A Public Affair


John Quinlan

John Quinlan


Carousel Bayrd

Carousel Bayrd


Karma Chavez and Tim Hansel

Karma Chavez & Tim Hansel


Allen Ruff

Allen Ruff


Esty Dinur

Esty Dinur

A Public Affair is WORT‘s daily hour-long talk program. It aims to engage listeners in a conversation on social, cultural, and political issues of importance. The guests range from local activists and scholars to notable national and international figures.

Join the conversation!

Listeners may call in and ask questions of the guests. Callers are asked to pose a question relevant to the subject at hand and refrain from calling more than once per week. You can join us on social media as well!

For booking questions

Please contact Molly Stentz at (608) 256-2001 or newsflash@wort-fm.org.


Split Show: Pre-Election Coverage and Preview of the Upcoming WI Book Festival

11/5/12 12:05 PM | A Public Affair

WI book fest On Monday November 5th, host John Quinlan spoke with WORT News Coordinator Molly Stentz and Culture Editor of The Progressive Magazine Elizabeth DiNovella about President Obama’s visit to Madison during a tour of final campaign stops before Tuesday’s election. They also discussed voting and the possible outcomes of the Presidential election. In the second half of the program, John spoke to Alison Jonse Chaim and Megan Katz, Director and Managing Director of the Wisconsin Book Festival, about the upcoming events and literary festivities.     President Obama returned to our hometown Madison, Wisconsin for a final campaign rally. Bruce Springsteen joined him for a final burst of enthusiasm and a musical introduction aimed at bringing voters to the polls. Over 18,000 people attended stretching from Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. to the steps of the Capitol. Retiring Wisconsin Senator Herb Kohl and Democratic candidate Tammy Baldwin also spoke at the event.   According to the WI Book Festival Website, “The Wisconsin Book Festival is a free, five-day program of public events that takes place every Fall in downtown Madison. It is the state’s largest literary festival, drawing thousands of attendees annually. Since its inception in 2002, the Wisconsin Book Festival has been a showcase for literary talent from across the state of Wisconsin and beyond. It is a forum for people to come together and sit face to face and side by side, to talk and listen, whisper, laugh, cry, sing, sign, write notes, tell jokes, and give voice to their ideas.”       Learn more about Obama’s trip to Madison: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/chi-thousands-line-up-to-see-obama-in-madison-20121105,0,6384029.story Read more about the Wisconsin Book Festival: http://www.wisconsinbookfestival.org/overview Listen to the entire show:

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Hurricane Sandy

11/2/12 12:05 PM | A Public Affair

hurricane On Friday November 2nd, host Esty Dinur spoke with Dr. Wesler Lambert live from Haiti, a country devastated by the impact of hurricane Sandy. Dr. Lambert is Director of Monitoring and Evaluation for Zanmi Lasante, Partners In Health’s flagship project in Haiti. On the second half of the show, Esty spoke with University of Wisconsin Senior Researcher Chris Velden about charting the path of hurricane Sandy and the possible impact of global climate change in the creation of super storms.                                               The BBC reported on the horrific impact of Sandy in Haiti: “There are fears of food shortages after the hurricane, which hit on 24 October, damaged many crops in southern Haiti. Aid workers and officials are also on alert for an increase in cholera cases in the wake of widespread flooding. More than 50 people were killed in Haiti, which is still struggling to recover from the 2010 earthquake. Thousands of people are still living in makeshift shelters more than two years on from the devastating quake. The office of Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe made the renewed appeal for help on Sunday. There is concern that unsanitary conditions could led to an increase in cholera cases. More than 7,500 people have died in the cholera epidemic in Haiti since late 2010. Hundreds of new cases are still being registered every week.” Through speaking with Dr. Lambert and Senior Researcher Chris Velden, Esty attempted to gain a greater understanding of both the human and environmental impacts of super storm Sandy. To read more about the efforts of Partners in Health in Haiti: http://www.pih.org/pages/haiti Read more about how Chris Velden and other UW Scientists tracked hurricane Sandy’s path: http://www.news.wisc.edu/21215 Listen to the entire show:

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American Indian Heritage Month

