

    So what is the obligatory knee jerk reaction?

    You got it. Raise taxes.

    The Associated Press is reporting that a trend of tax hikes has developed, tax hikes in areas that are somewhat unusual.

    For example, New York wants to tax illegal drugs.
    In Texas, as I talked about on WISN, there is now a tax on gentlemen’s clubs cleverly called, a “pole tax.” Six states tax pornography.

    The strategy is that sure, it’s a tax, but who could argue with a tax on a sleazy strip club or illegal drugs?

    States, including Wisconsin, tax visiting entertainers and athletes. That would be your, “jock tax.”

    Indiana and Virginia cash in on future lottery profits.

    At Halloween, some states tax the sales of pumpkins.

    Many states impose an “amusement tax” for live shows.

    It’s amazing how the tax and spenders never run out of creative ways to get into your wallets, devising hidden techniques of grabbing more of your money without jacking up the traditional income and sales taxes.

    Look at Maryland. Maryland raised taxes by $1.4 billion in November. That apparently isn’t good enough. The state is looking at legalizing slot machines to fund health care.

    New York Governor Eliot Spitzer wants to classify small cigars as cigarettes and "hard" lemonade and flavored alcohol beverages as liquor instead of beer. If that happens, all of those products will then bring in more revenue.

    The AP reports, “More than a half-dozen states have a tax on narcotics and other controlled substances. Theoretically, a drug dealer in North Carolina can go to the state revenue office and get a tax stamp for $50 per gram for cocaine over 7 grams (the first 6 grams are tax-free). A moonshiner could get a stamp for $1.28 per gallon of mash. Then the dealer or the moonshiner can walk away. The law prohibits snitching on anyone who buys the stamps with proof he paid his debt to the tax department.”

    Isn’t that special!!

    History be damned in New Jersey where officials are considering allowing nonprofit corporations to operate toll roads. The agency could also raise money by putting solar panels on sound barriers, erecting windmills along the roadways and selling naming rights for rest stops.

    What does that mean?

    The New Jersey Turnpike rest stops now named for famous residents such as Thomas Edison, Walt Whitman and Red Cross founder Clara Barton could be renamed for corporations.


    So why should you care what they do in Jersey or Indiana or Maryland or anywhere else?

    There is a building full of lawmakers in Madison who do pay close attention to the actions of their colleagues in other states. Smoking bans, tax increases on alcohol, banning cell phones in cars, eliminating plastic bags in grocery stores, you name it. Legislator X hears about a tax increase in Nebraska and suddenly lights up, proclaiming it’s a marvelous idea, and before you know it, the bill is drafted and introduced. Unfortunately, the really good ideas being formulated in other states never seem to see the light of day in Badgerland.

    Somehow, someway, legislators who still haven’t learned the Twist do find out about the newest and most creative ways to raise taxes.

    That’s why you should care.

    Faith Hill pays tribute to the King


    Country superstar Faith Hill today premiered her performance of Elvis Presley’s classic “That’s All Right,” the song that more than any other paved the way for the explosion of rock and roll.


    After originally recording both “That’s All Right” and “Peace In The Valley” for “Viva Las Vegas,” a 2-hour ABC Network television special honoring the late singer, CMT began airing “Peace In The Valley.” But numerous inquiries were made at requesting “Mama,” and now the Grammy Award winning singer will give the video its online premiere. “We recorded “Mama” and “Peace In The Valley,” last year in a completely empty arena, in the round and stripped down, said Faith. “It was a blast. We channeled Elvis by setting the stage as if we were back in 1968 (his comeback special). These songs and being a part of the special reminded me of who he was, what he stood for; he defined what it was and is to be an entertainer.”

    The “Viva Las Vegas” special, produced in cooperation with Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc, originally aired on September 18, 2007. The special honored Elvis Presley’s legacy and contribution to contemporary music, and featured some of music’s most influential and talented artists, including Celine Dion, Aerosmith, and Paul McCartney.

    Take a look at Faith Hill’s wonderful rendition of That's Alright Mama.


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    Lawmaker wants to kill Franklin's tough sex offender ordinance

    On Thursday, a state Assembly committee will hold a public hearing on a bill to prohibit municipalities from drafting ordinances restricting where sex offenders can live. If the bill becomes law, municipalities like Franklin and many others around the state would see their restrictive ordinances taken off the books.

