Rebecca Kemble

By Rebecca Kemble on July 01, 2013

Scott Walker signed Wisconsin's 2013-2015 biennial budget in a warehouse in the far southeast corner of the state on Sunday afternoon. His choice of venue, Catalyst, Inc., a company that makes trade-show display items, could not have been more appropriate.

Even though the nearly 1,400-page bill had already passed both houses of the legislature, Walker still sounded like a salesman pitching his policy wares to potential corporate buyers. Indeed, the second half of his talk seemed to be directed at potential funders for a much-rumored 2016 presidential campaign.

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By Contributor on June 21, 2013

Despite the dramatic move by Assembly Democrats in the Wisconsin State Legislature earlier this week to refuse to debate the state's 2013-2015 budget bill, the State Senate passed the measure early morning Friday after they were called into a midnight session. Asserting that the Republican-dominated Assembly had a track record of tabling every amendment they propose, Assembly Democrats figured their time would be better spent in their districts talking directly to constituents and urging them to convince a few Republican senators who had voiced serious concerns with the plan to vote no.

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By Rebecca Kemble on June 12, 2013

It was the worst abuse of power in more than 50 years, says the longest-serving state senator.

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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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