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.


Reshaping of the University of Wisconsin Human Resources System

09/21/12 12:05 PM | A Public Affair

uwCrest On Friday September 21st, host Esty Dinur spoke with David Ahrens, retired University of Wisconsin Public Health researcher, about the reshaping of the University of Wisconsin Human Resources System. 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 also have serious reservations as to how the changes will impact the University community. Ahrens 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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Airstrikes in Afghanistan

09/20/12 12:05 PM | A Public Affair

kathykelly On Thursday September 20th, host Allen Ruff interviewed peace activist Kathy Kelly about recent airstrikes in Afghanistan. Kelly is co-coordinator of Voices for Creative Nonviolence. She spends a great deal of time in Afghanistan fighting for peace. She recently stated, “On September 16th, 2012, at about 2:00 a.m., U.S./NATO forces called in an airstrike which killed eight Afghan women who were on a mountainside collecting wood for fuel. Villagers in the Alingar district of the Laghman province said the women routinely rise early in the morning to collect firewood so that they can prepare breakfast for their families. In spite of the constant drone surveillance which purportedly supplies the U.S. military with intelligence about patterns of life in Afghanistan, the U.S. military seemed unaware that women typically scour the mountainsides looking for firewood. Scant attention is paid to the plight of the families whose mothers have been slain by U.S. /NATO military forces which claim state-of-the-art drone surveillance capacity. And yet, U.S. officials have repeatedly claimed that the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan is necessary to protect women and children. A BBC video shows that other women and girls who survived the attack are now hospitalized because of their severe injuries. By now, news coverage of families in the Alingar district is likely over. However, the effects of this attack will forever alter the lives of the injured survivors, their families and the families and friends of those who were killed.” To read more about Voices for Creative Nonviolence: http://vcnv.org/ To listen to the entire interview:

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Truth Values: One Girl’s Romp Through M.I.T.’s Male Math Maze

09/19/12 12:05 PM | A Public Affair

Truth_Values_production_photo_1 On Wednesday September 19th, host Tonya Brito discussed the play “Truth Values: One Girl’s Romp Through M.I.T.’s Male Math Maze” which will hold two performances at the University of Wisconsin-Madison on September 20th and 21st. She interviewed Jennifer Sheridan, executive and research director of Women in Science & Engineering Leadership Institute (WISELI) at UW-Madison, and Gioia De Cari who is an actress, play write and mathematician. “Created as a response to former Harvard President Lawrence Summers’ now infamous suggestion that women are less represented than men in the sciences because of innate gender differences, Truth Values: One Girl’s Romp Through M.I.T.’s Male Math Maze is a true-life tale that offers a humorous, scathing, insightful and ultimately uplifting look at the challenges of being a professional woman in a male-dominated field. Performed barefoot on a bare stage with only a chair and small table, writer/performer and “recovering mathematician” Gioia De Cari brings to life more than 30 characters in a hilarious and deeply touching performance that has earned raves from critics and stirred audiences to standing ovations. Truth Values is an ideal conversation starter about issues concerning women in math and science. An impressive collection of academic luminaries has been attracted to participate in talk-backs held thus far, including Michael Sipser, Department Chair, Mathematics, M.I.T.; Nancy Hopkins, Professor of Biology, M.I.T.; Melissa Franklin, Mallinckrodt Professor of Physics, Harvard; Margaret Geller, Senior Scientist, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory; Abigail Stewart, Professor of Psychology and Women’s Studies, University of Michigan Ann Arbor, and Virginia Valian, Professor of Psychology, Hunter College, and author of Why So Slow? The Advancement of Women.” – http://unexpectedtheatre.org/about.htm To read more about the play and upcoming performances: http://unexpectedtheatre.org/about.htm To listen to the entire interview:

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Chicago Teachers’ Union Strike Follow-Up

09/18/12 12:05 PM | A Public Affair

Todd Price On Tuesday September 18th, host Cynthia Lin interviewed Associate Professor Todd Price regarding the recent Chicago Teachers’ Union strike. Huffington Post wrote on Tuesday, “Chicago Teachers Union delegates will meet on Tuesday to decide whether to end a strike that has closed the nation’s third-largest school district for more than a week and prompted Mayor Rahm Emanuel to seek a court order to stop it. Some 800 union delegates representing the 29,000 teachers and support staff in Chicago Public Schools met on Sunday but continued the strike for two days so they could review details of a proposed new contract negotiated with Emanuel. The meeting on Tuesday will be the second attempt by the union membership to try to get approval from delegates for the compromise deal, which must be approved by a simple majority to suspend the strike.” Cynthia talked with Dr. Todd Price about the new teacher evaluation system and the impact this may have on teachers and the education system in Chicago. To read more about the strikes: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/18/chicago-teachers-meet-tue_n_1892708.html To listen to the entire interview:

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Split Show: Act 10 Developments and Unrest in the Middle East

09/17/12 12:05 PM | A Public Affair

islam protests On Monday September 17th, John Quinlan hosted a split show updating listeners on weekend events here in Wisconsin as well as globally. During the first half, John interviewed Sharif Abdel Kouddous, an American journalist and Cairo correspondent for Democracy Now! about the recent unrest in the Middle East. During the second half of the program, John talked with lawyer Tamara Packard who analyzed new developments in the landmark legal decision which ruled unconstitutional many of the anti-Union pieces of Walker’s Act 10 Legislation. On Thursday September 13th, Democracy Now! correspondent Juan Gonzalez, covering the unrest in Egypt and the Middle East, reported: “Violent protests continue in the Middle East over an American-made film considered blasphemous to Islam. Earlier today, hundreds of Yemeni protesters stormed the U.S. embassy in Sana’a. The protesters smashed windows of the security offices outside the embassy and burned cars before breaking through the main gate of the heavily fortified compound. Some demonstrators scaled the walls of the embassy, while others set fires just outside the compound. Meanwhile, at least 16 demonstrators were injured earlier today outside the U.S. embassy in Cairo. Police reportedly used tear gas to disperse the protesters after they threw stones and petrol bombs near the embassy. The protests in Yemen and Egypt follow Tuesday night’s storming of the United States consulate in the Libyan city of Benghazi. U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other staff members were killed in the attack. Stevens is the first U.S. ambassador to be killed on duty since 1979. On Wednesday, President Obama vowed to bring to justice those responsible for the deaths in Libya.” To watch Sharif Abdel Kouddous on Democracy Now!: http://www.democracynow.org/2012/9/13/middle_east_protests_at_us_embassies To listen to the entire program:

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Fighting Bob Fest

09/14/12 12:05 PM | A Public Affair

fightingbob On Friday September 14th, JoAnne Thrax subbing for Esty Dinur spoke with television talk show host Phil Donahue. Donahue was recently a speaker at the Fighting Bob Fest. About Fighting Bob: “Fighting Bob Fest is an annual Chautauqua featuring progressive speakers, networking opportunities, and entertainment. Fighting Bob Fest carries on the tradition of Robert “Fighting Bob” La Follette by providing a forum for progressive ideas on issues facing Wisconsin and the nation. Freedom and justice are defended through education, and the exchange of ideas promotes solidarity among progressives. To this end, Fighting Bob Fest strives to provide citizens with a forum for democratic participation where frustrations with current policies can be constructively molded into calls to action” -www.fightingbobfest.org About Phil Donahue: “Phil Donahue and the DONAHUE show have been honored with 20 Daytime Emmy Awards, including nine for Outstanding Host and a George Foster Peabody Broadcasting Journalism Award. Phil Donahue used the television talk show format he pioneered in 1967 to interview world leaders, celebrities, newsmakers and people from all walks of life. For over 29 years, DONAHUE examined human behavior, focused national debates on political and social issues and has provided a democratic forum for presidential candidates.” -www.fightingbobfest.org To read more about Fighting Bob: http://www.fightingbobfest.org/ To listen to the entire interview:

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What the Republicans and Democrats Have in Common

09/13/12 12:05 PM | A Public Affair

Arun Gupta On Thursday September 13th, Allen Ruff talked with Arun Gupta who just returned from the Republican and Democratic conventions. Gupta is an Independent journalist, regular contributor to The Guardian, and a co-founder of the Occupied Wall Street Journal and The Indypendent. He reported from both conventions and wrote a number of pieces which observed that despite their vast differences, there are a whole range of commonalities between the two parties. He recently stated, “In terms of the protests, these security scare stories around the conventions keep the public away from substantial protest and dissent. The Olympics are about pushing the poor out through massive gentrification and infrastructure projects. What these conventions do — both political conventions, as well as NATO and G8 — is leave behind a massive security matrix that is used to police the poor and restrict dissent. Much of the rhetoric from the podium involves the establishment Democrats and Republicans jabbing at each other, but it highlights the broad areas of agreement between the Obama and Romney camps: The six wars (Yemen, Somalia, Afghanistan, Libya, Pakistan, Iraq) — just now, outrage has erupted in Yemen over the killing of 13 civilians in a U.S. drone strike on Sunday. There’s also substantial agreement between the two camps on corporate trade deals, expanding oil and gas drilling, civil liberties restrictions, the general policy toward Wall Street. Both are silent about the home foreclosure crisis and both parties want to cut Social Security and Medicare as the solution to the economic crisis caused by the banks. On many of the most important issues, the Obama and Romney camps take on the minority position of the 1% and oppose most of the U.S. public.” To read more from Arun Gupta: http://www.indypendent.org/authors/arun-gupta To listen to the entire interview:

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The Plight of the Chicago Teacher’s Union

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

teacher On Wednesday September 12th, Molly Stentz subbing for Brenda Konkel spoke with a panel about the recent teacher’s strike in Chicago. Molly spoke with Chicago high school social studies teacher and blog writer Adam Heenan, writer for The Progressive Magazine Kari Lydersen and reporter for the New York Indypendent Newspaper Jaisal Noor. Kari Lydersen recently wrote in her piece “Chicago Teachers vs. Rahm Emanuel and Corporatized Education:” When 26,000 Chicago Teachers Union members hit the picket lines Monday, Mayor Rahm Emanuel called it a “strike of choice” that is “unnecessary,” “avoidable” and “wrong.” He stayed with the narrative he’s been pushing for more than a year – that teachers are acting selfishly upon their own interests at the expense of students and parents. Talking with some of the thousands of teachers, school nurses, counselors and other staff who manned picket lines and rallied downtown Monday and Tuesday, I also got the impression the strike was a conscious “choice.” Not a choice to throw the lives of students and parents into chaos in a bid to get better pay and less scrutiny, as Emanuel’s administration has painted it, but a choice to stand up to a powerful city administration and well-funded national “education reform” interest groups in a battle that epitomizes larger fights over public sector unionism and the future of public education nationwide.” Molly spoke with the panel about why Chicago Teachers have decided to strike and the impact this decision might have on education in the windy city. To read Adam Hennan’s blog: http://classroomsooth.wordpress.com/ To read Kari Lyndersen’s article in full: http://progressive.org/chicago-teachers-vs-rahm-emanuel-corporatized-education To watch Jaisal Noor’s reporting: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NFqrg4SVCqA&feature=youtu.be To listen to the show:

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Politics and Climate Change

09/11/12 12:05 PM | A Public Affair

James Madison Evening2 On Tuesday, September 11th,  Anjuli Brekke subbing for Cynthia Lin tackled the important issue of climate change and how it is being discussed by the Republicans and Democrats during this election season. Now that the conventions have finished, and with the Presidential elections just around the corner, both the Obama and Romney campaigns are presenting their visions for the future. This edition of A Public Affair delved into the plans these candidates have, or lack there of, to deal with the pressing issue of climate change and the future of the environment. The guest for the first half of the program was Daphne Wysham, fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies and founder of the Sustainable Energy and Economy Network. She has worked on research and advocacy regarding climate change, human rights, fossil fuels, international finance, carbon markets and sustainable economies. Later on in the program Anjuli spoke with retired professor and conservation specialist Richard Steiner. Steiner was deeply moved by the disastrous impact of the Exxon Valdez oil spill. He recently stated, “Neither the Republican Party, nor the Obama administration seem to grasp the severity of the energy/climate crisis we are in. While the Republicans are further from an energy plan that addresses the situation, both are playing games with something that is truly a life and death situation.” Wysham and Steiner discussed the barriers facing environmentalists both with the current administration and the further challenges that will be faced if Romney is elected in November. To learn more about Daphne Wysham: http://www.ips-dc.org/staff/daphne To read articles from Richard Steiner: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/richard-steiner/ To listen to the entire program:

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OutReach Annual Banquet

09/10/12 12:05 PM | A Public Affair

OutReach Vector 2012 Website On Monday September 10th, host John Quinlan interviewed a panel of guests from Madison’s OutReach LGBT Community Center about their Annual Banquet taking place this Friday.   2012 Award Recipients: Woman of the Year: Cindy Crane Man of the Year: Joel Duffrin Organization of the Year: Alianza Latina Volunteer of the Year: Fay Ferington Ally of the Year: Karen Baker Special Recognition Award: Arthur Durkee Courage Award: Scott Anderson   OutReach Vision Statement: Our vision is to create a community where the presence and contributions of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender people are welcomed and celebrated; where intolerance is challenged and defeated; where justice prevails; and where civil rights of all people are valued and respected. To read more about OutReach: http://lgbtoutreach.org/?q=node/13 To listen to the entire 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.

rev. 52M