Bridget Armstrong | WYPR

Bridget Armstrong

Bridget no longer works for Midday at WYPR.

Bridget Armstrong is a producer for Midday hosted by Tom Hall. She joined the WYPR team as a producer of Maryland Morning in March 2016. Before coming to WYPR, she worked for SiriusXM and prior to that, at NPR.  While at NPR, Bridget worked on the 2014 Elections Desk and Tell Me More hosted by Michel Martin, where she produced discussions addressing race, gender and pop-culture.  A true lover of conversation, Bridget also hosted and produced a roundtable podcast. Bridget is a graduate of Winston-Salem State University, an Historically Black College.

Samierra Jones

Today a conversation about the heating crisis in Baltimore city schools. School officials blame the problem on old buildings and underfunding. Gov. Larry Hogan points to what he calls mismanagement and ineptitude. So what’s really going on, and what should be happening moving forward? 

Governor Hogan also announced $2.5 million dollars in emergency aid for Baltimore schools. Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh directed the Department of Public Works to pitch-in and help with emergency repairs, and she called on the business and philanthropic community to help pay for it. A student at Coppin State University, Samierra Jones, started a GoFundMe page to raise money for space heaters and coats.   In a startling article in the Baltimore Sun, Luke Broadwater reported that the City has returned nearly $66 million dollars to state coffers that had been allocated for repairs. If money is short for needed repairs, how can this be? Many people concluded that the sub-zero temperatures outside exposed sub-par performance by school officials.  

 

The 438th session of the Maryland General Assembly begins tomorrow and Baltimore City is certainly on the agenda. Governor Larry Hogan announced a plan to appoint an investigator to look into what he described as corruption, mismanagement and ineptitude in some Maryland school districts. This comes after the announcement of $2.5 million dollars in emergency funding to restore heating to many Baltimore City public schools. 

The new federal tax overhaul could mean more revenue for the state. How to spend it is a point of contention. Democrats say they have enough votes to pass their version of paid sick leave After threatening to “take the knee,” The Legislative Black Caucus is confident that their bill to increase diversity in the medical marijuana industry will pass.  Rachel Baye covers Maryland politics for WYPR. Erin Cox is The Baltimore Sun's State House bureau chief, they join Tom for a preview of the 2018 General Assembly. 

Today, we continue our series of conversations with members of the Baltimore City Council who came into office in late 2016 as part of a wave of energetic and idealistic legislators who were elected on the promise of change and new ideas.

One thing that hasn’t changed: Baltimore’s insistent and insidious plague of violence.  In 2017, record numbers of Baltimoreans, lost their lives to homicide. Today we’ll focus on Baltimore City and the issues before the city council as this New Year gets underway. 

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A warning to listeners who may be tuning in with young children: we will be talking about mature topics today on this edition of Midday Culture Connections.

The sexual assault allegations against powerful men in Hollywood and pretty much every other industry has shined a light on the pervasiveness of predatory sexual behavior. Today, we’ll examine the ways hypersexualized images of women on television, on the internet and in print distort the ways our culture views and treats women. Scholars have called it “pornification.”  

 Pornography dominates the internet. More people view internet porn every month than click on Netflix, Amazon and Twitter combined. So how does pornography affect mainstream popular culture? And how do the images of women we encounter every day affect the ways women view themselves and the ways men view and interact with women?

(This conversation originally aired on November 15, 2017.)

A student is suspended from the University of Tulsa for statements his husband made on Facebook; posters advertising “Straight Pride Week” ordered removed from bulletin boards at Youngstown State University. A law professor is asked to resign when she wears blackface to a Halloween party, to promote a conversation about race. Today on Midday, a conversation about free speech on college campuses. Are trigger warnings and safe spaces in higher education stifling intellectual thought and violating the first amendment or creating intellectually diverse and inclusive campuses? 

Maryland Humanities

*This program originally aired on September 21, 2017.  

Nigerian author and essayist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie joins Tom for the hour. Her first novel, Purple Hibiscus is this year's One Maryland One Book selection. Sponsored by Maryland Humanities, students and literature lovers across the state are reading and discussing the book.

