By Elizabeth DiNovella on July 11, 2011

Last week I wrote about the GOP plans to redistrict the state. Typically this happens in the fall, but this is no typical year in Wisconsin.

Mike McCabe from the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign told me that the Republicans could very well unveil the secret plans this week and try to ram it down the state's throat while they still have a majority. (The recalls could change that.)

Well, lo and behold, that's exactly what the Republicans are doing. In classic drop bad news on a Friday fashion, the GOP unveiled the maps last Friday. And it's not pretty.

Jeff Fitzgerald, Assembly leader, said last month the Dems might sue. It's easy to understand why.

In fact, the proposal would knock several candidates out of the districts they are running in right now in the recall elections.

State representative Fred Clark, Democrat of Baraboo, would no longer be in Senate District 14, where he is campaigning to replace senator Luther Olsen, who is a vulnerable candidate. Nancy Nussbaum, who is running against senator Rob Cowles, would no longer live in District 2.

And senator Bob Wirch would no longer be living in his current district, and instead be in a more conservative District 21.

These changes would not be in effect for the recalls, but by 2012. If the GOP loses any seats this summer, the new redistricting could help it retake seats in 2012.

Perhaps we should no longer be shocked by the Wisconsin Republican tactics. As Rep. Kelda Helen Roys told the Wisconsin State Journal, "I never expected the Republicans would act fairly, but I am appalled."

Ultimately, this will cost the state a lot of money in lawsuits. And aren't we having a budget crisis? No matter. The GOP has been going non-stop to press its agenda, and is very worried about losing control of the senate due to the recalls.

Normally, the redistricting process starts at the local level and then the state steps in. But the Fitzgerald brothers are running things differently. In FitzWalkerstan, up is down, the map is fair, and rules don't really matter.

So this week we will see another "extraordinary session," similar to what happened in March. Will we see protests too?

If you liked this story by Elizabeth DiNovella, the Culture Editor of The Progressive magazine, check out her story "Redrawing the map of FitzWalkerstan."

Follow Elizabeth DiNovella @lizdinovella on Twitter.


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By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.

Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

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