Kathleen Cahill | WYPR

Kathleen Cahill

Producer, Midday

Kathleen is a producer for Midday With Tom Hall.  Previously, she was a producer for Maryland Morning and, before that,  a freelance radio reporter  for the WYPR newsroom.  She was for many years an editor at The Washington Post – on the Foreign Desk;  at Outlook  (The Post’s Sunday commentary section) and as a special projects editor for the Post’s Financial Desk.

Kathleen lived in Turkey for a couple of years in the ‘90s as Time Magazine’s stringer for the region and as deputy editor of  Dateline Turkey, an English-language weekly newspaper based in Istanbul.   (Sadly, her Turkish is rusty now, but if you know a few words, please stop by and say merhaba.)Early in her career, Kathleen was a frequent contributor to CFO, The Economist’s monthly magazine for financial executives, and a staff writer for Bostonia Magazine.

She is a graduate of Boston University and also attended University College Dublin, in Ireland.  She was a visiting media fellow at Duke University’s DeWitt Wallace Center for Journalism and Democracy and attended the wonderful Stanford Publishing Course.   She is the editor of two books.

Matt Mendelsohn Photography

Today on Midday: three perspectives on immigration.

First, let’s consider what we might call "immigration amnesia." It seems like a good way to describe the affliction of politicians and others who speak derisively about immigrants -- when they themselves are, like everyone except for Indigenous People, descendants of people who came to this country from somewhere else.

Tom's first guest is Jennifer Mendelsohn. With her #resistancegenealogy project on Twitter, she has found a persuasive way to remind anti-immigrant Washington types of their own immigrant past. 

Mendelsohn is a Baltimore journalist. She is a former People magazine special correspondent and a columnist for Slate. Her work has also appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The L.A. Times and many other places. She’s also an avid genealogist who serves on the board of the Jewish Genealogy Society of Maryland.

University of Texas Press

Continuing with Midday’s focus on immigration today, Tom welcomes Dr. Perla M. Guerrero.

Guerrero is an Assistant Professor of American Studies and U.S., Latina and Latino Studies at the University of Maryland in College Park. Her new book is called Nuevo South: Latinas/os, Asians and the Remaking of Place -- on what can happen when an influx of immigrants settles in places that had been almost entirely white. 

Prof. Guerrero joined Tom on the line from her office in College Park.

National Immigration Law Center

Tom’s final guest today is Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center. 

The U.S. Senate is scheduled to take up immigration reform tonight. During budget negotiations that resulted in two brief government shutdowns, Senate Democrats extracted a promise from Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to begin debate on a fix for DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) and comprehensive reform of immigration policy.

President Trump has issued a deadline of March 5th for Congress to come up with a fix for the DACA program, which Mr. Trump ended last fall.

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan has said that he, too, is committed to finding a fix for the 800,000 young people in the DACA program, but, despite Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s marathon speech on the House Floor last week, Ryan has made no promise about bringing immigration legislation to a vote in the Congress.

Hincapie, on the line from Washington, D.C., offers her perspective on what’s next for DACA, and for immigration policy moving forward.

Photo by Kathleen Cahill

The Motor Trend International Auto Show opens today at the Baltimore Convention Center and runs through Sunday. There are more than 500 cars at the show, and we wondered: What’s hot and what’s not?

Midday host Tom Hall wandered around the car show last night with Rory Cahill. Rory knows a lot about cars, and his expertise has attracted the attention of a lot of folks. On two occasions, General Motors has shipped a car to Rory’s house in Baltimore and asked him to try it out for a week, and to give them his unvarnished opinion. In the biz, he’s known as “an influencer.”

So Rory seemed like a good guy to talk to when we wanted to find out which cars are the coolest cars at this year’s show. There’s only one thing Rory doesn’t know about cars: how to drive them. Rory is 13, three years shy of getting his license. Here’s a film about Rory that debuted at the Maryland Film Festival last year, plus a couple of his reviews from the 2016 New York Auto Show about the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio and the Lexus LC 500.  Special thanks to director and engineer Luke Spicknall, who turned our trip to the Baltimore Auto Show into today’s Midday...

