Bridget Armstrong | WYPR

Bridget Armstrong

Producer, Midday

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.

Tony Juliano

 

Today a conversation about the racial wealth gap and why it persists. Nationally, Blacks have a median household income that’s 60 percent of that of Whites; in Baltimore that number is even lower at just 54 percent. That’s according to a report from the non-profit Corporation for Enterprise Development

For millions of people, home ownership is the key to building wealth. African Americans and Latinos are less likely to own their own homes. And when they do, because of years of redlining in communities of color, they’re valued a lot lower than houses in traditionally white communities.

Sheri Parks

Today, a conversation about public funding of the arts, and how federal, state and local budgets reflect the priorities of President Donald Trump, Governor Larry Hogan, and Mayor Catherine Pugh. 

The National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities are two of 17 federal agencies that appear to be targeted by the Trump administration for elimination, as its budget inclinations lean heavily toward defense spending. The state of Maryland funded arts institutions at the highest level ever last year, and the Governor has proposed an additional $1 million this year, bringing the allocation for the arts to $21 million in Fiscal Year 2018. Ironically, Baltimore City Schools are facing drastic cuts. Principals looking to trim expenses, may have to make cuts to music and visual arts programs. 

An organization called Arts Every Day is holding a symposium this weekend that will call attention to the role that arts education plays in boosting attendance, improving test scores and making schools vibrant parts of their communities.

Photo by REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

It’s the Midday News Wrap, our regular Friday review of the week's top local, national and international news stories, with a rotating panel of journalists, commentators and community leaders.

President Trump gave a widely praised speech on Tuesday night to a joint session of Congress.  Various news outlets have identified more than a dozen false or misleading statements in that address.  The Washington Post is keeping track of such things.  They’ve accumulated 187 factually inaccurate statements by the President in his first 40 days in office.  Still, many people think the President quieted some skeptics with his performance in front of Congress.

Baltimore City Council

Today a conversation with three new members of the Baltimore City Council. Last November, voters elected eight new members to the council. At that time, pundits predicted that these new, often younger members would shake things up. So how are the first few months going and what can we expect from the city council going forward?  

There’s a public hearing tonight on a proposal to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. On Monday, the council passed a resolution tranfer control of the  Baltimore police department from the state to the city. And, funding for the school system is front of mind. We’ll find out where these freshmen lawmakers stand on these and other issues facing them in their first weeks in office.  

Photo by K. Whiteford

Today an update on the Maryland General Assembly. Late last week, a bill that would require many Maryland employers to provide paid sick leave advanced out of committee. The bill calls for companies with at least 15 employees to offer up to seven days of paid sick leave to full-time workers per year. Smaller companies would have to offer unpaid sick leave.

 There’s also legislation to make Maryland a sanctuary state for undocumented immigrants. And, Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh now has the authority to bypass Governor Hogan to challenge the Trump administration in court. A spokesman for the Governor says that this one of the nearly one hundred bills aimed at limited Governor's Hogan's power since he was elected three years ago.

Bridget Armstrong

After a long day at work, a lot of folks just don’t feel like cooking an elaborate multi-course meal. Sometimes, it’s just easier to dump it all in a pot and start cooking. Resident foodies John Shields of Gertrude’s Restaurant and Sascha Wolhandler of Sascha’s 527 join Tom with tips on one-pot wonders.  

So, What Ya Got Cookin? Do you have a go-to lasagna dish? A favorite stew or soup?  Let’s share some recipes and tips for crock pots and dutch ovens and whatever your favorite pot is.  

 John is a chef, author and the owner of Gertrude’s Restaurant at the Baltimore Museum of Art.  Sascha and her husband Steve Susser run Sascha’s 527 Restaurant and Catering in the Mt. Vernon neighborhood of Charm City.

President Trump’s alleged ties to Russia have become one of the most controversial and pressing issues of his administration.

Last week during a press conference the president denied having any ties to Russia or the country's president Vladimir Putin. Saying "I have nothing to do with Russia. To the best of my knowledge no person that I deal with does." Russian diplomats have suggested a different story.    

