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.

My most popular blogs (5/31/09)

Most popular

As I post every Sunday, here are the five most read blog entries of mine from the previous week. NOTE: some entries may have been posted prior to the past week.

1)  A tale of two Greenfield's

2) Obama's Memorial Day facade

3) The prudes have been unleased in Brookfield

4) Governor Doyle in denial

5) Culinary no-no #113

How does ultra-liberal Madison deal with this?

Late January 2008, the state Capitol in Madison.

Governor Doyle is delivering the annual State of the State address to a joint session of the state Legislature in a packed state Assembly Chambers. Two floors below, in the state Capitol’s basement, a group of homeless individuals is grateful the Capitol is open late today. They get to stay inside a few hours longer before having to battle another bitterly cold night.

An Appleton Post Crescent reporter is downstairs, interviewing the homeless for a story to be headlined, “Icy weather, burning issues bring together Wisconsin's leaders and the homeless under the dome.”

Quoted in the article is 42-year old David Watson who says,
"I didn't expect to live this long. I don't know if I'll make it to spring or not.”

Nothing has changed since then. The Madison nights still find some homeless huddling on the grates just outside the ornate historic building. As the Post-Crescent reported in January 2008,
A fine snow fell as Ricky ‘Joko’ Novak rolled a cigarette while perched atop a steel heating grate. The grate hissed, enveloping the homeless man in a fragile pocket of warmth in the midst of zero-degree wind chills. Ducking inside his jacket, Novak lit the cigarette.”

During the day, when the Capitol doors open, the homeless are right there to head to the basement where a spacious area with tables and chairs and vending machines beckons. The homeless stay there, playing cards, reading, watching their portable TV’s, and sleeping until they must leave when the Capitol closes for the day.

Head to the basement as I do for my 90-cent cans of Pepsi, and the permeating smell is evident just moments after you walk off the elevator, some days more overpowering than others depending on the number of folks who’ve taken shelter.  Restrooms on the ground floor have become facilities that go beyond relieving oneself as people bathe and shave in the cramped quarters.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, apparently oblivious to this daily routine that has been going on for years,  even though the paper has reporters camped right inside the Capitol, has chosen to do a story, not in the dead of winter, but now, as summer approaches, about the problems the homeless are causing. The paper reports the Capitol Police are dealing with all sorts of problems caused by the homeless including, “
alcohol abuse; arguments; defecation and urination; and arrests of people on outstanding warrants.”

One lawmaker quoted in the Journal Sentinel article fears for the safety of Capitol visitors.

Despite these problems, the Capitol Police contend the building is safe. I wholeheartedly agree.

I engage in friendly chit chat often with the homeless in the Capitol. I was stunned one day to be in the basement headed for the Pepsi machine to see an African-American man gazing at his portable DVD player plugged into the wall.  Wow, I thought. I wish I had one of those cool deals, but I don’t.

The man was watching a familiar video of Elvis performing on stage. After stopping at the man’s table, I had to speak up.

“Hey, that’s the (blank) video, isn’t it?”

“Yeh it is,” said the man, who then went into an enthusiastic and knowledgeable decription of the entire video.

There we were, he unshaved and dirty, me in a suit and tie, sharing our admiration for the King.

Another man pictured in the Journal Sentinel story and I have talked on many, many occasions.

Looks are deceiving. Judging from his dialogue with me, I’m actually surprised he’s still homeless.

My point is I’m not sure an over-reaction is necessary here. To be honest, I’ve never had a problem with any homeless individual in the Capitol in the 12-plus years I’ve been working there. Some of the school groups that invade the Capitol with chaperones who, quite frankly, tend to be useless as the kids create a free for all are a bigger nuisance than the homeless. When the Concerts on the Square begin in the summer, some of the crowd that descend upon the Capitol for a free concert look just like the guys that have been in the basement all day.

What will one of the most liberal cities in America do about this problem? I can’t believe it would prevent the general public, and that includes the homeless, entry into the state’s #1 public building.

I say leave this issue alone. The building is incredibly safe and kept that way by a fine police force. There’s no need to do anything else.

