Ben Manski

As a rule, members of the news media are professional cynics. Their job is the collection, organization and examination of new facts. In most events, the cynical pose serves them well. Their employers, after all, are usually men and women invested in the status quo. New initiatives are to be welcomed with a skeptical eye, if at all. more

Sep 12, 2008 8:41 PM The Planski

Nader speaks truth to power. It's why he's running his fourth presidential campaign. He is nothing if not a grim revealer of malfeasance, sardonic challenger of dogmas, and happy champion of alternatives. And judging by the passion visible on the faces of his supporters here Friday night, Nader's truth-telling is reaching an audience. more

Sep 6, 2008 5:54 PM The Planski


Ben Manski

I don't know what to make of the scene here in Denver. There are too many scenes. Tens of thousands of riot police deployed throughout the Denver metro area, patrolling the Qdobas, McDonalds and strip malls for miles around, keeping an eye out for crusty punks with anarchist tendencies, seemingly oblivious to the Neo-Nazis leafleting parked cars with flyers promising solutions to the "Negro Problem." more

Aug 27, 2008 9:40 PM The Planski


Jeff Miller, University of Wisconsin-Madison

They say no good deed ever goes unpunished. And so I say to former UW-Madison Chancellor John Wiley, though I know he will grit his teeth to hear it, "Thank you." more

Aug 23, 2008 3:43 PM The Planski

Driving down to O'Hare early morning, bound for Denver, my wife and I had the radio on, listening for campaign news. "This is it, this is the moment" Pause. The suspense builds. "The announcement is coming." more

Aug 23, 2008 1:42 AM The Planski

In February, I made plans to attend the Democratic National Convention. My wife and I secured press credentials. We thought that maybe, just maybe, we would see something new in Denver. And then the empire struck back. The Clintons pulled out the old Dixiecrat playbook. They portrayed Obama as uppity. An America-hater. Muslim. A cokehead. Un-American. A danger to white women. We all know what happened then. As Obama lost ground in the polls, he responded by dissing Muslims, betraying civil liberties, backtracking on the war, and wearing a flag pin, causing people to begin to seriously wonder for the first time whether the charge was true that Barack was all bark and no bite. more

Aug 16, 2008 9:30 PM The Planski

Congratulations, Mark Pocan! Congrats are also in order for Therese Berceau, Joe Parisi, Mark Miller, and Fred Risser. If your luck holds out, you may already have won... reelection. more

Jul 5, 2008 1:00 PM The Planski

I previously noted Bill O'Reilly's inability to tell a centrist from a leftist, his attempts to link Obama to the radical left, and his personal disaffection for the city of Madison. Writing about that made me wonder: What are actual Madison leftists thinking these days about Barack Obama and the 2008 election? I asked a few dozen locals. Some of their responses were surprising, some predictable, and many were holding their tongue. Here's what I found out... more

Jun 25, 2008 12:33 AM The Planski

Now, some of you will remember that Bill O'Reilly has long had a soft spot in his heart for our fair city. Not only is he now outraged by those radical Wisconsin leftists who want him to sniff their dairy-air, but he has in the past repeatedly made Madison's doings subject to Fox's trademark "fair and balanced" coverage. more

Jun 15, 2008 4:27 PM The Planski


Jeff Miller for University of Wisconsin

Everyone is talking about Biddy Martin, the next UW-Madison chancellor. After seven years of the gray chancellor, David Ward, and another seven of the combative John Wiley, the word on most Badgers' lips is "change." The hope is that Biddy Martin will be the agent of that change, and not a moment too soon, since Bucky is in big trouble. more

Jun 7, 2008 3:00 PM The Planski

Berkeley, Ann Arbor, Northampton, Gainesville, Austin, Eugene, Boulder, Madison -- lots of American college towns have radical reputations dating back at least a generation. Visit them these days, however, and you get a sense that most have been resting on their patchouli-scented laurels. Not so Madison. Our reputation is still deserved. more

May 20, 2008 7:17 PM The Planski

Under Mahoney, the Sheriff's Office has reported upwards of 400 immigrants to ICE, the latest incarnation of the former INS (where do the feds come up with these acronyms, anyway? Immigration and Customs Enforcement? Operation Iraqi Liberation? Brilliant!). That's a substantial increase from the record of the previous sheriff, Gary Hamblin, for whom cracking down on undocumented immigrants was not a priority. more

May 16, 2008 6:15 PM The Planski