Yesterday, President Trump named Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster as his National Security Advisor. With Michael Flynn out, and McMaster in, what might that portend for relations between Russia and the US?  

Accidental Courtesy

 

Reaching across the aisle to engage with your enemy. It’s a concept we hear politicians throw around but it’s becoming increasingly less popular as our political discourse becomes more divisive and polarizing. For some, respectfully engaging with an enemy that seems fundamentally opposed to their very existence is impossible, but it’s exactly what Daryl Davis has been doing for more than 25 years. Mr. Davis is a musician who’s played with the likes of Little Richard and Chuck Berry. But, when he’s not on stage, Mr. Davis, who is a black man, meets and befriends members of the Ku Klux Klan. This hobby started in 1983 when an audience member struck up a conversation with Mr. Davis after a gig. When the gentleman in the audience revealed that he was a member of the KKK, the conversation did not end and after years of being friends, that man dropped out of the Klan. In fact dozens of former KKK members have given up their robes as a result of their friendships with Mr. Davis. 

Johns Hopkins University

*This edition of Midday was shortened to accommodate NPR's special coverage of President Trump's press conference with Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

 

Genome editing, that is the ability to make additions, deletions, and alterations to the genome of a human or animal, is not a new. Scientists have been experimenting with it in labs for a while to better understand the way some diseases and disabilities work. But now a new report released yesterday from the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Medicine sets international guidelines for genome editing. New editing tools like CRISPR have opened up the doors for more lab and clinical research projects. The scientists behind the report hope their guidelines will serve as a roadmap to help other scientists avoid the ethical concerns associated with gene editing.

Office of The Mayor

Today a conversation with Baltimore City Mayor Catherine Pugh. Mayor Pugh took her post in December 2016 after a long career in Maryland politics, first as a Baltimore City Council member and later as a State Delegate, so she is no stranger to Baltimore’s old problems. 

To date, According to the Baltimore Sun, 45 people have been killed in the city this year. What can be done to assure that a homicide a day isn’t the new normal?   When Mayor Pugh was elected she campaigned on a platform that included improving education, now Baltimore City Public Schools may have to layoff 1,000 teachers and cut arts and enrichment programs due to a $130 million budget deficit. What role will the Mayor play in ensuring a quality education for the city's young people? 

SNL

WYPR producers Bridget Armstrong and Jamyla Krempel join Tom for Tube Talk. Shows like Saturday Night Live, Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, and The Late Show with Stephen Colbert are tackling President Trump and his administration one episode at a time. We'll talk about how the presidency is informing television. 

And, BET's New Edition biopic, which chronicles the ups and downs of the R&B boy band, is the highest rated program the network has aired in five years. We'll talk about what made the film successful and other shows on the horizon.

Lewis Wallace

What role do journalists play in the so called “post fact”era? It’s no secret that President Trump and his administration have a contentious relationship with the mainstream media. The president routinely calls outlets like CNN and the New York Times “fake news.” Senior Advisor, Kellyanne Conway, famously invoked the validity of “alternative facts” when pressed about inaccurate statements made by the President about the size of the crowd at this year’s inauguration. Another senior advisor, Steven Bannon, called the media “the opposition party,” and urged it to keep its mouth shut.  

So, are we in a “post-fact” era, as some have suggested? Does journalistic objectivity and neutrality mean something different with this President, in this highly segmented media landscape? And how are the notions of objectivity and impartiality being shaped by a more diverse journalism pool?

Baltimore City Public Schools

Last week, Baltimore City Public Schools President & CEO Dr. Sonja Santelises announced that unless additional funding is secured for next year’s school budget, Baltimore schools are facing layoffs of more than 1,000 teachers and faculty. Cuts to arts and enrichment programs are likely to come as well, as the system tries to to close a $130 million budget gap. Rising school costs and declining enrollment are not new challenges to city schools, but this year’s shortfall is the largest the district has faced in a long time.

The Baltimore Teachers Union called the layoffs “unacceptable” and Dr. Santelises herself concedes that her plan to balance the budget, will drastically change how the school system operates.

