Ruth Conniff

On Monday the Wisconsin Supreme Court heard the oral arguments on Act 10 -- the law that ended most collective bargaining rights for most public-employee unions in Wisconsin.

Today, the Wisconsin Supreme Court hears oral arguments on Act 10 -- the law that ended most collective bargaining rights for most public employees.

The vast rightwing conspiracy took a big dose steroids this fall, and we are seeing the results all over the country in local elections where insidious national forces come to play.

When Dane County Circuit Court Judge Juan Colas held officials in Gov. Scott Walker's administration in contempt this week, he was pushing back against a level of unchecked lawlessness by this administration that is "practically seditious," says attorney Lester Pines.

A week after she released the video announcing that she will challenge Scott Walker for governor in 2014, I sat down with former Trek Bicycle executive and current Madison school board member Mary Burke at her campaign headquarters directly across the street from the State Capitol building.

It's official. Today former Trek Bicycle exec, Democrat Mary Burke announced she is challenging Scott Walker in the 2014 governor's race.

Even before she announced, Burke's name began generating a lot of buzz for several very good reasons:

  • She has millions in personal funds to pour into a race against the biggest-spending governor in state history, with and his nationwide network of rightwing billionaires.


When it launched its web site ALEC Exposed, the Center for Media and Democracy brought national attention to the American Legislative Exchange Council and the factory it runs, pumping out pro-corporate boilerplate bills and pushing them through state legislatures with the help of their Republican members.

This week, CMD launched a new project,

State representative Melissa Sargent was walking across the mall in Washington, DC, with a group of women legislators from around the globe on Tuesday morning, shaking locked doors.

"We are walking to the Congressional offices and all the Smithsonian museums have signs up saying they are closed," Rep. Sargent said by cell phone at 9:00 this morning.

Progressive activists across the country were gleeful about the defeat of Obama's choice for Fed chair, Larry Summers.

Senate Banking Committee members Jon Tester of Montana, Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Jeff Merkeley of Oregon, and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, together with a network of progressive activists who abhorred Summers, basically staged a coup, forcing Summers's withdrawal last weekend.

It wasn't how things were supposed to go.


The national treasurer for the American Legislative Exchange Counsel (ALEC), state senator Leah Vukmir of Wisconsin, had been evading process servers for weeks, with the help of her staff.

The process servers, hired by a public interest group bringing a lawsuit against Vukmir to try to get her to cough up information about her ALEC dealings, had tried to contact the senator again and again.



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This time we’ve got some advantages.

We need to improve the condition of workers this Thanksgiving weekend. Here's what you can do.

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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