Stories by rebecca kemble

By Rebecca Kemble on March 29, 2013

If budgets reflect values, then Governor Scott Walker's proposed 2013-2015 budget is proof that Wisconsin has regressed back to the days of the robber barons and the paternalistic values of the Victorian era in which they accumulated their wealth.

Merriam-Webster defines robber baron as, "an American capitalist of the latter part of the 19th century who became wealthy through exploitation (as of natural resources, governmental influence, or low wage scales)."



By Rebecca Kemble on March 12, 2013

Two years ago on March 11, 2011, Scott Walker signed into law one of the most explosive pieces of legislation in Wisconsin history: Act 10, the massive budget repair bill that did away with all meaningful collective bargaining rights for public sector workers.

That same day a small group of social justice activists decided to maintain their opposition to Walker's regressive policies by singing protest songs in the Capitol rotunda over the noon hour. Armed with photocopied songbooks containing ten songs, they took to the rotunda and sang for an hour, singing each song twice.


By Rebecca Kemble on March 05, 2013

The passage of Wisconsin's massive mining deregulation bill is a stunning example of the massive influence that private corporations have come to enjoy in Wisconsin state government under the reign of Scott Walker and the Republican-dominated legislature since 2010. Despite overwhelming opposition from scientists, conservationists, hunters, fishers, local government officials, Native Sovereign Nations, and the general public, the measure passed the senate last week on a 17-16 vote and is likely to pass by a larger margin in the Assembly this Thursday.


By Rebecca Kemble on February 25, 2013

Last Wednesday Scott Walker gave his biennial budget address to a joint session of the Wisconsin State Legislature. Walker's office strategically released portions of the 2013-2015 plan over the previous two weeks, so the general scope and content of the budget did not come as a surprise on Wednesday night. However, the extreme ideological tone of the event breached the boundaries of credulity for any listener not completely indoctrinated by the free market spin.



By Rebecca Kemble on February 19, 2013

Yesterday a group of families of kids with disabilities called Stop Special Needs Vouchers held a press event at the Wisconsin State Capitol to express their concerns about Governor Walker's proposal to add $21 million to the next budget for special needs vouchers. Following the event they walked over to Walker's office and delivered a letter to him requesting him to remove special needs vouchers from the budget.



By Rebecca Kemble on February 12, 2013

The struggle to maintain Wisconsin's capitol rotunda as a public forum for free political speech is being taken to the next level by a University of Wisconsin professor and the Wisconsin ACLU. Yesterday attorneys Larry Dupuis of the ACLU and Steven Porter filed a lawsuit in federal court on behalf of Michael Kissick against Wisconsin Department of Administration Secretary Mike Huebsch and Capitol Police Chief David Erwin.


By Rebecca Kemble on February 07, 2013

Yesterday Wisconsin lawmakers passed a controversial mining deregulation bill out of two committees. Assembly and Senate mining committees were scheduled to meet at the same time on opposite sides of the state Capitol building. Both Republican-dominated committees passed the bill on party-line votes over strenuous objections of Democrats.


By Rebecca Kemble on September 22, 2012

Now that unions have been so profoundly disempowered, there is no force countering the seemingly inevitable plunge of public education into the ranks of commoditized public goods to be bought and sold on the market.


By Rebecca Kemble on September 15, 2012

The new police chief uses dubious arrests plus PR BS to close down the open, democratic space of the state capitol.


By Rebecca Kemble on September 11, 2012

About 150 people showed up at the Madison Capitol rotunda today for the Solidarity Sing Along after news of the Capitol Police delivering citations to people’s homes spread last night.




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The problem is that Walker's simplistic childhood memories of Reagan don't come close to getting it right. Scott...

Activists hold sign supporting Net Neutrality

That’s right. We won. Image credit: dontblockmyinternet (Flickr)

New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo recently vowed “to break” the “monopoly” of public education

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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