By Jim Hightower on January 13, 2014

Perhaps you thought the political world was finally safe from the dynamic duo of Ford & Radel. But no – heeeere they come, rushing back into the limelight!

Rob Ford, the explosive Mayor of Toronto, became a global punch line last fall when a video showed hizzoner smoking crack cocaine. Then came little blowups involving sexual harassment, a murder threat, knocking down a city councilwoman, and drunken rages. Yet, on January 2nd, Rob was back, filing for re-election and blurting out that, "My record speaks for itself."

Well, he's right about that!

Even less charming is Trey Radel, a first-term congress critter from Fort Myers, Florida. His chief accomplishment in Washington was getting arrested last October for trying to buy cocaine from an undercover cop. But rather than humbly stepping down, or even quieting down, Trey called a December press conference to announce that he's healed. Having completed a 28-day treatment program for addiction (though apparently not for narcissism), the former TV anchorman declared himself fit "to return to what I do, what you sent me to do in Washington."

Presumably, that does not include scuttling around back alleys seeking drugs and drink. Radel said that, thanks to God and family, he's a changed man. For one thing, while he still insists that poor families should be subjected to drug tests in order to get food stamps, he has slightly amended that Dickensian stance: "I think members of Congress should be tested as well," he said with a straight face.

So Radel wants poor people's food stamps automatically taken away if they're caught using drugs. But, a lawmaker who gets nabbed can keep drawing his $170,000-a-year government salary. Still, that doesn't make Radel a hypocrite, because, as Stephen Colbert points out, lawmakers don't get food stamps.

Listen to this commentary:

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Photo: "Vintage drug addict sniffing cocaine," via Shutterstock.

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I’m at my third American Exchange Legislative Council (ALEC) conference, this time in Dallas, and on my first day,...

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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