    State Representative Donald Friske (R-Merrill) has proposed the bill, arguing that forcing sex offenders out of cities and villages will send them into rural areas where there aren’t as many law enforcement authorities to monitor their whereabouts.

    Friske told the Green Bay Press Gazette, “"It also pits communities against each other. The safety and security of each community is equal. I don't know if we can start to say this community's more important because of this or the children of that community are entitled to less protection because they live there."

    Green Bay has an ordinance in place similar to Franklin’s. Chad Fradette, president of Green Bay's City Council, who helped create the city's sex offender residency ordinance said, “If they keep the worst of the worst — the predators — in prison the rest of their lives, you won't need these laws. That's why this (residency) law was drafted in Green Bay. We're trying to force them to keep the predators in prison. If (Friske) was a real leader, he would solve the problem instead."

    Franklin Alderman Steve Olson who helped write Franklin’s tough ordinance will submit testimony to the committee Thursday. Representatives from the Franklin-based group, Citizens for a Safe Wisconsin will also testify. They will offer a sound argument that the solution is not to wipe away restrictive ordinances like Franklin’s. The answer is for each municipality in the state to take in their own sex offenders once they’re released from custody. That way, offenders from Milwaukee could not be dumped in Franklin, or in Friske’s hometown of Merrill.

    Friske’s bill is flawed because it has the state taking away local control from municipalities.

    Meanwhile, Franklin’s ordinance, the model for so many others around the state, is working.

    Super Bowl betting: Heads or tails?

    There’s more to Super Bowl betting than who will win, the Patriots or the Giants.

    There’s the over/under, who will have more first downs, who will have more rushing yards, more passing yards, more penalties, more fumbles, interceptions, etc. The possible bets are endless.

    And that includes the coin toss prior to the game.

    Vegas will take bets on whether heads or tails will be called. There is no strategy involved. It’s simply a matter of pure luck.


    Betting on the Super Bowl coin toss is a sure sign that you are a degenerate. Thousands of you are going to do it, though. The lure of betting on heads or tails, and kick or receive will be too much to resist. The gratification is instant, and it can give you extra money to bet at halftime. Not to mention the bragging rights when you can say that you nailed it to all your drunken buddies. The coin flip is, of course, completely random. That shouldn't stop us from doing some analysis of what has happened in the past to look for an edge, though, should it? After all, we have two weeks to kill, so there's time to analyze everything.

    The coin itself will be coming from Florida. A company call Highland Mint, which is based in Melbourne, Florida has been charged with making the coin. After the coin flip takes place the coin will head to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Because the coin will be minted in Florida, and Florida is considerably more humid than Arizona, you will have to factor in the different air densities and the coordinating differences in friction into your coin flip decision-making process. And no, I 'm not serious.

    We haven't yet heard who will actually toss the coin, though there is a decent chance that it will be a quarterback. Four times in the last six years a quarterback has made the toss - Roger Staubach, Y.A. Tittle, Tom Brady and Dan Marino. Brady obviously won't be tossing it this year, but his presence is a very good sign for the NFC representative. The Seahawks won the toss when Brady was the flipper, and the Patriots have lost the toss every time Brady has been in the Super Bowl. On that basis alone you might want to take an extra look at the Giants. The Giants are riding a hot streak - they won the toss last time they made the big game.

    The one thing that is virtually certain is that the winning team will choose to receive the kick. That's what has happened each of the last 41 years. There is a good reason for this - teams cannot defer until the second half in the Super Bowl, so choosing to kick would be monumentally stupid unless you had a ridiculously good defense and no offense whatsoever. In other words, Baltimore probably would have kicked if they had won when they played the Giants in Super Bowl XXXV.

    Want more reason to choose the Giants? The NFC can't be beat. They have won the last 10 straight coin flips. There's a bit of a twist, though - the last AFC team to win the toss was the Patriots back in XXXI against the Packers. That didn't turn out well for the Pats, and winning the coin toss hasn't turned out particularly well for a lot of teams recently. Tampa Bay was the last team to win the toss and the game, and that was five years ago. The winner of the toss has only hoisted the Lombardi Trophy twice in the last decade. So much for the theory that a team wants the ball first to set the tone and build momentum. It hasn't always been so bleak for the toss winners, though - overall they are 19-22, but they were 17-13 in the first 30 games before the recent 2-9 skid. It's up to you to decide if the losing ways will continue, or if the winner is due this time.

