A Public Affair
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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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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
LISTEN TO RECENT EPISODES
10/17/12 12:05 PM | A Public Affair
On Wednesday October 17th, host Tonya Brito spoke with Sociology professor Prudence Carter about her recent book, “Stubborn Roots, Race, Culture, and Inequality in U.S. and South African Schools.” “What are the features of the school environment that make students’ of color incorporation greater at some schools than at others? Prudence L. Carter seeks to answer this basic but bedeviling question through a rich comparative analysis of the organizational and group dynamics in eight schools located within four cities in the United States and South Africa-two nations rebounding from centuries of overt practices of racial and social inequality. Stubborn Roots provides insight into how school communities can better incorporate previously disadvantaged groups and engender equity by addressing socio-cultural contexts and promoting “cultural flexibility.” It also raises important and timely questions about the social, political, and philosophical purposes of multiracial schooling that have been greatly ignored by many, and cautions against narrow approaches to education that merely focus on test-scores and resources.” -Oxford University Press Read more about the book: http://www.oup.com/us/catalog/general/subject/Education/?view=usa&ci=9780199899654 Listen to the entire program:
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10/16/12 12:05 PM | A Public Affair
On Tuesday October 16th, host Cynthia Lin talked with professor Stephen Sheehi about his recent book, “Islamophobia: The Ideological Campaign Against Muslims.” Sheehi is Associate Professor of Arabic and Director of the Arabic Program at the University of South Carolina. “Islamophobia: The Ideological Campaign Against Muslims examines the rise of anti-Muslim and anti-Arab sentiments in the West following the end of the Cold War through GW Bush’s War on Terror to the Age of Obama. Using “Operation Desert Storm” as a watershed moment, Stephen Sheehi examines the increased mainstreaming of Muslim-bating rhetoric and explicitly racist legislation, police surveillance, witch-trials and discriminatory policies towards Muslims in North America and abroad. The book focuses on the various genres and modalities of Islamophobia from the works of rogue academics to the commentary by mainstream journalists, to campaigns by political hacks and special interest groups. Some featured Islamophobes are Bernard Lewis. Fareed Zakaria, Thomas Friedman, David Horowitz, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Irshad Manji, George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, John McCain, Hilary Clinton and Barack Obama. Their theories and opinions operate on an assumption that Muslims, particularly Arab Muslims, suffer from particular cultural lacuna that prevent their cultures from progress, democracy and human rights. While the assertion originated in the colonial era, Sheehi demonstrates that it was refurbished as a viable explanation for Muslim resistance to economic and cultural globalization during the Clinton era. Moreover, the theory was honed into the empirical basis for an interventionist foreign policy and propaganda campaign during the Bush regime and continues to underlie Barack Obama’s new internationalism. If the assertions of media pundits and rogue academics became the basis for White House foreign policy, Sheehi also demonstrates how they were translated into a sustained domestic policy of racial profiling and Muslim-baiting by agencies from Homeland Security to the Department of Justice. Furthermore, Sheehi examines the collusion between non-governmental agencies, activist groups and lobbies and local, state and federal agencies to in suppressing political speech on US campuses critical of racial profiling, US foreign policy in the Middle East and Israel. While much of the direct violence against Muslims on American streets, shops and campuses has subsided, Islamophobia runs throughout the Obama administration. Sheehi, therefore, concludes that Muslim and Arab-hating emanate from all corners of the American political and cultural spectrum, serving poignant ideological functions in the age of economic, cultural and political globalization.” -Clarity Press, Inc. Read more about the book: http://www.claritypress.com/Sheehi.html Listen to the entire interview:
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10/15/12 12:05 PM | A Public Affair
On Monday October 15th, host John Quinlan held a fascinating conversation with guest Brad Lichtenstein, director/producer of “As Goes Janesville.” They were joined by Dane County supervisor Jenni Dye, a veteran of the WI Capitol Uprising, and a native of Janesville. According to the film’s website, “Janesville, Wisconsin is not unlike a lot of Midwestern blue-collar, middle-class towns in America. Since the economy began its nosedive in 2008, Janesville residents, civic leaders, and businesses have been plunged into an extended cycle of hardship and uncertainty. And like other towns in other states across the nation, Janesville has found itself at a crossroads: As a place with more people than jobs, how can it reinvent and restore itself, and at what cost? … And then in 2010, the midterm election campaigns hit high gear, and perhaps nowhere did they reverberate more widely than in Wisconsin. Scott Walker, a young and fiery politician in Milwaukee, captured the GOP endorsement for governor with a platform