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Thursday, December 25, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 39.0° F  Partly Cloudy

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Why I work with Republicans: Mark Pocan is determined to get things done in Congress

On an overcast April afternoon, Mark Pocan fields questions in the council chambers of Reedsburg's city hall. The group is small, barely more than a dozen. It skews decidedly older, with most easily over 60. It makes sense: Today's listening session for Wisconsin's 2nd Congressional District is at 1 p.m., when retirees are about the only voting-age people who don't have somewhere else to be. >More
 Theologian Brian McLaren takes on the future of Christianity at First Baptist Church of Madison

What is the future of Christianity? Few have thought harder about that question than Brian McLaren -- a former evangelical pastor and a prolific and popular author on the topic of Christianity's past, present and future. >More
 Your guide to Obamacare: Here's everything you need to know, Dane County

Is Obamacare the destruction of the American healthcare system or baby steps toward making it better for everyone? Hospitals are getting ready. Insurers and employers are, too. To help the rest of us prepare, here are 15 things you need to know come Oct. 1. >More
 The cost of rejecting Medicaid funds for Wisconsin

Last week, the Legislature's Joint Finance Committee voted 12-4 on party lines to reject federal money to expand health insurance for the poor. As a result Wisconsin lawmakers saddled the state with a bigger price tag in return for less health coverage. >More
 Destination: Mineral Point

Sometimes procrastination gets rewarded. That's how my wife and I discovered Mineral Point. Each summer, about the time of our wedding anniversary, we book a weekend of plays at American Players Theatre in Spring Green. The play tickets we buy early (thanks to the early-bird discount), but somehow we never get around to reserving a place to stay until much later. By then there's no room at any of Spring Green's inns. >More
 Busting Wisconsin's unions: Act 10 is part of a larger battle against organized labor

Gov. Scott Walker's 2011 law stripping government employees of union rights was only a few months old when workers who build cranes in Manitowoc learned their company was making a stringent new demand in their own union contract. In negotiations with the International Association of Machinists, Manitowoc Cranes management was insisting that the union drop its so-called union security clause from the contract -- language that required every employee who was represented by the union to either join the union or at least pay union dues. >More
 Wisconsin health care groups work with the feds on Obamacare

Now comes the heavy lifting. While Gov. Scott Walker's administration continues to give Obamacare the cold shoulder, groups outside of state government are stepping in to work with federal officials implementing the law in Wisconsin. >More
 Rob Zerban mounts a serious challenge to Paul Ryan

In nearly 14 years of representing Wisconsin's 1st Congressional District, Republican Paul Ryan has had no significant opposition for reelection. But this year, as Ryan pursues his eighth term in office and a vice presidential bid as Mitt Romney's running mate, he faces what many consider his first serious challenger in Rob Zerban. >More
 Retiring Sen. Herb Kohl got a lot done while shunning the spotlight

Current polling suggests that whoever wins the 2012 race for Wisconsin's open Senate seat -- Republican Tommy Thompson or Democrat Tammy Baldwin -- it will probably be by a narrow margin. That alone will mark a significant change from the person who's held the seat for nearly a quarter-century. >More
 Physicians Plus wrangles with UW Health over insurance coverage for midwives

Even after Dana Hurda moved from Madison to Evansville, she continued to go to the UW Health West Clinic in Madison, a 35-minute drive from her home. The reason? Midwives. Hurda has come to depend on the specially trained nurse midwives who work out of UW and provide hospital-based midwifery services for women in childbirth. Even now that she's no longer focusing on childbearing, Hurda has relied on the UW clinic's midwifery program for her primary gynecological care. >More
 Eric Hovde is challenging Tommy Thompson in Wisconsin Senate primary

Will Eric Hovde turn out to be the second coming of Ron Johnson? In 2010, Johnson, the owner and CEO of a plastics manufacturing company in Oshkosh, burst out of nowhere and into the U.S. Senate. With a self-funded campaign, Johnson swamped two little-known Republicans in the primary, garnering 85% of the vote. He then went on to unseat three-term Democratic Sen. Russ Feingold, 52% to 47%. >More
 Exposing ALEC: The Center for Media and Democracy goes after the right-wing powerhouse

It was a rainy spring Friday afternoon, and Lisa Graves was feeling a little loopy. The day before she'd been in Washington, D.C., part of a coalition rallying outside the offices of the American Legislative Exchange Council protesting the conservative organization's role in passing Florida's Stand Your Ground law, now in the spotlight after the shooting death of teenager Trayvon Martin. >More
 Is it time for Wisconsin to come clean on campaign finance?

Monroe physician John Frantz has had some extra cash over the years to donate to politicians. But as the cost of election campaigns has skyrocketed, Dr. Frantz found donating more and more troubling. Political candidates "have become unnaturally dependent on people like me," he says. >More
 Meet the new Tommy Thompson

Tommy Thompson was holding forth for an audience of journalists in Milwaukee last month when asked about the high-speed rail line from Milwaukee to Madison that Gov. Scott Walker effectively killed even before taking office. Would Thompson have also turned down the $800 million in federal funding, as Walker had vowed to? >More
 Tommy Thompson's opponents: Mark Neumann and Jeff Fitzgerald

Tommy Thompson is vying with two other hopefuls for the Republican nomination for the Senate seat that Herb Kohl will vacate after this year. A third, state Sen. Frank Lasee, announced in late January that he was dropping out of the race. >More
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