Ian Murphy

Editor's note: The 2014 Sochi Olympic games are upon us, and that got our friend Ian Murphy thinking: What if America's worst political talking heads had their own sporting events?


To summarize this book in a word: sublimely-triumphant-funkalicious-masterpiece. The authors pleasantly demolish everything this reviewer thought he knew about books, fiction, nonfiction, what words mean -- the very nature of reality.

By Ian Murphy

The latest corporate bid for global hegemony is here.

It's called the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), a US-EU regulatory addition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), an international trade deal being negotiated in secret and rushed through the approval process without any congressional oversight.

Imagine, if you will, a technologically-superior alien force has killed thousands of Americans with flying robots. Peeved a bit? If Hollywood's horrible explosion movies have taught me anything, I bet Bill Pullman, Jeff Goldblum, Will Smith and the whole gritty-patriotic gang would be foaming mad and plotting some kind of contrived, computer-related revenge porn by now.

After being thoroughly punked by a modest genius posing as libertarian billionaire and tea party sugar-daddy David Koch, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker falls to his knees and prays.

Governor Scott Walker, the duly elected son of a preacher, has ruled Wisconsin with religious fervor.

He's successfully managed to compel the state's taxpayers to fund the religious education of students with vouchers -- 500 this year, 1,000 the next, most of whom were already attending private schools.

Walker's proudly signed a bill into law restricting the reproductive rights of women across the state -- though the provision requiring abortion providers to have ready access to surgery rooms has been temporarily struck down by a Seventh Circuit Court injunction.

At 11:18 a.m. CDT on Tuesday, State Senator Wendy Davis began her now-historic filibuster of S.B. 5, a proposed law that would've severely restrict women's reproductive rights in Texas.

Davis's heroic test of endurance was derailed at 10:30 p.m. by presiding officer Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, who claimed that her discussing a sonogram bill passed in 2011 wasn't relevant to the debate at hand.

Democrats naturally exploded.

Oscar-nominated documentary filmmakers Carl Deal and Tia Lessin set out to discover how the unlimited political spending codified by Citizen United v. The FEC is altering democracy on the state level. What they learned instead was a bitter lesson about censorship when PBS refused to air their new movie.

I gave 'em a call.

Murphy: What the hell happened?


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We need to improve the condition of workers this Thanksgiving weekend. Here's what you can do.


“Climate change isn’t an ‘issue’ to add to the list of things to worry about, next to healthcare and taxes,” Klein...

Real leaders need to lead a push back against the firestorm of fear about Muslims—not fan the flames.

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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