Backbone Campaign/Flickr Creative Commons

Last month, Ajit Pai, the Trump-appointed chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, made good on a promise to repeal Obama- era regulations that governed the internet.  By a vote of 3-2, the commission ended regulations that required Internet Service Providers to treat all content the same. Before, ISPs couldn’t pick and choose which content loaded fast and which loaded more slowly, or not at all, nor could they charge a premium for faster service.

Why is this important? 

Midday's guests today have given this subject a lot of thought. Deb Tillett joins Tom Hall in Studio A. She’s the executive director of the Emerging Technologies Center, an incubator for tech startups here in Baltimore. 

Brandi Collins is the Senior Campaign Director for Color of Change, the nation’s largest online racial justice organization.  She oversees that organization’s Media, Democracy and Economic Justice department.  She’s on the line from Oakland, California.

Ritu Agarwal is a professor, senior associate dean for research, and the Dean’s Chair of Information Systems at the University of Maryland Robert H. Smith School of Business.  She is also the founder and director of the school’s Center for Health Information and Decision Systems.  She joins us from her office in College Park.

photo from Johns Hopkins University

How are you feeling today?  Flu-ish maybe?  If so, you’re not alone.  We keep hearing that this is the worst flu season in years.  And if you’ve had this year’s flu, that’s no doubt how it feels. In fact, it is probably the worst flu season in the past three years, and we’ll have to wait until it’s over before the CDC can rank it more definitively.   

Here’s what we do know in this -- the 100th anniversary of the 1918 Influenza pandemic, which infected 500 million people worldwide.

This year’s flu is now widespread in 49 states -- all but Hawaii. The number of children who have died from flu this winter has now reached 30.  Three years ago 148 children died from the flu, according to the CDC.  The number of adults who die from flu in any given year is less clear.  But what is clear is that the flu is serious.  

The severity of this year’s flu raises some interesting ethical questions.  For example:  Should getting a flu vaccination be mandatory?   Of course, being vaccinated is no guarantee that you’ll avoid the illness, but experts point out that if more people are vaccinated, the outbreak will theoretically be less virulent.

Where children are concerned, the link between vaccination and health is perhaps clearer.  Most of the 30 children known to have died from the flu so far this winter -- about 85% -- had not been vaccinated. 

Dr. Jeffrey Kahn, the Director of the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics, joins Tom today.   He stops by from time to time to help us explore how ethicists frame some very complex questions, in a segment we call Midday on Ethics.

Photo by Sarah Wanyana

The African Children’s Choir joins Tom in Studio A to preview their concert tonight in Baltimore.  These 18 young singers, aged between  7 and 10 years, are all from Uganda. Many come from families impacted by war, famine and disease.  They are now on a 9-month, nearly 50-concert tour of the United States. After Baltimore, they'll venture across the mid-Atlantic, up to New England and then out west to Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah.

Over the years, the African Children's Choir has performed for heads of state and shared the stage with celebrated artists such as Paul McCartney, Mariah Carey and others.

 

Tonight at 7 pm they will be performing in Baltimore at St. Matthew Catholic Church at 5401 Loch Raven Blvd.  The concert is free and open to all. The Music for Life Institute, the non-profit charitable organization that runs the Choir, welcomes donations, which help support African Children's Choir programs such as education, care and relief campaigns.   Click here for more information.

Courtesy of Evan Vucci / Associated Press

In this week's news, the federal government faces a shutdown as Baltimore’s mayor shakes up the city's police department.

The U.S. House and Senate are arguing about passing a short-term spending resolution to avoid what Republicans are calling "the Schumer Shutdown." Democrats say that the bi-partisan bill to preserve DACA crafted by Senator Lindsey Graham and Senator Dick Durbin has what it takes to solve the crisis for Dreamers, and avoid a messy and costly shutdown.