Stephen Melkisethian

We begin today with a conversation about the travel ban implemented by President Trump on Friday afternoon. The President blocked visitors from seven predominately Muslim countries, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. The initial ban even included those who hold green cards. After a night and day of chaotic events at airports around the world, those holding green cards were allowed to re-enter the US.

Reuters

Today, we begin a regular Friday feature: The Midday News Wrap, in which we'll spend the hour reviewing major local, national and international developments with a rotating panel of esteemed journalists, commentators and community leaders.

Friday marks the end of the first week of the Trump administration, a week marked by a dizzying array of Executive Orders and official memoranda by the President that at times placed him in opposition to his senior team and Cabinet nominees.  Trump showed no inclination to change his tone or style following his inauguration, nor did he show an impulse to modify any positions in the face of clear evidence that he is mistaken.  

Michelle Singletary

It’s not unusual for the election of a new president to cause uncertainty in the stock market. On election night when it became clear that Donald Trump would win the presidency markets dropped sharply, but they have bounced back to record highs. This morning, the Dow Industrial Average topped 20,000 for the first time in history.  That’s good news for investors but some analysts worry that the deregulation, the repeal of the Affordable Care Act without a substitute, or possible cuts to programs like Medicare could send the economy into a tumble.  

 So, what does all of this mean to individual investors who are saving to buy a house, or paying off student loans, or saving for a child’s education, or planning for retirement? Michelle Singletary joins Tom  to give us some tips on what we should be doing to manage our money during the Trump administration. Here's a hint: a lot of it is stuff you should have already been doing. Michelle Singletary writes the nationally syndicated personal finance column “The Color of Money” for the Washington Post. She’s the author of three books including The 21 Day Financial Fast: Your Path to Financial Peace and Freedom

Hachette Book Group

Today, the final conversation in our series examining the legacy of President Barack Obama.  How have young people, gay people, women, veterans, workers and others fared during a presidential tenure that was marked by implacable partisanship?  Will any of Obama’s initiatives in health care, immigration and climate change survive an incoming administration whose party now controls both the executive and the legislative branches?

Tom puts those questions to two astute political observers:  Michael Days is the editor of the Philadelphia Daily News.  His new book is called Obama’s Legacy:  What He Accomplished as President;  and  Liz Copeland, the founder and President of the Urban Conservative Project.

Nina Subin

This week, we are taking a look back at the Presidency of Barack Obama. Tom is joined by Dr. Michael Eric Dyson, a searing provocateur whose unstinting critique of the historic nature of Obama’s tenure includes what he considers to be the missed opportunities to advance the cause of racial equality. One of Dyson’s chief criticisms is the President’s reluctance to hold white people at least partially responsible for black suffering.  

In his latest book, Tears We Cannot Stop: A  Sermon to White America, Dyson argues that the responsibility lies not just with uninformed bigots, but with people who may consider themselves enlightened and fair-minded, but who can’t accept the truth of racial history.  Dr. Michael Eric Dyson is a sociology professor at Georgetown University. He is the author of 18 other books, including The Black Presidency: Barack Obama and the Politics of Race in America.

In the days leading up to the inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump we’re discussing the legacy of President Barack Obama. Sheri Parks and E.R Shipp join Tom to review some of President Obama’s most poignant moments. How has the president used empathy to shape conversations around contentious issues like gun control, race, and policing?

Plus, an exploration of First Lady Michelle Obama's time in the White House.

Dr. Sheri Parks is an associate professor of American Studies at the University of Maryland, College Park and author of Fierce Angels: Living with a Legacy from the Sacred Dark Feminine to the Strong Black Woman.

E.R. Shipp is a Pulitzer Prize winning commentator, columnist for the Baltimore Sun and Associate Professor and Journalist in Residence in the School of Global Journalism and Communication at Morgan State University.

Globe Pequot

We begin today's show with an update on the Consent Decree, signed Thursday between Baltimore City and the U.S. Department of Justice,  from WYPR Metro Reporter Kenny Burns, who tells us what the agreement to reform the Baltimore Police Department actually requires and what it will mean for policing policies and practices going forward. 

Seth Wenig/AP

(Today's show is abbreviated because President-elect Donald Trump's press conference ran past Midday's usual noon start time.)

