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Friday, August 29, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 84.0° F  Mostly Cloudy
The Paper


Hail to outgoing Madison Fire Chief Debra Amesqua

Five years into Debra Amesqua's tenure as Madison fire chief, Joe Conway, president of the local firefighters' union, publicly called for former Mayor Sue Bauman to seek her resignation "to prevent further damage to the department." His statement in May 2001 was part of the steady stream of scathing criticism that started as soon as Amesqua's selection was announced. >More


Take back the vote

Some 200 volunteers from Madison and across the state helped conduct citizen exit polls in the recall elections Tuesday that sought to unseat six Republican senators, according to Adam Porton, an organizer with Wisconsin Wave. The grassroots group, a project of the Madison-based Liberty Tree Foundation, helped recruit volunteers for the task along with the Election Defense Alliance. This was the first time that citizen exit polling was used in a major election in Wisconsin. >More
 Homeless lose downtown Madison haunts

Michael, a homeless man, has a simple plan for how to cope this winter: "I'm going to leave it to Him. God will take care of me." But he'll also have to get by with a little help from outdoor heating vents. Two places the homeless rely on to keep warm every winter during the day -- the Madison Central Library and the Capitol cafeteria -- will be closed. >More
 Proposals for East Washington development still on wish list

Earlier this summer, Madison officials sifted through six development proposals for the old Don Miller car dealership site on East Washington, land the city bought last year. A committee is recommending two of them, and a third is still under discussion. That doesn't mean, however, that the other three proposals are necessarily dead. >More


Divided we continue

"The people have spoken." That's what both sides are saying about the recall elections. Democrats and Republicans will both claim vindication, with Dems pointing to the unprecedented nature of flipping two state Senate seats in one year and Republicans pointing to their retention of the chamber as evidence that the people of the state are on their side. >More
 Tell All: How much should we control our sexual thoughts?

The great debate about lust continues, inspired by U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner's sexting misadventures. To recap: I noted that Weiner "technically didn't break a biblical law" because he had no physical, adulterous contact with his objects of flirtation. >More


For Aaron Williams, a life on stage seems too good to be true

On Aug. 13, Madison blues band Aaron Williams & the Hoodoo will celebrate the release of their new album, 10:49, at the Harmony Bar. For Williams, it's a place that feels like home. "The Harmony really caters to Americana, roots, blues music," he says. "You can go there any weekend and see someone great. I've grown up seeing shows there." >More
 Crossfade adjusts to the music business' new normal

Like so many other rock bands, Crossfade has adjusted to the harsh reality that few albums sell a lot of copies anymore. It's a fact that came as a shock to Ed Sloan, the lead singer of this hard-rock band from Columbia, S.C. Crossfade's self-titled 2004 debut sold more than a million copies. Sales of their 2006 follow-up album, Falling Away, fell by 80%. Columbia Records dropped the band in 2008. >More



What creativity looks like: Art of the Wisconsin solidarity movement

In February, Madison playwright Doug Reed was assigned the summer slot at Broom Street Theater. He had a new script in the works. But all his free time was spent at the protests that were engulfing the city, so he wasn't getting any writing done. It occurred to him that perhaps these separate activities should become one. >More
 Beyond funny: Comedians' podcasts are can't-miss entertainment

Since I started subscribing to the WTF with Marc Maron podcast six months ago, I truly wonder why anyone bothers with radio anymore. At first, I tried to cram my WTF listening sessions into household chore time. But I soon realized that Maron's in-depth, funny, often intensely personal interviews with his fellow comedians required the kind of listening attention that comes in the car. So long, radio. I have no more use for you. >More
 Gloria Steinem shows the human side of the feminist revolution

Gloria: In Her Own Words, a profile of Gloria Steinem, takes you back to the bad old days when the idea of women's rights could be openly scorned by smug male TV broadcasters. When it was socially acceptable for a man to say on camera, "Women are supposed to stay home, have kids and keep the house clean." >More
 Playing Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet is like navigating a (malevolent) work of art

Somewhere in the galaxy that houses Limbo and Sony's Patapon series lies Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet, a gorgeous 2D side-scroller that serves as yet another reminder of the levels of artistry games can now almost effortlessly achieve. >More


Mississippi housekeepers have their say in The Help

In The Help, Aibileen Clark (Viola Davis) is a veteran housekeeper in 1963 Jackson, Miss., raising the latest of the many white children for whom she has been a surrogate mother. She's approached by Skeeter Phelan (Emma Stone), a recent college graduate and aspiring writer who wants to create an anonymous collection of first-person stories about black housekeepers' experiences. >More
 30 Minutes or Less fails to find laughs in a ruthless plot

An action comedy that uses a suicide vest loaded with C4 as its central plot device had better be funny or, at least, thrilling. Otherwise the narrative device will detonate, and the results won't be pretty. >More
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Francisco's Cantina draws on the family cocina

Francisco's Cantina occupies the building that was until recently the downtown branch of La Mestiza, and before that, Subway. It's a warm, bright space with brick walls, a convivial little bar and prime outdoor seating on East Main. Proprietor Francisco González is the nephew of Josefa Trejo, who runs Taquería Guadalajara on South Park Street. >More
 A quinoa salad variation on ratatouille (recipe)

I look out into my front yard and see ratatouille -- a luxurious French Provenal vegetable casserole that tastes like sun. Bosomy eggplants, heavy, sun-kissed tomatoes, crisp, shiny bell peppers.... A warm summer rain of olive oil from a cloud in the likeness of Julia Child would pretty much complete the picture. >More


The Mecan River offers an appealing paddling daytrip

The forecast is worrisome. In the days leading up to a Saturday kayaxpedition on the Mecan River, it climbs from 40% to 60% chance of thunderstorms. On the eve of the daytrip, the radar animations show approaching cartoon doom. But a 60% chance of thunderstorms leaves a 40% chance of not thunderstorms, of missed opportunity. >More
 Books for Bielema

At his press conference Sunday afternoon, Wisconsin football coach Bret Bielema talked about reading the influential business book Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap...and Others Don't, by Jim Collins. "A lot of people settle for being good and get complacent and accept being at a level that's better than everybody else," Bielema said, summarizing the book. >More
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