Meanwhile,  Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh has fired Police Commissioner Kevin Davis.  30-year city police veteran Darryl DeSousa began serving as acting commissioner this morning. 

By Lawrence Randall "The Eye" Photography

To close our Friday show, the wonderful jazz trumpeter, vocalist and composer Nico Sarbanes joins Tom in Studio A, along with guitarist Michael Benjamin.   They play two pieces in the set, including  "A Cottage for Sale," by Willard Robison, and to take us out, a rendition of "Groove Merchant" by Jerome Richardson.

Nico, Michael and bassist Shawn Simon will be performing a program of jazz standards and Nico’s own compositions at the Cultural Center at the Opera House in Havre de Grace two weeks from Sunday, Feb. 4 at 3 p.m.

CREDIT BALTIMORE CITY PUBLIC SCHOOLS

Today, Dr. Sonja Santelises, the CEO of the Baltimore City Public Schools joins Tom in Studio A for a conversation about the state of the city's school system. With nearly 60 schools closed due to the cold earlier this month and accusations of funding impropriety from the governor, mayor and parents, BCPS faces increased scrutiny and pressure to educate and provide for its students. 

At a press conference announcing $2.5 million in emergency funding for City Schools, Gov. Larry Hogan pointed to mismanagement and a lack of accountability, and he called for a newly created Investigator General to be embedded in the Department of Education to oversee state grants to the city.

All these conflicts arise as BCPS continues to educate a student population disproportionately affected by poverty and racial injustice.

Courtesy of the Brookings Institute

When the sweeping Republican tax bill was pushed through and voted into law just before Christmas, critics ripped into it as a gift for the wealthy. Many of them focused on the benefits that it will bestow upon the wealthiest of all -- the top 1% — and especially the top 0.1%. Critics worry that the ultra rich are becoming wealthier, while incomes for most other Americans are stagnant.

Today's guest, Richard Reeves, says that the gap that poses the greatest threat to our culture isn’t the one between the insanely rich and the rest of us, but rather, it’s the gap between most people and the so-called Upper Middle Class, the top 20% of Americans, by wealth. That gap, Reeves says, is changing how families are structured and it’s informing our political and personal attitudes about everything. 

Richard Reeves joins Tom live from the studios of NPR in Washington, DC.

Danni Williams via Facebook

On this week's edition of the Midday News Wrap: The Labor Department announced that the economy added 148,000 jobs last month, fewer than expected. The stock market is at record levels. The unemployment rate remained steady at 4.1%. Very few other things appeared steady this week. Steve Bannon’s list of BFFs is considerably smaller this week. President Trump says Bannon has lost his mind. People at Breitbart News think Bannon may soon lose his job. The President tweeted about the size of his nuclear button. A new bombshell book by a journalistic flame thrower suggests that many in Trump’s circle question the President’s basic competence for his job, confirming the impression held by about 70 million voters in 2016. And President Trump dissolved the Voter Fraud Commission.

The New York Times reported last night that Special Counsel Robert Mueller appears to be investigating false statements made by the President and inquiries made by the Attorney General as a matter of possible obstruction of justice. And two new Democratic senators were sworn in this week: Doug Jones, the first Democrat to represent Alabama in 25 years, and Tina Smith, who replaces Al Franken as the junior Senator from Minnesota. The Senate now includes a record high 22 women in its ranks, and the Republican majority has been shaved to one.

In Baltimore, sub-zero temperatures have exposed sub-par performance by city and state officials, as classrooms in nearly one third of schools in Baltimore had heating problems. And the FBI made the stunning decision to refuse to accommodate Police Commissioner Kevin Davis’ request that it take over the investigation into the death of Detective Sean Suiter.

Joining Tom in Studio A to discuss this week's news: Julie Bykowicz covers national politics for the Wall Street Journal. Before joining the Journal, she covered the Trump White House for the Associated Press. Michael Fletcher is a senior writer at The Undefeated, the on-line platform of ESPN. He was for many years a national reporter for The Washington Post, where he covered economics and the White House. 

