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This Just In ...

Kevin Fischer is a veteran broadcaster, the recipient of over 150 major journalism awards from the Milwaukee Press Club, the Wisconsin Associated Press, the Northwest Broadcast News Association, the Wisconsin Bar Association, and others. He has been seen and heard on Milwaukee TV and radio stations for over three decades. A longtime aide to state Senate Republicans in the Wisconsin Legislature, Kevin can be seen offering his views on the news on the public affairs program, "InterCHANGE," on Milwaukee Public Television Channel 10, and heard filling in on Newstalk 1130 WISN. He lives with his wife, Jennifer, and their lovely young daughter, Kyla Audrey, in Franklin.

The Christmas edition of Week-ends

Week-ends


A look back at the people and events that made news the past week. Week-ends is a regular weekly feature of This Just In...

The following is a special Christmas Day edition of Week-ends.


HEROES OF THE WEEK


The blessed baby Jesus


Mary and Joseph


Gaspar, Balthasar, and Melchior


Our military


"They walk among us".........MORE.


Carlos Betancourt


America's top 1 percent


Diane Vice


Brett Favre


Michelle Obama


Dog in Troy, NY



VILLAINS OF THE WEEK

The infamous and anonymous innkeeper. From sermons. org:

“It is a scene that is unmistakable. This scene is so identified with the birth of our Lord, that is has been banned from display in public places because it might offend those who do not believe it ever happened.

The scene is in a stable. Mary and Joseph and a wooden manger before them in which the baby Jesus is lying. Around them are shepherds with their canes and with some sheep beside them.

This scene touches our hearts, but what our sanitized scene does not present is the fact that the stable would have been dirty and the smells not too appealing. Jesus was actually laid in a feeding trough for animals. The night air must have been cold. Not the kind of place any of us would have liked to have been born in let alone to give birth in. Any hospital inspector would have condemned the room and closed it.”


King Herod


Battlefield High School


We couldn't possibly leave out the folks at the ACLU.



QUOTES OF THE WEEK


Do not be afraid.
I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.
Today in the town of David a Deliverer has been born to you.
He is the Lord's Messiah.
This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.
An angel speaking to shepherds in Bethlehem reclining on a hillside with their flock.


Glory to God in highest.
The shepherds' response to the message from the angel.


For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counseller, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
The King James Bible


Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful.
Norman Vincent Peale


I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round, as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys. 
Charles Dickens


The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree:  the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other. 
Burton Hillis


One of the most glorious messes in the world is the mess created in the living room on Christmas day.  Don't clean it up too quickly. 
Andy Rooney


There has been only one Christmas - the rest are anniversaries.
W.J. Cameron


Christmas is a necessity.  There has to be at least one day of the year to remind us that we're here for something else besides ourselves. 
Eric Sevareid


Our hearts grow tender with childhood memories and love of kindred, and we are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmas-time. 
Laura Ingalls Wilder


Never worry about the size of your Christmas tree.  In the eyes of children, they are all 30 feet tall. 
Larry Wilde, The Merry Book of Christmas


Instead of being a time of unusual behavior, Christmas is perhaps the only time in the year when people can obey their natural impulses and express their true sentiments without feeling self-conscious and, perhaps, foolish.  Christmas, in short, is about the only chance a man has to be himself. 
Francis C. Farley


Even as an adult I find it difficult to sleep on Christmas Eve.  Yuletide excitement is a potent caffeine, no matter your age. 
Carrie Latet


Christmas is a time when kids tell Santa what they want and adults pay for it.  Deficits are when adults tell the government what they want and their kids pay for it. 
Richard Lamm


Love is what's in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen
Author unknown, attributed to a 7-year-old named Bobby


I wish we could put up some of the Christmas spirit in jars and open a jar of it every month. 
Harlan Miller


In the old days, it was not called the Holiday Season; the Christians called it 'Christmas' and went to church; the Jews called it 'Hanukkah' and went to synagogue; the atheists went to parties and drank.  People passing each other on the street would say 'Merry Christmas!' or 'Happy Hanukkah!'  or (to the atheists) 'Look out for the wall!' 
Dave Barry, "Christmas Shopping:  A Survivor's Guide"


Remember
This December,
That love weighs more than gold!