11/1/12 12:05 PM | A Public Affair

Native American Heritage Month November is American Indian Heritage Month, and on this, the first day of November, Karma Chavez interviewed Julie Bacon, a very interesting scholar of indigenous peoples of the Americas and activist from Eugene, Oregon, who looks at environmental studies from an anti-racist, feminist, queer indigenous perspective. Originally from the state of Massachusetts, Julie Bacon has lived a nomadic life and traveled to all 48 continental US states. She eventually left the road to attend the Community College of Rhode Island, where she focused on photography and literature. She later earned my B.A. in English from Rhode Island College and my M.A. in English from Oregon State University. At the University of Oregon her primary areas of research are indigenous ecologies, cross-cultural environmental justice coalitions, and the way these subjects are covered and created through traditional and new media public discourses. Currently, she is especially interested in the experiences of “non-status”, “unrecognized”, or partially “recognized” indigenous people such as the Winnemem Wintu, Ohlone and many others who struggle for protection of traditional relationships, resources and identity. Read more about Julie Bacon: http://envs.uoregon.edu/people/doctoralstudents/ Listen to the entire interview:

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‘Islam’ Means Peace: Understanding the Muslim Principle of Nonviolence Today

10/31/12 12:05 PM | A Public Affair

Amitabh On Wednesday October 31st, John Quinlan subbing for Tonya Brito interviewed Amitabh Pal about his recent book, “‘Islam’ Means Peace: Understanding the Muslim Principle of Nonviolence Today.” Amitabh Pal is the editor of The Progressive magazine and co-editor of The Progressive Media Project. As part of his work with The Progressive, he has had the opportunity to speak with many brilliant minds including Jimmy Carter, Mikhail Gorbachev, the Dalai Lama, and Joseph Stiglitz. His work has been used in school and college textbooks and he has appeared on the BBC, C-SPAN and on several radio stations. Pal holds a master’s degree in journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a master’s degree in political science, specializing in international relations and comparative relations, from North Carolina State University. Pal will be featured at this year’s Wisconsin Book Festival (November 7-11). He will be speaking at the series “Being Muslim: Living and Learning,” on Wednesday November 7th in the Promenade Hall at the Overture Center for the Arts.  ”‘Islam’ Means Peace: Understanding the Muslim Principle of Nonviolence Today provides a rebuttal to general misperceptions about the religion by documenting its rich tradition of nonviolence. To that end, the book examines the sources of Islam—the Qur’an, the main religious text of Islam, and the Hadith, the deeds and sayings of the Prophet Muhammad. It contests the prevalent notion that Islam is built on violence in part by illuminating the role of the tolerant, mystical tradition of Sufism in Islam, while at the same time examining the misunderstood place of jihad in the religion. The book is not, however, a historical or theological treatise. Rather, it focuses on the tradition of nonviolence in modern Muslim societies. By spotlighting recent peaceful protest movements in Muslim communities, the book underscores the truly global and multicultural nature of the Islamic tradition of nonviolence. The findings here will be invaluable for Muslims and non-Muslims alike, revealing an alternative tradition both can embrace.” Read more about the book:  http://www.amazon.com/Islam-Means-Peace-Understanding-Nonviolence/dp/0313382905 Learn more about the Wisconsin Book Festival: http://www.wisconsinbookfestival.org/presenting-authors?author_id=1677 Listen to the entire show:

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“Digital Dead End: Fighting for Social Justice in the Information Age”

10/30/12 12:05 PM | A Public Affair

Digital Dead End On Tuesday October 30th, host Cynthia Lin spoke with Virginia Eubanks in the Studio about her new book, “Digital Dead End: Fighting for Social Justice in the Information Age.” Virginia Eubanks was at the Rainbow Bookstore Cooperative on Tuesday, October 30th at 6 pm to promote the paperback release of her book, Digital Dead End: Fighting for Social Justice in the Information Age, which comes out on October 19th. Digital Dead End exposes the realities of the high-tech global economy for women and families in the United States. “The idea that technology will pave the road to prosperity has been promoted through both boom and bust. Today we are told that universal broadband access, high-tech jobs, and cutting-edge science will pull us out of our current economic downturn and move us toward social and economic equality. In Digital Dead End, Virginia Eubanks argues that to believe this is to engage in a kind of magical thinking: a technological utopia will come about simply because we want it to. This vision of the miraculous power of high-tech development is driven by flawed assumptions about race, class, and gender. The realities of the information age are more complicated, particularly for poor and working-class women and families. For them, information technology can be both a tool of liberation and a means of oppression. But despite the inequities of the high-tech global economy, optimism and innovation flourished when Eubanks worked with a community of resourceful women living at her local YWCA. Eubanks describes a new approach to creating a broadly inclusive and empowering “technology for people,” popular technology, which entails shifting the focus from teaching technical skill to nurturing critical technological citizenship, building resources for learning, and fostering social movement.” – MIT Press Read more about “Digital Dead End: Fighting for Social Justice in the Information Age:” http://www.amazon.com/Digital-Dead-End-Fighting-Information/dp/026201498X Listen to the entire program:

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The University of Wisconsin Human Resources Strategic Plan

10/29/12 12:05 PM | A Public Affair

Bascom On Monday October 29th, host John Quinlan provided an alternate perspective to the University of Wisconsin Human Resources Strategic Plan. Having already aired programs addressing the concerns and critiques of different groups regarding the HR restructuring, John decided to go to the source and interview Bob LaVigna, Director of Human Resources at the UW-Madison, to better understand the reasons behind the changes being made. John also spoke with Mark Walters and Harry Webne-Behrman from the UW HR Department. The University of Wisconsin Interim Chancellor David Ward stated of the plan: The HR Design project represents an unprecedented effort involving OHR, campus governance groups, labor organizations and other university stakeholders to redefine the university’s approach to human resources. We recognize the project’s strong commitment to participation and dialogue as central to creating an HR system tailored to our values, culture and organization… Eleven groups of employees—representing governance groups, labor organizations, administration, classified staff, HR practitioners and other stakeholders—came together in spring semester 2012 to analyze the full range of human resources practices on our campus and to make recommendations for improvement. Their commitment and hard work, supported by the project’s Collaboration, Change Management, Communication and Data Analysis teams, formed the core of this plan. We thank them for their effort, positive spirit and courage in tackling complex and sometimes controversial topics. We also thank the thousands of people from all segments of our campus community who participated in the process and shared their perspectives. The opportunities and initiatives presented in the plan are ambitious and will require changes to our policies, processes, technology and, in some cases, our culture. Many details remain to be clarified, but this document provides a trajectory for improvement. We look forward to ongoing engagement with campus on these important topics. Although many at the University are optimistic about the new HR restructuring, many have significant concerns. During this hour of A Public Affair, callers were able to ask the head of the HR Department himself about the benefits and drawbacks of the changes being made. To view the new plan: http://hrdesign.wisc.edu/content/uploads/2012/11/HRD-Plan-Revised-11-19-2012-.pdf Listen to the entire program:

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The Wars of Watergate

10/26/12 12:05 PM | A Public Affair

Kutler_Stanley_port11_8188 On Friday October 26th, host Esty Dinur interviewed author and historian Stanley Kutler about the reprinting of his book, “The Wars of Watergate: The Last Crisis of Nixon.” Kutler will be featured at this year’s Wisconsin Book Festival (November 7-11). He will be speaking at the series “American History In Brief and In-Depth” at 7:30 PM on Wednesday November 7th at the Overture Center for the Arts. Stanley Kutler is the E. Gordon Fox Professor of American Institutions at the University of Wisconsin Madison. He is the editor of The Encyclopedia of Twentieth Century American History, the historical advisor for the Emmy-winning television documentary Watergate, and the founding editor of Reviews in American History. Leonard Bushkoff of the Christian Science Monitor stated about this seminal work: “It is balance, breadth of vision, documentary research, historical context, and insight that Kutler provides—lucidly, gracefully, and far better than anyone before him. . . . This book should be regarded as the definitive reply to Nixon’s attempts at rehabilitation. . . . [It] is about ethics, ends and means, and the dangers of an imperial presidency. . . . The republic owes Kutler a reward. It need not be elaborate: Americans need only to read him—and take his book seriously.” Read more about “The Wars of Watergate:” http://books.wwnorton.com/books/978-0-393-30827-3/ Read more about the Wisconsin Book Festival: http://www.wisconsinbookfestival.org/bookcovers         Listen to the entire program:

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The Politics of Voter Suppression: Defending and Expanding Americans’ Right to Vote

