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Saturday, August 30, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 77.0° F  Overcast


To the Death

Observant readers will have noticed that the motto of this newspaper is "To the Death." Fear not, through the more than 38 years Isthmus has been published, no life has been lost in its production. >More
 The best of the worst

As America prepares to take the weekend off to celebrate our status as land of the free and home of the soccer-deprived, Isthmus presents an appropriate theme on our cover this week: "America's Worst Politicians." >More
 A helping paw

In the universe of pet owners, there is a faction known as "dog people" and another known as "cat people." And it is true that there is a different psychological appeal to the animals. Some people like the intelligence and independence exhibited by felines, while others are captured by the capacity for unreserved affection and loyalty that comes with a dog. Popularly, these factions don't mix, assuming they interact like, say, dogs and cats. The reality is that there are plenty of dogs and cats that get along together. Like many other things, it all depends on how one was brought up. >More
 Of mayors and music

This week, in our cover and news stories, we feature a couple of Madisonians who seek to alter business as usual in this town. One is an illustrious name, the other not so much, but hoping. The illustrious one is Richard Davis, jazz legend on the upright bass who has been a Madison resident and UW music professor for 37 years. He's the headliner at the Isthmus Jazz Festival, which takes place this Friday and Saturday at the UW Memorial Union. He's the subject of Bob Jacobson's story "The Face of the Bass," which previews his concert in Shannon Hall. >More
 City notes

I recall that last year's inaugural Make Music Madison was a damp affair in the morning, giving rise to an iconic vignette: a solo trumpeter standing under a tree playing "Stormy Weather." Perfect. >More
 Our American problem

Here we go, talking about race again. It seems we're having this conversation more and more in our media " a long playing-out of the issue that persists in commanding our attention, even when we're trying to ignore it.

For the last 200 years or so the American narrative has been about political self-determination, the Declaration of Independence, the Monroe Doctrine. But a century into that history, the issue of race inserted itself into the national debate. Race, in the form of slavery-era politics, wasn't the only cause of the Civil War, but it decidedly was one of the main factors.

 Work to be done

It's time to check in on the House of Representatives. Not so long ago they were missing in action; not working and not letting the rest of government work either. Things have been better recently. Legislation is flowing again, if at a glacial pace, and we may even have reasonable assurance that the process will continue. >More
 The lazy, hazy days

You have as part of your Isthmus package this week our annual guide to summer activity, SummerTimes. "Summer?" you may ask, "Where was the spring?" And rightly so. It's been a slow-starting spring season and, really, summer doesn't officially start until 6:51 a.m. on Saturday, June 21. But we offer this catalog of summer happenings and attractions in time for Memorial Day, all the better to get an early start on your summer planning. >More
 A change is gonna come

All of a sudden, it seems, Madison has discovered race. What a shock for the good citizens of Four Lakes to wake up one morning to the news that this progressive bastion has been tagged as part of the problem, not the solution. >More
 Food of love

Jenny Seifert is looking for love in all the cyber spaces, which beats looking for love in all the wrong places, as the song has it. But it is still an inexact science. Big data, it seems, has come to the rescue of the lonely. Or at least it makes the attempt. >More
 A sporting chance

I'm sure that even those among you least interested in professional sports will now recognize the name of Donald Sterling. The long-tenured, and long-reviled, owner of the Los Angeles Clippers basketball team committed a landmark transgression in the annals of race relations. If you could possibly not know to what I refer, I suggest you Google the name, or ask someone on the street. >More
 Let's go green!

Ready or not, here comes spring. Of course, I know we're all ready for it; it's spring that has been having a hard time making the schedule. But in the past week the crocuses and daffodils have made a hasty entry, especially where the sun shines, and green is flooding the open spaces. Time for Green Day. >More
 Sacred trust

We don't often do stories on religion. I suppose we are true children of the age of rationality and pursue our truth through observable fact. Or, we may have had our fill of religion growing up after being hauled off to church on Sunday, or some other day of the week, without giving much thought past the fact that this was our parents' requirement. But things look different in adulthood. >More
 The party's over

A found anecdote that speaks to the subject of our cover story this week, "Young and Sober": Jason Gay, sportswriter for the Wall Street Journal, in his column last Monday lamented the Badger loss in last Saturday's national men's basketball semifinal. "Wisconsin is my alma mater. (At least I think; I have no idea where the diploma is; it was a long time ago, and there was beer.)" >More
 Playing around

You may have noticed that, for the last three weeks, the initials that adorn the bottom of this column have been D.R., not V.O. The D.R. belongs to editor Dean Robbins. It marked the first time since about 1978 that someone other than me has written "Making the Paper," and I thank Dean for ably filling my slot during my absence. >More
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