Rachael Boer Photography

Baltimore-based classical guitarists Jorge Amaral and Mia Pomerantz-Amaral joined Tom in studio to give us a fabulous preview of their concert this weekend.

Duo Amaral will be performing a program of Latin American music this Sunday, Jan. 7, at 3 p.m.,  in Columbia, Maryland, as part of the Sundays at Three Chamber Music Series. Click here for more information and tickets.

Copyright Epic Photography Jamie Schoenberger

(This program originally aired on October 24, 2017.)

Tom’s guest today is Alice McDermott, the New York Times best-selling author of eight novels. Three of them, After This, At Weddings and Wakes and That Night, were finalists for the Pulitzer Prize. Another novel, Charming Billy, won the National Book Award in 1998.

Her eighth novel, The Ninth Hour, published last September, is a profound and moving contemplation on the big issues: love, family, faith, religion and bringing meaning to one’s life. The story is told with tenderness and compassion, by an artist at the height of her creative and literary powers.

Time Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The New York Times, NPR and others have named The Ninth Hour one of the best novels of 2017.  Listen to this archive edition of Midday,  and you'll understand why.

U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin (D) joins host Tom Hall for the hour. Maryland’s senior senator is a member of the Senate Finance Committee. He is also the ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Senate Republicans are confident that their tax bill will be approved this week. With so much attention on the tax bill, it’s easy to overlook other major stories, such as: Without a Continuing Resolution by Friday at midnight, the government will shut down. Last week, the White House and the State Department sent conflicting signals about conditions for talks with North Korea.  And, the President’s declaration that the embassy in Israel would be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem has engendered a storm of criticism. 

Tom asks Sen. Cardin about these crucial issues and more. And the senator answers listener questions. 

Photo by Kathleen Cahill

Today on Midday: Helicon, the renowned traditional music trio is here.

Tomorrow they continue a great Baltimore holiday tradition with their 32nd annual Winter Solstice Concerts  at Goucher College’s Kraushaar Auditorium.

Helicon will be joined tomorrow by Charm City Junction and other performers, including the North American Step Dance champion Jonathan Srour.

Today, we’re keeping up a tradition of our own. For the many years, Helicon has treated us to a preview of their Winter Solstice concert here in Studio A.

Helicon’s Chris Norman plays wooden flutes and small bagpipes. Robin Bullock plays guitar, cittern, and mandolin, and Ken Kolodner plays hammered dulcimer and fiddle. Also here, from Charm City Junction: Brad Kolodner and Patrick McAvinue, the 2017 International Bluegrass Musician Association Fiddler of the Year.  The great old-time musician and vocalist Rachel Eddy is also here. They’ll all be performing at the two Winter Solstice concerts tomorrow, at 3:30 pm and 7:30 pm. Click here for tickets. 

Sinking Ship Productions

Actor Jonathan Levin and playwright Josh Luxenberg, ​a Baltimore native,  join us to talk about their new play, A Hunger Artistwhich opens at Baltimore Theatre Project next week after acclaimed runs Off-Broadway in New York and at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland.

A Hunger Artist,  which is based on the Franz Kafka short story of the same name, uses physical theater, Victorian miniatures, puppetry and a set of simple props to support a powerhouse performance.

Luxenberg wrote the script. Levin is the show’s only performer. They are co-founders and co-artistic directors of Sinking Ship Productions, a theater company based in Brooklyn, NY. For more information about the upcoming Baltimore run of A Hunger Artist and for tickets, click here. 

Josh and Jon join Tom on the line from Argot Studios in New York.

Mary Rose Madden/WYPR

Baltimore City Mayor Catherine Pugh was sworn into office one year ago today. Unemployment in Baltimore is the lowest it’s been in many years; 6,000 more people are now working than before she took office.

But all of the Mayor’s efforts, as well as those of the Police Commissioner and the City Council have been overshadowed by the violence that has plagued our city ever since the riots and uprising that followed the death of Freddie Gray in 2015. As 2017 draws to a close, Baltimore is on track to record more than 1,000 shootings, more than a third of which have ended in death.

