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.
If you watch The Weather Channel as I do, you've seen him.
The network always seems to send poor meteorologist Mike Seidel out to do live reporting from the nastiest weather locations. Today is no exception as Seidel is in Clute, Texas.
Not an easy job.
I have said many times that I would gladly take an exact duplicate of my Basenji-mix Sugar. She was such an outstanding dog that if I could wave a magic wand and have her from puppy to old age all over again, I would do it in a heartbeat.
I truly hope that someday I will have a dog that has the same wonderful qualities as Sugar did. I want a dog that is gentle, loving, and fun to be around. I want a dog whose behavioral qualities include not jumping, minimal barking and who wouldn’t harm the fleas on its back.
I loved Sugar with all my heart. But I would not consider CLONING her to have her in my life again. Oh, I could give all sorts of bioethical arguments, religious arguments and coin the much-overused phrase, “it’s a slippery slope.” I was a Philosophy minor, I know all about the slippery slope rebuttal. The most succinct way to express my feelings about this is, “It creeps me out.”
Wave a magic wand? Yes. Sell my home to have it happen? Um, no.
This is not to say that I don’t understand, to some extent, why Bernann McKinney sold her home for money to have her beloved Pit Bull Booger cloned into five puppies.
Pet owners throughout history have gone to financial extremes to help their four-legged friends. Last week I blogged about Ted Schneck, founder of The Dog Cancer Ride. This is just one example of pet owners making sacrifices for their pet’s health.
We’re not talking about cloning for medical research and I’m not even going to get in to that arena. We are talking about “everyday” people paying money to a private firm to clone their pets. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals takes this position on cloning pets. The San Francisco SPCA furthers this opinion with their statement.
Cloning your pet comes with a steep price tag. It also carries several other consequences… not the least of which is (almost certain) compromised health for the clones. I’m sorry, but I feel there are many other opportunities to bring new joy into your life after the loss of a pet. If you had a fondness for that particular breed you could adopt from a breed rescue. If you are not able to adopt another pet right away, you could donate money to your local shelter in memory of your pet. If you can not offer financial support to a shelter, consider volunteering. You would be helping the organization and you would have the benefit of animal interaction to help ease your pain.
Perhaps someday cloning pets will be as common as dog parks. But I certainly hope not.
Thank you once again, Jennifer.
When Jennifer's done, it's time for DOGS IN THE NEWS, canines that made headlines the past week.
We have some dog heroes this week. There's Sadie......
And Lexi .....
I hope UWM students weren't involved in this one. Some rather large bulldogs are missing.
This too shall pass....but not easily.
Save a Dog, Win a Hog!
That's it, fido fans. We close with this week's announcement of the winner of the CBS series, "The Great American Dog."
A look back at the people and events that made news the past week.
Week-ends is a regular weekly feature of This Just In...
HEROES OF THE WEEK
9/11 survivors: Maimed, trying to be whole again
JB Van Hollen
Wal-Mart (CAUTION to touchy, ultra-sensitive liberals: opening this link could cause you to implode)
VILLAINS OF THE WEEK
Summer Lee Many White Horses
Rev. Christopher Layden
Wisconsin Congressman David Obey
QUOTES OF THE WEEK
"You can put lipstick on a pig. It's still a pig."
Barack Obama, in a reference to Sarah Palin.
Former Rhode Island Senator Lincoln Chafee -- a charter member of "Republicans for Obama" -- describing Sarah Palin.
"She is the only one of the four candidates for president, or the only vice presidential candidate who wears lipstick. I mean, it seemed to me a very gendered comment."
Former Massachusetts Governor Jane Swift, a member of the Palin Truth Squad.
“Governor, let me start by asking you a question that I asked John McCain about you, and it is really the central question. Can you look the country in the eye and say ‘I have the experience and I have the ability to be not just vice president, but perhaps president of the United States of America?’”
ABC’S Charlie Gibson questioning Sarah Palin in her first interview.
“I do, Charlie, and on January 20, when John McCain and I are sworn in, if we are so privileged to be elected to serve this country, will be ready. I'm ready. I answered him (John McCain) yes because I have the confidence in that readiness and knowing that you can't blink, you have to be wired in a way of being so committed to the mission, the mission that we're on, reform of this country and victory in the war, you can't blink. So I didn't blink then even when asked to run as his running mate.”
Sarah Palin’s response.
