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On Wednesday, November 28, our host Jan Miyasaki speaks with Cora Currier, an investigative reporter at ProPublica, about her latest piece: “Why the U.S. Won’t Allow a Dying Iranian Sociologist to Join His Family.” Iranian sociologist Dr. Rahmatollah Sedigh Sarvestani, who is suffering from terminal cancer, wishes to join his family in the U.S., but is unable to because his visa request was denied. The rejection was due to “activity relating to espionage or sabotage,” a claim to which the family is shocked. It was only in the 1970s that the doctor was involved in pro-Iranian demonstrations; since then, he has actually voiced his protest against the government. It is uncertain as to why Dr. Sarvestani’s visa has been denied at this point, since he has been allowed into the U.S. since the 1970s. Cora has been conducting research, examining Dr. Sarvestani’s activities since the 1990s. She explains, “In the 70′s he was political, and participated in pro-Khomeni/anti-Shah demonstrations. The group that he belonged to, the Muslim Students Association Persian Speaking Group, was a group that was watched closely by FBI officials and likely still is. So that’s one area that could be a red flag on his record. In the more recent years in Iran, he has turned very critical of the administration of the Iranian movement… he kept a blog that was openly critical. In Iran he was almost found too pro-Western.” Cora explains that she is searching for the red flags that could have prompted the visa rejection, but the actual reason is still a mystery. She says, “From my perspective as a journalist, this is a story that still has a lot of unanswered questions, but what seems clear about it is that there is a systemic issue here, in which we don’t know on what grounds somebody is being denied entry.” Read Cora Currier’s article at ProPublica here. Listen to the entire interview here:read article »
On Tuesday November 27, our host Aaron Perry spoke with Kevin Monroe, from Monroe Real Training, an in-home personal fitness training business. The fitness business comes to peoples homes and offers fitness training, functional fitness equipment and nutritionist services. Kevin, previously a Marine, has a degree in Kinesiology from UW-Madison, and has taught health and physical education, managed a health club, and been a nutrition and prevention specialist, leading up to his work with Monroe Real Training. Kevin helps clients with body fitness and health, and he explains that he has even helped some of his clients lower their blood pressure medication. He says that he helps his clients by challenging them at their own fitness level. He talks about the stability ball, explaining the proper way to use it for cardio and abdominal exercises, “its quality versus quantity, making sure the back is safe.’ Kevin offers advice regarding the extra ‘holiday pounds’ acquired during the winter season, “I know this is a very busy time… If you can reserve 10 -15 minutes of a quick workout, just getting the heart rate up. 10 minute work outs are much better than 0 minute workouts. Any amount of movement matters, it all adds up.” He also recommends adding fruits and raw vegetables to the diet, and to make sure to drinks lots of water by carrying a water bottle. The typical calorie intake of the average individual is 2000 calories, Kevin explains. However, depending on lifestyle such as level of exercise, and the type of job performed, will have an effect on one’s metabolism and calorie need. Email Kevin at: firstname.lastname@example.org Visit the website at monroerealtraining.com Visit MonroeRealTraining on Facebook. Listen to the entire interview here:read article »
On Tuesday November 27, host Aaron Perry speaks with Raynard Jackson, President and CEO of Raynard Jackson and Associates, one of the most “highly sought after Conservative speakers in America.” A Republican conservative political consultant, Raynard works with Republican campaigns in Washington-DC. Raynard speaks with Aaron about the Republican Party, “After this election, there has been a tectonic shift in the mood and the dynamics of Washington DC,” Raynard explains. He comments that the Republicans did not run a good campaign during this presidential election, and explains why Romney did not win the election, “Romney did not have the ability to perform a coalition of people…black, Asians, Hispanics, whites, women, to win a majority.” Aaron asks Raynard to explain what the Republican party must do now in order to recover from the election. He recommends, “Go into the Black, Hispanic, the female community, and listen… and then find a way to go back to DC to create policy based on the conservations had in those communities. Members of the republican leadership have tried to lecture me on what needs to be done in the black community.” He also addresses the issue he faces being African American and Republican. Raynard explains that blacks have actually been the most loyal voting bloc for the Republican party, historically. However, the votes began to shift to the Democratic party once they encountered the Depression, and racism after World War II. He has observed that Republicans do not place blacks in positions of power and authority, and that in order for the party to become stronger, it must begin placing blacks in positions of authority. “Republicans have got to have blacks on the staff level, where people are becoming chiefs of staff, press secretaries in the offices.” Visit the Raynard Jackson and Associates website. Follow Raynard Jackson on Twitter @Raynard1223 Listen to the entire interview here:read article »