Today on Midday, we examine violence in Baltimore City. Luke Broadwater from the Baltimore Sun talks about some of the initiatives that Mayor Pugh and Gov. Larry Hogan have introduced in just the last couple of days.

Later in the program, Tom speaks with Akai Alston, who is working in Sandtown Winchester in a program called U-TURNS, which helps young people living in one of Baltimore’s poorest neighborhoods to build resiliency and overcome trauma, including violence. 

But first, Lester Davis joins Tom in Studio A.  Davis serves as the Deputy Chief of Staff for Baltimore City Council President Jack Young. Council President Young is the lead sponsor of a Youth Fund, which this year will total about $12 million.  The fund is expected to be approved by the City Council when it meets tomorrow night. 

Johns Hopkins University

Today, another edition of Midday on Ethics. 

We’ve talked several times over the past year about gene editing, and the ethical questions that go along with potentially editing the genes of plants and animals, including humans.  Today, we revisit these questions with Dr. Jeffrey Kahn, the  Director of the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics.  Why?  Because there is some news, perhaps a new way of thinking, about a technology developed only four years ago called Crispr.  It allows scientists to edit genes precisely, to do things, potentially, like reduce the risk of passing along an inherited disease, or eliminate the risk all together.  Or, for example, to eliminate the mosquitoes that carry malaria.  

About a year and a half ago, scientists proposed what to many people seemed like a good idea at the time -- using Crispr to save endangered animals that were threatened by an invasive species by implanting a so-called gene drive -- a gene that would reduce the fertility of the invasive animals, thus giving the endangered species in the same area a better chance at survival. Last week, the news caught our eye that the very scientist who had proposed this originally now says that field testing the gene drive would be a bad idea. So why is that? What are the unintended consequences of gene editing, including human gene editing? Dr. Jeff Kahn jojns Tom in the studio to explain how ethicists frame complex questions like this, and to answer your questions.

Photo courtesy Monica Reinagel

(This program originally aired on September 13, 2017)

Many of us are carrying a bit more weight on our fragile frames than we would prefer. In fact, more Americans are obese than ever before.  

But what about folks who are technically "overweight" but whose cholesterol is okay, who have normal blood pressure, and whose other health indicators are not worrisome?   Some experts say that’s okay.  This belief -- that you can be fit and fat -- is driving the so-called Health at Every Size movement.

The Nutrition Diva, Monica Reinagel, joins Tom Hall in Studio A to tell us more about this movement.  She is an author and a licensed nutritionist.  She blogs at nutritionovereasy.com and she joins Midday for our Smart Nutrition segment every other month.  

Photo courtesy mybrotherskeeperbaltimore.org

The nation observes Thanksgiving on Thursday, and for most of us, it will be a day of traditional feasting, and enjoying the warmth of family and friends.  But for thousands of people, the challenges of housing insecurity will make Thanksgiving just another day in which they must wrestle with a persistent problem that's hard for most people even to imagine.

By the city’s official count, there are nearly 3,000 people who are experiencing homelessness in Baltimore. But housing advocates point to the people who are likely not included in that figure.  People who are doubling up with other families, for example. And, according to the city school system, there are 3,000 homeless school children in the city.  So, logically, the total number of people without homes in our midst, in our city, could be many thousands more  than 3,000.

Are we doing enough. and are we doing what works, to help homeless people get back on their feet?  What more can be done and what should be done?  Joining Tom this afternoon in Studio A to address these questions: 

Kevin Lindamoodthe president and CEO of Healthcare for the Homeless, and Antonia Fasanelli, an attorney and executive director of the Homeless Persons Representation Project, Maryland’s only legal services organization dedicated to eliminating homelessness.

And on the line from the University of Maryland School of Social Work in Baltimore, adjunct professor Lauren Siegel, a social worker and co-founder of Mosaic Makers, a non-profit community arts program, who has spent the past 30 years helping people to understand -- and cope with -- homelessness. 