Yesterday, CNN reported that U.S. intelligence officials showed President-elect Donald Trump and President Barack Obama a document which claims, without proof, that Russian operatives have compromising personal and financial information about Mr. Trump.

Online news journal BuzzFeed is caught in a storm of controversy after it posted the previously unpublished 35-page dossier, a collection of reports compiled over a period of months by a respected private British intelligence service as "opposition research" for then-presidential candidate Donald Trump's American political rivals. The dossier, reportedly well-known for months to US investigative journalists and American intelligence agencies, contains unverified allegations about ties between Mr. Trump and Russia. It also contains salacious details of compromising activities in which Mr. Trump allegedly engaged, which Russian operatives purportedly could use to blackmail the U.S. President-elect. 

Templeton Press

Unemployment is at its lowest in nearly 10 years. However,  almost one in eight men is out of the labor force entirely, neither working nor even looking for work. So who are these men and what’s keeping them out of the job market?

Today, a conversation with Nicholas Eberstadt and Anirban Basu about the historically high number of men in their prime working years who are not in the workforce.

Nicholas Eberstadt holds the Henry Wendt Chair in Political Economy at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI). His latest book is Men Without Work: America’s Invisible Crisis.

Anirbahn Basu is the Chairman and CEO of the Sage Policy Group, an economic consulting firm and host of the Morning Economic Report on WYPR. 

Today, members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences started voting on nominations for this year’s Academy Awards. Ann Hornaday of the Washington Post  and Jed Dietz of the Maryland Film Festival weigh-in on some of the late Oscar contenders.  Fences is a hit.  Silence is making a lot of noise, and Moonlight, which has already won several pre-Oscar awards, is re-opening in Baltimore at the Charles Theatre.

Mithun

Today, a conversation about State Center, the sprawling office complex in West Baltimore that stretches from Howard St. and Martin Luther King Blvd. in West Baltimore, across both sides of Eutaw St, and all the way north and west to Dolphin St. and Madison Ave.  State Center houses various state agencies. It was built more than 50 years ago, and people who work in and manage the buildings agree that they are in serious disrepair. They’ve agreed about that for a long time. Ten years ago, developers were asked by the administration of Gov. Bob Ehrlich to suggest a plan to upgrade and revitalize the state offices in a way that would also revitalize the surrounding West Baltimore neighborhoods. Gov. Ehrlich got the ball rolling and his successor, Gov. Martin O’Malley, kept it spinning, but it’s been rolling very slowly, and it has encountered more than a few bumps.  Twenty-six million dollars later -- after many public hearings and multiple approvals at various stages by various state agencies, the project is shovel-ready. The Hogan Administration, however, is apparently not ready. Why not?

Tom is joined in the studio today by Caroline Moore. She is CEO and founding partner of Ekistics LLC, the developer that has been working on the State Center project since 2006. John Kyle is here as well. He’s the President of the State Center Neighborhood Alliance, which represents the nine neighborhoods surrounding State Center and nearby institutions,  such as the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and the University of Maryland Medical Center. We’re also joined by Natalie Sherman, a reporter who covers real estate and economic development for the Baltimore Sun.  And Tom spoke earlier by phone with Doug Mayer, the Governor’s communications director, so you’ll also hear what the State has to say about the status of the project and the State’s apparent change of heart about proceeding with the plans.

*This conversation originally aired on September 21, 2016.

The "dirtiest man on TV" Mike Rowe joins Tom to talk about rolling up his sleeves and getting down to work in some of the hardest professions on Discovery Channel's Dirty Jobs and later Somebody’s Gotta Do It which aired on CNN from 2014 until May 2016.

These days Mike has turned his focus to closing the skills gap in workforce. The mikeroweWORKS Foundation. Provides scholarships for people who want to learn a high demand skill or trade. Mike says the desire to start the foundation came from meeting thousands of skilled workers who make good livings and are passionate about their careers. Many of the folks Mike shadowed on Dirty Jobs did not have advanced college degrees, he talks about why he's encouraging people to obtain a skill set in a specific vocation and why college isn't always the key to success. 