On Friday November 23, our host Jonathan Zarov speaks with Kim Nielsen, author of A Disability History of the United States. Kim is a Professor of History and Women’s Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay and will be in Madison on Tuesday, Nov 27 for a talk on her book. She prefaces her discussion of the book,“I wrote the book because there has been very little discussion about people with disabilities throughout the United States. I start all the way prior to European arrival and carry it up to the present.” Kim, who studied women in politics, found herself interested in disability history while doing research on Helen Keller. She went through a process of discovery as she did more research on disability history, observing that most people have disabled people in their lives, or had a history of it. Kim, who wrote a book about Helen Keller in, Beyond the Miracle Worker: The Remarkable Life of Anne Sullivan Macy and Her Extraordinary Friendship with Helen Keller, explains an aspect of the story that has remained forgotten in history. She explains how Helen Keller was listed, in a far right newspaper, as one of the “10 most dangerous women in America,” because she was a socialsist, labor and women’s rights activist, and a founding member of the ACLU…she was even surveyed by the FBI her entire life…One of the reasons that has been totally ereased from our historical memory is because she was disabled, because she was female, people believed she couldn’t form opinions by herself.” While writing her book, Kim found the prevalence of disability in the United States. She speaks on-air about one school teacher who was afflicted with polio during World War II, and therefore had to deal with a mobility disability like so many others. Because of the tire rations during the war, she could not get new tires for her car so that she could get to work; as a result, she, like others in her position, lost their jobs. Kim explains, “disability was invisibly written into public policy, and had consequences for everyday life… labor policy, industrialization, standards of beauty, race, and immigration as well.” She says “disability is increasingly understood as an issue of power and of rights. I think we as a society are trying to figure the relationship between disability and the ideas of gender, race, sexuality, and identity.” She comments that people with disability often have high rates of poverty and are targets of hate ….read article »
On Friday November 23, in this special Thanksgiving ‘Family’ edition of the Friday 8 O’Clock Buzz, our host Jonathan Zarov speaks with his siblings about the topic of family and the significance of birth order. He speaks with siblings Herb, the oldest, Ira, the middle child, and Marcia, the only girl child and the youngest until Jonathan was born. They speak about the typical stereotypes of birth orders, for example, the oldest child typically has values that are more aligned with the parents, and are more conventional. Herb believes that he somewhat fits into that category, although his family’s perception of him is quite different from that of others in terms of political leaning. Herb also spent time with his grandparents, which Herb believes instilled more conventional values in him. Marcia sees herself as taking on the roll of the “younger” child: she finds herself as more laid back, while Ira, the middle child, is known among the family as the ‘negotiator’ sibling, keeping the siblings in contact and updated on each others’ lives. The siblings agree that there is a difference between one’s self perception and one’s actual behavior. They also agree that overall family influence, such as their parents’ value for reading and education, also played a significant role in their behavior and decisions in life. Listen to the entire interview here:read article »
On Wednesday November 21, guest host Liz DiNovella, filling in for Jan Miyasaki, spoke with Steve Hiniker, executive director of 1000 Friends of Wisconsin, a member agency group of Community Shares of Wisconsin. 1000 Friends of Wisconsin is a state wide membership-based non-profit organization that promotes healthy communities through good land use policies and smart transportation investments. Steve explains that a huge focus of his group is transportation: they are working towards getting the state money collected from gas taxes and car registrations to be distributed more towards local transit uses, rather than expanding freeways. Steve says that although a small part of the gasoline tax we pay goes towards fixing local roads, the majority of it is allocated towards freeways and major roads. “The cities are getting less and less money each year. So actually, 80% of the cost of the repairs of the streets in Madison doesn’t come from the gas tax, but the property tax.” According to Steve, the driving rate in Wisconsin has not increased in the past 8 years; “we’ve flattened out and actually gone down. People are actually driving less, but we are still spending more money to expand our freeways….The road builders have equipment that only works on big highways, and so they want to use those machines, and they get a lot of money for that.” Steve also speaks about public transportation. He says that bus rider-ship in Madison is at an all time high, and that the transportation system works very well, “the problem is the state keeps on giving less and less money. So the city is faced with a conundrum: they are facing an increased demand, but are getting less money from the state.” For more information about 1000 Friends of Wisconsin, visit their website here. Listen to the full interview here:read article »
On Wednesday, November 21, guest host Liz DiNovella speaks with independent journalist Sarah Jaffe. She is covering the story of a group of Walmart workers who are planning to stage a walkout on Black Friday. The workers planning to walk out are members of a union-backed organization called Organization United for Respect at Walmart, or OUR Walmart, and will hold strikes and rallies along with their allies this Friday. Sarah says, “this is some of the most exciting labor organization I’ve seen in my career…the workers are fighting back. And it’s a few workers at each store, it’s not an entire store walking out. They’re not fighting for union representation; they’re fighting for respect on the job.” There will be a variety of actions this Black Friday, including walk-outs by some workers, picket lines, and prayer vigils. Walmart has filed a National Labor Relations Board complaint accusing the United Food and Commercial Workers Union of un-lawfully organizing picket lines and in store flash mobs. Sarah explains “they’re not fighting to form a union, which is Walmart’s claim. [Our Walmart] is deliberately run very differently from the labor unions we’re used to seeing.” One of the largest complains the workers have is the issue of under-staffing at both the retail stores and warehouse, and the fact that workers don’t always know how many hours they will be working per week, posing a problem for part-time workers. “Walmart has driven down wages for workers in this country, when the service sector is paying poverty wages. The end game is nobody can even afford to shop at Walmart.” Visit the website for OUR Walmart at forrespect.org Visit Sarah Jaffe’s website at adifferentclass.com Listen to the entire interview here:read article »
