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Wednesday, August 20, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 63.0° F  A Few Clouds
The Daily

OPINION

A tipping point for Madison schools

It's make-or-break time for Wisconsin's public schools. You would never know it from the Americans for Prosperity school-choice bus tour, but here in Wisconsin we actually have one of the best public school systems in the nation. Why, then, is my old Fox News colleague Juan Williams paying repeated visits, sponsored by AFP, to tell Wisconsinites we ought to imitate the school systems in Florida and Louisiana? >More
 The high cost of water

Years ago George Carlin did a comedy bit called "Water Sez," which included the lines "water says, who cares. Drink me, I don't give a *#$%!" Many water users feel the same way and only think about their water when it's time to pay the semiannual bill. That may be about to change, though, and not just because the Madison Water Utility will soon be invoicing you monthly. Water is taking a bigger bite out of household budgets at the same time that Wisconsin's water utilities are apparently shirking their responsibilities in order to become cash cows for fiscally strapped municipalities. >More
 Paul Ryan, the wonk who wasn't

In the fall of 2010 the Federal Reserve was looking for a way to boost the economy out of the Great Recession. By then interest rates were as low as they could go, so the Fed tried another tack: "quantitative easing," injecting $600 billion of new money into the economy by buying up long-term debt. >More
 Welcome to Wisconsin, Rebecca Blank: Advice for the new UW chancellor

The search committee has recommended Rebecca Blank to be the new UW-Madison chancellor. Assuming the Board of Regents accepts her, I have some unsolicited advice for Dr. Blank. >More
 Federal budget cuts have dire consequences in Wisconsin

While Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Janesville) was enjoying his red carpet moment with his tea party fans at the opening of "The Ax: The Paul Ryan Budget Part III in 3-D," back home in Wisconsin reality was setting in. Among the casualties of the cuts Congress imposed on us by failing to avoid sequestration by March 1: >More
 Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council 2013 Opee Awards highlight highs and lows in open government

March 10-16 is national Sunshine Week, meant to call attention to the cause of open government. For the seventh year in a row, the Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council is taking this opportunity to bestow its annual Openness Awards, or Opees. >More
 Community members are at each other's throats after the Madison school board catastrophe

Sarah Manski did a lot of damage to Madison on her way out of town. When she won the school board primary, sucking up endorsements from prominent local officials -- apparently knowing all the while that she might not be hanging around to sit on the board -- she did a major disservice to our community. As Madison Times editor A. David Dahmer observed, her highhanded use of the school board seat as a "backup plan" smacks of contempt for the people who care deeply about what is happening in our schools. >More
 Super Scott Walker: Democrats continue to underestimate the governor, even as he radically transforms Wisconsin

I still encounter Democrats who take it as an article of faith that Scott Walker is not that bright. Perhaps they think this because he didn't finish college, or because, after all, he's not a liberal. But Walker has always been on top of the issues when I've interviewed him, and look at how effective he was in the debates against Republican Mark Neumann or Democrat Tom Barrett. Walker is smart, far more articulate than Tommy Thompson was, and has a steely stay-on-message discipline that makes him all the more formidable. >More
 Madison school district in disarray

What's the worst of it? How about the flawed school superintendent search that yielded only one viable candidate? Or Gov. Scott Walker's sneak attack to push school vouchers and privatized schools in Madison? Both worthy contenders, but for me, the capper was the shenanigans surrounding the Madison school board primary. Has Madison politics ever seen such high-handed, self-absorbed behavior as that of leading vote-getter Sarah Manski? >More
 Is Madison still special?

Late one night in November, trying to turn back some spending by the Madison city council, Mayor Paul Soglin blurted out, "We're not special anymore!" Under the circumstances it didn't appear to be a strategic or long-considered remark carefully uttered at just the right time, but a spontaneous expression of frustration over a legislative body that wanted to spend more than he did. >More
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