Chimamanda is the author of two other novels: Half of a Yellow Sun, and Americanah, which is being made into a film. She published a short story collection in 2009 called The Thing Around Your Neck, and her 2012 TED Talk  was published as a book, called We Should All be Feminists.  Her latest book is Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in 15 Suggestions.

It’s Tube Talk on Midday. Nostalgia seems to be in on the small screen. Remakes of One Day at a Time and She’s Gotta Have It on Netflix are gaining popularity with younger audiences. But do television reboots and remakes, really work? Plus, which shows are sidelined, and which ones are continuing in the wake of the sexual misconduct scandal rocking Hollywood? And, black actors make up 20 percent of TV series regulars, so why are fewer than 5 percent of TV writers, black?   

Bridget Armstrong is a producer for Midday. Jamyla Krempel is a digital producer for WYPR. They join Tom to discuss the television highs and lows of 2017. 

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Democrat Doug Jones narrowly defeated Republican Roy Moore in a surprising upset for the open Alabama Senate Seat. It is the first time a Democrat has won the seat in 25 years. Today on Midday, reaction from Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) who heads the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. 

Black voters turned out in record numbers and overwhelmingly supported Doug Jones, while a majority of white voters stuck with Moore, despite allegations of sexual misconduct with teenage girls as young as 14. Georgetown University Law Professor Paul Butler joins Tom to analyze the results and answer the question; has the Trump tide begun to turn? 

Paul Butler is a former federal prosecutor. He teaches law at Georgetown University, but this year, he’s a visiting professor at his alma mater, Harvard Law School. His most recent book is titled Chokehold: Policing Black Men – A Renegade Prosecutor’s Radical Thoughts on How to Disrupt the System

 

Now we turn to a Soulful Rock and Roll tribute to the legendary Jimi Hendrix. This Saturday at the Creative Alliance acclaimed soul singer Navasha Daya will headline a benefit concert honoring the rock and roll icon. The proceeds from the concert go to the Youth Resiliency Institute's Baltimore Guitarists Against Violence program which provides opportunities for students who are interested in guitar to perform, connect with professionals and even record. 

Navasha Daya is a soul singer, cultural arts activist and Co- Founder and Director of Healing and Performing Arts for the Youth Resiliency Institute.

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Along with all the holly and jolly and red and green, for many, this time of year comes with a good bit of holiday blues. The stress that holiday expectations can bring, lead lots of folks to feel depressed, despite the seasonal good cheer that swirls around them.  Today on Midday, ways to cope with grief, depression, and anxiety during the holidays. 

Annette March Grier is a registered nurse and the President and Co-Founder of Roberta’s House, a grief support center in Baltimore. In 2014 she was honored as a CNN Hero for her work.    

Royal wedding fever has spread across the pond and here in the United States. Prince Harry, the youngest son of Prince Charles and Princess Diana, will wed American actress Meghan Markle. Along with wedding plans and elaborate fascinators, much of the conversation about this royal engagement has centered on race. Ms. Markle is biracial, her mother is black and her father is white. Dr. Sheri Parks of the University of Maryland, College Park joins Tom for Midday Culture Connections to talk about royalty, race, and identity. 

Kelsey Parks Smith also joins from England. She’s a postgraduate student in the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences at Loughborough University in the United Kingdom. She's also Dr. Park's daughter. 

 

What does financial literacy mean in this day and age, and what should it mean, in particular for women?

Around 72% of high school valedictorians are girls, and there are more women enrolled in college than men. Yet, when it comes to money, there is a long history of men handling the finances of individual households and corporations. The financial services industry remains a male-dominated business., How does that affect how women approach the challenges of financial decision making?  

 

Patricia Stallworth is the founder of PS Worth, a financial education company,  She's a certified financial planner who spent many years in the financial industry. She's also the author of the forthcoming book  Wise, Wealthy Women, released next month. 

 

Betsy Kelder is the Executive Director of Invest in Girls; a program that works to teach financial literacy to high school girls and help foster future careers in finance.    

