Vince O'Hern

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

Jul 10, 2014 2:00 PM Making The Paper

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

Jul 3, 2014 2:00 PM Making The Paper

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

Jun 26, 2014 2:00 PM Making The Paper

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

Jun 19, 2014 2:00 PM Making The Paper

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

Jun 12, 2014 2:00 PM Making The Paper

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. more

Jun 5, 2014 2:00 PM Making The Paper

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

May 29, 2014 2:00 PM Making The Paper

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

May 22, 2014 2:00 PM Making The Paper

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

May 15, 2014 2:00 PM Making The Paper

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

May 8, 2014 2:00 PM Making The Paper

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

May 1, 2014 2:00 PM Making The Paper

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

Apr 24, 2014 2:00 PM Making The Paper

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

Apr 17, 2014 2:00 PM Making The Paper

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

Apr 10, 2014 2:00 PM Making The Paper

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

Apr 3, 2014 2:00 PM Making The Paper

Our gratitude to Catherine Capellaro for her moving and forthright description of her father's final days and the family anguish and struggle that preceded them. It is not a pleasant subject to address, and the sorrow associated with the slow demise of a parent is profound, as is the state of powerlessness that accompanies it. more

Mar 6, 2014 3:00 PM Making The Paper

The thing most on people's minds these days is "When is it going to warm up?" And the more we wonder, the colder it gets. Come on, it's about to be March 1! We are a hardy folk, but enough is enough. Pretty soon the climate will be messing with our growing season, not to mention our minds. more

Feb 27, 2014 3:00 PM Making The Paper

Two things make America a great country: its freedom and its people. It's the freedom that allows the people to confront their lives and seek solutions, to ask questions, to chase ideas. The formula for success then mixes people with freedom and waits to see what comes out the other end. It's a simple process, but it seems to take a long time to recognize it, and we keep forgetting the formula. more

Feb 13, 2014 3:00 PM Making The Paper

In our cover story this week, "Slaying the Gerrymander," author David Michael Miller " an "Isthmus" production design artist for the last 26 and a half years " takes on the Wisconsin redistricting in 2011 that facilitated Republican victories in the 2012 elections. It also had other consequences, highlighted in a sidebar that's one of the features of this analytical package. more

Feb 6, 2014 3:00 PM Making The Paper

They call April the cruelest month, presumably because it tempers the promise of spring with the death of the now-past winter. Well, T.S. Eliot, that may have been the case in your estimation, but for my money January is the meanest month for the sheer intimidation of its frigid temperatures. The month just passed is exhibit number one. Happily, we can look forward to February, avoiding the threat of being frozen into a solid entity. more

Jan 30, 2014 3:00 PM Making The Paper