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Wednesday, October 1, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 49.0° F  Overcast


Paul Ryan is one of D.C.'s top fundraisers

When Paul Ryan was elected to the U.S. Congress in 1998, he raised $1.2 million to beat Lydia Spottswood, who raised $1.3 million, according to federal election records. Since that first race, he's never had a serious contender. One could argue he's that good and his constituents love him. But there could be other reasons. >More
 WEAC head Mary Bell stands up to Gov. Scott Walker with sometimes controversial tactics

Mary Bell, president of the Wisconsin Education Association Council, is quiet and thoughtful in one-on-one conversations. She's a middle-aged, cheery, bespectacled woman whose dimpled face is surrounded by a thick corona of whitish-gray hair. But when fighting for her members, Bell forcefully projects her belief in teachers' right to respect, decent pay and union representation. >More
 Janesville on the brink

Bill Truman's connections to Janesville run deep. He was born and raised here, bought a home and started his own family. It's where four of his five children, and his grandchildren, still live. It's where he found a family-supporting job. Lately, all of that has been falling apart. His future is cast into doubt, like that of the city itself. But Truman, a member of the City Council (he just finished a term as president), focuses on what Janesville's sudden, precipitous drop in economic well-being has meant for others. >More
 Scott Walker's challenge

At the "tea party" rally in Milwaukee last Sept. 19, Scott Walker tossed the crowd a chunk of red meat. "Some people put their faith in the government," thundered the Milwaukee County executive and Republican candidate for governor, drawing a predictable chorus of boos and setting up his next line. "But we put our faith in the people and the employers who make this country great." >More
 The fight against factory farms in Wisconsin

John Peck, only half-joking, suggests Wisconsin's longtime slogan, "America's Dairyland," may need to be updated. The new slogan: "The Land of 10,000 Animal-Waste Lagoons." He also offers this nightmare scenario: "Can you imagine tourists driving up to Door County," asks Peck, executive director of Family Farm Defenders, a national organization based in Madison, "and having to endure the stench from manure lagoons produced by factory farms?" >More
 Republican poster boy Paul Ryan

Paul Ryan's strong adherence to conservative orthodoxy has made Ryan "a rising star" in the Republican Party, according to the conservative Washington Times. But Ryan's growing appeal is based on more than ideology: He is able to deliver the Republican pitch smoothly and sincerely, without adopting Newt Gingrich's sneer or Rush Limbaugh's sometimes cruel self-righteousness. >More
 'Not free of blame': Paul Ryan's role in the meltdown

Rep. Paul Ryan has consistently backed deregulatory policies favored by the financial industry. These policies set the stage for the sub-prime housing debacle, which in turn toppled major Wall Street banks that had invested heavily in "derivatives" that were supposed to divide up the risk of the sub-prime mortgages. >More
 David Newby hopes to lead labor's comeback

In 1991, Chicago labor lawyer Tom Geoghegan wrote a popular and powerful book, Which Side Are You On?, with the despairing subtitle, "Trying to be for labor when it's flat on its back." Wisconsin State AFL-CIO President David Newby has felt that despair over the past three decades of plant closings, wage cuts and union-busting. But he's convinced the labor movement has the potential to rebound. >More
 NewPage paper mill closing has left Kimberly, Wisconsin fighting for its life

The village of Kimberly, on the northern edge of Lake Winnebago in the Fox Valley, epitomizes the small, almost idyllic Wisconsin town. Kimberly is a hybrid of the nostalgic past and the fast-paced present, combining an old-fashioned soda fountain at a local pharmacy right out of a Norman Rockwell painting with the standard modern shopping mall. >More
 General Motors: The death of the auto industry in Wisconsin

For southeastern Wisconsin, the auto industry became a foundation of working-class prosperity and power, producing excellent wages and benefits that allowed thousands of workers to send their kids to college, secure a stable retirement and develop a strong voice inside the plant and in Wisconsin politics. >More
 General Motors: Missing in action

General Motors' planned new wave of shutdowns represents an escalation of its corporate decision to effectively secede from the United States. While it remains headquartered in Detroit, GM has wiped out some 85% of its U.S. jobs since 1990. >More
 A 'signature injury' ignored

Joan and Doug McDonald of Neenah expected their 24-year-old son, James, to come home last Thanksgiving. And he did - in a body bag. >More
 Impasse likely on health-care plans

Efforts to alter health insurance in Wisconsin will likely go nowhere in the remaining part of the 2007-08 legislative session, only to become a source of further contention in the fall elections. >More
 Sorry, your job's been outsourced!

Greg Diederich, who worked at Rayovac's Madison packing and distribution center for 17 years, vividly recalls a party hosted there in 2002. Workers were served cake and ice cream, and given flashlights to thank them for improving productivity. >More
 The canadian experience

Business Week summarized its 2005 poll in these terms: "67% of all Americans think it's a good idea to guarantee health care for all U.S. citizens, as Canada and Britain do, with just 27% dissenting." >More
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