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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.



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...


James Lewin, one helluva grandpa

Foster care protesters

World War II Pacific Vets

Wisconsin National Guard

Andrew Kinard

Michael Phelps

Former NBA star, now smooth jazz star Wayman Tisdale


Michael Andrew Stephens

Seattle artist Deborah Lawrence UNC's Sarah Michalak

Leonard Taylor


"I think I was unprepared for war. In other words, I didn't campaign and say: 'Please vote for me. I'll be able to handle an attack.' In other words, I didn't anticipate war. Presidents -- one of the things about the modern presidency is that the unexpected will happen."
President Bush, in an interview with ABC News.

“I’m sure some people voted for [President-elect] Barack Obama because of me. Obviously the economic situation made it awfully difficult for John McCain to get a message out. And I felt that Barack Obama ran a very disciplined campaign. I mean, he inspired a lot of people and was in a position to take advantage of the inspiration. It was well-organized, he raised a lot of money, and ran a textbook campaign.”
President Bush, speaking to ABC News.

"I thought it was one of the radio stations in South Florida playing an incredible, elaborate, terrific prank on me. They got Fidel Castro to go along. They've gotten Hugo Chavez and others to fall for their tricks. I said, 'Oh, no, I won't be punked.'"
Republican Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (Fl.) explaining why she hung up on President-elect Barack Obama. But, the Miami Herald reports, this was no prank.

"Put everything but food and medicine on the table, because everybody has to share the pain."
State Senator Bob Jauch (D-Poplar) who wants to draft a bill that continues food and health-related sales tax exemptions, but apply the 5% tax to everything else to address the state budget deficit. The idea was called “radical” by the Journal Sentinel that also reported Jauch is the only lawmaker making such a proposal.

"We have to take a position that everything's on the table. We have to consider that somebody's going to put on the table a plastic bag tax of 25 cents until there's not. We have to assume there will be a bottle deposit fee until we're told there's not. We have to assume there will be a soda tax until we're told there's not."
Brandon Scholz, a lobbyist for the Wisconsin Grocers Association, assuming there will be plenty of proposed tax increases.

"No matter the technique, pulling more money from the private economy to send to Madison is a tax increase. Forcing struggling families to pay sales taxes on services that they did not have to pay before will make everything from getting a haircut to a membership at the gym more expensive."
Assembly Republican Leader Jeff Fitzgerald of Horicon.

“Are you serious...Wisconsin Democrats want to raise taxes? Well, alert the national media! Seriously, why is this even a story? It's no surprise our taxes are going up...again. I am out of here as soon as the housing market improves. Our state officials make me sick.”
A person identified as OakCreekMom, commenting on the Journal Sentinel website on a story that State Senator Fred Risser (D-Madison) will only support raising taxes a last resort to solve the state budget deficit. 

“I would have for sure killed some people if that was real. That was really crazy. They were scaring me. I’m shaking! It was so hard to text. I knocked over so many cones. I was swerving over there. I was ready for this car to roll over. If my mom was here, you would’ve given her heart attack.”
Teenager Chelsea Cross, talking about a test that she and two friends took for Channel 12 News. They drove through a course at Milwaukee Area Technical College to see how safely they could drive and text at the same time. Five states currently ban texting while driving for all drivers. Another 10 states ban teen drivers from texting.

“Two more years left now, starting in January —“
An Associated Press reporter, interviewing Wisconsin Attorney General JB Van Hollen.

“Oh, you're throwing me out of office already? Come on. Where's the love?”
Van Hollen’s quick response to AP reporter after the above question.

“I think we sent a very strong message that I don't care who you are or what position you hold, if you violate the law, we are going to enforce it. We are going to do something about it. Nobody is above the law. Individuals aren't. Certainly government agencies aren't.”
Van Hollen, on what he accomplished with his lawsuit demanding the state Government Accountability Board abide by federal law and verify the identities of tens of thousands of voters before the election. A judge threw the lawsuit out a little more than a week before the election. 

