Stories by ruth conniff

By Ruth Conniff on May 21, 2015
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.

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By Ruth Conniff on May 09, 2015

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

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By Ruth Conniff on April 20, 2015
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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By Ruth Conniff on April 13, 2015

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.

By Ruth Conniff on April 08, 2015

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

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By Ruth Conniff on April 03, 2015

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 Ruth Conniff on March 25, 2015

Saving public education is shaping up to be a key issue in the 2016 Presidential campaign. Image credit: Rebecca Kemble

By Ruth Conniff on March 13, 2015

The fact that two groups of people, one black and one white, held separate protests of the powers that be in our city on separate issues this week says a lot about how fragmented our city is. Image credit: Rebecca Kemble

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By Ruth Conniff on March 11, 2015

Hillary Clinton came under fire last week after revelations that she used personal email for official business at the State Department.

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By Ruth Conniff on February 24, 2015

Certainly, Walker has tapped into a powerful current of resentment among strapped, non-union workers. He was re-elected on a promise to make teachers pay more for health care and pension benefits, and on an appeal to private sector workers that they if they lack the security unions provide, why should their neighbors be so lucky? Image credit: AP

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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...

Young student looks sadly at camera from classroom

Charter fans brag about their successes. They tell the starfish story. They will occasionally own that their...

Protestor sign: "Families have no borders"

More and more Republican presidential candidates, declared and undeclared, are entering the immigration reform...

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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