By Matthew Rothschild on June 05, 2013

By Matthew Rothschild

At 6 a.m. Wednesday, the Republican-dominated Joint Finance Committee of the Wisconsin state legislature inserted an odd provision into the budget bill. It boots the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Reporting off the University of Wisconsin campus.

The bill would “prohibit the Board of Regents from permitting the Center for Investigative Journalism to occupy any facilities owned or leased by the Board of Regents.” It also would “prohibit UW employees from doing any work related to the Center for Investigative Journalism as part of their duties as a UW employee.”

According to the center, it currently “operates in two small offices in Vilas Communication Hall — used by its four-member professional staff and four UW-Madison reporting interns — under a Facilities Use Agreement that requires the Center to provide paid internships, classroom collaborations, guest lectures and other educational services.”

The center’s executive director Andy Hall said he was “blindsided” by the move by Joint Finance. “Today I’m overwhelmed by messages of support from journalists and journalism educators, here and across the nation,” said Hall. “They’re concerned that the Joint Finance Committee’s action could have a ripple effect, limiting the public’s access to critical information that holds the government accountable, threatening the operations of other campus-based nonprofit journalism centers across the nation, and unreasonably restricting academic freedoms of educators to draw upon the best resources for educating students.” Here’s my speculation: The Republican legislators were retaliating against the center because of a blockbuster story by Bill Lueders, its “Money and Politics” project director. Among the fantastic stories Lueders has produced was the one he broke about State Supreme Court Justice David Prosser (a former Republican Speaker of the Assembly), who tried to choke fellow justice Ann Walsh Bradley. Are they that petty? I wouldn’t put it past them.

If you liked this story by Matthew Rothschild, the editor of The Progressive magazine, check out his story Stop the Trial of Bradley Manning.

Follow Matthew Rothschild @mattrothschild 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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