FX

It’s been an exciting year for actors of color on the big and small screens, we spend some time talking about the television hits and misses of 2016. The #OscarsSoWhite hashtag and controversy sparked a larger conversation about the lack of diversity in film and critical recognition when not a single actor of color was nominated for an Academy Award in 2015 or 2016. 

Today a conversation about homeless young people in Baltimore City. The Abell Foundation’s recent report “No Place to Call Home” found that there are 1,421 young people under the age of 25 who are homeless and without a parent or guardian to look after them. That figure is a lot higher than a previously accepted number based on the findings of a report conducted Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in 2011. Numbers in the Abell Foundation report were based on the findings of a Youth REACH MD study out of The Institute for Innovation and Implementation at the University of Maryland School of Social Work.

 There are only six homeless services providers that cater to the needs of youth. There are long wait lists to get into the programs and young people are often turned away.  So what’s being done to help these young people, and what are the barriers that keep them on the streets? 

Megan Lucy is a freelance journalist and the author of the Abell Foundation report. She joins from KUCI in Irvine, CA. 

Baltimorecity.gov

Today, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake stepped down from office after serving as Baltimore's mayor for six years. Rawlings-Blake -- who previously held the position of City Council President -- assumed office after former mayor Sheila Dixon was forced to resign after pleading guilty to misappropriation of funds. Rawlings-Blake was elected again in 2011, in 2015 she announced she would not seek re-election.

Rawlings-Blake’s tenure was marked by notable achievements but also fraught with controversy. Nationally, the Mayor may be remembered for her response during the 2015 Uprising following the death of Freddie Gray -- she was criticized for not stopping the “riots” quickly enough and for referring to “rioters” as thugs.” But she will also be remembered for attracting businesses like Amazon to the area, overseeing the $5.5B Port Covington development deal, and launching major initiatives to address the city's aging infrastructure.

 

Three astute political observers who have followed Rawlings-Blake's term in office join Tom in the studio today to help us assess the former mayor's impact on Baltimore and the legacy she leaves as newly-inaugurated Mayor Catherine Pugh takes office:

 

Andrew Green is the opinion editor for the Baltimore Sun. He was the city/state editor before coming to the editorial board, and prior to that he covered the State House and Baltimore County government.

 

Jean Marbella is a reporter on the Baltimore Sun’s investigative and enterprise team. She joined The Sun in 1987 and has been a health reporter, a feature writer, a national correspondent, an editor and a metro columnist.

Bishop Douglas Miles, with Koinonia Baptist Church, is co-chair emeritus of Baltimoreans United in Leadership Development (BUILD), and one of the city's leading community and civil rights activists.

Sheri Parks

Much of President-elect Donald Trump’s campaign was premised on antipathy towards immigrants and promises to build a wall along the US- Mexico border. As we now know those sentiments resonated with a lot of voters. Some analysts and critics have speculated that the President-Elect’s rise was fueled by xenophobia and the fear of increased diversity. It is a fact that the country is becoming more diverse. According to the Pew Research Center by the year  2055, the U.S. will not have a single racial or ethnic majority. The Washington Post found that black and brown people are moving into towns and cities in the rust-belt and Midwest  that have traditionally been predominately white. How will this influx of diversity shape the electorate in the coming years, and how will it affect the presidency of a man whose campaign was premised on the fear of immigrants?

In the 10 days after the election the Southern Poverty Law Center received almost 900 reports of harassment and intimidation from across the nation. Many harassers invoked Trump’s name during assaults, making it clear that the outbreak of hate stemmed in large part from his electoral success.

Emily Jan/The Atlantic, Patrick Semansky/AP, Johns Hopkins University

Today, a conversation about Safe Streets, a program that uses the street wisdom of former felons and reformed gang members to fight the epidemic of gun violence in some of Baltimore’s most dangerous neighborhoods. The concept was inspired by a similar program in Chicago called Ceasefire. Community outreach workers known as "violence interrupters" patrol neighborhoods, interacting with residents and stepping in to mediate tense conflicts before they escalate to violence. Many of the violence interrupters have criminal records and gang ties, and all of them have credible reputations on the streets, an aspect that proves important when stepping into potentially violent situations. 

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