Dominique Maria Bonessi

On this edition of Midday with The Afro, the manhunt is still underway for the person who fatally shot and killed Baltimore Detective Sean Suiter nearly three weeks ago. Police and state officials have offered a $215,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the assailant, and on Friday, Police Commissioner Kevin Davis announced that the FBI will be taking over the investigation. 

Also, as Rep. John Conyers remains hospitalized, a look at reaction to the allegations of harassment made against the Ohio Congressman and the repeated calls for him to step down.

Kamau High is the  managing editor of the Afro American Newspapers. He joins Tom in studio.

Photos courtesy John Bullock, Zeke Cohen

Our guests this afternoon are two of the newest members of the Baltimore City Council. They join us on Midday to reflect on their service and the urgent affairs of the city, as they complete their first year in office. 

A few months ago, Tom spoke with freshman council members Shannon Snead, Leon Pinkett and Ryan Dorsey

Today, we welcome Dr. John T. Bullock, who represents the 9th Councilmanic District.  That includes West and Southwest Baltimore.  Before being elected to the council he was an assistant professor of political science at Towson University, and the executive director of the Downtown Baltimore Family Alliance.  He and his wife are the parents of two sons, Thomas and George.  They live in Union Square…

Councilman Zeke Cohen joins us as well.  He represents the 1st District, which includes Canton, Fells Point, Greektown, and O’Donnell Heights.  He taught in local public schools as a member of Teach for America, and later went on to found The Intersection, which works on college readiness and leadership skills for high school students.  He lives in Canton, where he and his wife are expecting their first child, a daughter, in early December.

Like the entire 14-member council, Dr. Bullock and Mr. Cohen are Democrats.  They were elected in November 2016 along with six other candidates who were joining the council for the first time when they were sworn into office on December 8th of last year.  What are the issues that most animate them?  What are the issues that most animate you?  The councilmen spend some time addressing your calls and emails. 

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It’s the What Ya' Got Cookin'? Thanksgiving edition, a beloved tradition here on Midday, going all the way back to 2016. Midday’s resident foodies John Shields and Sascha Wolhandler join Tom with suggestions, tips and words of comfort for folks cooking the big meal. Plus, listeners calls and emails about their Thanksgiving traditions. 

John Shields is a chef, author and the host of Coastal Cooking and Chesapeake Bay Cooking on Maryland Public Television and PBS. He and his husband John Gilligan are the proprietors of Gertrude’s Restaurant at the Baltimore Museum of Art. Check out John's feature on Chesapeake Thanksgiving in Bay Weekly Magazine

The manhunt is still underway for an unidentified suspect who fatally shot Baltimore City homicide detective Sean Suiter last week. Police and state officials are now offering a $215,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the assailant. 

Judge Catherine Blake issued a decision in the decade-long lawsuit between Maryland’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and the state. The lawsuit concerns diversity and Judge Blake ruled that neither party’s solutions were adequate to boost diversity within the HBCUs. Without a clear victor, many are wondering if it’s back to the drawing board for the case.

For those of us who may overindulge between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, it’s not always easy to stick to a workout routine or diet, especially if we’re traveling or going to parties at the office or in the neighborhood.  Just in time for Thanksgiving, we’ll talk about best practices for fending off those extra holiday pounds. 

Julia Ngo is a BodyPump Group Fitness instructor. She teaches at the Downtown Athletic Club; and at the Merritt Athletic Club in Canton. Sam Bassi is an exercise specialist and personal trainer at the DAC and elsewhere.  Tamarra Fleming Wimbish, aka Diva T, owns and operates a fitness studio called Diva T Fitness or DTF Studio & Rental Venue in Parkville. She’s a licensed  personal trainer and Zumba instructor. She also teaches Cranked Up Cardio, an aerobic dance program that uses Baltimore Club Music. 

Pixabay

A student is suspended from the University of Tulsa for statements his husband made on Facebook; posters advertising “Straight Pride Week” ordered removed from bulletin boards at Youngstown State University. A law professor is asked to resign when she wears blackface to a Halloween party, to promote a conversation about race. Today on Midday, a conversation about free speech on college campuses. Are trigger warnings and safe spaces in higher education stifling intellectual thought and violating the first amendment or creating intellectually diverse and inclusive campuses? 

