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!

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Please contact Molly Stentz at (608) 256-2001 or newsflash@wort-fm.org.


“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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The End of Local Talk and News on WTDY

12/3/12 12:05 PM | A Public Affair

wtdy On Monday December 3rd, host John Quinlan spoke with a panel of guests on the future of local radio talk and news in Madison.   Midwest Family Broadcasting chose to lay off their news and talk staff at the radio station WTDY in Madison late in the day before Thanksgiving. The panel John brought together discussed efforts to restore more local progressive programming to the air, and to find longtime local radio personality John “Sly” Sylvester another home in local radio. The studio guests included former WTDY News Reporter Dylan Brogan, News Director Amy Barrilleaux, and News Anchor Deana Wright. John also spoke to Mike Dickman from the group Give Sly the Mic and media reform activist Barbara Wright. Former WTDY Station Manager Glen Gardner also joined John by phone from Boston.   Photo: Left to right, Barbara Wright, John Quinlan, Deana Wright, Amy Barrilleaux, and Dylan Brogan.     Read more about the issue: Wisconsin State Journal Isthmus   Read more about Give Sly the Mic     Listen to the entire program:

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The Suffering Grasses and the Crisis in Syria

11/30/12 12:05 PM | A Public Affair

The Suffering Grasses On Friday November 30th, host Esty Dinur interviewed Iara Lee about her documentary film “THE SUFFERING GRASSES: when elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers.” Iara Lee is a Korean Brazilian film producer, director and activist who works mainly in the Middle East. Esty also spoke with Middle East expert Professor Jennifer Loewenstein who added to the discussion of the film and the crisis in Syria. “The ongoing conflict in Syria has become a microcosm for the complicated politics of the region, and an unsavory reflection of the world at large. Against the backdrop of the Arab Spring, NATO’s toppling of Moammar Qaddafi in Libya, and the complicated politics of the region, this film seeks to explore the Syrian conflict through the humanity of the civilians who have been killed, abused, and displaced to the squalor of refugee camps. In all such conflicts, large and small, it is civilians—women and children, families and whole communities—who suffer at the leisure of those in power. While focusing on the plight of those caught in the crossfire of the hegemons, we seek to unravel the conflict by exploring the motivations of its actors—the Ba’athist regime of Bashar al-Assad, the Free Syrian Army and other geopolitical players like the United States, Israel, Russia, China, Iran, Lebanon, Turkey, the Gulf countries… When elephants go to war, it is the grass that suffers. This is a film about the elephants, but made for the grasses.” Read Iara Lee’s piece in The Huffington Post:” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/iara-lee/the-only-true-revolution-in-syria-is-nonviolent_b_1519844.html#s=more226651 Read more about the film, “The Suffering Grasses:” http://www.culturesofresistance.org/suffering-grasses   Listen to the entire program:

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Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

11/29/12 12:05 PM | A Public Affair

interfaith-peace-builders-delegation-olive-harvest-137 On Thursday November 29th, host Allen Ruff talked with Tsela Barr and Veena Brekke, two individuals who just came back from a peace delegation to Israel and Palestine with the group 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. Allen spoke with Tsela Barr who just came back from a peace delegation to Gaza on November 12th. During the second half of the hour Veena Brekke joined in the conversation. She 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 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 interview:

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Slow Democracy

11/28/12 12:05 PM | A Public Affair

slow democracy On Wednesday November 28th, host Tonya Brito spoke with author Susan Clark about her new book “Slow Democracy.” “Just as slow food encourages chefs and eaters to become more intimately involved with the production of local food, and slow money helps us become more engaged with our local economy, slow democracy encourages us to govern ourselves locally with processes that are inclusive, deliberative, and citizen powered. In Slow Democracy, community leader Susan Clark and democracy scholar Woden Teachout document the range of ways that citizens around the country are breathing new life into participatory democracy in their communities. In Slow Democracy, readers learn the stories of residents who gain community control of water systems and local forests, parents who find creative solutions to divisive and seemingly irreconcilable school-redistricting issues, and a host of other citizen-led actions that are reinvigorating local democracy and decision making. Along with real-life examples of slow democracy in action, Clark and Teachout also provide twenty simple guidelines for communities, and citizens, to use as ways to reinvigorate their local democratic process. With a future more and more focused on local food, local energy, and local economies, Slow Democracy offers strategies to improve our skills at local governance and to reinvigorate community democracy.” -Chelsea Green Publishing Read more about “Slow Democracy:” http://www.chelseagreen.com/bookstore/item/slow_democracy:paperback Listen to the entire interview:

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US Relations with China

11/27/12 12:05 PM | A Public Affair

US-China_flags On Tuesday November 27th, host Cynthia Lin spoke with Henry Rosemont, distinguished professor emeritus at St. Mary’s College of Maryland and visiting professor of religious studies at Brown University. They discussed US approaches to relations with China. Rosemont recently said, “If President Obama bases U.S. relations with China on principles of competition and criticism, the new regime of Xi Jinping and Li Keqiang will almost surely respond in kind, and the governments of both countries will become less capable of dealing with their own internal large-scale problems. “Moving to a policy based on cooperation on the other hand diplomatically, militarily and economically — both countries can contribute to solving their own and each other’s problems at the same time, as well as problems more worldwide in scope. As the major power in the relationship, the initiative for a new policy must lie with the U.S., especially with all the anti-China rhetoric that infected the recent election campaign.” Read Rosemont’s piece “Is China a Threat?”: http://www.fpif.org/reports/is_china_a_threat 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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