Stories by ruth conniff

Slider photo by John Premble

Photo by Tanner Cole — Wisconsin citizens testify on Wisconsin Assembly Bill 237 during its public committee debate on June 2.

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Scott Walker reads a Dr. Suess book to children

In a dramatic, late-night hearing on Tuesday, four outraged Democrats on the Joint Finance Committee confronted twelve impassive Republicans, demanding that they explain how the state, after making massive cuts to funding for public education over the last several years, could afford to pay private-school tuition for families who choose school vouchers.

Scott Walker continues to hold his lead in Iowa's GOP presidential caucus. How is he doing it?

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State Treasurer Matt Adamczyk and Tia Nelson

Earth Day turns 45 years old this week. Tia Nelson’s dad is rolling over in his grave.

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In the video announcing her run for president, Hillary Clinton declares, "Everyday Americans need a champion, and I want to be that champion.” To make that campaign slogan credible, Clinton needs to take a clear position defending public schools.

Stanley Kutler, the great Nixon historian, gadfly, and all-around mensch, has passed away.

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The threat of a nationwide boycott on the eve of the NCAA Final Four basketball tournament sent Republicans in Indiana scrambling to amend their anti-LGBT Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

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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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