Sunday, February 22, 2009

Progressive Dane Co-Chair Jacque Pokorney on the Transit/Bus Fare Debate and Other Issues

On the Feb. 21st Forward Forum: the City of Madison transit debate.

Click to Listen to Archived Show

This Tuesday, should the Madison Common Council override a transit authority compromise that limited a proposed bus fare increase to 25 cents (from $1.50 to $1.75 per ride), or should they approve an increase to $2.00? Our guest will be Jacque Pokorney, co-chair of Progressive Dane.

Bigger picture issues have also been a part of this debate, including concerns that the mayor and some council members have tried to circumvent good public process. Or are they just doing the responsible thing in a time of necessary fiscal austerity? Others are concerned that a fare increase would be counterproductive--that any theoretical additional income would be offset by a decrease in ridership as a result of the higher fares. Still others wonder if a special approach is needed to recognize the enormous burdens facing people with limited incomes in a time when the economic downturn is hitting them especially hard.

There will be a public hearing at Tuesday's Common Council meeting, but this is your chance to get a a broader audience fired up about this issue through our show. Please call us at 321-1670.

This is also an opportunity for us to learn more about the larger agenda of Progressive Dane.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

LGBT Smoking Cessation and Questions about the Analog to Digital TV Transition

On the Feb. 15th show:
* Landmark Smoking Cessation program for LGBT people begins at OutReach
* Analog to Digital TV Transition: Are We REALLY Ready?
* Open Phones on the This and Other Major Issues of the Day

Click to Listen to Archived Show

OutReach Begins Smoking Cessation Program, as Part of Larger Statewide Effort

In our first segment, OutReach volunteer group facilitators Erin and Stephanie join us to discuss the LGBT community center's participation in an exciting new statewide initiative to assist lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in quitting smoking. This will be the first in a series of reports about this project, which has been many years in the making, funded by The University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health’s Wisconsin Partnership Program and implemented by Diverse & Resilient. See .

Other partners include:
the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine & Public Health, Milwaukee LGBT community Center, LGBT Resource Center of the 7 Rivers Region, OutReach, Chippewa Falls LGBT community Center, SAGE in Milwaukee, Positive Voice, Wisconsin State Department of Health and Family Services, University of Wisconsin Center for Tobacco Research and Intervention, American Lung Association of Wisconsin, La Crosse County Health Department and Milwaukee City Health Department. The program is being administered by Diverse and Resilient's new Health Promotion Manager, Rodney Johnson. (See

These efforts are an integral part of longstanding efforts to deliver culturally-competent health care services to Wisconsin's LGBT residents, many of whom encounter some unique additional challenges as they seek to quit smoking. For more information on these programs, go to the "rm2breathe" website at . To sign up for OutReach's local group, and for more information, contact OutReach at 608-255-8582, write to, or go to OutReach's new web presence .

Questions Remain on the Eve of the Digital to Analog Transition

On the eve of the much-anticipated analog to digital TV transition, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater graduate student Joan Downs joins us with some major concerns about the consequences of this action for millions of people without access to cable or satellite--especially those in rural areas--for whom the transition may be less than smooth. It's all about who benefits, and who loses, namely, where consumers come down in the mix? Is this all about a better TV picture, or were less noble motives behind this decision? Why isn't a dual system being maintained for a longer time? What's going to happen to all of those suddenly obsolete TV sets sent to landfills and the chemicals they could be releasing into the environment?

Michael J. Copps, Acting Chair of the FCC, predicts that
there may be "considerable consumer disruption" on February 18th because of the lack of government preparedness in this transition. In response to such concerns, the federal government recently passed a law that delays the mandatory end of traditional analog broadcasts until this summer. However, the three major Madison TV stations say this will make no difference, and their own analog broadcasts will cease as scheduled on this Tuesday, Feb. 17th.

Our guest, Joan Downs, ignited an interesting discussion on local blog Dane 101 with her recent rebuttal piece responding to an earlier piece entitled, "
Digital television delay dissed by channels 3, 15 and 27." In this article, she argued that it was in the best interests of local TV stations to follow the federal lead and delay shutting down analog transmissions until at least this summer. Joan defended the rights of the estimated one percent of the population who may not yet be ready for the transition (many of them elderly and rural viewers), and encouraged anyone adversely affected by the transition to weigh in with both local stations and advertisers.