focused on repairing Wisconsin’s battered economy and creating a quarter million jobs using deep cuts in the capital gains tax, incentives for small businesses, and rolling back spending on state spending — including measures to restrict the collective bargaining rights of public employees such as firefighters, teachers, and police officers. Walker, who gave out “Wisconsin: Open for Business!” campaign bumper stickers, was swept into office by a hefty margin, and quickly introduced his “budget repair bill” in early 2011. The bill passed, but not before the Wisconsin State Capitol in Madison was besieged by protestors and the Democratic members of the legislature (including Janesville’s representative Tim Cullen) fled the state in an attempt to block it. Meanwhile in Janesville, there is ambivalence. A pro-business agenda at the state level is a relief to the local “ambassadors of optimism.” Those who have been lifelong autoworkers and union-members are nervous about wagering hard-won labor rights for a so-far speculative economic resurgence. But everybody in Janesville is eager for something — anything — that might help them keep their community in one piece. The story of Janesville is a parable for cities large and small across the United States. In this era of economic challenge and ideological polarization, how might we redefine the American Dream?” Read more about the film at: http://www.pbs.org/independentlens/as-goes-janesville/film.html visit the film’s website which includes online viewing options, and future film showing information: http://asgoesjanesville.com/ Listen to the entire interview:
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10/12/12 12:05 PM | A Public Affair
On Friday October 12th, host Esty Dinur spoke with professor Miguel Tinker Salas about the recent elections in Venezuela. Tinker Salas is a professor of history and Latin American studies at Pomona College and author of “The Enduring Legacy: Oil, Culture, and Society in Venezuela.” He recently stated: “The outcome of Venezuela’s election on Sunday, October 7 will not only determine who governs Venezuela for the next six years but also who controls the most important proven oil deposits in the world. Regionally, the Chávez election in 1998 became the first of many left electoral gains in Latin America including Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina, Bolivia and Ecuador. Therefore, the outcome of these elections will reverberate throughout Latin America, Washington, Beijing and other world capitals. A Chávez victory would affirm the process of social change underway in Venezuela while buttressing efforts at Latin American integration. That is why Lula, the former president of Brazil, stated that a victory for Chávez would confirm the political changes underway in Latin America.” Read more about Tinker Salas: http://www.migueltinkersalas.com/ Listen to the entire show:
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10/11/12 12:05 PM | A Public Affair
On Thursday October 11th, guest host Norm Stockwell spoke with Ellen Hodgeson Brown American lawyer, author and monetary reformer, David Cobb, American activist and was the 2004 presidential candidate of the Green Party, and Mother Fool’s co-owner, Stephanie Rearick. Norm discussed with the guests about the upcoming Economic Democracy Conference here in Madison from October 11th-14th. The Economic Democracy Conference website describes the importance of this movement: “In the last year there has been a resurgence in the struggle for a better world and a move toward meaningful democracy. Across the globe, from Madison to the Middle East, democracy was breaking free of shackles, people were beginning to agitate and assert themselves to strengthen their democracies, or to fight for them where they had none before. The historic moment remains to be seized, as the struggle for democracy must be extended to the economy. We need to take control of the economy to make it work for the interests of all. In early October, just three weeks before the national elections, there shall be a convergence of people to continue this effort and to focus on making practical a new vision for democracy, one extended beyond the political to encompass the economy, coming together in a conference: “Economic Democracy: In Vision and Action”. Nearly forty people are involved in coming together to form an Economic Democracy Collaborative to organize the four day event October 11-14th in Madison, WI. Our desire is for there to be a plurality of perspectives presented, with many organizations sharing their work and focus, and where no one organization singly controls the message. Rather strategy and processes move forward in the principle of collective consensus. The conference shall consist of a broad ranged discussion of issues from a variety of perspectives of organizations and people working toward the ideals and ideas of Economic Democracy. Moving from broad visions we will develop practical actions and strategies. Our idea has been to locally and nationally connect many of the grassroots organizations to activist-minded academics, people from the Occupy movement, social and economic justice movements, environmental and sustainability movements, labor rights and other struggles, even grassroots political activists, cooperatives, and other people’s movements representing communities who often have no voice heard in the mainstream. We want to connect these groups with each other, support their work, shed light on and popularize the values and goals of their work as necessary ingredients to changing the world of corporate capitalism to an economics of the people. Please join ….