    Overall, the Giants are 1-2 in the Super Bowl coin toss, while the Pats are an ugly 1-4. The Giants are designated as the road team this year (the NFC is the visitor in even numbered games), and as such they will call the toss. The team has never called the toss before, so we can't predict what they might do. The Pats have called it twice, and they went with heads both times. We can't predict, but at least we can be confident that we are playing on a level playing field - in the first 40 Super Bowls it went heads 20 times and tails 20 times.

    The last thing you need to know before making your crucial decisions - the public loves heads, so follow or fade at your own peril.

    The coin flip is just one of many odd bets you can make on the Super Bowl.

    Take a look.

    And we should release convicted sex offenders back into society....


    Just how liberal (dangerous) is Barack Obama?

    Last week, I was talking with some of my liberal colleagues.

    Keep in mind, these folks voted for Bill Clinton, not once, but twice.

    They voted for Al Gore and John Kerry.

    Now, they despise the Clintons and worship at the altar of Barack Obama.

    As my friends fawned about Obama, I stood and listened, and waited for the Pavlov’s dog effect to wear off before I interjected.

    When the heavy breathing stopped for an instant, I seized the moment, carpe diem.

    I made the point that Obama looks good in a suit, but is an empty suit. Listen to him for an hour and he says absolutely nothing.
     He is the king of glittering generalities.

    “I want to give America hope that it can rise above the turmoil’s and the troubles it now confronts and rescue from the depths of oppression the poor and the hungry so they can be rewarded  and rise to a plateau, a level of prosperity all in America so richly deserve.”

     What the hell does that mean?

    I mentioned to my ultra-liberal friends last week that Obama has a record, a record many Americans are unaware of. Wait till they find out Obama is to the left of Teddy Kennedy.

    That’s when one of my ultra-liberal friends broke out into jubilation.

    “That’s why I love him,” she said with prepubescent excitement.

    “He’s so progressive.”


    That’s code for "I’m as liberal as they come."

    Why do liberals hate being called liberals?

    Well…..that’s a topic for a future blog.

    Just how liberal is the guy so many Democrats want to be our next President?

    He’s so liberal that if you cut him in half, you might find green cheese.

    The fact is, Kennedy, Pelosi, Barney Frank, Feingold, et all are Pat Buchanan compared to Barack Obama.

    Friday night on InterCHANGE

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


    Was it refreshing to hear some tough talk from a Milwaukee Police Chief?  Ed Flynn said that Latin Kings gang members “will feel our attention in a very special way in the next several weeks.” Is the murder of a Miller Brewing Company executive receiving more attention because Milwaukee doesn’t want to be perceived as “a dangerous place” while Miller and Coors decide where to locate their new headquarters?  Is the crime receiving more attention because this guy was an executive?  Is the crime receiving more attention because it happened in a popular night life area?  Would the murder of a 22 year old black man on 15th and North Avenue receive the same attention?  Should it, or is there a lot more at stake in this case?  


    It appears there are more storm clouds on the horizon for the Catholic Church in Milwaukee.  The archdiocese is apparently in the red, and cutbacks are scheduled.  There are more court documents being released which show how far the diocese went to shuffle abusive priests around from parish to parish.  Lawmakers are expected to make it easier for past victims of abuse to go after the assets of the diocese.  Yet, the diocese is in the midst of a big fund-raising drive.  Will this diocese survive, or will it too be forced into bankruptcy?  Are the local branch of the Catholic Church, and this archbishop, being as responsive as they should be to the needs of the victims of abuse?  Are they doing what they can to ensure the church survives this troubled time? 


    At this point in time it looks like Hillary and Obama will continue to slug it out on the democrat side.  Romney and McCain are the two strongest still standing on the republican side?  What do you think will be the results of Super Tuesday next week?  Could McCain beat Hillary?  Could McCain beat Obama?  Will Romney rally?  At 71, is McCain too old to be President of the United States? 

    If you're going to the Lion King....

    The Broadway performances of The Lion King open their first run in Milwaukee this Sunday.

    If you are lucky enough to have tickets and you’ve never seen The Lion King, this may just be the finest live performance you’ve ever witnessed. It is worth every penny you spent on those expensive tickets.

    If I had to give first-timers one tip without giving anything away, I would strongly advise you arrive at the theater early and be in your seats before the show starts.

    You’ll be glad you did.

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