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.


YWCA Restorative Justice Program

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

ywca-logo-300x168 On Tuesday December 18th, host Cynthia Lin interviewed a panel of guests regarding the YWCA’s Restorative Justice Program. She spoke with Restorative Justice Program Manager Ananda Mirilli, Eugenia Highland and Danielle Bailey. According to Madison’s YWCA website, “Restorative justice is a theory or set of beliefs that informs how communities can resolve problems that have caused harm or damaged relationships. Restorative justice prioritizes accountability and community healing over punishment, shifting the focus from what rules were broken and what punishment is deserved to what harm was done and what needs to be done to repair the harm.” The YWCA employs restorative justice “as a strategy to address the School-to-Prison Pipeline. The School-to-Prison Pipeline is a process by which students are removed from the school for disciplinary infractions. These students are often put on a path to the criminal justice system. The racial disparities in school discipline directly correlate with the racial disparities in the criminal justice system. We use restorative justice to provide alternative discipline models in schools to keep students in school and out of the justice system.” Read more about the YWCA’s Restorative Justice Program: http://www.ywcamadison.org/site/c.cuIWLiO0JqI8E/b.7968327/k.F427/Restorative_Justice.htm Listen to the whole interview:

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Domo Geshe Rinpoche on Buddhist Philosophy

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

Rinpoche On Friday December 14th, host Esty Dinur interviewed Domo Geshe Rinpoche about Buddhist Philosophy. She is a Tibetan Buddhism teacher and founder and spiritual guider at White Conch Dharma Center. According to the White Conch Dharma Center website, “Domo Geshe Rinpoche is a reincarnate Lama of the Geluk tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. The Domo Geshe Rinpoche lineage includes Je Pabongka Rinpoche, Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche and the great Geshe Jampa Chombe. As a reincarnate, Rinpoche has accomplished extensive training and retreats in the traditional manner. Rinpoche’s current incarnation has been teaching in the United States for a number of years, held numerous retreats and given other spiritual training from the Geluk and tantric lineage.” Read more about Domo Geshe Rinpoche: http://www.white-conch.org/Domo-Geshe-Rinpoche.html Listen to the entire interview:

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UW-Madison’s “Human Resources Design” (HR Design)

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

Bucky Badger logo On Thursday December 13th, host Allen Ruff took a look at the University of Wisconsin Human Resources restructuring. He spoke with Lenora Hanson and Eleni Schirmer, members of the Teaching Assistant’s Association at UW-Madison and David Ahrens, a retired UW researcher and member of the Wisconsin University Union. 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, Hanson and Schirmer discussed these important issues regarding the future of UW-Madison. Read more about the plan: http://host.madison.com/news/local/education/university/university-of-wisconsin-madison-unveils-plan-for-sweeping-overhaul-of/article_c988ade0-044b-11e2-87cf-0019bb2963f4.html Listen to the entire show:

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Shopping for Good

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

shopping-for-good On Wednesday December 12th, host Tonya Brito interviewed author Dara O’Rourke about his recent book, “Shopping for Good.” Dara O’Rourke is Associate Professor of Environmental and Labor Policy at the University of California, Berkeley. He us also the Chairman of GoodGuide, Inc., a database for safe, healthy, green, and ethical products based on scientific ratings. He is author of “Community-Driven Regulation: Balancing Development and the Environment in Vietnam” (MIT Press) and coauthor of “Can We Put an End to Sweatshops?” “‘Buy local,’ ‘buy green,’ ‘buy organic,’ ‘fair trade’–how effective has the ethical consumption movement been in changing market behavior? Can consumers create fair and sustainable supply chains by shopping selectively? Dara O’Rourke, the activist-scholar who first broke the news about Nike’s sweatshops in the 1990s, considers the promise of ethical consumption–the idea that individuals, voting with their wallets, can promote better labor conditions and environmental outcomes globally. Governments have proven unable to hold companies responsible for labor and environmental practices. Consumers who say they want to support ethical companies often lack the knowledge and resources to do so consistently. But with the right tools, they may be able to succeed where governments have failed. Responding to O’Rourke’s argument, eight experts–Juliet Schor, Richard Locke, Scott Nova, Lisa Ann Richey, Margaret Levi, Andrew Szasz, Scott Hartley, and Auret van Herdeen–consider the connections between personal concerns and consumer activism, challenge the value of entrusting regulation to consumer efforts, and draw attention to difficulties posed by global supply chains.” -The MIT Press (September 21, 2012) Read more about “Shopping for Good:” http://mitpress.mit.edu/books/shopping-good-0 Read more about Dara O’Rourke: http://www.daraorourke.com/ Listen to the entire interview:

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Unrest in Michigan

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

Planned_Parenthood During this edition of A Public Affair, on Tuesday December 11th, we turned our attention to Michigan and the ongoing unrest in the state. During the first half of the hour, host Cynthia Lin interviewed Liz Rodriguez, communications chair of the Graduate Employees Organization at UMich, who helped organize resistance to the anti-union “Right to Work” Bill. For the second half of the hour, Cynthia spoke to Meghan Hodge Groen, Director of Government Relations and Political Fundraising at Planned Parenthood, about the attacks on women’s rights that are going on in Michigan at the same time. According to the Chicago Tribune, “LANSING, Mich. — Michigan enacted a ban on mandatory union membership on Tuesday, dealing a stunning blow to organized labor in the state that is home to U.S. automakers and the symbol of industrial labor in the United States. As more than 12,000 unionized workers and supporters protested at the Capitol in Lansing, the Republican-led state House of Representatives gave final approval to a pair of “right-to-work” bills covering public- and private-sector unions.” Read the entire Tribune article: http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-12-11/news/chi-right-to-work-michigan-20121211_1_public-and-private-sector-unions-union-contracts-governor-signs-bills The “right-to-work bills were not the only legislation which brought protests to the Capitol in Lansing. Planned Parenthood Advocates also fought against House Bill 5711. According to the Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan website, “Extremist legislators have launched the most dangerous and sweeping attacks on women’s health in our state’s history. If passed, these bills would have a devastating impact on women’s reproductive health and access to abortion services in the state. As this year’s legislative session comes to a close anti-women’s health lawmakers are trying to push through dangerous, onerous and outrageous policy initiatives which include efforts to: Regulate women’s health centers out of existence. (HB 5711) Limit abortion access for women in rural areas. (HB 5711) Prevent private insurance companies from covering any abortion services. (SBs 612, 613, 614) Allow providers to deny any health care service they deem objectionable. (SB 975)”   Read more about the Planned Parenthood resistance to HB 5711: http://miplannedparenthood.org/page/war-women-michigan Listen to the entire program:

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“America the Possible: Manifesto for a New Economy”

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

america_the_possible On Monday December 10th, host John Quinlan spoke with author James Gustave Speth about how to fix a broken system, whether it comes to the subject of democracy or whether it comes to the subject of media and other institutions which are fundamental to a democratic way of life. They discussed Speth’s book “America the Possible: Manifesto for a New Economy.” In her review of the book, Hazel Henderson wrote, “In America the Possible, author Speth focuses on the powerful role of media and advertising and how giant media conglomerates now influence education on public issues and shape opinions and politics – now so evident in the U.S. presidential election of 2012. Unlike in most other mature democracies, U.S. politics, flooded with money, feeds mass media profits with millions of attack ads – in absurdly long, tedious campaigns with politicians now spending more than a third of their time “dialing for dollars” from rich special interest contributors… America the Possible is exhaustively researched and contains all the elements needed to foster a rebirth of a more realistic U.S.A. Speth sees this country once more joining the international community as a more cooperative, peaceful member, contributing to the emergence of responsible societies. Many new similar models, from the Earth Charter, Forum 2000, to the UN’s Global Green New Deal, lay out principles suitable for addressing the new issues. In our Anthropocene Age, no nation alone can address these unprecedented challenges, where weapons fail and where sovereignty must be pooled and knowledge and resources shared more deeply. This book is vital reading for policy makers and concerned global citizens from local to national, worldwide.” Read Henderson’s entire review of “America the Possible:” http://seekingalpha.com/article/941691-review-of-james-gustave-speth-s-america-the-possible-manifesto-for-a-new-economy Listen to the entire interview:

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Split Show: Right to Work Legislation in Michigan and Bradley Manning Hearing

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

Bradley Manning On Friday December 7th, host Esty Dinur started the show with guest Louise Somalski, Lobbyist for American Federation of Teachers in Michigan (AFT Michigan). She is in Lansing and gave listeners an update on the Right to Work legislation passed in the Michigan State Capitol on Thursday December 6th. This legislation would make it unlawful to require union membership as a condition of employment and was passed in the State House and Senate in one day. Somalski described exactly what happened in the Capitol yesterday as huge groups of protestors were locked out. Esty also spoke with John Hoadley, Campaign Manager for Working Michigan a labor/community coalition group, about community mobilization against the legislation.   Read more about American Federation of Teachers in Michigan (AFT Michigan): http://aftmichigan.org/aboutus/index.html During the second half of the program, Esty spoke with Kevin Gosztola, a journalist covering the Bradley Manning pre-trial hearing. Gosztola is the co-author of “Truth & Consequences: The U.S. vs. Bradley Manning,” and blogs at dissenter.firedoglake.com. Bradley Manning has been in pretrial confinement for over 900 days. He is accused of leaking hundreds of thousands of classified and confidential military and diplomatic documents to WikiLeaks. Today was day nine of his pre-trial hearing, with the actual trial set for March 2013. This was the first time Manning has spoken publicly since his arrest in 2010. Manning’s defense is arguing he was ‘unlawfully punished’ while imprisoned at the Quantico Marine Brig for nine months. They hope to have the charges dismissed or be awarded credit for time served and are putting key commanding officers on the witness stand to show how the Brig was more concerned with media attention and scrutiny from senior officials in the Pentagon and Washington than they were with Manning’s health.           Listen to the entire program:

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Arab Spring, Libyan Winter

12/6/12 12:05 PM | A Public Affair

vijay On Thursday December 6th, host Allen Ruff interviewed author Vijay Prashad about unrest in the Middle East. Prashad is the George and Martha Kellner Chair of South Asian History, Professor and Director of International Studies at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut. He is the author of several books, including “Karma of Brown Folk” (Village Voice, one of the top 25 books of the year, 2001), “Everybody Was Kung Fu Fighting” (Village Voice, one of the top 25 books of the year, 2002), and “The Darker Nations: A People’s History of the Third World” (winner of the 2009 Muzaffar Ahmad Book Prize). He writes regularly for Frontline (India) and Counterpunch (USA). Prashad discussed with Allen his most recent book, “Arab Spring, Libyan Winter” which was published in May of this year. “The Arab Spring captivated the planet. Mass action overthrew Tunisia’s Ben Ali and Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak. The revolutionary wave spread to the far corners of the Arab world, from Morocco to Bahrain. It seemed as if all the authoritarian states would finally be freed, even those of the Arabian Peninsula. People’s power had produced this wave, and continued to ride it out. In Libya, though, the new world order had different ideas. Social forces opposed to Muammar Qaddafi had begun to rebel, but they were weak. In came the French and the United States, with promises of glory. A deal followed with the Saudis, who then sent in their own forces to cut down the Bahraini revolution, and NATO began its assault, ushering in a Libyan Winter that cast its shadow over the Arab Spring. This brief, timely analysis situates the assault on Libya in the context of the winds of revolt that swept through the Middle East in the Spring of 2011. Vijay Prashad explores the recent history of the Qaddafi regime, the social forces who opposed him, and the role of the United Nations, NATO, and the rest of the world’s superpowers in the bloody civil war that ensued.” -AK Press (May 8, 2012)   Read more about the book “Arab Spring, Libyan Winter:” http://www.akpress.org/arabspringlibyanwinter.html Listen to the entire interview:

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World AIDS Day

12/5/12 12:05 PM | A Public Affair

World AIDS Day logo On Wednesday December 5th, Karma Chavez starts her first day as a permanent host on A Public Affair with a World AIDS Day special. Her first guest was Tiona M., a film maker who is coming to the University of Wisconsin at 5 PM on the evening of December 5th. She will be showing her film about HIV/AIDS in the black community called Bumming Cigarettes at the LGBT Campus center. During the second half of the show, Karma spoke with Professor Shawnika J. Hull who is an expert on HIV/AIDS in the black community and is working on an extensive project in Milwaukee. According to the World AIDS Day website, “World AIDS Day is held on 1 December each year and is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, show their support for people living with HIV and to commemorate people who have died. World AIDS Day was the first ever global health day and the first one was held in 1988. Today, many scientific advances have been made in HIV treatment, there are laws to protect people living with HIV and we understand so much more about the condition. But despite this, people do not know the facts about how to protect themselves and others from HIV, and stigma and discrimination remain a reality for many people living with HIV. World AIDS Day is important as it reminds the public and Government that HIV has not gone away – there is still a vital need to raise money, increase awareness, fight prejudice and improve education.”   Read more about Tiona M. and her film Bumming Cigarettes: http://tionam.com/ Read more about World AIDS Day: http://www.worldaidsday.org/ Listen to the entire program:

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Bengladesh Factory Fire

12/4/12 12:05 PM | A Public Affair

Faded Glory2 On Tuesday December 4th, host Cynthia Lin interviewed Professor Stephanie Luce about the recent tragic factory fire in Bangladesh. Luce is Associate Professor of Labor Studies at the Murphy Institute at the City University of New York. She said today: “The fire is a tragedy, but unfortunately not a surprise. Bangladesh has received a lot of attention in its role as a large garment producer, and as such, has been targeted in some high profile international anti-sweatshop campaigns and labor solidarity efforts. Yet this fire seems to highlight the weaknesses of that strategy to improve working conditions from the outside, particularly when a country depends so heavily on low wages as its comparative advantage in a global export model. After several decades of intensive garment production for export, the conditions of Bangladeshi garment factories have barely improved. Average wages are still among the lowest in the world. Working conditions are often extremely dangerous. At the same time, retailers or brands, such as Walmart or Nike, have inordinate bargaining power over the factories in Bangladesh (and the Bangladeshi government). This can allow the Walmarts and Nikes to increase profits, consolidate their wealth and strength, leading to a high degree of concentration in the industries. This helps develop ‘buyer-driven supply chains’ where the buyer (e.g. Walmart) sets the terms of contracts. It is possible that Walmart could then use that excess profit to provide better wages and working conditions in the U.S., but in most cases, it does not. It uses its increased monopoly power in the U.S. as well, growing in size and becoming large enough to set wage levels and keep them low. This is no ‘free market’ in any sense: the large retailers have monopoly power over their suppliers, and what we call monopsony power over workers in the U.S. retail market. There is no free-willed negotiation between equal partners, whether that be Walmart and suppliers, or Walmart and retail workers.”   Read more about the tragedy: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/28/bangladesh-factory-fire_n_2203614.html   Listen to the entire interview:

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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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