Stories by ruth conniff

hoto of conference attendees on a bus tour of New Orleans' post-Katrina schools landscape.

As a New Orleans parent and an active member of my community, I think of myself as an expert on the experiment in education reform that tranformed my city into the nation's first all-charter school district. So when I attended a recent community-centered conference on “The New Orleans Model of Urban School Reform: A Guide or a Warning for Cities Across the Nation?” I wasn’t sure there’d be much for me to learn.

Straight Outa Compton hits theaters on August 14, during the ongoing state of emergency in Ferguson on the one-year anniversary of the shooting of Michael Brown. The timing is uncanny.

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Photo taken on July 1st at Bernie Sanders rally in Madison by Leslie Peterson. 

Bernie Sanders keeps breaking his own records, drawing bigger and bigger crowds in Madison, Wisconsin (10,000), Phoenix (11,000), Los Angeles (27,000), and Portland, Oregon (28,000). 

These are by far the largest turnouts any presidential candidate had seen in the run-up to the 2016 elections. 

Why the Florida education ‘miracle’ is hogwash

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The test-and-punish model marks a cultural shift away from the War on Poverty, and that should be a red flag for progressives.

Just as Donald Trump got a bump for “calling a spade a spade” with his racist attack on Mexican immigrants, Walker, in his announcement, was speaking to a strain of race-baiting in the white suburbs of Milwaukee that has played a significant role in his political rise.

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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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It always amazes me that climate deniers can still call global warming a hoax when looking at hotter temperatures,...

A memorial erected in recognition of the 73 passengers and 5 crew killed in the crash of Cubana Flight 455 in October, 6. 1976. Photo by BCF.

A memorial erected in recognition of the 73 passengers and 5 crew killed in the...

Proof Positive show host Dorian-Gray Alexander and WHIV Station Manager Andrew Ward. Photo by Andrew Stelzer.

“How do we continue to be the fun city we are but be more cautious about our health?”

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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