*Peaches Lacey hosts the last Wednesday of every month.
Follow the BUZZ on Facebook!
Make a pledge to WORT: Your Only Sound Alternative — click here to donate now!
On Wednesday December 12, host Jan Miyasaki spoke with Sebastian Rotella, an award winning foreign correspondent and a senior investigative reporter at ProPublica, Sebastian Rotella. Prior to working at ProPublica, Sebastian worked for the L.A.Times for twenty three years. He has most recently been focusing on changes in immigration patterns, especially migrants coming in to the United States from south of the Mexican border, a group that is often not focused on. Says Sebastian, “Overall illegal immigration has gone down a lot, even though sometimes the political debates make it seem like it’s out of control. And the proportions have changed – what my story shows is that although Mexicans are still the biggest group that crosses, the proportions have changed dramatically.” Sebastian explains that the number of Central Americans crossing into the U.S. has substantially risen, especially those from Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador, countries especially faced with violence and poverty. The demographic of this group is largely young adults who are traveling alone. While there are relatively fewer obstacles to face when crossing into the Southern Mexican border, the migrants face numerous problems at the Mexican-American border, where they are highly vulnerable to extortion, robbery, rape and murder by gangsters, smugglers, and corrupt officials. The Mexican drug cartels also play a heavy role in the thriving smuggling business.Sebastian explains that many of the youth are escaping the environment of violence from their hometowns, but only encounter more violence at the hands of those networked around the smugglers. He describes a situation of “systematic recruitment” by the drug cartels at the border. Sebastian had interviewed two individuals from Ecuador, Marco and his wife, who paid $11,000 per person to come to New York, “They move through a very loose but highly organized network – they were given a phone number and a codeword… They started in Ecuador, and went to Honduras where they stayed at a safe house, to Guatemala, and then to Mexico.” At Mexico, they had been placed on a train alone where they got caught by Mexican officials. Sebastian explains that although they were disappointed, the couple was also relieved that they did not have to go through the most dangerous part of the smuggling process that was still to come at the Mexican-American border. The detention centers, Sebastian describes, were packed fully with migrants from across Central America and Mexico who were caught. After the migrants are discharged from ….read article »
On Tuesday, December 11, host Aaron Perry speaks with Professor Beth Richie, author of Arrested Justice: Black Women, Violence, and America’s Prison Nation. Beth Richie is a professor at University of Illinois at Chicago and Director of a research institute that looks at race and public policy. She has also been an activist in the anti-violence movement, and has been conducting research on the prison industrial complex. She speaks about the situation, “The prison industrial complex and all of its apparatus has really targeted black men. So we know that, and not that we’re not interested in that, but there’s an untold story about the ways that the prison nation – the law enforcement, the court system, the way jails and prisons are run – those same factors disproportionately affect black women, and it rubs right up against the ways black women experience domestic and sexual violence. So the book is really about making sure that in our work and our attention to the problem of mass incarceration and its impact on black communities, we don’t forget the sisters in that struggle.” Beth explains that in addition to the way mass incarceration has a profound impact on the black community, it poses as especially difficult for the women. “We are additionally vulnerable to excessive violence from police officers, we experience domestic violence, and we sometimes don’t call the police because we don’t want to turn our men over to the criminal legal system. We are experiencing sexual assault at profound rates in our community, but we don’t talk about that because of the shame associated with sexual violence and because we don’t want to feed that larger narrative about black men as rapists.” She wants readers to consider possible alternatives to prison incarceration, for people who have human, social, or medical needs. “If we put a few mental health clinics, a couple of health care facilities, a day care center, all of that would cost so much less than incarcerating people, and we’d be a stronger society because our communities would be healthy.” Read more about Arrested Justice on Facebook Listen to the interview here:read article »