Josephine Dodge Daskam Bacon


Oh, for the good old days when people would stop Christmas shopping when they ran out of money.
Author Unknown


Christmas is the season when you buy this year's gifts with next year's money. 
Author Unknown


There is a remarkable breakdown of taste and intelligence at Christmastime.  Mature, responsible grown men wear neckties made of holly leaves and drink alcoholic beverages with raw egg yolks and cottage cheese in them. 
P.J. O'Rourke


No matter how carefully you stored the lights last year, they will be snarled again this Christmas. 
Robert Kirby


There's nothing sadder in this world than to awake Christmas morning and not be a child. 
Erma Bombeck, I Lost Everything in the Post-Natal Depression


The one thing women don't want to find in their stockings on Christmas morning is their husband. 
Joan Rivers


The Supreme Court has ruled that they cannot have a nativity scene in Washington, D.C.  This wasn't for any religious reasons.  They couldn't find three wise men and a virgin. 
Jay Leno


Nothing's as mean as giving a little child something useful for Christmas. 
Kin Hubbard


The worst gift is a fruitcake.  There is only one fruitcake in the entire world, and people keep sending it to each other. 
Johnny Carson


It is good to be children sometimes, and never better than at Christmas when its mighty Founder was a child Himself. 
Charles Dickens


Three phrases that sum up Christmas are:  Peace on Earth, Goodwill to Men, and Batteries not Included. 
Author Unknown


I once bought my kids a set of batteries for Christmas with a note on it saying, toys not included.
Bernard Manning


Christmas begins about the first of December with an office party and ends when you finally realize what you spent, around April fifteenth of the next year. 
P.J. O'Rourke, Modern Manners


Once again we find ourselves enmeshed in the Holiday Season, that very special time of year when we join with our loved ones in sharing centuries-old traditions such as trying to find a parking space at the mall.  We traditionally do this in my family by driving around the parking lot until we see a shopper emerge from the mall, then we follow her, in very much the same spirit as the Three Wise Men, who 2,000 years ago followed a star, week after week, until it led them to a parking space. 
Dave Barry


I'm dreaming of a white Christmas,
Just like the ones I used to know,
Where the tree tops glisten
And children listen
To hear sleigh bells in the snow...

Irving Berlin


And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so?  It came without ribbons.  It came without tags.  It came without packages, boxes or bags.  And he puzzled and puzzled 'till his puzzler was sore.  Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before.  What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store.  What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more. 
Dr Seuss


Santa is very jolly because he knows where all the bad girls live. 
Dennis Miller


'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, - not even a mouse:
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there....

Clement Clarke Moore


Christmas gift suggestions:  To your enemy, forgiveness.  To an opponent, tolerance.  To a friend, your heart.  To a customer, service.  To all, charity.  To every child, a good example.  To yourself, respect. 
Oren Arnold


Syracuse University professor Arthur Brooks' study of charitable giving in America found that conservatives give 30 percent more to charity than liberals do, despite the fact that liberals have higher incomes than conservatives.

In his book "Who Really Cares?" Brooks compared the charitable donations of religious conservatives, secular liberals, secular conservatives and "religious" liberals.

His surprising conclusion was ... Al Franken gave the most of all!

Ha ha! Just kidding. Religious conservatives, the largest group at about 20 percent of the population, gave the most to charity -- $2,367 per year, compared with $1,347 for the country at large.

Ann Coulter


I hear the bells
Saying Christmas is near
They ring out to tell the world
That this is the season of cheer

I hear a choir
Singing sweetly somewhere
And a glow fills my heart
I'm at peace with the world
As the sound of their singing fills the air

Oh why can't every day be like Christmas
Why can't that feeling go on endlessly
For if everyday could be just like Christmas
What a wonderful world this would be

Elvis Presley


DEAR EDITOR: I am 8 years old.
Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus.Papa says, 'If you see it in THE SUN it's so.' Please tell me the truth; is there a Santa Claus?

VIRGINIA O'HANLON
115 WEST NINETY-FIFTH STREET


VIRGINIA, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except [what] they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men's or children's, are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no VIRGINIAS. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if they did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that's no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.

You may tear apart the baby's rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, VIRGINIA, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.

No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.