"I don't believe there's any significant dispute as to the fact that they did not attend significant portions of the conference. But it appeared more a matter of incompetence rather than intentional conduct."
Assistant District Attorney David Feiss, head of the public integrity unit, on the decision that Milwaukee School Board member Charlene Hardin and a high school secretary didn't do anything criminal when they went AWOL instead of attending a school safety conference in Philadelphia earlier this year.

“It’s actually going to shift development likely out of the city of Milwaukee and into the suburbs. That’s having a discriminatory effect because of who’s living in the suburbs that are going to benefit.”
Karyn Rotker, ACLU senior staff attorney, on the ACLU’s lawsuit against the Wisconsin Department of Transportation’s plans to build a Drexel Avenue Interchange. The ACLU contends the project would be a violation of civil rights.

 "Look, somebody has to do it. It's cost-effective because the alternative is to pay a county worker to do the job. With pay and benefits, that comes to $30 an hour. This isn't heart surgery, and it's not like we're asking them to handle nuclear waste. It's janitorial work, and they do have to be trained properly because of AIDS and hepatitis."
Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke on giving inmates one hour off their sentence for every hour they work cleaning up blood, urine, ***, saliva, vomit and other bodily fluids at the House of Correction and the Criminal Justice Facility.

"Sexual pressure, sexual desire, actually I think is short period satisfaction and often, that leads to more complication."
The Dalai Lama in an interview with reporters. He said conjugal life caused "too much ups and downs. He said the "consolation" in celibacy is that although "we miss something, but at the same time, compare whole life, it's better, more independence, more freedom."

"I'm chubby and I'm pregnant and it's awesome. I'm used to living my life in a bikini, and I'm definitely not bikini-ready. I think the chubbiness is all relative, but it's for the very best cause in the whole wide world, is what I keep telling myself. And I'm pretty proud of it."
Two-time Olympic beach volleyball champion Kerri Walsh found something to keep her busy after winning her second successive gold medal: She's pregnant.
Walsh and husband Casey Jennings, a fellow pro beach volleyball player, are expecting a child in the spring.


Dane County mishandles a 9-1-1 call.


Apparently when it comes to Governor Doyle, the Capitol press corps has no fact-check.


CEO's of the Big Three once again go begging Congress for a bailout. I agree with columnist Rich Galen: Get back in your jets and go home.


Wisconsin company sued
over toilet bowl......AHEM......incident.

In rush hour traffic, ticket delivered.

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.

Prostitutes and St. Nicholas

Tonight, the kids hang up stockings before going to bed. That’s the custom on St. Nicholas Day Eve. Good boys and girls will wake up on December 6, the feast of St. Nicholas, to find goodies in their Christmas stockings.

Of all things, prostitution helped to inspire the legend of St. Nicholas. From Christianity Today:

"According to tradition, a poor family in Myra had three daughters who were being courted for marriage but who had no dowries. This doomed the girls to a life of shame and possible prostitution. The good bishop took it upon himself to supply their dowries, anonymously slipping bags of gold into their home—some say into stockings that were hanging up to dry. In securing their dowries—and so their right to marry—he rescued them from an otherwise degrading destiny. When Nicholas's identity as the benefactor came to light, so began the adulation of this gift-bearing saint. As a result, he also became the patron saint of children.”

Read how St. Nicholas is celebrated around the world, including Austria where St. Nicholas doesn’t work alone. He’s aided by a gruesome monster.

Christmas comes this time each year....

Read more

Justice, finally?

How can he find the real killer of his ex-wife, as he promised he would,  if he's going to prison, possibly for the rest of his life?

