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On Thursday, December 20, our host Tony Castaneda spoke with Dr. Roberto Rodriguez from Arizona.They speak about the controversy surrounding the Mexican American Studies program ban, and Dr. Rodriguez’ involvement with the issue. In 2011, a law took effect in Arizona, banning the Mexican American studies programs and ethnic studies classes in K-12 schools in the Tucson Unified School District. The ban was intended for classes that “promote racial resentment” and “encourage ethnic solidarity.” The law was met with opposition and protests. However, the Mexican American studies program is actually a part of a “federal desegregation court order” from thirty years ago, and is still in effect. This federal order would rule over the recent state law. Dr. Rodriguez points that the same politicians that were involved with Arizona’s highly controversial immigration law, were also involved with the ethnic studies ban. “It’s very much related to the whole immigration crisis. It’s the same politicians, literally, identically, it’s all the same people,” he says. He notes that Russell Pierce, the author of the anti-immigrant bill, has actually since been recalled. Explains Dr. Rodriguez, “The federal courts have been supervising Tucson Unified School District since 1978… A 1974 lawsuit was filed, the Fisher-Mendoza lawsuit, and it calls for desegregation. And one of the few things Tucson was doing right was the Mexican-American studies program. And of course, that’s what they went after. And the federal government was giving the school district $62 million a year, and probably less than 1% was going to desegregation… And then [the district] supposedly got out of supervision a year ago, but a judge got a hold of it and said ‘no, Tucson is still not in the best of shape.’” Thus, the district still falls under the supervision of the federal courts. All parties involved in the lawsuit have come together and jointly agreed on a plan that forwards the desegregation cause, “the plan calls for the expansion of Mexican American and African American culturally relevant classes to every high school in the district, and to middle schools and elementary schools.” Dr. Rodriguez says, “We’ve won. We’ve won a massive victory.” Listen to the entire interview here:read article »
On Wednesday, December 19, our host Jan Miyasaki spoke with Laura Olah, Executive Director of Citizens for Safe Water around Badger (CSWAB). The group is a member agency of Community Shares of Wisconsin. Laura has been named the Water Conservationist of the Year by the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation. The organization mission is “to support, unify and strengthen citizens concerned for the safety of water resources in and around the Badger Army Ammunition Plant; to effect expedient cleanup of any contamination caused by negligent handling of toxic waste; and to exercise means as necessary to guarantee water resources are totally free of toxic contamination for us and the generations to follow.” (Citizens for Safe Water around Badger) Laura provides an update on the organization’s activities in 2012. Earlier this year, the group worked for the better regulation and environmental monitoring for the explosive carcinogenic compound DNT, dinitrotoluene, “It has the lowest groundwater standards of all the chemicals that are regulated by the state of Wisconsin.” The army has so far not been required to test the soil for this compound. With the combined efforts from CSWAB and other regions of the EPA, the EPA will be publishing a Provisional Peer-Reviewed Toxicity Value – it provides a number that can be used in calculating clean-up goals and monitoring efforts. At the state-wide level, the group has been working with the DNR, on revisions of soil cleanup standards. Laura mentions that a main priority for 2012 was ensuring that the cleanup standards would meet the levels for children and expectant mothers. “There are many routes of exposure – dermal exposure, through inhalation, incidental ingestion…” Laura explains that without the involvement of local governments, communities, and organizations, “there are many private wells that would not be tested.” There are roughly 300 restoration advisory boards across the nation that have stationed around formerly used military sites, which CSWAB works closely with. Read more about Citizens for Safe Water around Badger and their efforts here. Listen to the interview here:read article »
