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Wednesday, April 16, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 49.0° F  Overcast
The Daily


Free speech on a plate

MSTRB8S. QQQQ2. RU46T9. BVRETR. No, these aren't U.S. government nuclear launch codes. They're actual entries on the list of nearly 7,000 vanity license plates banned by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation. (Go ahead, read them again. See? They are sneaky gross.) >More
 Tom Barrett tries to win with jokes in 'Madison on a Diet' ad

In his ad "Madison on a Diet," Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tom Barrett tries to take a humorous approach to government spending in Wisconsin. "We all know that when it comes to spending, the politicians in Madison aren't counting their calories," he says, sitting in a diner. >More
 Mark Neumann waves the flag in 'Conservative Rally' ad

Mark Neumann is running in the Republican primary for governor of Wisconsin, and if you doubted that he's an American citizen, this ad will clear up any confusion. It's set in a room decked out with red-white-and-blue flags and bunting, and the smiling attendees also carry flags for good measure. >More
 It's the stupid season, stupid

The other day I got an urgent call from a campaign staffer for Tom Barrett, the Democratic candidate for governor. It seems that a spokeswoman for Scott Walker, one of Barrett's Republican rivals for the state's top job, retweeted a tweet from another Walker campaign official that linked to a YouTube video of dancing blacks, in a song about a train, apropos of Walker's opposition to high-speed rail. The spokeswoman claimed she linked to the video by mistake. Barrett's backers scoffed at this. >More
 Scott Walker is shameless in 'Saturn' ad

Earlier this year, Republican Scott Brown miraculously won Edward Kennedy's Senate seat in Massachusetts after running ads that showed him driving an old pickup truck. So here comes Scott Walker with the same regular-guy gimmick, hoping to drive his 1998 Saturn to victory in the Wisconsin governor's race. >More
 Sterling Hall bombing's ripple effects are still being felt 40 years later

The Sterling Hall bombing that rocked Madison, killed physics researcher Robert Fassnacht, and blew apart the peace movement happened 40 years ago, on Aug. 24, 1970. For my parents and their friends, who were living in a graduate student commune at the time, protesting the Vietnam War, helping to launch the Mifflin Street Co-op, and leading life with that combination of exuberance and high seriousness characteristic of people in their early 20s, it was the end of a dream. >More
 Russ Feingold fights oil cartoon in 'Just Say No' ad

Russ Feingold, the Democratic U.S. Senator running for another term, begins his ad with a sunset over Lake Michigan and gentle guitar music. "When I look at Lake Michigan," Feingold says, standing on the shore, "I see a resource that Wisconsin needs to protect for future generations." >More
 Ron Johnson offers no answers in 'Real World' ad

I leaned forward to find out how Johnson plans to help other Wisconsin companies sell their products all over the world, but he never gets around to that. Apparently, it's enough for him that his own company is doing well. >More
 Dave Cieslewicz may be best for Madison -- but what are our other options?

You have to like Dave Cieslewicz as mayor. He seems almost the perfect fit for a progressive-minded city filled with gently graying baby boomers. He's funny in a self-deprecating way. He's calm and reassuring when he speaks to civic groups. He knows the city's history. He extols its quirkiness. He bikes a lot. He's green-minded. And, like everyone else in Madison, he's an amateur urban planner. He sounds perfect, but for a nagging concern: Dave Cieslewicz seems to play the role of mayor better than he performs its duties. >More
 Wisconsin Supreme Court undercuts openess

It was like those legal dramas on TV. The judge, ruling from the bench, always starts out paying homage to some legal principle or perspective. Then there's a "but" and the judge shifts gears, coming down firmly on the other side. So it was with the Wisconsin Supreme Court's recent ruling in a case known as Schill v. Wisconsin Rapids. Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson, writing for the majority, began her decision by praising the state's traditions of openness. >More
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