Francis Pharcellus Church


He was born in an obscure village, the Child of a peasant teen who knew not man. He grew up in another obscure village, where He worked in a carpenter shop until He was thirty. Then for three years He was an itinerant preacher. He never married or owned a home. He never held a job, yet paid taxes. He never set foot inside a metropolis. He never traveled two hundred miles from the place He was born. He never wrote a book, or held an office. He did none of the things that usually accompany greatness. He received no awards, no medals, no prizes from His peers. While He was still a young man, the tide of popular opinion turned against Him. His friends deserted Him. He was turned over to His enemies, and went through the mockery of a trial. He had no lawyers, no friendly juries, no fair hearing. He was nailed to a cross between two thieves. While He was dying, His executioners gambled for the only piece of property He had - His cloak. After He died, He was taken down and laid in a borrowed grave. Those who stood watch could not explain His disappearance. And yet two thousand years have come and gone, and today He is still the central figure for much of the human race. All the armies that ever marched and al the navies that ever sailed and all the parliaments that ever sat and all the kings that ever reigned, put together, have not affected the life of man upon this earth as powerfully as this "One Solitary Life."
Jim Bishop  



OUTRAGE OF THE WEEK


Christmas vandals



MOST OVER-HYPED STORY OF THE WEEK


The commercialization of Christmas



MOST UNDER-REPORTED STORY OF THE WEEK


An amazing story, one that should be told more often. From Ace Collins’ book, “Stories Behind the Best-Loved Songs of Christmas" about the great hymn, O Holy Night:


Legend has it that on Christmas Eve 1871, in the midst of fierce fighting between the armies of Germany and France, during the Franco-Prussian War, a French soldier suddenly jumped out of his muddy trench. Both sides stared at the seemingly crazed man. Boldly standing with no weapon in his hand or at his side, he lifted his eyes to the heavens and sang, "Minuit, Chretiens, c'est l'heure solennelle ou L'Homme Dieu descendit jusqu'a nous," the beginning of "Cantique de Noel."

After completing all three verses, a German infantryman climbed out his hiding place and answered with, "Vom Himmel noch, da komm' ich her. Ich bring' euch gute neue Mar, Der guten Mar bring' ich so viel, Davon ich sing'n und sagen will," the beginning of Martin Luther's robust "From Heaven Above to Earth I Come."

The story goes that the fighting stopped for the next twenty-four hours while the men on both sides observed a temporary peace in honor of Christmas day. Perhaps this story had a part in the French church once again embracing "Cantique de Noel" in holiday services.



STRANGEST, MOST UNUSUAL STORY OF THE WEEK


Christmas traditions from around the world.

For example, Poland:

Animals are said to talk in a human voice and people have the power to tell the future. In eastern Poland it is still believed that girls who grind poppy seed on Christmas Eve can hope for a quick marriage. After dinner, they leave the house, and the direction of the first dog bark points to where their future husband will come from. Another fortune-telling trick is eavesdropping on the neighbors. If in a casual conversation, the girl hears the word "Go" it means she will get married in the coming year. A loud "Sit" announces long-lasting maidenhood.

When going to Christmas Eve midnight mass, girls would blindfold each other and touch fence pickets. A straight and smooth picket would portend a resourceful husband, while a crooked and rough one was an indication of a clumsy and awkward spouse. If a maiden wanted to learn about her future fiance's profession, she would go to a river, dip her hand in the water and pull out the first thing she touched. Wood meant a carpenter, iron-a blacksmith, leather-a shoemaker, etc. Before going to bed, she'd wash her face with water without drying it. She would hang the towel on the footboard of her bed. The boy who passed her the towel in her dream was to become her husband.

Until recently, harvest fortune-telling was very popular in the countryside. After supper, the host would go out to the garden, carrying dried fruit. He would throw it on the trees, shouting "Apples, pears, plums, cherries, and all the leaves in the neighbor's yard." He would take a handful of straw and twist it into a rope. Grabbing an ax with other hand, he would approach a tree and threaten it by saying, "I'll cut you down!" His wife would cry, "Don't cut it, it will bear fruit!" Then she would tie the straw rope around the tree. This bizarre little pantomime apparently brought a good harvest.

And others…

And more…


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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