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Monday, December 22, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 34.0° F  Overcast
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Putting the fun in functional

Hold on, folks, it's going to be spring in just a few moments, I know it will. We've been getting the first tastes this week, with abundant sunshine and mild breezes. And although the calendar says that the much-anticipated season doesn't officially begin until March 20, it has already taken root in my heart.

We all could use a little spring in our hearts, rather than the chilly gloom we've been enduring - and I'm not talking about the weather this time. We've been putting up with a lot of dissension and contention on the political/governmental front, a seeming unwillingness to engage in the kind of cooperation that is required to bring relief not just to the economy, but also to the functioning of society itself. As one observer put it in the national press, he prefers dysfunction to the present chaos, because that at least has the word "function" in it, a seemingly lost concept these days.

We have a story this week on one group that is trying to wring some progress from the process. Wisconsin Way is a coalition of lobbying groups that, though often at odds on the issues, join in their concern that partisan wrangling not derail the need to attend to the real problems state government is facing now and in the foreseeable future. Later this month, the group will be releasing its report on the way forward. It remains to be seen if anyone will pay attention to it.

Meanwhile, back on campus, DIY technology and, of course, the ever-influential web are enabling a booming music scene. Performance is blossoming with a vigor that hasn't been seen in the State Street environs since the '80s. Live music at the Pub? Times have changed, and that's for the better. Read all about it in Rich Albertoni's survey of campus tune makers, "Class Act."

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