Centers for Disease Control

To date, more than 60 women have accused Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein of sexual misconduct. The accusations range from indecent exposure to rape. A new piece in the New Yorker written by Ronan Farrow alleges that Weinstein hired private investigators to collect information on his accusers and the journalists who tried to expose him in an effort to suppress stories about his predatory behavior.  

In the days after the New York Times published the initial story on Weinstein detailing a few of the allegations, more people came forward with sexual assault allegations against other powerful men in Hollywood including producer James Toback and actor Kevin Spacey. At least 60 women have accused Bill Cosby of sexual assault; a majority of those accusations came to light in 2014 and 2015. The trial in one of those cases ended in a mistrial earlier this year. 

Last week, CSX Transportation shocked the Hogan administration and local officials by withdrawing its support for an expansion of the Howard Street Tunnel. What does that decision mean for the city and for the Port of Baltimore? And, what does it mean for the current tunnel, which was built in the 1890s? It was the site of a large chemical fire after a 60 train-car pile-up, which did severe damage to underground infrastructure, 16 years ago.    

 Colin Campbell is a reporter for the Baltimore Sun who wrote about CSX's decision to tank the tunnel plans.  David Warnock is the co-founder of Camden Partners, a venture capital firm, and a former candidate for Mayor. They join Tom to talk about the Howard Street tunnel. 

Kamau High, managing editor of The Afro-American newspaper, joins Tom to talk about the local stories his newsroom is covering. There have been some changes in the leadership of the local chapter of the NAACP, and a racially-charged controversy erupted last week, when some students at local private schools dressed up as Freddie Gray for Halloween. 

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The Republicans have proposed a sweeping overhaul to the tax code. Some of the changes involve deductions that have been baked into the cake of the code for generations, and the impact on the deficit is huge.  The President called for the death penalty for the man accused of killing 8 and wounding 12 in New York.  An excerpt from former interim DNC chair Donna Brazile's book is complicating matters for the Democratic Party as they continue to strategize an opposition to the Trump Administration.

Eugene Scott reports on politics and identity for the Washington Post politics blog, The Fix. He joins Tom to discuss the news of the week. 

Baltimore City Office of the Mayor

  

Today a conversation with Baltimore City Mayor Catherine Pugh. She assumed office 11 months ago, and has undertaken a number of new initiatives in the areas of violence reduction and economic development. Earlier this month, Baltimore submitted a bid along with several cities across the continent to become the home of Amazon's second headquarters. A couple of weeks ago, the mayor and Governor Larry Hogan announced the next phase of the “North Avenue Rising” project, a $27 million dollar effort to improve transit and pedestrian options along North Avenue. Now that the mayor has chosen the members of the Civilian Oversight Taskforce, we'll talk about the status of the Baltimore Police Department's consent decree with the Justice Department; and the mayor's plan to curb violence in the city as the city mourns its 296th homicide this year.  

We'll also talk about the mayor's plan to help the estimated 2,600 people experiencing homelessness in Baltimore. Some advocates for the homeless say that the city isn’t addressing homelessness in a meaningful way. Last week, the mayor said it might cost as much as $350 million to end homelessness in the city. 

photo courtesy BCPS

Today, a Midday Newsmaker interview with Dr. Sonja Santelises, the president and CEO of the Baltimore City Public Schools.  School has been back in session for two months; for many more months than that, the Kirwan Commission has debated ways to re-vamp the funding formula for schools statewide.  Their findings were to have been released by the end of the year.  Now, it appears that we won’t hear their ideas until well into next year.  We’ll find out what that means for our city’s kids.  Dr. Santelises joins Tom for the hour in Studio A, and takes your questions and comments.

The Diamondback

 

Last week, Sean Urbanski, a white former University of Maryland student, was charged with a hate crime in connection to the fatal stabbing of Lt. Richard Collins III, a black Bowie State University student. In May 2017, Lt. Collins was stabbed at a bus stop while visiting friends on the University of Maryland College Park campus. The entire incident was caught on camera. Prosecutors plan to seek life without parole if Urbanski is convicted; the trial is set to begin in January. At the time of the alleged murder, it was reported that Urbanski was the member of an online hate group that posted bigoted messages and memes called “Alt-Reich: Nation.” Authorities say further investigation into Urbanski’s cell phone and social media accounts uncovered evidence that suggested that the stabbing was indeed racially motivated.

