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Saturday, October 25, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 50.0° F  Fair
The Paper


The burden of student debt

At the height of the Occupy protests last fall, young people held signs announcing how much they owed in student loans. While the pundits were asking each other what, exactly, the protesters wanted, a big part of the answer was on those signs: Students are leaving colleges and universities with a staggering financial burden and bleak job prospects. >More


The reign of Joel DeSpain

I'll admit: I was afraid to interview Joel DeSpain. When I asked to interview the public information officer, writer of the immensely popular Madison police blotter, I might as well have been asking to interview Jon Bon Jovi. What if I asked dumb questions? What if I sounded immature? Worst of all: What if he wasn't how I expected him to be? >More
 Residents cry foul over big-box grocery at Grandview Commons

A proposal to build a Copp's grocery store on Madison's far east side has outraged dozens of residents who want the city to reject the plan, claiming it upends the new urbanist vision that spurred them to buy homes in the Grandview Commons neighborhood. New urbanism drew people to this community, and now they want to impose a big-box store in the middle of it," says Barbara Davis, referring to developer Veridian Homes. >More
 Madison voters turned away at polls for lacking photo ID

Melanie Sax and other poll workers recognized the longtime voter. They also found her name and address in the poll book. But she did not have a photo ID for Tuesday's primary so she could not vote. "She was fairly recently in a car accident and couldn't make it to the DOT to get a Wisconsin ID," said Sax, the chief elections inspector at the polling location at Trinity United Methodist Church on Vilas Avenue. >More
 Madison bookstores prepare for brisk sales of Russ Feingold's While America Sleeps

The publicists at Crown must not know just how gaga Badger progressives are over former U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold. How the tears flowed when he lost to political newcomer and tea party favorite Ron Johnson in 2010. How his supporters have begged him, in vain, to run against Gov. Scott Walker in an all but certain recall election. >More


Trouble in FitzWalkerstan: Jeff Fitzgerald's stalled Senate campaign reflects Scott Walker's falling fortunes

What ever happened to Jeff Fitzgerald? The Assembly speaker and water-carrier-in-chief for Gov. Scott Walker was supposed to reap his rewards for leading the tea party takeover of our state Legislature when he burst on the scene as Walker's favored candidate for U.S. Senate. When Fitzgerald announced his candidacy, to replace the retiring Herb Kohl, the National Journal ran a story explaining why Fitz could win. >More
 Tell All: Hands off our birth control

Contraceptives have become a hot topic in the last month. Catholic bishops attacked President Obama's requirement that religious-affiliated organizations offer birth-control coverage in their health plans, and the Republican presidential candidates piled on. The critics claim that Obama is attacking "religious liberty," but the letters I've received on the issue don't see it that way. Significantly, the letters have all been from women. >More


Count This Penny is inspired by Civil War letters

Count This Penny is a keen choice to awaken the voices of long-dead Union soldiers. The quartet's founders, Amanda and Allen Rigell, are East Tennessee transplants, Appalachian artists who bring rich, balanced sensibilities -- the kind of consideration the Civil War demands -- to a unique musical assignment. >More
 Astronautalis embraces hip-hop in eccentric ways

The sound of Astronautalis combines Andy Bothwell's past as a battle rapper with seemingly anything else he can make fit, from a ragged, Isaac Brock-like singing to blustery, piano-based art rock. His 2011 album This Is Our Science features guest spots from both Doomtree rapper Sims and Tegan Quin of indie-pop duo Tegan and Sara. Bothwell, who performs at the UW Union South's Sett Feb. 25, spoke with me as he prepared to play Berlin. >More



Miss Madison promotes 'intellectual health'

You may think beauty pageants are all glitter and gowns, but for Miss America hopefuls, big scholarship money is on the line. Our own Miss Wisconsin was crowned Miss America just last month, which means every local toddler in a tiara has her eye on the prize. >More
 Hope for the Oscars

I'm trying to be optimistic about the Academy Awards. I hold out hope for an enjoyable ceremony even after last year's fiasco with hosts James Franco and Anne Hathaway; even after Eddie Murphy dropped out of hosting this year's event in favor of the (too?) familiar Billy Crystal. >More


Wisconsin's silent film era: The Badger State was home to a host of cinema pioneers

Despite critical and popular success for Oscar darling The Artist, the silent film era remains for many a dim, flickering curiosity. Perhaps those early Hollywood days would be more real if we knew that studio chiefs and countless silent stars were our neighbors. >More
 Wisconsin Film Festival's staff changes reflect its growth

There will be some changes behind the scenes at this year's Wisconsin Film Festival. Christina Martin-Wright, the new director of operations, will serve as community liaison. Among her other duties, she will take on fundraising, a need identified by staff for many years as the festival has grown. Jim Healy, director of the University of Wisconsin Cinematheque, will supervise programming. >More
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Craft Table & Tap impresses with beer list, burgers and good service

Craft Table & Tap is a new Middleton addition to the Food Fight empire, in the space formerly occupied by Byrd's Bar and Grill. The carpet has been pulled up exposing the concrete floor, and that change, along with a few other minor touches, has refined the space into a pleasantly modern Prairie Style look. >More
 Pigs in a Fur Coat to serve small plates on Willy Street

The building formerly home to La Rocca's Pizza on Willy Street will have a new tenant: Pigs in a Fur Coat. According to documents filed with the city of Madison, the target opening date at 940 Williamson will be March or April. >More


Parking vs. fun in WIAA flap

According to reports over the past several weeks, the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association might be moving the state high school basketball tournaments to Ashwaubenon/Green Bay because the Resch Center, the basketball arena there, can guarantee access on the desired dates, and amenities like parking are more abundant and less expensive than in Madison. Know where else parking is cheap and plentiful? Saskatchewan. >More
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