Ruth Conniff

Ruth Conniff is editor-in-chief of the Progressive Magazine. A native of Madison, WIsconsin, she began her career as a political writer working with Erwin Knoll and has continued to cover progressive politics ever since, including elections, welfare reform, the war on drugs, feminism, and public education.
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The worse things get for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, the brighter our own Gov. Scott Walker's prospects look as a presidential contender in 2016.

My kids love Top 40 radio, and over time we have relinquished more and more time in the car to their demands to hear the same tired playlist over and over. To their delight, when we travel to see relatives on the East Coast, they can listen to an identical station, and even the same DJs, playing the same handful of sound-alike songs in a different time zone.

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As Governor Chris Christie sinks under a bridge load of scandal, other potential Republican presidential candidates are looking hungry.

There has been a barrage of rightwing attacks on teachers and public education this week, which conservatives have dubbed "National School Choice Week."

We've been told the state of our union is strong, but the people know better.

Several sources close to Wisconsin State Senator Kathleen Vinehout told The Progressive on Thursday that she has decided against making a run for governor.

Wisconsin Assemblyman Chris Kapenga, Republican of Delafield, was the subject of a laudatory video profile posted on December 17 by the right-wing MacIver News Service.

Mary Burke, who is challenging Scott Walker in the 2014 Wisconsin governor's race, filed a fundraising report today that shows her campaign took in $1.8 million in its first 12 weeks.

While everyone else was housebound on Monday, January 6, Senator Glenn Grothman issued a press release demanding that his colleagues take up a bill to ban sex-selective abortion, and another bill that blocks abortion coverage in state health care plans and allows religious organizations not to cover contraception.

Even as 1.3 million unemployed Americans lost their lifeline this weekend, Republican members of Congress were getting excited that their chances for 2014 look good.

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Labor leader, civil rights activist, feminist, and living legend.

You don't get more trustworthy than the University of Washington, right? Nightmarish.

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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