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10/10/12 12:05 PM | A Public Affair
On Wednesday October 10th, host Brenda Konkel spoke with Executive Director of Operation Fresh Start Greg Markel about efforts to close the achievement gap between white and minority students in the Madison public schools as well as the positive impact of groups like Operation Fresh Start on the lives of the individuals involved. According to their website, “Operation Fresh Start has provided comprehensive employment and training services to 7,000 youth and adults in Dane County, Wisconsin, since 1970. The organization’s chief training approach is to renovate or construct single family houses for sale to low and very-low income first-time home buyers. Over two hundred houses have been completed to date. The housing sites are the vehicles for employment training and are at the center of a comprehensive program of educational and support services. Instruction in basic skills and preparation for the high school equivalency examination, instruction in independent living skills, leadership development, counseling, pre-employment skills training, placement in a job or post-secondary education, and supportive follow-up are vital components of the program.” Operation Fresh Start has been a great success: “OFS has assisted 80% of its participants to satisfactorily complete the goals of the program – job placement and/or graduation to post-secondary schooling. OFS’ long-term follow-up studies show that 60-65% of graduates remain self-sufficient. A June 2004 survey by Brandeis and Temple universities, commissioned by YouthBuild USA, substantiates these studies, finding that 82% of OFS graduates are currently in post-secondary education or jobs averaging $11.85/hour.” Read more about OFS: http://www.operationfreshstart.org Listen to the entire program:
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10/9/12 12:05 PM | A Public Affair
On Tuesday October 9th, Cynthia Lin spoke with Dr. Alan Lockwood about his recent book “The Silent Epidemic: Coal and the Hidden Threat to Health.” On the third day of the pledge drive, News Intern Anjuli Brekke stepped into the studio with Cynthia to inform listeners about why they should donate to WORT. Cynthia discussed the hazardous impacts of coal on the human body with Dr. Alan Lockwood: “We will not find ‘exposure to burning coal’ listed as the cause of death on a single death certificate, but tens of thousands of deaths from asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, lung cancer, heart attacks, strokes, and other illnesses are clearly linked to coal-derived pollution. As politicians and advertising campaigns extol the virtues of ‘clean coal,’ the dirty secret is that coal kills. In The Silent Epidemic, Alan Lockwood, a physician, describes and documents the adverse health effects of burning coal. Lockwood’s comprehensive treatment examines every aspect of coal, from its complex chemical makeup to details of mining, transporting, burning, and disposal–each of which generates significant health concerns. He describes coal pollution’s effects on the respiratory, cardiovascular, and nervous systems, and how these problems will only get worse; explains the impact of global warming on coal-related health problems; and discusses possible policy approaches to combat coal pollution. Coal fueled the industrial revolution and has become a major source of energy in virtually every country. In the United States, almost half of the energy used to generate electricity comes from burning coal. Relatively few people are aware of the health threats posed by coal-derived pollutants, and those who are aware lack the political clout of the coal industry. Lockwood’s straightforward description of coal as a health hazard is especially timely, given the barrage of marketing efforts to promote coal as part of ‘energy independence.’ His message is clear and urgent: ‘Coal-fired plants make people sick and die, particularly children and those with chronic illnesses, and they cost society huge amounts of money desperately needed for other purposes.’” -MIT Press Books Read more about the book: http://www.amazon.com/The-Silent-Epidemic-Hidden-Threat/dp/026201789X Listen to the entire program:
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10/8/12 12:05 PM | A Public Affair
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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10/5/12 12:05 PM | A Public Affair
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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10/4/12 12:05 PM | A Public Affair
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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