UP: Lobbying in Wisconsin. Special interests spent $20.8 million in the first half of 2009 to influence the state Legislature, according to the Government Accountability Board. That's a 24% hike over the same period during the last two-year legislative session, in 2007. Leading the pack were WEAC (representing state teachers) and tobacco peddler Altria (formerly Philip Morris).
DOWN: Madison media. The Wisconsin State Journal and The Capital Times announce plans to cut up to 15 additional newsroom jobs. The jointly owned papers will combine features, sports, photography and multimedia staff, but vow to still "independently produce news and opinion content," except in areas (most) where collaboration is already occurring.