UPDATE: Simpson sentenced

Friday night on InterCHANGE

Here are the topics the panel discusses on InterCHANGE on Milwaukee Public Television Channel 10 at 6:30, with a repeat Sunday morning at 11:00:


Automakers head back to Washington to beg for even more money than they asked for a few weeks ago.  The threat is that if they don’t get the money, they’ll possibly go bankrupt, and things could get so severe that it could throw the country into a depression.  Are they being a little too dramatic?  Wouldn’t bankruptcy be an option?  Do we lend them all this money and just hope that they come up with a better business model?  Americans won’t stop needing cars, so won’t people just buy an even higher number of Honda and Toyota vehicles, which would allow those companies to grow and employ more people?  Is this the end of the U.A.W. as we know it?  Are we at the point now where the average Joe doesn’t even appreciate (or care?) about the amount of money ($34 Billion) that these car makers are asking for?  Is it pathetic pandering to the media for these executives to show up in Washington in their experimental hybrid vehicles and pledge to work for $1 in salary a year? Should the entire question be put on hold until an Obama administration takes its place?

2 – Mumbai.

Why does the United States have to be concerned with the terrorist attacks on Mumbai, India?  Does it put a strain on our relationship with Pakistan, if that’s where the terrorists were from?  What would Hillary Clinton and an Obama administration do that Bush and Rice are not doing?

3 – Packers.

As the N-F-L season begins to wind down, we’ve had some time to watch how the Brett Favre matter has played out.  Should the Packers have held on to Favre?  Is Favre the main reason that the Jetts are doing well?  Is Rodgers the main reason that the Packers have not done as well?  Is Rodgers doing the job?  Is McCarthy a failure as a coach?

Another oldie, but not a goodie from state Democrats

If the Democrats are the party of change, then I’m Julius Caesar.

Senate Majority Leader Russ Decker and state Representative Cory Mason plan to introduce the oldest, most tired, least creative idea from the Democrats’ playbook: increasing the minimum wage. From Decker and Mason to legislators today, looking for co-sponsors:

We are introducing legislation that would increase the minimum wage from its current level of $6.50 per hour to $7.60 per hour effective on June 1, 2009.  The separate minimum wages for minors, opportunity employees and others would be increased by the same percentage and are specifically enumerated in the bill.  Beginning on June 1, 2010 the minimum wage will be indexed for inflation.  The bill further eliminates the current prohibition against allowing a city, village, town or county from enacting an ordinance establishing a living wage.”

What’s wrong with raising the minimum wage? Let’s count the ways.

1) Supporters claim raising the minimum wage will help the middle class. Liberals obviously don’t know much about the economy if they seriously think raising the minimum wage will help the middle class. How many people that fall under the category of “middle class” that you know are working for the minimum wage?

2) Most economists believe the minimum wage law costs the economy thousands of jobs.

3) Teenagers, workers in training, college students, interns, and part-time workers all have their options and opportunities limited by the minimum wage and might even lose their jobs.

4) Liberals say the minimum wage needs to be increased so the wage can support families. Wrong! A low-paying job remains an entry point for those with few marketable skills. Minimum wage jobs were never intended to be family-supporting positions.

5) When you force American companies to pay a certain wage, you increase the likelihood that those companies will outsource jobs to foreign workers, where labor is much cheaper.

6) Non-profit charitable organizations are hurt by the minimum wage.

7) Increasing the minimum wage can drive some small companies out of business.

8) Raising the minimum wage hurts the poor, the very faction of society Democrats are always crying need more help that only they can provide.

9) It takes away jobs, keeps people on welfare, and encourages high-school students to drop out.

10) Jobs lost will be entry-level jobs, thus, teens living at home with mom and dad will be hurt the most, not parents trying to raise families.

11) Jobs lost mean fewer opportunities of employment for the poor.

12) Raising it keeps welfare mothers on welfare longer. Mothers on welfare in states that raised their minimum wage remained on welfare 44 percent longer than mothers on welfare in states where it was not raised.

13) Raising the minimum wage means fewer jobs are available.

14) With a larger pool of applicants, competition is stiffer. Low-skilled workers have a more difficult time getting those job skills that are crucial to economic well-being.

15) A raise in the minimum wage increases the number of high-school students who drop out.

What’s unfortunate is that the poor fail to understand how Democrats are really hurting them by suggesting the minimum wage be increased. That begs the question once again; just how poor are the poor?

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