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Sunday, February 1, 2015 |  Madison, WI: 25.0° F  Light Snow Fog/Mist
The Paper


Holy redeemer

Much of what the Rev. Jerry Hancock has to say about the criminal justice system sounds reasonable coming from a clergyman who heads a Madison-based prison ministry program. But when you consider that he's spent more than 30 years as a lawyer in this system, many of them as a prosecutor, his perspective is positively stunning. >More


At Madison's Metro High, a school in the Dane County Jail, teaching is only part of the job

Metro High is a little-known school run out of the Dane County jail. Students, some as young as 14, are serving time for crimes including car theft, driving without a license, shoplifting, robbery, gang activity, sexual assault and even murder. >More
 Advice for Madison city officials in 2009: Keep it simple

The dismal economy may mean the city of Madison will face a quiet year in 2009. "It will have to be a year of basics," says Mayor Dave Cieslewicz. The city will seek to maintain current services and identify further efficiencies. "People need to know city government will operate as efficiently as possible." >More
 Kathleen Falk's goal: Git 'er done!

Dane County also doesn't have any grand plans for the new year. County Executive Kathleen Falk says she has a lot of unfinished work to do, which is why she's running for re-election this spring. >More
 Family Care delay?

The state of Wisconsin is facing a projected $5.4 billion budget deficit. So plans to expand Family Care, the state's new long-term care program for the elderly and disabled, may be put on hold. >More


Brittany Zimmermann 911 call: I don't want to hear it

While sitting in his Dane County courtroom last week, I didn't hear Judge Richard Niess give a single good reason in support of his decision to let local authorities continue to withhold the recording of murder victim Brittany Zimmermann's mishandled 911 call. >More

I was over at some friends' house for dinner the other night. They have two kids, ages 6 and 4, and I've always tried to watch what I say around them. But this time I apparently blew it, because after I got back home, I got a call from their mother. She was apologetic (and knows I'm writing you), but she said she had to ask me to please refrain from using swear words around the kids. "What did I say?" I asked, because I didn't remember slipping up. "You said 'hell' once and 'damn' twice," she said, "but who's counting?" >More


Organ, harp and piano players are the orchestra's loners

A symphony orchestra is like a nesting doll. Under the orchestral umbrella are smaller sections -- strings, woodwind, brass and percussion -- and further divisions within those get smaller and smaller. Then come the loners, which have no like creatures around them: harp, piano and organ. Far from being antisocial, though, these instruments help their neighbors by adding depth and texture. Their pitch range is uniquely wide, so much so that they can support any instrument in the orchestra. >More
 Zebras: Animal instincts

Local prog-punk trio Zebras is only a year old, but it's managed to play some of the most rocking local shows of 2008 and assemble a fan base that stretches from Madison to Milwaukee. >More
 Buffalo Killers: Peace, brother

Buffalo Killers' songs reference bands like Lynyrd Skynyrd, the Allman Brothers and Grand Funk Railroad. But those references are ultimately imperfect because the Buffalo Killers' sound is all their own. >More



All-singing, all-profaning: Bartell's companies join in Blasphemy

If you're sick of seasonal sugarplums, a little blasphemy might be in order. Blasphemy: The Unholy Trinity of Musicals opens as a fundraiser for the Bartell Community Theatre on Friday, Jan. 9. The production was written by Catherine Capellaro and Andrew Rohn, whose Walmartopia ran off-Broadway for four months in 2007 after being launched at the Bartell. >More
 Damage control

Frontline's "The Old Man and the Storm" (Tuesday, 9 p.m., PBS) is about Hurricane Katrina's devastation of New Orleans and the government's bungling in the reconstruction. It focuses on one man, Herbert Gettridge, who was determined to rebuild his house in the lower Ninth Ward no matter what. Gettridge is a testament to the indomitable human spirit in the face of impossible odds - and by "impossible odds," of course, I refer to the Bush administration. >More
 I love you, PlayStation Portable

When you play cinematic games like Manhunt 2 or Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories on the PlayStation Portable 3000, released in October, you see the blood. The PSP displays movies vibrantly, allows web surfing using its internal Wi-Fi, plays music and comes with a built-in microphone so you can make Skype phone calls. Games on it are impressive. >More


Valkyrie: Failed plot

We all know how it ends, and that foreknowledge dooms Brian Singer's hotly anticipated and much troubled account of the attempt on Adolf Hitler's life by his own officers in July 1944. >More
 Doubt: Power struggle

Playwright John Patrick Shanley adapted his Pulitzer- and Tony Award-winning play Doubt for the movies and also decided to direct the film -- an activity he hasn't pursued since his one other directorial effort in 1990, the ill-received Joe Versus the Volcano. The cast he gathered for Doubt is peerless, and, if nothing else, this assemblage is always a pleasure to watch. >More
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Dobra brings a leisurely approach to beautiful tea

Kakuzo Okakura, author of The Book of Tea, writes that "The cult of tea is founded on the adoration of beautiful things among the sordid facts of everyday existence." That's a guiding philosophy for State Street's Dobra Tea, which opened in September, transforming the former Real Chili into a passable slice of what used to be called "The Orient" (i.e., "everything that is not the West"). Plush rugs and rattan chairs evoke India or the Middle East; couches and a few raised seating areas where footwear is left behind prompt visitors to settle in to a celebration of tea. Don't expect to run in for a quick cup to go. >More


Bo Ryan's Badgers seek signature win

Over Wisconsin men's basketball coach Bo Ryan's seven seasons in Madison, the Badgers have never missed the NCAA tournament, the benchmark for quality in college hoops. Badger fans have come to expect their team to be alive in March, and with a 9-3 nonconference record going into Wednesday afternoon's Big Ten kickoff game at Michigan, they have reason to be confident again this year. >More
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