Ruth Conniff

Ruth Conniff is the Editor of the Progressive Magazine. A native of Madison, WIsconsin, she first joined the magazine when she was hired as a summer intern by the late Erwin Knoll after her sophomore year at Yale. Shortly after graduating from college in 1990, she came to work as Associate Editor for the Progressive, becoming Washington Editor and opening the Progressive's Washington, DC, office in 1997. During the 1990s, Conniff covered welfare reform in Wisconsin and around the country, as well as the drug war in Colombia, and other topics, including women's sports (an avid runner, Conniff coached her old high school track and cross-country teams at Madison East High School for many years).
In Washington, Conniff became a regular on TV pundit shows on CNN, Fox News, and PBS. She still appears frequently on PBS's To The Contrary and on the Ed Schultz Show on MSNBC.
Conniff was the recipient of an "Editor's Choice" award from Madison Magazine for her coverage of the Wisconsin Uprising in 2011. Her Progressive Magazine feature story on school privatization is a chapter in the book "It Happened in Wisconsin" recently published by Verso.
Today Conniff lives in Madison with her husband and three daughters, who marched on the Capitol with their teachers from the Madison Public Schools.
From The Progressive's Rally - Ruth Conniff
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The national treasurer for the American Legislative Exchange Counsel (ALEC), state senator Leah Vukmir of Wisconsin, had been evading process servers for weeks, with the help of her staff.

The process servers, hired by a public interest group bringing a lawsuit against Vukmir to try to get her to cough up information about her ALEC dealings, had tried to contact the senator again and again.


First, there is De Blasio's victory in the New York mayoral primary.

An afro-wearing John Stewart captured New Yorkers' excitement over the De Blasio win:

But the afro and the De Blasio family's sheer cuteness is the least of it.

De Blasio, New York's public advocate, was repeatedly discounted as too liberal for Bloomberg's New York.


Last week I wrote a column in Madison's alternative weekly, Isthmus about a new kid in town. The piece has generated a ton of traffic and a lot of chatter locally, as I figured it would.

Tim Slekar recently moved to Madison from Pennsylvania to take a job as dean of the education school at Edgewood College.

This morning I started my day standing out in the driveway with my neighbors and their kids, waiting for the school bus to come on the first day of school.

Everyone was happy and excited -- buzzing with that first-day energy we all remember from being kids.

New sneakers, new school supplies, first-day-of-school outfits, pictures at the bus stop ... what could be more cozy, familiar, Norman-Rockwellish?

Who would have imagined that a network of rightwing and corporate interests would rollout a coordinated attack on our neighborhood schools?


A fundamental struggle for democracy is going on behind the scenes in statehouses around the country, as a handful of wealthy individuals and foundations pour money into efforts to privatize the public schools. So far, the “school choice” movement has succeeded in setting the terms of the debate.

As Scott Walker gets ready to host the National Governors Association meeting in Milwaukee this weekend, he set off a media storm with a preview of his speech that invoked FDR to justify attacks on public employee unions.


The rightwing argument that public employees bankrupted Detroit is incredible on its face. But it is part of an ominous national push to raid pensions, give away tax dollars to corporations, and impose austerity on regular working people.


Wisconsinites cringed when we read the news this week about Governor Scott Walker, who took a break from leading our state steadily to the bottom of the nation in job-creation and wage growth to share his wisdom in a keynote speech to the annual GOP dinner in Indiana.

A conservative duo who blog as "Chicks on the Right" were smitten with Walker. "In short, he was awesomesauce," they gushed.

State representative Chris Taylor was sitting outside on a beautiful summer afternoon, meeting constituents at the UW-Madison's Memorial Union Terrace overlooking Lake Mendota.

Taylor, a rising star in the state Democratic party and former public policy director for Planned Parenthood Advocates of Wisconsin, led the charge against Governor Scott Walker's forced ultrasound bill in the state legislature. (The bill, which Walker signed into law over the Fourth of July weekend, is on hold after a judge's order in response to a lawsuit filed by Planned Parenthood and the ACLU.)

Check out this video.

The National Immigration Justice Center is circulating a petition calling for immigration reform that respects human rights.


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It's what Trump says he and Sanders have in common.

It's an attack crew backfire!

Can Sanders' campaign connect the dots on racial justice and economic inequality?

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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