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On Friday December 7, Jonathan Zarov speaks with John Kraniak about Last Gaspe, a New England style contra dance band of which John is a part of. Last Gaspe is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year with a contra dance at Grace Episcopal Church. John explains the contra dance, “The term means the ‘dance of opposition’ in French… In a contra dance there’s long lines with ‘minor sets’, you do have a partner but you end up dancing with everyone down the line, and then you change roles and dance with everyone going up the line. All dances are taught by the ‘caller’ or instructor. You don’t have to be a particularly adept dancer to do this.” Last Gaspe Saturday December 8 Grace Episcopal Church 116 West Washington Visit Last Gaspe’s profile Read more about the event and Last Gaspe on the Friday 8 O’Clock BuzzBin on Tumblr. Listen to the interview here:read article »
On Friday December 7, our host Jonathan Zarov speaks about the Farm to School program, aimed at making it easier for Wisconsin public schools to serve locally grown produce to students. Sara Tedeschi, a specialist at the Wisconsin Farm to School Program and works for the Center for Integrated Agriculture Systems at the state level, and Sarah Elliott, from the REAP Program, speak with Jonathan about the program. There is a growing problem with being able to serve schools produce that was grown locally. Sara explains why this is, “I think it’s another symptom of globalized food system that we have today. Institutional food service settings are very much part of that long-distance network in terms of where that food is coming from…these are pretty low priced buyers as things have evolved, schools including. Schools don’t really get a chance to participate in that food system outside of that larger infrastructure.” The Wisconsin Farm to School program has received growing attention and support across the state, with support extending from the schools, medical and public health, agriculture, and transportation sectors, ”We’re seeing a great synergy coming around this issue to help make it happen. It’s not necessarily easier to make it happen, but definitely much broader agreement in working it out.” Sarah focuses on Madison: “This past year, the school district has really made some amazing leaps towards bringing local foods into its school meal program…” As a result of a pilot program this October, in honor of National Farm to School Month, four different elementary schools in the district have been provided with salad bars to have at lunch. Now, the school district is planning to apply for a grant through the Whole Kids Foundation to provide all schools in the district with salad bars. Sarah explains the issue is easier to address in some of the smaller communities in Wisconsin, which have smaller student to teacher ratio, where they are better equipped to provide students with fruits and vegetables that are locally grown. Learn about the Farm to School Program Learn about the REAP Food Group and its work with schools Listen to the interview here:read article »
On Thursday, December 6, our host Tony Castaneda speaks with Illeana Rotger and Maggie Meer, from the Campus Women’s Center (CWC), which is putting on a production of the Vagina Monologues. Illeana, a Gender and Women Studies and Spanish major and intern at the CWC, is the Director of the performance. Maggie Meer, a Theater major, is an actress in the performance. Written by playwright Eve Ensler, the Vagina Monologues is a collection of women’s stories and experiences about their sexuality, their bodies, and their environments, “it’s a show about women’s empowerment, what women experience in their lives not just with their sexuality, but violence, war and rape” explains Illeana. The monologues are a combination of serious and humorous stories, performed in solo and group pieces. The monologues cover the experiences of “every type of woman.” The script this year this includes a new ending piece One billion rising, which is about women coming together to collectively fight against violence committed on them and other women. The performances are based on an abridged script of the original Vagina Monologues. The rights to the abridged version are owned by V-Day, an organization that campaigns against violence to women, and which is celebrating its 15th anniversary. The organization distributes the script free of charge to groups that wish to get involved and perform the piece. Maggie reads an excerpt of the performance on-air. Vagina Monologues, December 6, 7, 8 2650 Humanities Building Fri and Sat @ 7PM Sun @ 2PM Learn more about the Campus Women’s Center Contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org Read more about V-DAY Listen to the entire interview here:read article »
On Wednesday, Dec 5, our host Jan Miyasaki speaks with Justin Elliott, an investigative reporter at ProPublica, to speak about his piece Meet the Think Tankers: Advising the U.S. Military in Kabul. Justin began his piece amidst the media frenzy regarding former CIA Director General Petraeus’ extra-marital affair, and was struck by the reference in the Washington Post’s story regarding Petraeus’ time running the war in Afghanistan between summer 2010 – 2011. Justin explains that he brought over experts from conservative think tanks to Kabul to provide military advice, and had given them positions there to have strong influence over the way the war was led. This created some controversy back in the U.S. Many think tankers were brought to Afghanistan and Iraq for short periods of time, supported by the military, and flown around the countries. Justin explains that bringing the think tank experts served two purposes for the military: “one, for the military to get advice from these think tank experts, and the other, for the military to influence these experts who are playing prominent roles in policy making in the US.” Justin explains that this is a relatively recent phenomenon. Justin speaks about the think tankers themselves, “it seems to be people from the mainstream think tanks, and those loosely affiliated with those parties”. Among the think tank mentioned are the conservative American Enterprise Institute, the Brookings Institute (which has a Democratic party leaning), and Center for New American Security (also a Democratic party leaning). The experts brought in to Iraq were not from one party alone, Justin says, “It was clearly not a partisan thing. It shows that in some of these military matters, there’s less of partisan split in Washington and among foreign policy making community than there are with a lot of other issues.” Read more of Justin’s work here, including articles on Campaign Finance, Drones, and more. Listen to the interview here:read article »
