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.
Serendib Kitchen: Sri Lankan American Cooking
With Thanksgiving on the horizon and feasting on our minds, today we spend the hour with professor and food blogger Mary Anne Mohanraj, who recently published A Feast of Serendib, one of the first Sri Lankan American cookbooks.
Mary Anne Mohanraj is a clinical assistant professor of literature at the University of Illinois at Chicago, a fiction writer, and a food blogger at Serendib Kitchen. She is the founder and executive director of Speculative Literature Foundation and DesiLit. She is the author of many books, including the short story collection Bodies in Motion and the novel The Stars Change. Her latest publication is the cookbook A Feast of Serendib: Recipes from Sri Lanka (Mascot Books, 2020).
Trump’s Final Days in Office
The Trump administration has given millions of dollars to the Sunny Glen Children’s Home—a Christian foster home with a checkered past—to house immigrant children. We learn more in today’s first segment with journalist Sarah Posner, who recently reported on this story for Mother Jones.
Then, POLITICO White House correspondent Anita Kumar helps us make sense of Trump’s latest maneuvers—his barrage of lawsuits, his refusal to transition with the Biden team, his escalating threat of conflict abroad, and more.
Sarah Posner is an investigative reporter with Type Investigations and the author of Unholy: Why White Evangelicals Worship at the Alter of Donald Trump (Random House, 2020).
Anita Kumar is White House correspondent and associate editor at POLITICO. She was elected to the White House Correspondents’ Association board in July 2018 for a three-year term.
A History of Post-WWII U.S. Imperialism with Vijay Prashad
“Since 1945, the U.S. has a history of imposing conflicts on other places,” says renowned Indian historian and journalist Vijay Prashad. “I don’t like terms like Vietnam War, Iraq War—these are very ideological ways of understanding history. No, these are U.S.-imposed wars on the Vietnamese and Iraqi people.”
For today’s show, Allen reflects on the history of post-WWII U.S. imperialism with Vijay Prashad and discusses his new book, Washington Bullets: A History of the CIA, Coups, and Assassinations.
Vijay Prashad is a historian, journalist, and commentator. He is the author or editor of many books, most recently Washington Bullets: A History of the CIA, Coups, and Assassinations (LeftWord Books, 2020). He currently serves as executive director of Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research and chief editor of LeftWord Books.
Rebroadcast: Let’s Talk Black Burnout
Back in February, Wednesday host Ali Muldrow sat down with poet Tiana Clark to discuss Black burnout. This was pre-pandemic in the U.S., pre-summer protests, and pre-election season, but we think the conversation is just as relevant as ever, so we present it today as a special rebroadcast.
This episode originally aired on February 19, 2020.
The internet has been abuzz about the concept of burnout since the publication of journalist Anne Helen Petersen’s viral article “How Millennials Became the Burnout Generation.” In response, poet Tiana Clark wrote “This is What Black Burnout Feels Like” to highlight the ways in which racism and inherited trauma exacerbate the anxiety of 21st-century life and make the American dream even less accessible to Black folks in the rising generation.
For today’s episode, Ali spends the hour with Tiana Clark to talk about Black burnout, including topics like overwork and hustling in a precarious job market, emotional labor, navigating generational differences, the expenses of self-care, coping with an increasing lack of communal care in our society, and the healing that comes through poetry.
You can read Tiana Clark’s poem “My Therapist Wants to Know about My Relationship to Work” here.
Tiana Clark is the author of the poetry collection I Can’t Talk About the Trees Without the Blood (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2018). Her writing has appeared in or is forthcoming from The New Yorker, Poetry Magazine, American Poetry Review, and elsewhere. She teaches creative writing at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville.
Cover image by moritz320 from Pixabay
How to Run a Successful Election
A recent poll from POLITICO found that 70 percent of Republicans surveyed don’t believe the 2020 election was free and fair, with distrust particularly in the results from swing states like Wisconsin.
Election experts, though, celebrate the 2020 election as a great success and the most secure in U.S. history. Election administrators quickly adapted to the challenges of COVID-19 and a major increase in absentee and mail voting, along with tight budgets, state lawsuits, and public scrutiny.
Today on the show, we learn about the process of election administration and get answers to the most common concerns with Barry Burden from the Elections Research Center at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and James Young, a former elections administrator in Kentucky who recently went viral on Twitter for speaking out against allegations of voter fraud and highlighting the work of election officials.
Barry Burden is a professor of political science at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and director of the Elections Research Center.
James Young is a regional sales manager at Inclusion Solutions, which provides accessibility resources for business and government, including election officials. Previously, he served as director of elections in Louisville, Kentucky.
Photo credit: “A California poll worker sanitizes a voting booth following its use at a Voter Assistance Center in Davis, CA during the 2020 General Election” by Owen Yancher, shared under CC BY-SA 4.0
Rural Healthcare’s COVID Crisis
As Wisconsin and other states around the country face a new COVID-19 surge, rural hospitals are sounding the alarm.
Today on the show, we take a close look at the pandemic’s impact on rural hospitals and healthcare with journalist Lyle Muller of IowaWatch and Tim Size, executive director of Rural Wisconsin Health Cooperative.
Lyle Muller contributed to Reveal‘s series “Slammed: Rural healthcare and COVID-19,” which is available here.
Cover photo by Vladimir Fedotov on Unsplash
Customer ReviewsSee All
I drive for a meager living
And this is the best radio.
Sometimes I forget to tune in punctually.
I got carried away listening to Danez Smith one day.
They were a guest on a podcast with other poets.
I had forgotten about my favorite radio hour.
Ten minutes in, I unplugged my phone-audio connection.
The Poet was there, guesting all over the Madison waves like a professional, like a virtuoso, like a friend, like a mentor, like someone tired and caring and open and halfway home.
I thought I hadn’t unplugged my phone.
Thought the world’s logics had turned into bracelets of smoke.
I had to pick my brain up off the floor.
By the brake pedal.
Anyways yeah the guests are good, the topics salient, the voices earnest and damned smart, and it’s a wonderfully conceived and crafted show.