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!

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


Racial Justice Summit

10/8/12 12:05 PM | A Public Affair

melissa-harris-perry-1 On Monday October 8th, host John Quinlan spoke with special guest Julia Freeman, Senior Organizer for Racial Justice Organizing at the Minneapolis-based Organizing Apprenticeship Project (OAP), about Racial Justice and Labor Organizing. She has worked as a labor organizer for over 12 years, most recently as organizing director for SEIU Local 26. She has a long history of involvement and leadership in community organizing efforts, and will be a leader in the YWCA’s Racial Justice Summit, which runs from October 15-16 at the Monona Terrace. “Each year, the YWCA Madison hosts a racial justice summit that brings together community stakeholders to work on eliminating barriers that foster racism in our community. The Summit focuses on institutional racism and involves nationally-known keynote speakers and researchers, as well as local experts and advocates. Through an environment that encourages learning from and supporting each other in our common goals, the summit provides a platform for action planning and community dialogue.” – YWCA Madison   The YWCA generously donated two tickets to see the Keynote Speaker, Melissa Harris-Perry, as a pledge premium for the WORT Fall Pledge Drive.   “Melissa V. Harris-Perry is host of MSNBC’s show: “Melissa Harris-Perry.” Ms. Harris-Perry is also professor of political science at Tulane University, where she is founding director of the Anna Julia Cooper Project on Gender, Race, and Politics in the South. She previously served on the faculties of the University of Chicago and Princeton University. Professor Harris-Perry is author of the well received new book, Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America which argues that persistent harmful stereotypes—invisible to many but painfully familiar to black women—profoundly shape black women’s politics, contribute to policies that treat them unfairly, and make it difficult for black women to assert their rights in the political arena. Her first book, Barbershops, Bibles, and BET: Everyday Talk and Black Political Thought, won the 2005 W. E. B. Du Bois Book Award from the National Conference of Black Political Scientists and 2005 Best Book Award from the Race and Ethnic Politics Section of the American Political Science Association.” -YWCA Madison Read more about the Racial Justice Summit: http://www.ywcamadison.org/site/c.cuIWLiO0JqI8E/b.7968027/k.6F09/Racial_Justice_Summit.htm Listen to the entire interview:

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“Eternal Hostility: The Struggle Between Theocracy and Democracy”

10/5/12 12:05 PM | A Public Affair

Frederick Clarckson On Friday October 5th, host Esty Dinur spoke with author and senior fellow at Political Research Associates Frederick Clarkson about the role of the Christian right in American elections and American politics. Clarkson wrote the book “Eternal Hostility: The Struggle Between Theocracy and Democracy” and is editor of Dispatches from the Religious Left: The Future of Faith and Politics in America. Clarkson has been researching and adding his expertise to the realm of politics and religion for more than 30 years. He recently stated, “This past weekend, Christian Right leaders including Pat Robertson, and Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, staged a mediagenic rally in Philadelphia for more theocratic governance. Against the backdrop of Independence Hall, top leaders of the Christian Right urged some 10,000 ralliers and untold numbers globally on the GOD TV network, to work and pray for unambiguously political outcomes regarding marriage, reproductive rights, and separation of church and state. Rev. Samuel Rodriguez gave a version of his demagogic speech in which he declared that America will not be saved by the GOP elephant or the Democratic donkey but only by ‘the agenda of the Lamb who sitteth on the throne.’ Rev. Rick Scarborough of the Texas-based Vision America said that people should pray for government officials and the members of the Supreme Court. But if they fail to follow God’s will, then they should pray for God to ‘remove them.’ Pat Robertson said: ‘I don’t care what the ACLU says or any atheist says, this nation belongs to Jesus!’ The leaders of America for Jesus protested before during, and after the rally that it was an apolitical event. But they really doth protest too much. In a pre-rally interview with Charisma magazine Rodriguez said that Christians need to abandon political ideology and hold to a ‘biblical worldview and go biblical about it.’ But of course, going biblical does not necessarily mean going apolitical. One of the rally’s purposes was to launch a fast campaign called ’40 Days to Save America’ led by top Christian Right political figures, including Perkins, Rodriguez and Scarborough. The fast ends on Election Day. Hardly a coincidence. The Christian nationalism was as open as the raw religious supremacism and unambiguous political purposes of the event.” Read more about Frederick Clarkson’s work at his website: http://www.frederickclarkson.com/ Listen to the entire interview:

