100 episodes

They're the "Click and Clack" of Wisconsin politics. Scott Milfred, editorial page editor for the Wisconsin State Journal, and Phil Hands, the newspaper's political cartoonist, analyze the most important issues and debates from the Badger State with political independence and a sense of humor. Instead of tedious talking points from the left and the right, "Center Stage" broadcasts from the sensible center with audio clips from the Wisconsin Capitol, from State Journal editorial board meetings, and from political events across the state.

Center Stage, with Milfred and Hands Wisconsin State Journal

    • News
    • 4.5 • 19 Ratings

They're the "Click and Clack" of Wisconsin politics. Scott Milfred, editorial page editor for the Wisconsin State Journal, and Phil Hands, the newspaper's political cartoonist, analyze the most important issues and debates from the Badger State with political independence and a sense of humor. Instead of tedious talking points from the left and the right, "Center Stage" broadcasts from the sensible center with audio clips from the Wisconsin Capitol, from State Journal editorial board meetings, and from political events across the state.

    The scariest things about Wisconsin politics

    The scariest things about Wisconsin politics

    Milfred and Hands offer chilling commentary on the most frightening things about politics on the left and the right in Madison, across Wisconsin and in our nation's capital. Incivility -- including dead rats on a school board member's lawn -- terrifies Milfred. Hands' face turned pale when he saw the 9% increase in his Madison property tax bill. Our political podcasters worry that all the moderates and statesmen are being (politically) killed off. And Milfred tells a spooky story from a long, long time ago about U.S. Rep. Glenn Grothman.

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    • 30 min
    Madison's best salesman wants to win over Wisconsin

    Madison's best salesman wants to win over Wisconsin

    Madison is growing fast. It's attracting lots of young talent. It's economy is poised to rebound quickly from the pandemic. That's not just good for the capital city, it benefits the entire state -- and Zach Brandon, president of the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce, has the data to prove it. Yet politics keeps getting in the way of Madison and Wisconsin working more together and recognizing they're on the same team. On this week's podcast, Milfred and Hands play clips from and comment on the State Journal editorial board's recent meeting with Brandon. They asked him about his efforts to sell Madison to the rest of the state.

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    • 15 min
    Keep the schoolhouse doors open

    Keep the schoolhouse doors open

    Milfred and Hands urge school officials not to panic at the first outbreak of a COVID variant. Our political podcasters celebrate the return to five full days of classes a week in the Madison School District and elsewhere across most of Wisconsin this fall. Following a lost year of learning during the pandemic last year, schools should mask up -- as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends -- and require teachers to be vaccinated to help keep the schoolhouse doors open. After all, teachers are essential workers who are in close contact with the only population that isn't yet eligible for shots -- kids younger than 12. Though more contagious strains of COVID are concerning, none of Wisconsin's more than 7,600 deaths from COVID were younger than 10. And only three were younger than 20. So Madison shouldn't overreact -- something it's done in the past -- if cases rise in some school buildings. At the same time, rural schools with more conservative leaders shouldn't ignore responsible science-based precautions. "The areas that need the restrictions most aren't getting them, and vice versa," Milfred says. Hands predicts YouTube and Fortnite will be the biggest losers as school returns because kids will have to pay attention in class, rather than sitting on their phones at home.

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    • 16 min
    Which Democrat has the best shot to beat Ron Johnson?

    Which Democrat has the best shot to beat Ron Johnson?

    Milfred and Hands assess the crowded field of 11 Democrats hoping to win the party's nomination to take on U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Oshkosh, in next year's election. Wisconsin's Senate seat is one of three toss-up Senate races across the country. That means voters here could decide who controls the U.S. Senate. Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes is the front-runner in the Democratic primary, though he's hardly invincible, our political podcasters agree. They play audio clips from the top Democrats touting their bids, while assessing the broader political ramifications.

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    • 31 min
    A grand promenade on State Street in Madison moves closer to reality

    A grand promenade on State Street in Madison moves closer to reality

    Milfred and Hands tout the "likely" result, in the words of Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway, of the lower half of State Street becoming a true pedestrian mall without any motorized vehicles, including city buses. Our political podcasters also tout the need to keep buses and imposing transit stations off the top half of State Street to keep exciting options open for the future. Milfred and Hands play audio clips from a city meeting last week on the topic. They also play a recording from a recent State Journal editorial board meeting of the mayor saying State Street businesses are "desperate." The mayor's office falsely claimed the State Journal editorial board had taken her out of context. 

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 27 min
    Madison's mayor is all about buses -- to the detriment of State Street

    Madison's mayor is all about buses -- to the detriment of State Street

    Milfred and Hands love Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway's commitment to improving public transit in Madison. A faster and modern bus system is long overdue. But those long, snazzy "bus rapid transit" vehicles that she's bringing to Madison -- with $80 million of help from the federal government -- don't need to rumble up and down State Street, the city's premier shopping and entertainment district. Instead, Madison's signature street should become a grand promenade for outdoor cafes, public art, trees and music. The buses can stop nearby and still get people where they need to go. On this week's episode of "Center Stage, with Milfred and Hands," our political podcasters discuss the State Journal editorial board's meeting with the mayor last week and play audio clips of Rhodes-Conway's objections to a true pedestrian mall on State Street, which Downtown businesses and advocates have sought.

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 24 min

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5
19 Ratings

19 Ratings

Hey224456 ,

Great

Great podcast

SuzanneLikesPodcasts ,

5/30 episode a disappointment

Harris is angry, Warren is negative, but Buttigieg is getting attention because he has a nice personality.... These are gendered observations (and you do realize Harris and Warren are polling above Buttigieg nationally, correct?). I've enjoyed your podcast in the past, but it's very disappointing to hear this coming from the Wisconsin State Journal. I've unsubscribed.

Weissnorth ,

Entertaining!

Very insightful, non-partisan. And entertaining! 20 mins is just the right length too, to be able to listen in one sitting.

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