Where there's a Will, there's an instant Sunday column in the MJS (by George)

MJS Scorecard

Regular readers of This Just In know I’m keeping tabs on the Crossroads (editorial) section in the Sunday Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

This Sunday’s paper will feature a piece by conservative columnist George Will. That will be the 4th time in the past 7 weeks that a Will column has surfaced in the Crossroads pages.

Granted, from my perspective, there’s nothing wrong with running a George Will column. However, earth to Editorial Page Editor Ricardo Pimentel:

I find it very hard to believe that you can’t find a LOCAL conservative(s) to file worthy pieces for the Sunday Crossroads section instead of 4 George Will columns in 7 weeks.

Quickly lifting Will’s latest nationally syndicated effort is the easy, and yes, lazy way to fill your pages,

A reminder, watch for my MJS Scorecard Sunday.

The next time someone in law enforcement tells you there are no quota systems...

Mention Orlando.

Recommended reading (5/30/09)

Recommended reading

Here are, in my view, interesting, noteworthy columns and articles from the past week that I highly recommend (You will note that on occasion, I do not endorse the opinions of the author and may point that out. Despite my disagreements, I still feel the piece is worth a read).

Taxpayers foot lawmakers' bills

"An examination of U.S. lawmakers' expense claims shows Washington's elected officials have (also) used public funds for eye-catching purchases."

Budget includes millions in earmarks

Facing a record $6.6 billion deficit, the Legislature's Joint Finance Committee on Friday passed a budget crafted late at night and largely behind closed doors that included tax increases, trims in state aid and millions of dollars in pork-barrel projects in Democratic districts."

To whom honor is due

"Everybody loves a hero. But pop culture spends so much time worshipping athletes and Hollywood stars that many of our children don't know a true hero from an impostor."

Work hard for a nation of makers not takers

"Instead of figuring out how to take from others through taxes and debt, we should be figuring out how to make. We should encourage people to figure out how to start new businesses, create new products and provide services to others."

Rebut, then confirm

"Barring some huge hidden scandal, Sotomayor will be elevated to (that same) Supreme Court. What should a principled conservative do?"

Three stories and one Supreme Court nominee

"Sonia Sotomayor’s commitment to her own personal interpretation of the Constitution could have devastating consequences on everyday Americans, and here’s why:"

It's increasingly evident that Obama should resign

"We expected broken promises. But the gap between the soaring expectations that accompanied Barack Obama’s inauguration and his wretched performance is the broadest such chasm in recent historical memory. This guy makes Bill Clinton look like a paragon of integrity and follow-through."

California ruling shows hurdles remain for gay marriage

"The California ruling served as a reminder that same-sex marriage remains deeply polarizing, and the movement is likely to see more reversals and setbacks as it tries to expand beyond the favorable terrain of the Northeast."

The call to have a family and serve God

"Inevitably, the scandal in Miami has reopened the longstanding debate over celibacy and the Catholic priesthood."

The birds, bees, and cellphones

"On nearly every playground in America, there are cell phones that can transmit X-rated material in the blink of an eye."

Save the planet. Paint the roof.

"The other day, the current Secretary of Energy Dr. Steven Chu was speaking at the 'St James's Palace Nobel Laureate Symposium'  in London which, if it is not the most pretentiously named meeting on the planet, it must be among the top five, told his laureateal colleagues that we should paint much of the world white to reflect heat back up into space and, thus, cure global warming. 

I am not making this up."

Random thoughts

"When I think of the people with serious physical or mental handicaps who nevertheless work, I find it hard to sympathize with able-bodied men who stand on the streets and beg. Nor can I sympathize with those who give them money that subsidizes a parasitic lifestyle which allows such men to be a constant nuisance, or even a danger, to others."

Wake up, Wisconsin!

"Instead of being a magnet for new business, industries and jobs, Gov. Jim Doyle and those in Madison seem oblivious to the concept of finding employers to employ. People need jobs, and there is no way the path we are on is going to attract them."

Could a personalized magazine help save print media?

"Unlike a lot of the publications that slip into my mailbox each month, Mine is full of stories that I actually feel like reading."

NML CEO should stick to actuarial tables

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