Maryland Historical Society

Tom speaks painter David Brewster and Alexandra Deutsch, the Director of Collections and Interpretation at the Maryland Historical Society, about the Society's current exhibition. Structure and Perspective: David Brewster Explores Maryland’s Social Landscape portrays Maryland's "social landscape" by juxtaposing pieces from the Society’s collection with paintings by David Brewster, who hails from Baltimore County but currently lives in Vermont. The show takes up several issues that resonate in contemporary culture like race, gender, sexuality, and the politics of immigration. 

 

On Saturday, thousands of runners will hit the streets to participate in the Baltimore Running Festival. More than 24,000 runners from all 50 states and 30 nations are expected to descend on the Charm City to run our historic streets. That’s a lot of folks taking a lot of steps, and that leaves a lot of room for twisted ankles, swollen knees and sore backs.  

Dr. Miho Tanaka is an orthopedic surgeon and the Director of the Women’s Sports Medicine Program at Johns Hopkins Hospital. Before moving to Baltimore, she was the team physician for WNBA teams the St. Louis Cardinals and the St. Louis Surge. She also served as assistant team physician for the Baltimore Orioles and professional women’s basketball team, the NY Liberty.

She joins Tom to talk about ways to avoid injuries on race day and beyond.

Jacob Lawrence is one of the most important and renowned artists of the 20th Century. His paintings and prints offer rich portrayals of black life including his famed Migration Series which captured the mass migration of African Americans from the South to the North and Western US after the first World War, and his Toussaint L'Ouverture series about the famed leader of the Haitian Slave Revolt. 

Now, over 50 of Jacob Lawrence’s paintings and prints are on display at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture to celebrate what would have been Lawrence’s 100th birthday.  Charles Bethea, the chief curator and Director of Collections and Exhibitions at the Lewis Museum, joins Tom to talk about the Maryland Collects: Jacob Lawrence exhibition.

Fern Chen/Baltimore Brew

Today, a conversation about the legacy of Christopher Columbus. Is it appropriate to celebrate the Italian explorer with statues, street names, and a federal holiday?

While many enjoyed the Columbus Day Parade in Little Italy yesterday that celebrates the explorer’s courage and determination; others point to Columbus' role in establishing trans-Atlantic slave trade; and to the atrocities he and others committed against the native people who were already living in the lands he so-called discovered. 

Most jurisdictions in the United States celebrate Columbus' landing in what is now the Bahamas on the second Monday in October. In Los Angeles, that won’t be the case much longer. LA County voted to begin celebrating Indigenous People’s Day in 2019. South Dakota began celebrating “Native American Day” in 1989. Native American organizers in Baltimore are working on a proposal that will change Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples Day. In August, a Columbus monument in Baltimore that's considered to be the oldest in the country was vandalized. There are calls for other Columbus statues, including the one in  Druid Hill Park, to be removed.

REUTERS/Chris Wattie

 

We begin with an update on the Las Vegas mass shooting that left 59 dead and more than 500 people injured. Almost immediately after the tragic shooting --which is being characterized as the largest mass shooting in recent U.S history-- Democrats and Republicans began the predictable debate about gun regulation in our country. Unfortunately it’s story we know all too well. Last year, following what is now the second largest mass shooting in recent history at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Democrats proposed extended background checks in private gun sales, and banning sales to suspected terrorists. Republicans proposed increased funding for a national background check database; and a judicial review process for people on a terror watch list when they attempted to purchase firearms. None of those bills passed. In 2012, after 20 children and six educators were fatally shot at Sandy Hook elementary in Newtown Connecticut, President Obama made an emotional appeal to Congress for tougher gun laws. Obama signed several executive orders relating to gun control, but neither of the two major pieces of gun legislation proposed at the time passed in the Senate. 

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