On Wednesday December 5, host Jan Miyasaki speaks with Mary Hladke, the National Coordinator of Military Families Speak Out. Military Families Speak Out is a coalition of 56 families that have joined forces to fight austerity measures and are demanding cuts to Pentagon spending. Mary speaks about their campaign, Jobs Not Wars, “On election day, Americans rejected austerity. They want to reduce the deficit at the expense of working people, middle class, poor, and elderly. We believe if we end the war, and make substantial cuts to Pentagon spending, we can reduce the deficit, and create good paying jobs, and have the money to care for our people, community, and environment.” Mary explains the two unique points of their campaign: “We are a broad coalition of organizations, which is unusual. Another thing is we are asking for an end to the war now, and big cuts to pentagon spending. Pentagon budget has all the money, why is nobody talking about that?” Mary speaks about the fraud, waste, and abuse of money with the large Pentagon budget. “37 cents/1 dollar of taxes paid this year goes to funding current and past wars.” Since this is a coalition of military families, Mary distinguishes between the troops, whom she supports, and the war itself, “You can support the troops and not support the war.” There is a Jobs Not Wars petition that can be signed on at jobs-not-wars.org View the full list of organizations that are involved with the campaign. Visit Jobs Not Wars on Facebook and Twitter. Visit Military Families Speak Out here. Listen to the interview here:read article »
On Wednesday December 5, Jan Miyasaki speaks with Leah Bolger, President of the National Board of Veteran’s for Peace, about the new round of sanctions against Iran. The U.S. Senate unanimously passed the sanctions against Iran last week. “This is collective punishment, and its really hurting the people of Iran, who have done nothing to warrant this reaction from us. It’s really sad that we didn’t learn anything from the damage we caused Iraq when we placed sanctions against them.” Veteran’s for Peace has issued a statement denouncing this. Leah says “we believe the combination of foreign policy of Israel and United States together are causing a whole lot of problems in the area.” She explains that the U.S. should not have withdrawn from the Helsinki talks, which Israel has also withdrawn from. “Israel has hundreds of armed war heads ready to be launched at Iran, or anywhere in the region.” Though Israel has not signed the treaty, Leah explains, “Iran signed on to it the day it was created, and they have no nuclear weapons.” Leah speaks about the impact of the sanctions against the people of Iran, how they are facing drastic inflation and a lack of access to basic food items. “They are trying to push regime change via punishing the people…we have no right as a government to inflict collective punishment against a people who have done nothing wrong.” Veterans for Peace has started a petition to President Obama and Congress to support a nuclear Free Zone in the Middle East. From the Veterans for Peace statement, “VFP once against stresses its position that the only rational and lasting solution to the current nuclear crisis in the region is the establishment of a Nuclear Weapons-Free Zone in the Middle East.” Sign the petition and read the full Veterans For Peace statement against sanctions in Iran. Listen to the interview here:read article »
On Tuesday December 4, our host Aaron Perry speaks with Karla Spencer-George, who is hosting an event for Black History Month – the first annual Midwest Black History Expo in St. Paul, Minnesota. Karla, from Detroit, Michigan, graduated from Winston University of Minnesota with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, with an emphasis on computer science. She worked as an engineer for twelve years until her company shut down in Minnesota: at this point, she and her husband decided start their own online business, Liberation Clothing and Gifts, which sells clothing, documentaries, and books to promote black history and culture. Karla speaks about how she decided to start the Midwest Black History Expo, “last year, around this time, we were looking for an event to be a vendor at, where we could sell our merchandise that promotes black history and culture. In Minnesota, we did not find one major event that celebrated Black History Month. We thought, we need to make this happen, and try to do it big.” Dr. Julianne Malveaux will be the keynote speaker at the event. The expo will also feature an African Americans or Black Inventions and Inventors Exhibit: the exhibit will feature inventions such as the ice cream scoop, instant potatoes, and more. There will also be a children’s room with face painting and story readings, an art competition, a fashion show and performers, a seminar room featuring talks by local professors, and a documentary showing room. Karla explains her passion for organizing this expo, “Sometimes people don’t know what the opportunities are, and it is my responsibility along with those who are doing okay to try to help others. It’s always a matter of giving back.” She also speaks about how often, many students do not receive adequate education about black history, “My first African American history class was taken at the University of Minnesota. I [was] in the course with some people from Nigeria and other places, and it seemed like they got some of these courses much earlier than we did, and it was disappointing that I was learning so much about my history at the age of 18-19 years, when I thought I would be learning this growing up, or at least in junior high or high school. It’s one of those situations where we could help close that education achievement gap if our kids knew about our rich history and accomplishments that some of our ancestors made.” Click read article »