“The reference there is a repeat of Abraham Lincoln's words when he said -- first, he suggested never presume to know what God's will is, and I would never presume to know God's will or to speak God's words. But what Abraham Lincoln had said, and that's a repeat in my comments, was let us not pray that God is on our side in a war or any other time, but let us pray that we are on God's side. That's what that comment was all about, Charlie. And I do believe, though, that this war against extreme Islamic terrorists is the right thing. It's an unfortunate thing, because war is hell and I hate war, and, Charlie, today is the day that I send my first born, my son, my teenage son overseas with his Stryker brigade, 4,000 other wonderful American men and women, to fight for our country, for democracy, for our freedoms. Charlie, those are freedoms that too many of us just take for granted. I hate war and I want to see war ended. We end war when we see victory, and we do see victory in sight in Iraq.”
Sarah Palin, responding to Charlie Gibson’s question about Palin’s alleged comment that the Iraq War is a task from God.
"He was the world's biggest celebrity, but his star's fading. So they lashed out at Sarah Palin. Dismissed her as 'good looking.' That backfired, so they said she was doing, 'what she was told.' Then desperately called Sarah Palin a liar. How disrespectful. And how Governor Sarah Palin proves them wrong, every day."
The text from a new McCain ad.
"You didn't have any government experience when you became lieutenant governor. You learned on the job. ... Her problem is she's not liberal enough for the major voting bloc of women who probably were supporting Hillary Clinton."
Former GOP Lt. Governor Margaret Farrow defending new Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin in a debate with current Lt. Governor Barbara Lawton. Farrow has been named to the "Palin Truth Squad," set up by the McCain campaign to respond to attacks on the Alaska governor.
"This isn't a liberal or conservative question. This is about the economy and jobs."
Lawton in reply.
"We're not overstepping our bounds at all in trying to tell the Government Accountability Board (GAB) how to do their job. We're just making sure that the first step in the process, which is legally required and clearly set out in the law, be followed and that they not replace the law with their judgment."
Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen on a lawsuit filed against the GAB seeking to force the agency to double-check new registrations going back to Jan. 1, 2006, and remove anyone from the rolls whose information doesn't match up with other state databases.
"The board is committed to properly protecting the electoral process from potential fraud. At the same time, the board is equally committed to protecting the right of every eligible person to vote in Wisconsin, and that every valid vote must be counted."
GAB director Kevin Kennedy in a statement on the lawsuit.
"Do we want to be compared with Seattle, with Denver, with Chicago, or do we want to be compared with Fargo and Dubuque?"
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett advocating a streetcar loop for the city during a debate with County Executive Scott Walker over how to spend $91.5 million in federal funds reserved for public transportation in Milwaukee.
"Think rail, and use buses."
Walker on his transportation strategy for the county.
OUTRAGE OF THE WEEK
And we should keep spending more and more money on them....why?
MOST UNDER-REPORTED STORY OF THE WEEK
The Democrats are nervous, ladies and gentlemen, very nervous.
One of the reasons they've got the jitters: their guy has lost control of the campaign. (And this admission from a liberal columnist. Of course, you have to get through the obligatory trashing of Republicans).
MOST OVER-HYPED STORY OF THE WEEK
Boy, that Aaron Rodgers was really great in his very first start for the Green Bay Packers, wasn't he? Makes you just want to forget #4, right?
Well, no and no.
Rodgers was ok in the victory against Minnesota, but certainly wasn't spellbinding.
STRANGEST, MOST UNUSUAL STORY OF THE WEEK
Would you turn down 3 million bucks?
If you know where our missing time capsule is.....
Saugatuck, you owe me!
The pride of Fond du Lac....Don Gorske
REMEMBER: Your suggestions/nominations for any of these categories every week are welcome, especially for HEROES OF THE WEEK. If you know of anyone in the community deserving of recognition, please e-mail me.
The Greenfield Common Council’s Legislative Committee may not have enough votes to send a proposed ordinance restricting where released sex offenders can live on to the full Common Council. The measure would then be killed, even though neighboring Greendale recently approved a similar ordinance modeled after Franklin’s groundbreaking laws that have been ruled constitutional.
The Legislative Committee meets this Monday, September 15 at 6:30 at Greenfield City Hall to consider the proposed ordinance that is in serious trouble of going down to defeat. The only sure vote is from the Greenfield alderman who’s introduced the ordinance, Linda Lubotsky.
I attended the August 18th meeting of the committee and watched as Franklin Alderman Steve Olson testified and fielded questions, many from Greenfield Alderman Tom Pietrowski. Pietrowski clearly has issues with the idea and from his statements appears more concerned about the sex offenders than their potential victims. Greenfield Alderman Shirley Saryan doesn’t sound too promising when she admits she’s confused by Franklin’s ordinances.
Here is the portion of the minutes from the August 18th committee meeting about the proposed ordinance that have been posted on the City of Greenfield website:
Discussion was held regarding the restrictiveness of such an ordinance.
