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.


Stories of Peacebuilding in Gaza and the West Bank

11/19/12 12:05 PM | A Public Affair

Palestine On Monday November 19th, host John Quinlan was joined in conversation with visitors from a peace delegation sponsored by the Interfaith Peace-Builders. The delegates just returned this past week from Gaza and and the West Bank. Permission for foreigners to obtain passage to Gaza is rare, and thus these interviews provided listeners with a vital opportunity to understand daily life in the Palestinian territories and how this existence is being affected by the current conflict. John spoke with Tsela Barr and Michele Bahl who just came back from a peace delegation to Gaza on November 12th. During the second half of the hour John spoke with Veena Brekke who recently returned from a peace delegation to the West Bank. According to their website, “Interfaith Peace-Builders believes in the power of eye-witness experience and transformation. Given the opportunity to speak directly with Israelis and Palestinians, delegates return to the United States better informed, more energized, and with a deeper understanding of the possibilities for true justice in the Middle East.” Tsela, Michele, and Veena shared with WORT listeners their fascinating experiences from both Israel and Palestine.   Read more about Interfaith Peace Builders on their website: http://www.ifpb.org/     Listen to the entire show:

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Ecology and Socialism

11/16/12 12:05 PM | A Public Affair

Chris Williams On Friday November 16th, Anjuli Brekke subbing for Esty Dinur brought listeners a show about how our economic system is contributing to environmental degradation.       She spoke with longtime environmental activist Chris Williams, professor of physics and chemistry at Pace University and author of “Ecology and Socialism.” In his book, Williams writes, “We live in a social system predicated on endless expansion; one that sickeningly combines historic and gargantuan amounts of wealth alongside oceans of poverty and mountains of waste. It is no exaggeration to state that without swift, dramatic and profound changes to societal priorities, including a fundamental reorientation away from fossil-fuel-based energy and profit-driven capitalist economic growth, the generation growing up today will be, in all likelihood, the last to know climate stability.” During the hour Anjuli discussed this Eco-socialist movement with Professor Williams, a movement which pushes for a revolution not only within our economic and social structure, but also in the way we perceive the natural world. It urges the reader to shift away from a resource-oriented approach to one which acknowledges the intrinsic worth of nature in and of itself.           Read more about the book “Ecology and Socialism:” http://www.haymarketbooks.org/pb/ecology-and-socialism Read Professor Williams’s article “Frankenstorms and Climate Change: How the 1% Created a Monster:” http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/12438-frankenstorms-and-climate-change-how-the-1-created-a-monster   Listen to the entire interview:

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“War Is a Crime”

11/15/12 12:05 PM | A Public Affair

DavidSwanson On Thursday November 15th, host Allen Ruff spoke to David Swanson lead columnist for “War Is a Crime” about peace, war and activism.   Swanson is also the author of the introduction to “The 35 Articles of Impeachment and the Case for Prosecuting George W. Bush,” by Dennis Kucinich (2008) and contributed two chapters to Fix America, 2011. Swanson is Co-Founder of AfterDowningStreet.org, creator of ProsecuteBushCheney.org and Washington Director of Democrats.com, a board member of Progressive Democrats of America, the Backbone Campaign, Voters for Peace, and the Liberty Tree Foundation for the Democratic Revolution, and chair of the Robert Jackson Steering Committee. Swanson joined the board of the National Coalition to Protect Student Privacy in December 2011. Read more about peace activism: http://warisacrime.org/about Listen to the entire interview:

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Voter Supression

11/14/12 12:05 PM | A Public Affair

billboard On Wednesday November 14th, host Tonya Brito looked at voting rights issues following the Presidential election. During the first half of the show, she spoke with Jonathan Brater from the Brennan Center for Justice. Brater works for the Brennan Center’s Democracy Program focusing on voting rights and elections. According to the organization’s website, “The Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law is a non-partisan public policy and law institute that focuses on the fundamental issues of democracy and justice. Our work ranges from voting rights to campaign finance reform, from racial justice in criminal law to Constitutional protection in the fight against terrorism.” During the second half of the show, Tonya spoke with Stacy Harbaugh and Mike Wilder about issues of voter suppression here in Wisconsin. Stacy Harbaugh serves as the Communications Director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Wisconsin. Mike Wilder works as African-American Voter Engagement Table Director for the Milwaukee based group Citizen Action of Wisconsin. Read about the Brennan Center for Justice: http://www.brennancenter.org/ Read about Citizen Action of Wisconsin: http://citizenactionwi.org/ Read more about the American Civil Liberties Union of Wisconsin: http://aclu-wi.org/stacy-harbaugh-communications-director Listen to the entire program:

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Shift Change

11/13/12 12:05 PM | A Public Affair

Shift Change On Tuesday November 13th, host Cynthia Lin brought listeners a great program featuring the folks involved with the film “Shift Change,” a documentary about worker run businesses that compete successfully in today’s economy. The film will be showing this Thursday, November 15th, at the Barrymore Theater as part of the Havens Center Social Cinema film series. You can find out details about the event online at havenssocialcinema.org. Cynthia spoke with Melissa Young, one of the producers and co-directors of the film. Cynthia also spoke with coop leaders here in Madison to discuss worker cooperatives as a key solution for economic resilience and healthy communities. In the studio with Cynthia were John Conowall, Union Cab Member and representative to the Madison Worker Cooperatives (MadWorC) and Richard Kilmer, chief pharmacist at Community Pharmacy. Union Cab and other Madison businesses are featured in the film and Thursday’s film screening is a fundraiser for MadWorC. Watch the trailer and read more about the film on their website: http://shiftchange.org/ Listen to the entire interview:

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Power from the People: How to Organize, Finance, and Launch Local Energy Projects

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

greg-pahl-200 On Monday November 12th, host John Quinlan interviewed author Greg Pahl about his book released this year, “Power from the People: How to Organize, Finance, and Launch Local Energy Projects.” John Welch also contributed at the top of the hour to discuss Dane County’s innovative “bio-gas project,” essentially fueling vehicles with fuel made from garbage. This innovative project has received national and international attention, including a first place project recognition from the US Environmental Protection Agency, and international delegations visiting Madison have toured the county’s related facilities. Welch is the recycling project manager for Dane County Public Works. He is also the Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) Badger Chapter Director, as well as its International Director.   Pahl has written a plethora of articles on farming, wind power, solar energy, electric cars, biodiesel, “green” appliances, home building materials, and sustainable forestry management in publications such as The Vermont Times, Vermont Magazine, Champlain Business Journal, Vermont History, Middlebury College Magazine, and Mother Earth News. He has lived “off the grid” in a wood-heated home powered by a wind turbine and is the author of six books on sustainable living.     “More than ninety percent of the electricity we use to light our communities, and nearly all the energy we use to run our cars, heat our homes, and power our factories comes from large, centralized, highly polluting, nonrenewable sources of energy. It doesn’t have to be that way. In Power from the People, energy expert Greg Pahl explains how American communities can plan, finance, and produce their own local, renewable energy that is reliable, safe, and clean. Pahl uses examples from around the nation and the world to explore how homeowners, co-ops, nonprofits, governments, and businesses are already putting power in the hands of local communities through distributed energy programs and energy-efficiency measures. Renewable, community power is a necessary step on the path to energy security and community resilience, particularly as we face peak oil, cope with climate change, and address the need to transition to a more sustainable future.” -Chelsea Green Publishing (September 2012)   Read more about Greg Pahl at his website: http://www.gregpahl.com/   Listen to the entire interview:

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Veterans’ Issues

11/9/12 12:05 PM | A Public Affair

Veterans Day On Friday November 9th, Norm Stockwell subbing for Esty Dinur talked with a number of guests about veterans issues in tribute to Veterans’ Day on Monday. During the first part of the show, Norm spoke with Veterans for Peace member David Giffey who edited the book “Long Shadows: Veterans’ Paths to Peace.” Norm also spoke with Nick Velvet, member of Veterans for Peace and Vietnam Veterans Against the War. David Giffey’s book, “Long Shadows: Veterans’ Paths to Peace,” was “Winner of the 2008 Montaigne Medal, an award designated by the Hoffer Awards for thought-provoking titles. These are veterans with a point of view whose trajectories of belief had many different starting points, took many different paths, but in every case led to an abhorrence of war.; anti-war feeling among veterans has not been given the attention it deserves, and this volume is an attempt to correct that imbalance, writes Howard Zinn in the Foreword. Veterans speak of war and peace with a certain creditability that others lack. Having experienced war and peace more intimately than many others, their responses and thoughts reflect the life-defining or life-changing capacity of war. Long Shadows is a collection of 19 interviews with veterans who candidly discuss their paths from military involvement to peace activism. Beginning with a veteran of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade during the Spanish Civil War and ending with a veteran of the Iraq war, each tells a unique story with an individual perspective, and yet, each echos the message of the futility and destruction of war. The long shadows of war are evident in each of the interviews, with each participant hoping that his or her experience will inform others and contribute to the public discussion.” -Atwood Publishing Read more about David Giffey’s book: http://www.amazon.com/Long-Shadows-Veterans-Paths-Peace/dp/1891859641 Listen to the entire interview:

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Electoral Politics

11/8/12 12:05 PM | A Public Affair

mike_wagner On Thursday November 8th, Karma Chavez subbing for Allen Ruff interviewed Mike Wagner, Assistant Professor of Journalism at UW-Madison. He is an expert in electoral politics and discussed the election results from the perspective of his research.   Assistant Professor Wagner was the Project Director of the Congressional Elections Study (national survey conducted by the Center on Congress) in 2006. He was the Outstanding Educator of the Year in 2009 (Hazel R. McClymont Distinguished Teaching Fellow Award, 2012, at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln). He also served as moderator for the televised debate between U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-DE) and Jan Ting (R) in 2006 and co-authored the book, “Political Behavior in Midterm Elections,” with Elizabeth Theiss-Morse.   Read more about Mike Wagner: http://experts.news.wisc.edu/experts/1509       Listen to the entire interview:

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Post-Election Analysis

11/7/12 12:05 PM | A Public Affair

Tammy On Wednesday November 7th, the day after the Presidential election, News Coordinator Molly Stentz brought listeners valuable post-election analysis to help us understand the future implications of Tuesday’s election. She opened the lines up to listeners to share their questions and opinions regarding Tuesday’s national and local elections. ABC news wrote after President Obama’s win: “In a victory speech studded with the soaring rhetoric that first drew voters to him in 2008, Obama reminded the electorate what was still on his agenda — immigration reform, climate change and job creation. ‘Tonight, you voted for action not politics as usual.” he told supporters in Chicago. “You elected us to focus on your job, not ours.’ Obama told Romney supporters that ‘I have listened to you… you have made me a better president.’ He added, ‘I return to the White House more determined, more inspired than ever.’The election is a validation, if not an overwhelming mandate, in support of the president’s policies of the last four years, which included a major overhaul of the healthcare system and a drawdown of troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.”   Here in Wisconsin, Tammy Baldwin defeated Tommy Thomson. The Washington Post wrote regarding her success in the state: “Baldwin will take over for retiring Sen. Herb Kohl (D); she will be Wisconsin’s first female senator and the country’s first openly gay senator. But, she told supporters at a party in Madison, ‘I didn’t run to make history. I ran to make a difference.’ She reached out to her opponent and his supporters, promising to represent all Wisconsinites. ‘Tommy and I didn’t agree on much in this campaign but there can be no doubt that he shares my love for Wisconsin,” she said. “And even at the end of a long and sometimes bitter campaign, I’m still grateful for his service to our state.’ Baldwin’s win was part of several key ones for Senate Democrats that will help them retain their majority.”   Read more about Obama’s victory speech: http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/OTUS/president-obama-wins-reelection-promises-best/story?id=17655541#.UJwJoJHXgs4 Read more from the Washington Post regarding Tammy Baldwin’s win: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/election-2012/wp/2012/11/07/tammy-baldwin-declares-victory/ Listen to the entire show:

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Don’t Stop Thinking about the Music

11/7/12 5:05 AM | A Public Affair

Don't stop On this special Election Day episode of A Public Affair, host Cynthia Lin looked at how campaign music is employed to sway voters. Cynthia interviewed musicologist Benjamin Schoening and political scientist Eric Kasper about their book, Don’t Stop Thinking about the Music: The Politics of Songs and Musicians in Presidential Campaigns. This enthralling exploration into the power of campaign music will be featured at the Wisconsin Book Festival on Sunday, November 11th.   “In this insightful, erudite history of presidential campaign music, musicologist Benjamin Schoening and political scientist Eric Kasper explain how politicians use music in American presidential campaigns to convey a range of political messages. From Follow Washington to I Like Ike to I Got a Crush on Obama, they describe the ways that song use by and for presidential candidates has evolved, including the addition of lyrics to familiar songs, the current trend of using existing popular music to connect with voters, and the rapid change of music s relationship to presidential campaigns due to Internet sites like YouTube, JibJab, and Facebook. Readers are ultimately treated to an entertaining account of American political development through popular music and the complex, two-way relationship between music and presidential campaigns.” -Lexington Books   Read more about the Wisconsin Book Festival.   Read more about Don’t Stop Thinking about the Music.   Sample some of the music discussed: 2012 – Springsteen’s “We Take Care of Our Own“ 2012 – Kid Rock’s “Born Free“ 2008 – Stevie Wonder’s “Signed, Sealed, Delivered“ 2008 – Elvis’s “A Little Less Conversation“ 1992 – Fleetwood Mac’s “Don’t Stop“ 1992 – Patsy Cline’s “Crazy“ 1984 – Greenwood’s “God Bless the U.S.A.” 1972 – Simon & Garfunkel’s “Bridge over Troubled Water“ 1952 – “I Like Ike” (TV version commercial version) 1932 – Wardall’s “Happy Days Are Here Again” 1840 – “Tippecanoe and Tyler Too“   Listen to the show:

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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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