On Tuesday, December 11, our host Aaron Perry spoke with Senator Lena C. Taylor from the 4th District of Wisconsin. She speaks about the latest news in the state government. She explains that because the Democrats lost the Senate majority, there has been a lot of shifting of offices. She says what she is concentrating the most is the police brutality issue in Milwaukee, which she describes as “systemic”. She describes some instances of police brutality, such as not allowing a mother near her dying son, or officers nearly beating a man to the death. “We have a systemic issue here that we have to deal with as a community… There is definitely a systemic racism… Businesses hired individuals who were white males with a felony record when there was a black male who did not have a felony record and had all the credentials necessary for the job. Those are the kind of issues that we’re dealing with in this community, and it’s surely keeping us busy at the local level, and at the state level we are very busy because we have many things trying to take our elections from us…like, ‘what can we do to continue making it difficult for people to vote’.” Senator Taylor explains that her number one priority is jobs. “People are struggling…and looking for us to create jobs, and a sustained type of living that our citizens desire and deserve.” Her other priority, she explains, is education. Aaron asks Senator Taylor to speak about how she feels about the future of the nation, “I am encouraged that the President is really trying to make sure we do things in a balanced approach. He provides an opportunity for individuals from different sides of an issue to come together to try to come up with solutions to move forward…. The President has a solid recovery plan, and a vision.” She also explains her concerns at the federal level, “I don’t think there’s anything more important than the fiscal cliff, and I think the states even have to be concerned about the fiscal cliff because it’s going to have an effect on what dollars they are going to get.” Visit the website of Senator Lena C. Taylor here. Listen to the interview here:read article »
On Monday December 10, our host Linda Jameson spoke with Norma Gay Prewett about poetry, and read aloud two of her poems. She also speaks about the process of writing stories and poems. She quotes Ernest Hemingway, who said “write the first true sentence that you know, and the rest will come easily.” She explains that prompts come naturally, and that is where one begins the piece. “The first thing you will write down is a cliché…the job of the poet is to go out and find the closest way you can to communicate [that] to the person out there, and make them believe that they have been there, or are there at that moment.” Listen to the interview here:read article »
On Friday, December 7, host Jonathan Zarov speaks about the play Tales for Another Millennium with writer and director Brian Wild, and art director Heather Rankin. Tales for Another Millennium is playing at Broom Street Theater. Says Brian, “One joy about Broom Street Theater is many of us write as we go along, because we like to get our cast and see where the talent is. I had such a talented cast with this one that some story lines became more prevalent, so I ended up writing those story lines a little stronger than the other ones.” The main plot surrounds a woman named Grace, played by Heather Rankin, who is in Heaven, but wants to return to the world because her family is in a crisis. Although she is not allowed to leave, she manages to escape to return to her family. Also featured in the play are hobbit lawyers and Santa Clause. Brian explains, “I bring in characters that are real, and unreal, and combine them all together” Heather says that the show is fun, “family-appropriate, and an alternative to the normal holiday fare.” Tales for Another Millennium Nov 30 – Dec 22 Every Thurs, Fri, Sat at 8PM Broom Street Theater Find more details at the Broom Street Theater website. Listen to the interview here:read article »
On Friday December 7, Jonathan Zarov speaks with John Kraniak about Last Gaspe, a New England style contra dance band of which John is a part of. Last Gaspe is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year with a contra dance at Grace Episcopal Church. John explains the contra dance, “The term means the ‘dance of opposition’ in French… In a contra dance there’s long lines with ‘minor sets’, you do have a partner but you end up dancing with everyone down the line, and then you change roles and dance with everyone going up the line. All dances are taught by the ‘caller’ or instructor. You don’t have to be a particularly adept dancer to do this.” Last Gaspe Saturday December 8 Grace Episcopal Church 116 West Washington Visit Last Gaspe’s profile Read more about the event and Last Gaspe on the Friday 8 O’Clock BuzzBin on Tumblr. Listen to the interview here:read article »
On Friday December 7, our host Jonathan Zarov speaks about the Farm to School program, aimed at making it easier for Wisconsin public schools to serve locally grown produce to students. Sara Tedeschi, a specialist at the Wisconsin Farm to School Program and works for the Center for Integrated Agriculture Systems at the state level, and Sarah Elliott, from the REAP Program, speak with Jonathan about the program. There is a growing problem with being able to serve schools produce that was grown locally. Sara explains why this is, “I think it’s another symptom of globalized food system that we have today. Institutional food service settings are very much part of that long-distance network in terms of where that food is coming from…these are pretty low priced buyers as things have evolved, schools including. Schools don’t really get a chance to participate in that food system outside of that larger infrastructure.” The Wisconsin Farm to School program has received growing attention and support across the state, with support extending from the schools, medical and public health, agriculture, and transportation sectors, ”We’re seeing a great synergy coming around this issue to help make it happen. It’s not necessarily easier to make it happen, but definitely much broader agreement in working it out.” Sarah focuses on Madison: “This past year, the school district has really made some amazing leaps towards bringing local foods into its school meal program…” As a result of a pilot program this October, in honor of National Farm to School Month, four different elementary schools in the district have been provided with salad bars to have at lunch. Now, the school district is planning to apply for a grant through the Whole Kids Foundation to provide all schools in the district with salad bars. Sarah explains the issue is easier to address in some of the smaller communities in Wisconsin, which have smaller student to teacher ratio, where they are better equipped to provide students with fruits and vegetables that are locally grown. Learn about the Farm to School Program Learn about the REAP Food Group and its work with schools Listen to the interview here:read article »
