By Elizabeth DiNovella on September 25, 2012

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker woke up this morning still reeling from last night's Green Bay Packers loss to the Seattle Seahawks. He tweeted: After catching a few hours of sleep, the #Packers game is still just as painful.

For the nearly 47% of Wisconsinites that voted to recall the Gov, the irony of the union-busting governor calling for the end of the labor lockout was rich. Union referees are OK for the NFL, but union teachers are somehow not OK?

One of the biggest ironies is that the people who supported Scott Walker are the ones behind the lockout. His donations from sports figures came not from the athletes, but from current and former owners and team executives. Among them: Robert C. McNair ($10,000), Chairman and CEO of the Houston Texans; Michael J. Bidwell ($25,000), President of the Arizona Cardinals; and Patrick G. Ryan ($100,000), who owns -- quelle horreur -- 10% of the Chicago Bears.

Maybe Walker can personally call the owners and ask them to stand down. He could suggest that a divide and conquer strategy can have too high a price.

The other irony is that of all the teams to get royally screwed by the owners' heavy-handed labor management technique, it's Green Bay. The Packers don't even have an owner. The team is publicly owned.

Moreover, the team stood shoulder-to-shoulder with the Wisconsin workers last year. The amazing Charles Woodson, cornerback and one the Packers' elected representatives to the players union, released a powerful statement in February 2011. It read, in part:

"I was proud when many of my current and former teammates announced their support for the working families fighting for their rights in Wisconsin. Today I am honored to join with them. Thousands of dedicated Wisconsin public school workers provide vital services for Wisconsin citizens. They are the teachers, nurses, and child care workers who take care of us and our families. These hard working people are under an unprecedented attack to take away their basic wrights to have a voice and collectively bargain at work."

The 47% of Wisconsin hasn't forgotten this. Fans are calling for a protest at Lambeau Field next Sunday, September 30.

The main sticking point between the referees and the NFL owners are retirement benefits. The refs want to continue the traditional pensions, while the owners want to eliminate them and replace it with a 401(k) plan. This was one of the sticking points in the labor standoff between public sector unions and Governor Walker.

As outspoken Democratic state senator Lena Taylor tweeted, it's nice to see Governor Walker come around on unions. Sad it took a Packers loss to do the trick.

If you liked this story by Elizabeth DiNovella, the Culture Editor of The Progressive magazine, check out her story "Dark Money's Dark Role in Wisconsin Races."

Follow Elizabeth DiNovella @lizdinovella on Twitter.


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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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