Ald. Pietrowski voiced his concerns regarding the people who have served their time in prison and have paid their due. He is concerned about excluding people from the community and not dealing with the real issue of rehabilitation and counseling.
Matt Rajala, 4611 South 46th Street, addressed the committee stating that we’re dealing with sex offenders who prey on children and they need to be monitored.
(Franklin) Ald. Steve Olson addressed the committee citing examples of sexual assault victims. He said “our part is to manage the safety of the community and we as aldermen do not provide treatment to offenders, that’s not our responsibility”.
Ald Lubotsky referenced a list of municipalities who have adopted and failed to pass sex offender ordinances.
Scott Jaquish, Director of Parks and Recreation, addressed his concerns and asked about the child who’s parent is a sex offender, and can they not go to the child’s summer activity at the park?
A lengthy discussion continued and this item will be placed on the next agenda.
The Greenfield Common Council has on file a letter written by state Senator Mary Lazich in support of the proposed ordinance:
Alderperson Linda Lubotsky
City of Greenfield
7325 West Forest Home Ave
Greenfield, WI 53220
Dear Alderperson Lubotsky,
I write in support of efforts by the City of Greenfield to enact an ordinance placing restrictions on sex offenders. Sex offender restriction ordinances provide protection for families and children.
During previous sessions of the Wisconsin Legislature, I pursued sex predator legislation and worked with the group Citizens for a Safe Wisconsin based in Franklin. Through our efforts, a bill I authored was approved and signed into law that eliminated funding for a proposed Milwaukee County facility for sexually violent persons and also disbanded the special committee assigned to find a location for the facility. Another bill I authored that was signed into law makes first degree sexual assault of a child punishable by life in prison. A bill I co-sponsored was signed into law requiring that the worst sex offenders in the state be monitored by Global Positioning System or GPS.
These bills served as the catalyst for Citizens for a Safe Wisconsin to help City of Franklin officials draft a milestone ordinance approved late in 2006 and amended in early 2007 that restricts sex offenders’ living locations. Franklin’s ordinance has served as the model for 35 other Wisconsin municipalities that have either adopted or considered similar ordinances. Franklin’s ordinance provides that sexually violent persons on supervised release may not live within two thousand feet of various places children congregate. The Franklin Police Department has used the city ordinance force offenders out of areas they are not welcome.
Restrictive sex offender ordinances have held up to court challenges. Jim McCarthy, a member of the City Council in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania wrote the following in a letter to the editor in the American City and County Magazine during the summer of 2007. McCarthy was responding to an article that predator protection laws around the country are coming under fire. McCarthy writes:
“My research shows the majority of such laws have already passed court muster. Currently, 30 plus states, and hundreds of local communities, have passed such laws. The courts have ruled that these laws do not infringe upon a person's rights in that they are a form of civil regulation and not a form of punishment, they are intended to protect children and are rationally related to that end, and they represent a rational argument that prohibiting sex offenders from places children congregate will advance a community's interest in protecting children.
There have been some isolated cases where a poorly written law was struck down by courts, but that was because the authors failed to do the research required to make their law iron-clad. It is up to us, the legislators, to make sure “they” do not have access to our little children, whose rights far outweigh the rights of someone who preys on the weakest of our society.”
I applaud the City of Greenfield for initiating action to protect children and all citizens, and wish you and your colleagues success in this effort.
I hope this information is helpful. If you have any questions, comments, concerns, or advice for me, please contact me.
Senate District 28
The Franklin-based group, “Citizens for a Safe Wisconsin” has written an open letter to Greenfield residents posted on GreenfieldNOW that says, in part, “local municipalities are acting in their own defense to enact residency restrictions to protect themselves from t he bulk placement of sex predators. We believe local communities are best suited to assess their own areas that are most appropriate for sex predator residences in terms of population density, physical terrain, etc... “
What can Greenfield residents do? Plenty. But there isn’t much time.
1) Attend the Greenfield Legislative Committee meeting Monday at 6:30 at Greenfield City Hall.
2) Attend the Greenfield Legislative Committee meeting Monday at 6:30 at Greenfield City Hall and testify in support of the proposed ordinance.
3) Contact the aldermen on the Legislative Committee, especially Pietrowski and Saryan and politely, respectfully voice your support for the proposed ordinance.
4) Tell as many other Greenfield friends and neighbors about this issue. Forward them this blog.
5) All of the above.
What’s it going to be, Greenfield?
Do you really want this ordinance to be shot down, leaving your city without sex offender restrictions while Greendale and Franklin have tough restrictions in place?
Do you want Greenfield to be an island?
Or will you take a stand for your children, your families, your neighbors, your community?
How important is the safety of your children and neighborhoods?
It’s your call, Greenfield.