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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Deep in the heart of Texas, in the very center of what public-school advocate Diane Ravitch called the "education-industrial complex," public-school activists from every corner of the United States met last weekend to launch a nationwide movement to defend public education against corporate takeover and phony, test-driven "reform."

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The Wisconsin Supreme Court heard arguments this week on a controversial new voter I.D. law supported by Governor Scott Walker.

Governor Scott Walker has repeatedly denied knowing about the illegal campaign work going on while he was County Executive of Milwaukee. But the emails released on Wednesday by a court of appeals show that those denials don't hold up.

Thousands of pages of documents released by an appeals court in Madison, Wisconsin, today clearly show that Scott Walker was at the center of a campaign operation that led to 15 felony convictions and three misdemeanors for six of his closest staff and associates.

Today a court of appeals in Madison, Wisconsin, will release thousands of previously sealed emails that belong to convicted felon and former Scott Walker aide Kelly Rindfleisch.

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.

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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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