On Thursday, December 6, our host Tony Castaneda speaks with Illeana Rotger and Maggie Meer, from the Campus Women’s Center (CWC), which is putting on a production of the Vagina Monologues. Illeana, a Gender and Women Studies and Spanish major and intern at the CWC, is the Director of the performance. Maggie Meer, a Theater major, is an actress in the performance. Written by playwright Eve Ensler, the Vagina Monologues is a collection of women’s stories and experiences about their sexuality, their bodies, and their environments, “it’s a show about women’s empowerment, what women experience in their lives not just with their sexuality, but violence, war and rape” explains Illeana. The monologues are a combination of serious and humorous stories, performed in solo and group pieces. The monologues cover the experiences of “every type of woman.” The script this year this includes a new ending piece One billion rising, which is about women coming together to collectively fight against violence committed on them and other women. The performances are based on an abridged script of the original Vagina Monologues. The rights to the abridged version are owned by V-Day, an organization that campaigns against violence to women, and which is celebrating its 15th anniversary. The organization distributes the script free of charge to groups that wish to get involved and perform the piece. Maggie reads an excerpt of the performance on-air. Vagina Monologues, December 6, 7, 8 2650 Humanities Building Fri and Sat @ 7PM Sun @ 2PM Learn more about the Campus Women’s Center Contact them at email@example.com Read more about V-DAY Listen to the entire interview here:read article »
On Wednesday, Dec 5, our host Jan Miyasaki speaks with Justin Elliott, an investigative reporter at ProPublica, to speak about his piece Meet the Think Tankers: Advising the U.S. Military in Kabul. Justin began his piece amidst the media frenzy regarding former CIA Director General Petraeus’ extra-marital affair, and was struck by the reference in the Washington Post’s story regarding Petraeus’ time running the war in Afghanistan between summer 2010 – 2011. Justin explains that he brought over experts from conservative think tanks to Kabul to provide military advice, and had given them positions there to have strong influence over the way the war was led. This created some controversy back in the U.S. Many think tankers were brought to Afghanistan and Iraq for short periods of time, supported by the military, and flown around the countries. Justin explains that bringing the think tank experts served two purposes for the military: “one, for the military to get advice from these think tank experts, and the other, for the military to influence these experts who are playing prominent roles in policy making in the US.” Justin explains that this is a relatively recent phenomenon. Justin speaks about the think tankers themselves, “it seems to be people from the mainstream think tanks, and those loosely affiliated with those parties”. Among the think tank mentioned are the conservative American Enterprise Institute, the Brookings Institute (which has a Democratic party leaning), and Center for New American Security (also a Democratic party leaning). The experts brought in to Iraq were not from one party alone, Justin says, “It was clearly not a partisan thing. It shows that in some of these military matters, there’s less of partisan split in Washington and among foreign policy making community than there are with a lot of other issues.” Read more of Justin’s work here, including articles on Campaign Finance, Drones, and more. Listen to the interview here:read article »
On Wednesday December 5, host Jan Miyasaki speaks with Mary Hladke, the National Coordinator of Military Families Speak Out. Military Families Speak Out is a coalition of 56 families that have joined forces to fight austerity measures and are demanding cuts to Pentagon spending. Mary speaks about their campaign, Jobs Not Wars, “On election day, Americans rejected austerity. They want to reduce the deficit at the expense of working people, middle class, poor, and elderly. We believe if we end the war, and make substantial cuts to Pentagon spending, we can reduce the deficit, and create good paying jobs, and have the money to care for our people, community, and environment.” Mary explains the two unique points of their campaign: “We are a broad coalition of organizations, which is unusual. Another thing is we are asking for an end to the war now, and big cuts to pentagon spending. Pentagon budget has all the money, why is nobody talking about that?” Mary speaks about the fraud, waste, and abuse of money with the large Pentagon budget. “37 cents/1 dollar of taxes paid this year goes to funding current and past wars.” Since this is a coalition of military families, Mary distinguishes between the troops, whom she supports, and the war itself, “You can support the troops and not support the war.” There is a Jobs Not Wars petition that can be signed on at jobs-not-wars.org View the full list of organizations that are involved with the campaign. Visit Jobs Not Wars on Facebook and Twitter. Visit Military Families Speak Out here. Listen to the interview here:read article »