On Wednesday December 19, Jan Miyasaki speaks with members of the Tibetan Youth Congress, who are advocating for the entire restoration of Tibet. She speaks with Tenzin Chokey, the General Secretary of the Tibetan Youth Congress traveling on a national speaking tour from Dharamshala, India; Kunchok Gonpo, the President of the Wisconsin Tibetan Youth Congress; and Shenten Sangpo, Treasurer of the Tibetan Youth Congress of Minnesota. Tibetan Youth Congress is the largest NGO headquartered in Dharamsala, with 85,000 chapters across the world, including US, Taiwan, Europe, India. There is a Tibetan Independence Conference being held in North America; Tenzin Chokey has traveled from Dharamshala to attend the conference and also conduct a speaking tour. At least thirty-three Tibetans have self-immolated in the last forty days in protest. Tenzin explains the conditions that have driven some to self-immolation, “Tibet is a colonized and occupied country. The self-immolations have happened especially since March 2011… It is not just a matter of people are not getting their religious freedom to pray. They face human rights abuse… They have had enough of human occupation. They’ve done all the usual non-violent actions, and now they’re taking to a message that they think would draw the attention by burning themselves.” Tenzin also speaks about the militarization of the people and environment. When militarization takes place, “there are all sorts of human rights abuses that happen following a military occupation. You basically do not need to be in a jail to be incarcerated. Since the Chinese occupied Tibet, there has been a systematic abuse of human rights. If you would walk around, you would basically feel like you are walking in a war zone.” Kunchok, the President of the Wisconsin chapter, explains the importance of having a Wisconsin chapter of the Tibetan Youth Congress. There are growing numbers of Tibetan families in Madison, with the younger generation showing a lot of interest in the movement. The University of Wisconsin-Madison has strong ties with the Dalai Lama, and the Tibetan community is well respected in Madison. They also talk about efforts from the U.S. governments towards the liberation fo Tibet. Tenzin says that a few members of congress have taken action towards this effort by writing a letter to President Obama, urging him to take international action on behalf of Tibet. Visit the Tibetan Youth Congress website. Visit the Wisconsin chapter of the Tibetan Youth Congress. Listen to the interview ….read article »
On Tuesday December 18, host Aaron Perry spoke with Luis Yudice, the Coordinator of School Safety and Security for the Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD). They speak about school safety and safety measures here in Madison, following the disaster that took place at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut. Luis Yudice, who retired as captain at the police department, now works for the school district overseeing the safety programs in the fifty different schools in the district. Luis speaks about the security measures at the schools. The MMSD contracts with the Madison Police Department to provide for school resource officers, posting one in each high school. There is also a staff of thirty school security assistants, “these are civilian, unarmed employees that we train. And we really train them in the art of talking, engaging kids in a positive way, every morning getting to know names, because that’s what’s really critical.” Luis also explains a challenge that comes with ensuring strict safety measures, “We always have to maintain a balance between providing for the safety of our students while not creating a climate that resembles a correctional institution or a fortress in our schools, because that’s also counterproductive.” He speaks about a recently instated program, “Crisis Management and Intervention,” training 1,000 staff members so far on how to temper school conflict and forge stronger relationships with the students to allow for more open communication. Luis speaks about the ‘reasonable measures’ the district takes to ensure student safety. “A response to a critical incident is only one part of what we do. We emphasize working at the front end of the problem. We encourage teachers, students to come forward with any information regarding any threats – and we have been quite successful with that. That enables us to begin to work with the problem. We work with the police department, other schools, community agencies… We try and get ahead of the problem before it becomes a full blown crisis. That’s what we tend to emphasize in the MMSD.” Visit the Madison Metropolitan School District website. Listen to the entire interview here:read article »