Almost without exception, respondents to Joan's post left messages to the effect of "people have had more than enough notice, stop your whining and move on." There was little sympathy expressed for those whom the transition may inconvenience or leave behind. Still--this debate did play itself out on an Internet discussion board, not a place where the potentially technologically disenfranchised were likely to gather.

In a final rebuttal post, in arguing for further delay, she points out the fact that vouchers available to help low-income and elderly people purchase conversion boxes have run out, and that other new wrinkles keep popping up--such as the fact that the vast majority of existing rabbit ears will not work with digital signals, and will require the purchase of new antennae. She also applauds Wisconsin Public TV for delaying hte transition for a time while they ponder the consequences for their viewers, and encourages local commercial broadcasters to follow that lead.

WHAT DO YOU THINK? Please phone us at 321-1670 locally, *123 toll-free for US Cellular customers, or 1-877-867-1670 toll-free for people nationwide listening on the stream at .

Next week: A Special Panel Discusses the politics and the issues behind an impending decision by the Common Council about whether or not to authorize an increase in bus fares to $2. Sound decision? An end-run around public process by the mayor and others, or a matter of showing the "political courage" to do the right thing? New revenue that will save transit locally, or a disastrous path that will discourage ridership and decrease revenue, endangering years of growth? Weigh in with us on a fascinating discussion, next week, on Forward Forum.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Focus on Peace and International Justice: Reports from the World Court and Gaza

Coming on February 8th, 2009:
Reserve Judge Moria Krueger on the World Court and Peace Activist Kathy Kelly on her recent trip to Gaza

Listen to the archived version of this show

Reserve Judge Moria Krueger joins us by phone in our first segment, with her firsthand reports from a recent trip to The Hague on the World Court. Retired Judge Moria Krueger was a Circuit Court Judge in Dane County, Wisconsin for 30 years. In the fall of 2008 she was part of a seminar for judges at The Hague in the Netherlands focusing on the International Courts located there. Judge Krueger said of the seminar, "We had unbelievable access and the ability to ask questions and have them answered by many of the major participants in these impressive institutions. One of the purposes of having judges attend this annual session is to help spread the word about the critical work these courts do."

Judge Krueger will be speaking at the next membership meeting of the United Nations Association-Dane County this Tuesday, Feb. 10th at 7:15 pm in the auditorium of the Capitol Lakes Retirement Center, 333 W. Main Street (free parking in the ramp across the street). See .

Then we're joined live in studio by Kathy Kelly, three time Nobel Peace Prize nominee. Kathy recently traveled to Gaza, and she will update us on the situation there. Kathy Kelly's activism and acts of conscience and civil disobedience include not having paid taxes for 25 years in protest of US foreign policy, and the act of planting corn on a nuclear missile silo, for which she received a nine month maximum security prison sentence in 1989. Since then, she has been an active opponent of both Iraqi wars, and has set up humanitarian aid stations in places like the Saudi-Iraqi border and in Lebanon. The Chicago based teacher is one of the founding members of Voices in the Wilderness, and the current co-coordinator of Voices For Creative Nonviolence, based out of Chicago.

Kathy will be speaking in Madison at a special reception on Sunday evening, Feb. 8th at the Dardanelles Restaurant: reception featuring tasty Mediterranean snacks and appetizers, is at 6:30pm (suggested donation $5), and the program will begin at 7:15pm. Co-sponsored by Madison Rafah Sister City Project, Wisconsin Network for Peace and Justice, Madison Pledge of Resistance, Madison Chapter of American Jews for a Just Peace, and United Nations Association-USA Dane County.

"Good Read" Book Alert: The Fix-Up

We'll also be joined briefly via phone at the top of our show by local journalist, political blogger, and author Emily Mills, telling us about "The Fix Up," her first published novel. For more info, visit her fascinating blog at The Lost Albatross. Emily will join us for a longer interview on an upcoming Forward Forum. For details on her upcoming book reading later this week, go to the Room of One's Own Bookstore Events Page. Her book may also be purchased at Room (307 W. Johnson St., phone 608-257-7888) in person or through the store's website. For this and the full range of options on ordering her book, please go to a special ordering options page on her blog.