10/25/12 12:05 PM | A Public Affair

politics-of-voter-sup-198x300 On Thursday October 25th, Norm Stockwell subbing for Allen Ruff interviewed Tova Andrea Wang about her recent book, “The Politics of Voter Suppression: Defending and Expanding Americans’ Right to Vote.” Wang is a renowned expert on election reform and political participation in the United States and around the world. She is a Fellow at The Century Foundation and a consultant to numerous organizations which promote democracy such as the National Democratic Institute and The Carter Center. “The Politics of Voter Suppression arrives in time to assess actual practices at the polls this fall and to reengage with debates about voter suppression tactics such as requiring specific forms of identification. Tova Andrea Wang examines the history of how U.S. election reforms have been manipulated for partisan advantage and establishes a new framework for analyzing current laws and policies. The tactics that have been employed to suppress voting in recent elections are not novel, she finds, but rather build upon the strategies used by a variety of actors going back nearly a century and a half. This continuity, along with the shift to a Republican domination of voter suppression efforts for the past fifty years, should inform what we think about reform policy today. Wang argues that activities that suppress voting are almost always illegitimate, while reforms that increase participation are nearly always legitimate. In short, use and abuse of election laws and policies to suppress votes has obvious detrimental impacts on democracy itself. Such activities are also harmful because of their direct impacts on actual election outcomes. Wang regards as beneficial any legal effort to increase the number of Americans involved in the electoral system. This includes efforts that are focused on improving voter turnout among certain populations typically regarded as supporting one party, as long as the methods and means for boosting participation are open to all. Wang identifies and describes a number of specific legitimate and positive reforms that will increase voter turnout.” -The Century Foundation Read more about Tova Wang and The Century Foundation: http://tcf.org/about/fellows/tova-andrea-wang Listen to the entire interview:

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City and County Budgets

10/24/12 12:05 PM | A Public Affair

Brenda On Wednesday October 24th, host Brenda Konkel interviewed Alder Marsha A. Rummel and Sharon Corrigan, District 26 Supervisor and Personnel and Finance Committee Chair. Brenda and the guests discussed the City and County Budgets. This was Brenda’s last show as a permanent host of A Public Affair.       Read more about Alder Marsha A. Rummel: http://www.cityofmadison.com/council/district/?district=6 Read more about Sharon Corrigan, District 26 Supervisor: http://www.countyofdane.com/board/supervisor.aspx?district=26 Read more about the city of Madison Budget: http://www.cityofmadison.com/budgetProcess/about.cfm         Listen to the entire show:

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“Coming of Age on Zoloft: How Antidepressants Cheered Us Up, Let Us Down, and Changed Who We Are”

10/23/12 12:05 PM | A Public Affair

Zoloft On Tuesday October 23rd, Anjuli Brekke, subbing for Cynthia Lin, spent the hour exploring the experience of taking antidepressants, medication which has greatly altered our generation’s perception of depression and mental illness. Her guest for the hour was Katherine Sharpe, author of the book “Coming of Age on Zoloft: How Antidepressants Cheered Us Up, Let Us Down, and Changed Who We Are.” She has a master’s degree in literature from Cornell University and her writings have appeared in the Washington Post, The Village Voice, Scientific American Mind, and a number of other publications. “When Katherine Sharpe arrived at her college health center with an age-old complaint—a bad case of homesickness—she received a thoroughly modern response: a twenty-minute appointment and a prescription for Zoloft—a drug she would take for the next ten years. Her story isn’t remarkable except for its staggering ubiquity. When Prozac was introduced in 1987, taking psychiatric medication was a fringe phenomenon. Twenty-five years later, 10 percent of Americans over the age of six use an SSRI antidepressant. Sharpe and her peers constitute the first generation to have literally grown up taking psychiatric drugs. In Coming of Age on Zoloft, Sharpe blends deeply personal writing, thoughtful interviews, and historical context to achieve an unprecedented portrait of the antidepressant generation. She explores questions of identity that arise for people who start using consciousness-altering medication before they have formed an adult sense of self. She asks why some individuals find a diagnosis of depression comforting, while others are threatened by it. She presents, in young people’s own words, their intimate and complicated relationships with their medication. And she weighs the cultural implications of America’s biomedical approach to moods.” – Harper Collins Publishers Read more about Katherine Sharpe’s book: http://www.katherinesharpe.com/coming-of-age-on-zoloft/ Listen to the entire interview:

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A Public Affair
A Public Affair
News & Culture
Weekdays @ Noon
John Quinlan, Carousel Bayrd, Tim Hansel, Karma Chavez, Allen Ruff, & Esty Dinur
A Public Affair is WORT's daily hour-long talk program. It aims to engage listeners in a conversation on social, cultural, and political issues of importance. The guests range from local activists and scholars to notable national and international figures.

rev. 52M