On Tuesday, December 18, host Aaron Perry spoke with former Idaho State Representative Boise Brian Cronin, now a Senior Vice President at Strategies 360. They speak about the referendum that Idaho recently voted on regarding the state’s teacher’s union rights and collective bargaining. In 2011, the state was faced with a series of education reform proposals – “at the heart what they tried to do was erode the collective bargaining rights of teachers, but [these were] also proposals to require students to take online courses before graduation, and to put a laptop in the hands of each student.” This was for the purpose of saving money: through a combination of online courses and laptops, students would not need as many teachers and would use the other tools as replacements. There was a large public opposition to this, with enormous protests and rallies at the state house. Brian explained that there was bipartisan opposition, although the majority was Democrats. Nevertheless, the legislation did pass. “At that point, the opponents had about 6 weeks to generate enough signatures to put this on the ballot for 2012 …we had to gather roughly 48,000 signatures. We did that, we got close to double that number in a very short amount of time, so we knew it would be on the ballot on 2012.” Brian, who described himself as a parent and former teacher, explains why he opposed the legislation himself, “This is personal for me… There was nothing about these reforms that suggested that we were going to improve student’s achievements…these were highly politicized measures that were designed to undermine and/or destroy teachers unions, and to do education on the cheap.” Brian explains that their campaign was strong. All three of the laws were struck down, “In fact, on the third law – the one that was going to mandate online classes and a laptop to each student, the ‘No’ votes were higher than the number of votes Mitt Romney got in Idaho. And of course, Mitt Romney did very well here; this was one of his best states.” Read Brian Cronin’s blog. Visit Strategies 360 here. Listen to the interview:read article »
On Friday Dec 14, Jonathan Zarov speaks with Jackie Matelski and Rachel Dolnick to speak about Handmade Madison: Indie Craft Marketplace. They encourage people to visit the marketplace so that they can meet with the artists who make the crafts. The items are all hand-made, including pet themed art, screen printed clothing, handbags, wood cutting boards, recycled leather jewelry, and more. The aim of the event is to provide a wide variety of locally-made items, with the artists present on site. “The marketplace is the best way for an artist to be making money. There’s no middle man for a gallery… once the vendor has set up and paid their booth fee, everything goes to them.” Jackie and Rachel are themselves artists – a potter and a jeweller. Handmade Madison: Indie Craft Marketplace Monona Terrace Saturday Dec 15 9 AM – 4 PM Visit the Handmade Madison website. Read more about Handmade Madison, Rachel Dolnick, and Jackie Matelski on the Friday Buzz Bin Tumblr site. To learn about her pottery, visit jackietmatelski.com Listen to the interview here:read article »
On Friday Dec 14, Jonathan Zarov speaks with Sandee Seiberlich for this edition of the 8 O’Clock Buzz Tech Report. Today they speak about buying local gifts online. Sandee speaks about a variety of gift ideas that can be bought that are local, including the Wisconsin Historical Society’s State Capitol Ornament Liberty, featuring the liberty mosaic in the capitol. A part of the proceeds go towards the Capitol Renovation project. Also provided by the Wisconsin Historical Society is the Locally Yours, 2013 Art Calendar, produced by the Dane County Cultural Affairs Commission. The Historical Society also has a series of marionettes, including Gaylord Nelson, Frank Lloyd Wright, Bob LaFolette, Hank Garin, and John Muir. Sandee speaks about a series of other gift ideas from other establishments, including Budget Bicycle Center, Wisconsin Union Terrace Stores, and donating money to Community Shares on behalf of a gift recipient. View the full list here. Visit the Buzz Bin Tumblr website for the full description. Listen to the interview here:read article »
On Friday, December 14, our host Jonathan Zarov speaks with the Mad Rollin’ Dolls, Madison’s Premier Roller Derby League. They speak about the Here Comes Slamma Claus event that begins tomorrow, Saturday Dec 15. Proceeds from the event will go towards the Domestic Abuse Intervention Services. The event will feature the teams Reservoir Dolls vs. Quad Squad, and Vaudeville Vixens vs. Unholy Rollers. Jonathan Zarov interviews ‘Mouse’, ‘Nefarious’, and ‘Donna Stunner’ from the Mad Rollin’ Dolls. The teams practice together in the same facility, and compete against each other during their home season. The travel season is made up of the winning skaters who form an all-star charter team called the Dairyland Dolls, which competes nationally. This February they will be playing in San Diego, California. Up to 2,000 people in the community attend the season opener events each year, a sign of the growing popularity the Mad Rollin’ Dolls enjoys in Madison. They explain that everyone who works with the League volunteers their time, which cuts down on costs. The women explain that Derby helps people develop self confidence. “It changes you a lot more than any other sport. It evokes a passion, definitely provides a lot of community connections, a sense of sisterhood that doesn’t come from other traditional sporting