On Tuesday December 4, host Aaron Perry speaks with Donald Gross, author of The China Fallacy: How the U.S. Can Benefit from China’s Rise and Avoid Another Cold War. Donald Gross has a background in government and politics: In 1992, he joined the White House Staff of the National Security Council during the Clinton Administration, then became a Senior Policy Adviser to the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, and from there became the Senior Adviser to the Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security Affairs. Donald speaks about his book, “I had a lot of experience dealing with the Chinese government diplomatically during my experience in government. During the Clinton Administration, especially, we were successful in improving relations with China, and bringing China into the World Trade Organization… it’s the largest growth market in the world for exports of U.S. goods and services.” Donald explains the two major fallacies about China that he deals with in the book: the inevitability of war with China, and the harm the U.S. is experiencing as a result of a growing China. “On economic grounds I strongly believe that U.S. prosperity will increase as a result of improved U.S.-China relations, it will generate hundreds of thousands more U.S. jobs… On the security side, we all have to recognize something that’s not well known, that the U.S. has an overwhelming military superiority over China in both nuclear and conventional forces.” Aside from addressing the military and economic aspect of U.S.-China relations, Donald also speaks on the humanitarian aspect, “the most effective measure an authoritarian regime can use to justify internal repression of human rights is external threat from a foreign country. When U.S. ramps up military pressure against China, the internal police use that as a justification to legitimize their repression of democratic movements, of human right advocates in China.” Learn more about Donald Gross and his book on his official website. Read related articles about this issue here. Listen to the interview here:read article »
On Monday December 3, our host Linda Jameson spoke with student activist Emmy Burns about climate change. Emmy Burns is a junior at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, studying environmental studies and geography. They spoke about the steps the Madison community can take to combat or respond to climate change. 350 Madison, a local action group of 350 tackling climate change, has recently established a student chapter on the UW-Madison campus: Climate Action 350 at UW-Madison. The student chapter has begun a campaign to prompt the UW Foundation to divest their investment of roughly 2 billion dollars from oil, coal, and natural gas. “350” refers to the permissible limit of carbon dioxide that can safely be in the atmosphere; specifically, the parts per million of carbon that can be present in the atmosphere at a safe level. Currently, the level is at 392. Clean Wisconsin and 350.org had recently brought climate change spokesperson Bill McKibbens to speak in Madison about the math of climate change. Explains Emmy, “That is how we can make our difference here in Madison. The companies have so much political capital because of all their money. If just the UW Foundation divests, that’s not going to put a huge dent in their profits. But if we can create a domino effect across the country, and there are already hundreds of campuses that have these divestment campaigns underway, together its going to make a difference. These fossil fuel companies make their money from people who buy stock. If we can devalue their assets, hopefully over time that will translate to less political power.” The group has been collecting petition signatures addressed towards the UW Foundation, calling for a freeze on all new investments in fossil fuels, and a complete divestment of all fossil fuel holdings within the next five years. They have collected 1,000 signatures so far. They will hold a peaceful march to deliver the signatures to the President of the UW Foundation on Monday, December 3 at 9:30 AM. The protestors will gather at Union South at 9:30 AM; they will meet to march towards the UW Foundation, where they will gather at 9:45 AM. Read more about Divestments here. Visit 350 Madison. Visit 350.org. Listen to the entire interview here:read article »
In this special WORT Birthday Boost edition of the Friday 8 O’Clock Buzz on November 30, our host Jonathan Zarov speaks with Li Chiao-Ping, of Li Chiao-Ping Dance, about The Knotcracker, which will be opening tonight. The show, which is filled with puns, is a playful take on The Nutcracker, and is considered to have taken on its own tradition in Madison. “It’s about a child, boy or girl, who is trying to work his or her way through life trying to find him/herself.” There are two child and two adult leads. Li explains, “the show is not to replace [The Nutcracker]. I consider it as an alternative. It does offer a totally different entertaining take on [The Nutcracker]. It’s great to become a new classic in a way.” The show will not be playing after this year, but Li explains that they may bring it back in the future. Li also speaks about how meaning is conveyed through dance, and what message The Knotcracker expresses, “Its humor with a point… I’m interested in how it speaks to something. While we are celebrating the idea of community, diversity of tradition, and diversity in our community, we can also look at the issues of kids and bullying, the pressure to conform and have the same material goods as others…So I hope we learn to accept ourselves and our differences, and to really embrace that.” The Knotcracker provides “alternative ways of dressing, being, and moving.” The lead role is double-cast as a boy and girl, a significant move from traditional gender roles, “I look at the piece as flexible enough so as to be meaningful and get the message across through the gender lens as well.” Visit Li Chiao-Ping Dance for more information. The Knotcracker opens tonight, Friday November 30. November 30 – Dec 2 Overture Center for the Arts – Playhouse Theater Listen to the entire interview here:read article »