On Wednesday October 21, guest host Liz DiNovella plays an interview she conducted with hip-hop artist and activist Boots Riley while he was touring for his new album. His musical group, The Coup, has just come out with a new album called “Sorry to Bother You.” In the interview, they speak about the tour, the positive response received so far, and the inspiration for his new album. “There was no one thing, I think my tastes and interests are always changing over the years… [For this album] I’ve been reading a lot of Gabriel Garcia Marquez…and I had a more literary idea for the lyric writing.” Boots Riley is a huge supporter and activist of Occupy Wall Street. He has written in his blog, “Getting involved with a movement will be the thing that makes your work useful and relevant and creative, trust me.” Boots Riley will be bringing The Coup to the Majestic Theater this coming Monday, November 26. Click here for more information. Visit his blog here. Listen to the full interview here:read article »
On Tuesday, Nov 20 host Aaron Perry speaks with economist Robert Pollin, author of Back to Full Employment. Robert, who has been an economics professor for thirty years, has been part of several policy initiatives, working with the Obama administration on the green jobs part of the stimulus program. Robert explains what the country must do in order to strive towards full employment, “[Full employment] has to be the first priority. Unfortunately now, the debate in Washington is focused around what I consider to be a second order problem, which is the fiscal deficit to government borrowing more money than it takes in tax revenues. That problem will mainly go away if we get the economy back to full employment. We have to first focus on job creation, and then when people have jobs, they have more incomes, so they pay more income tax, they spend more, and they have more sales tax. So you get your revenue up by pushing the economy towards full employment. The first place we have to start is to recognize that full employment has to be the central issue.” Aaron asks Robert to speak about a different theory posed by economists, which says that a small amount of unemployment is necessary to keep inflation in check. Robert says, “Inflation is in check. We have no inflation in the economy. If we were to get unemployment rates down to below 3%, maybe then it would be an issue. We are far, far from having that problem right now.” He also speaks about collective bargaining as a basic human right. He advocates for more collective bargaining, stronger unions, and says that this will be a key component in pushing the economy towards further employment. He also advocates for green jobs, explaining that it will be a great source of job creation, “it doesn’t mean that coal miners won’t get laid off. Coal miners will get laid off, and we need to protect their well being and their communities at the same time that we build a green economy.” “The main thing we can do as citizens is to elect our political leaders and put pressure on them to make sure this is a primary concern, and not to buy into the notion that we have to face austerity – that we have to see our public sector cut back, that we can’t afford public schools, unionized workers, a decent health care system and social security. All of those things ….read article »
On Tuesday, Nov 20 our host Aaron Perry speaks with Kim Sponem, CEO and President of Summit Credit Union, to speak about the Project Money program. Launched in 2009, the program has had 16 family participants so far. Each year, four contestants are selected to compete for $10,000, and the remaining three receive $2,500. The contestants work with coaches provided by Summit Credit Union, to increase savings and decrease their debts. They also blog about their experiences, providing personal testimony and tips for saving money and reducing debt. “We want the community and our other members to learn from their experiences as they are going all. In addition to these 16 families we have had thousands of followers of these families over the years,” Kim explains. Kim reports that this year’s participants have already increased their savings by $25,000 and decreased their debts by $33,000. Participants have praised the program, saying that they feel a much stronger control over their finances. Some participants have even said that it has helped with their family communication, since financial issues can create a large strain on families and marriages. The participants also develop strong connections with the coaches, who play an important role in helping them take charge of their finances. Kim says that the upcoming holiday season can pose a challenge for people trying to save or stay on track, “through all the higher unemployment people have experienced, I think we are seeing people be more cautious.” She recommends that everyone have an emergency fund, of at least $500, although the amount needed will vary based on each person’s needs and lifestyle. “$500 in a savings account, it has been shown, is enough for those unexpected surprises to prevent people from going to payday lenders, for example, and pay really high interest rates on those types of loans.” Kim says that the need for better money management or saving transcends specific income levels, “You can be a high earning individual or family, and at the end of the month, not have anything saved. We work with people wherever they are.” Visit summitcreditunion.com for more information. Listen to the entire interview here:read article »