atmospheres. Derby is open to people that don’t have any sporting background as well as people that do [have it]. Once you are here, you find that you can connect with so many different types of people, and that draws in the types of people that had difficulty connecting to peoples socially or maybe have become disconnected from sports… women aren’t socialized to have an appropriate outlet for aggression…this a great way to get that out in a positive way…Derby is a symbiotic relationship… I can’t imagine my life without it,” the team members explain. Visit the Mad Rollin’ Dolls website. Read the Buzz Bin Tumblr piece about the Mad Rollin’ Dolls for additional features. Here Comes Slamma Claus Alliant Energy Center 6 PM, Saturday Dec 15 Listen to the interview here:read article »
On Thursday, December 13, our host Tony Castaneda speaks with “the most arrested man in Madison,” Jason Huberty. Jason, a political activist, has maintained a steady presence at the State Capitol, receiving 19 citations, around $200 per citation, till date. Although thirteen citations have been dismissed, there are still six that remain. Since July, 112 citations have been issued in total at the Capitol. Jason explains what the presence around the capital is like. Since March 2011, a solidarity sing-along has taken place each weekday, either within the Capitol Rotunda or outside. The Department of Administration, which sets the rules for how the Capitol is run, has issued that groups of four or more must obtain a permit to hold an event inside the Capitol. Jason reports that there has been a drop in attendance at the Capitol since the new rules have been instated. Jason explains the change that he has seen since people began protesting in March 2011, “People who came down last year in February and March, they saw a lot of cooperation between everyone who was down there. I’d say that’s still the case, but now, when you go to the Capitol, you don’t know whether or not you’re going to get a ticket, simply for being there. And that’s happened to several people who’ve never had police contact, not while they’re at the Capitol, they’ve just been there exercising their right to speech and peaceably assemble.” They also discuss the amount of resources the state spends on ticketing and pursuing the individuals at the Capitol. Jason has observed at least ten police officers posted each day, monitoring the solidarity singers, four Department of Justice Attorneys General who are prosecuting the cases; twenty local lawyers and forty citizens involved with the cases. The National Lawyers Guild in Madison helps people find attorneys that are willing to help the individuals who have been cited. Since Chief Erwin has become the Chief of the Capitol Police, Jason says, the number police officers present at the Capitol to monitor the solidarity singers and protestors has grown. A Bake Sale will be held this Saturday, December 15 at the fountain on State Street to help raise funds for the direct legal costs to those going to trial. Visit the Facebook page – Solidarity Sing Along Listen to the interview:read article »
On Wednesday December 12, Jan Miyasaki speaks with Gayle Viney of the Dane County Humane Society (DCHS). They speak about a program to “Help Keep Pets in Their Homes“. In the last few years, an increasing number of households have been finding it difficult to afford food for their pets. DCHS is working in conjunction with Community Action Coalition for South Central Wisconsin, Inc to provide individuals in need with pet food and cat litter. Oftentimes, those who can no longer afford to supply their pets with food and other necessities end up surrendering their pets to the Humane Society. This program will help alleviate the situation by providing food pantries with pet food and cat litter to distribute. Gayle reports the program’s success, “so far, we’ve collected over 20,000 pounds of pet food and kitty litter. We’ve just heard such good response on how appreciative people have been to have these items that they have needed.” There are several collection bins at drop off locations at participating businesses and organizations. Gayle shares helpful tips for keeping pets safe during the winter season. She recommends shortened walks during colder weather, protective boots for dogs, and coats for short-haired dogs. She also suggests that people check the hoods of their cars during especially cold weather, because often stray cats will try to crawl into the hood of the car to stay warm. Gayle also speaks about Club Whiskers, a winter break day camp for children ages 7 – 12. The camp features service projects, caring for animals, games, and guest speakers. The camp runs from 9 AM – 3 PM. After care, from 3 – 5 PM, is also available. Visit Giveshelter.org View more information on how to donate pet food. View the full list of Participating Dane County Food Pantries Listen to the interview here:read article »