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MEK Still Isn’t OK

10/4/12 12:05 PM | A Public Affair

Jeremiah Goulka On Thursday October 4th, Allen Ruff spoke with Jeremiah Goulka about the State Department’s decision to remove the Mujahedin-e Khalg (MEK) from its “terrorist organizations list”. Goulka recently wrote regarding the the status of the MEK, ” The State Department may have satisfied a court-imposed deadline and could help the group’s members escape their current stateless limbo, but the decision will enable the MEK to put more effort into pushing the United States toward war with Iran in its campaign to become the new government in Tehran. The court’s deadline comes from a lawsuit brought by the MEK arguing that its designation as a foreign terrorist organization (FTO)—which it has held since 1997—is no longer appropriate because it claims to have abandoned violence in 2002; in 2003, when its members in Iraq were disarmed by the U.S. military, the group signed documents promising to use only peaceful means of protest to advocate for its goals. In June, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit gave Secretary of State Hillary Clinton until October 1 to decide whether the group still belonged on the list or the court would delist the group. Whether the MEK still belongs on the FTO list presents a legal question. If it has abandoned violence—including the capability and intent to commit terrorism—then perhaps it’s earned removal. The group’s many critics point to rumors that the MEK has been collaborating with the American and Israeli militaries and intelligence services. But the FTO statute counts only terrorism or terrorist activity that “threatens the security of United States nationals or the national security of the United States”; even if unsubstantiated rumors about MEK’s collaboration with the U.S. military are true, they would not qualify the MEK for FTO status under the statute. This highlights the problem: The law as written gives a pass to groups whose activities are viewed as useful to the United States, just as it could fail to apply to unsavory groups that do not pose a danger to the country.” Goulka explained to WORT listeners the negative impact of taking the MEK off the terrorist list, and how this decision will almost certainly further the erosion of relations between Iran and the United States. To read Goulka’s article in its entirety: http://prospect.org/article/mek-still-isnt-ok To listen to the entire interview:

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Writing with Scissors: American Scrapbooks from the Civil War to the Harlem Renaissance

10/3/12 12:05 PM | A Public Affair

WritingwithScissorscover On Wednesday October 3rd, host Tonya Brito spoke with author Ellen Gruber Garvey about her book “Writing with Scissors: American Scrapbooks from the Civil War to the Harlem Renaissance.” “What did ordinary Americans such as farmers and janitors have in common with extraordinary ones like Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass, Mark Twain, and Susan B. Anthony? In this fascinating cultural history, Ellen Gruber Garvey explores how Americans from all walks of life created scrapbooks to document, share, critique, and participate in a rapidly changing world of information overload. Featuring over sixty rare and hard-to-find illustrations, Writing with Scissors reveals how people have had an interactive relationship with the media since long before the Internet era. Writing with Scissors is a window into the reading of the 99 percent of the nineteenth century. It reveals a previously unexplored layer of American popular culture, where the proliferating cheap press touched the lives of activists and mourning parents, and all who yearned for a place in history. Scrapbook makers documented their feelings about momentous public events such as living through the Civil War, mediated through the newspapers. African Americans and women’s rights activists collected, concentrated, and critiqued accounts from a press that they did not control to create “unwritten histories” in books they wrote with scissors. Whether scrapbook makers pasted their clippings into blank books, sermon collections, or the pre-gummed scrapbook that Mark Twain invented, they claimed ownership of their reading. They created their own democratic archives.” -Oxford University Press To read more about Writing with Scissors: http://www.amazon.com/Writing-Scissors-American-Scrapbooks-Renaissance/dp/0199927693 To listen to the entire interview:

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We Want Green, Too

10/2/12 12:05 PM | A Public Affair

gloria_lowe On Tuesday October 2nd, host Cynthia Lin spoke with Gloria Lowe, a former auto-plant worker from Detroit who decided to found a movement with the intention of reclaiming and revamping the city she loves. Speaking with WBEZ in Chicago, she proclaimed: “I’m founder of “We Want Green, Too.” Our mission is to re-educate, retrain and rebuild a 21st century, sustainable Detroit. We are looking to construct various teams in the basic skills: dry walling, painting, floor repair. Right now we’re working out of shelters and the Detroit Veterans Administration building, a connection we have with homeless vets. We work with young people who are underemployed, people who have overcome their substance abuse, as well as those who have been incarcerated. We have very good housing stock in the city. And these houses, many of them date back to the early 1900s and late 1800s, it would cost you a fortune to try and build a house today with the same quality of material. So we know that the greenest house is the house that’s already there. All you do is take the time to rebuild it. Every house in Detroit has a foundation. So where you have people who are challenged, they don’t have jobs. Why not make their jobs restructuring their own communities?I don’t think that prior to my accident I would have understood the value of working from our hearts through our minds, through our hands. What it does in terms of helping to recreate a humanity that’s been taken away from us. The work I’m doing now, it’s phenomenal. There’s not a price tag I could hang on it. And I know that ‘cause I’ve been on the other side.”   To read more about Gloria Lowe: http://www.wbez.org/story/after-accident-woman-reinvents-work-herself-and-her-community-94293 Listen to the entire interview:

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The Odyssey Project

10/1/12 12:05 PM | A Public Affair

Screen_shot_2012-09-30_at_3.42.14_PM On Monday October 1st, the week that marks the 10th anniversary of the UW-Madison’s award-winning “Odyssey Project,” John Quinlan spoke with the project’s founder and director, Emily Auerbach. The Odyssey Project is a course in the humanities for adults facing economic barriers to higher education. Several recent graduates and participants joined John and Emily in studio, including Hedi Rudd, Madison Police Officer Corey Safford, and Mary Wells. Other former participants and community supporters offered their supportive testimonials via phone. A resonant conversation was also shared with Barbara McKinney, who has established a memorial fund in honor of her son, former WMTV anchor and community leader Mike McKinney, to support young people of color in pursuing careers in journalism.                     Odyssey Project 10th Anniversary Celebrate the UW introductory humanities course for adults facing economic barriers to college at the Chazen Museum of Art, with readings, music and refreshments. This event is free of charge. When: 10/04/12, 5-7 PM Call: 262-3733 For more on Odyssey, including information on this week’s celebration, and their media page, visit their webpages at www.odyssey.wisc.edu. For more information on the Mike McKinney Memorial Scholarship Fund, contact Amy Overby at the Madison Community Foundation, www.madisoncommunityfoundation.org To listen to the entire program:

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People Who Understand the Language of Plants

09/28/12 12:05 PM | A Public Affair

clip_image004 On Friday September 28th, host Esty Dinur talked with documentary filmmaker Lawrence Lansburgh. Recently, he released a documentary about the Achuar people of the Ecuadororian Amazon. He has been nominated for an academy award and is a recipient of previous Emmy awards. His documentary tells the inspirational success story of a small group of forest people who overcame the power of big oil. In his words, “My area is the intersection of environmental health and human rights, as demonstrated so vividly by the success of the Achuar people in keeping oil companies out of their pristine part of the Amazon rain forest. Clearly, among the valuable assets of a still-healthy Amazonian culture is the knowledge of medicinal plants. By protecting themselves from the cultural and environmental devastation of oil operations, the Achuar people have also protected their knowledge of those plants.”         Visit Lawrence Lansburgh’s website: http://www.larrylansburgh.com/ Listen to the entire interview:  

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Fireside Chat with Allen Ruff

09/27/12 12:05 PM | A Public Affair

Allen Ruff On Thursday September 27th, host Allen Ruff opened the mike up to the listeners to engage the community in a discussion of local, national and global events. Allen and the public exchanged opinions on the happenings around the globe.                                                               Click below to read Allen’s blog: http://allenruff.blogspot.com/ To listen to the entire program:

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University of Wisconsin Human Resources System: Union Perspectives

09/26/12 12:05 PM | A Public Affair

AFSCME_BlockLogo-1Color On Wednesday September 26th, host Brenda Konkel took another look at last Friday’s topic of reshaping the University of Wisconsin Human Resources System, except this time from the perspective of Madison Unions. She had a panel of guests in the studio consisting of Aaron Crandall, United Faculty & Academic Staff (UW-Madison) Local 223 President, Eleni Schirmer from the Teaching Assistants Association, Gary Mitchell, President (also Chair, Administrative Support Bargaining Team) for AFSCME 2412 (Union representing UW Madison staff), and Kevin Walters, Research Associate at the University of Wisconsin Department of History. 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 impacted Unions have voiced serious reservations. The panel discussed these important issues regarding the future of UW-Madison. To view the new plan: http://hrdesign.wisc.edu/content/uploads/2012/11/HRD-Plan-Revised-11-19-2012-.pdf To listen to the entire interview:

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United For a Fair Economy

09/25/12 12:05 PM | A Public Affair

BORNONTHIRDBASE2 On Tuesday September 25th, host Cynthia Lin spoke with Brian Miller, Executive Director of United for a Fair Economy, about the impact of inheritance and privilege when analyzing an individuals economic mobility. United for a Fair Economy released a report recently entitled “Born on Third Base: What the Forbes 400 Really Says About Wealth & Opportunity in America” : “Forbes Magazine calls their list of the 400 richest Americans the ‘definitive scorecard of wealth in America,’ but a new report asserts the magazine is misleading. Born on Third Base: What the Forbes 400 Really Says About Wealth & Opportunity in America, released this week by Boston-based non-profit United for a Fair Economy, examines the sources of wealth for members of the Forbes 400 and uncovers the role of inheritance and privilege in economic mobility. The report urges Forbes to stop glamorizing the ‘self-made man’ while minimizing the other factors in wealth accumulation, including tax policies, birthright, gender, and race. The report finds that 40 percent of the Forbes 400 list inherited a sizable asset from a family member or spouse, and over 20 percent inherited sufficient wealth to make the list. In addition, 17 percent of the Forbes 400 have family members on the list… Born On Third Base takes Forbes to task for their misuse of the loaded term “self-made” and the undervaluing of privilege and social capital in financial success. ‘We disagree with Forbes claim that 70 percent of the list made their fortunes entirely from scratch,’ said Brian Miller, executive director of United for a Fair Economy and co-author of the book The Self-Made Myth. ‘The ‘self-made’ and ‘I built this’ narratives wrongly present the opportunity to become rich as equally attainable by all people in today’s highly stratified society. Forbes’ story also ignores the important contributions of others and the role of government in the success of the wealthiest Americans.’ United for a Fair Economy is a national, independent, nonpartisan, 501(c)(3) non-profit organization working to raise public awareness of the destructive effects of concentrated wealth and power and supporting the movement for greater economic equality.” To read more about United for a Fair Economy: http://www.faireconomy.org/ To 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.

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