On this edition of the Midday News Wrap, Tom spoke with  NPR Justice Correspondent Carrie Johnson, Baltimore Sun Opinion Editor Andy Green and longtime local columnist Barry  Rascovar about  some of the week's top national and local news stories including further accusations of sexual misconduct, this time against Sen. Al Franken;  the tax code revision passed by the House yesterday; and the status of the Senate plan, which -- for now, anyway -- is tied to repealing the individual mandate of the Affordable Care Act. 

The News Wrap began with discussion of Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ testimony this week to the House Judiciary Committee, the ongoing Russia investigations, and the upcoming special election in Alabama to fill a U.S. Senate seat.  Carrie Johnson joined Tom from the studios of NPR in Washington.  

Here in Baltimore, Police Detective Sean Suiter, a 43-year-old father of five children, died yesterday from injuries he received when he was shot in the head on Wednesday afternoon in Harlem Park while investigating a murder there.   

In other local news, a verdict was reached this morning in the Trial Board hearing for Baltimore Police Lt. Brian Rice, the highest ranking officer involved in the arrest and death of Freddie Gray in 2015.  He has been cleared of all charges. 

WYPR reporter Dominique Maria Bonessi was at Lt. Rice's Trial Board hearing this morning.  She joined Tom in studio to discuss the verdict. 

St. Martin's Press

In jurisdictions throughout Maryland, in New Jersey and in Virginia, and elsewhere yesterday, Democrats picked up wins in Mayor’s offices, Governor’s Mansions and State Houses. At the top of the Virginia ticket, Democratic Lt. Governor Ralph Northam walloped former RNC Chair Ed Gillespie by nine points, in a race that many around the country saw as a referendum on the Presidency of Donald Trump.

It was on this day, November 8th, one year ago, that Trump shocked the world when he completed his transition from campaign joke to President- elect. We are marking that anniversary today with a conversation with E.J. Dionne and Norman Ornstein, two of America’s most astute and respected political observers who are also the authors of a persuasive and insightful new book.

The book is called One Nation After Trump: A Guide for the Perplexed, the Disillusioned, the Desperate and the Not-Yet Deported. They wrote it with Thomas Mann of the University of California and the Brookings Institution.

E.J. Dionne is a senior fellow at Brookings, a syndicated columnist at The Washington Post and a visiting professor at Harvard University.

Norm Ornstein is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and a contributing columnist and editor at the Atlantic and the National Journal. They joined Tom from a studio at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass.

AM Joy

Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation now includes two indictments and a guilty plea. Writing yesterday in Vanity Fair Magazine, Gabriel Sherman reports that Steve Bannon is now openly worried about Donald Trump being impeached or removed under the 25th amendment, and that Bannon fears a revolt by some members of the cabinet, and the Republican establishment.

All of this is, of course, music to the ears of the Progressive Left. But should impeachment efforts form the fundament of the Trump resistance movement? Progressives, and many conservatives, for that matter, agree that Trump is unfit to serve in the highest office in the land. But what else do they agree on? Is there consensus about health care, tax policy, or counter-terrorism? What do Democrats stand for besides standing against Trump?

Tom's guest today is Joy-Ann Reid,  host of AM Joy on MSNBC, where she is also a political analyst. She is the author of the book "Fracture: Barack Obama, The Clintons and the Racial Divide," which was published in 2015, with an update in the summer of 2016. She co-edited "We Are the Change We Seek: The Speeches of Barack Obama," with E.J. Dionne of the Washington Post. That book was published earlier this year.

Joy-Ann Reid speaks at Johns Hopkins University tonight at 8 pm. Her topic:  journalism in the age of fake news.  Click here for more information.

Melissa Archer, MD Dept. of Housing & Community Development

At a packed Baltimore City Council hearing last week, housing advocates and others lent their support to a resolution put forward by Baltimore City Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke, which calls on the city to revive the Dollar House program of the 1970s and early 80s:  Back then, the city sold more than 180 abandoned houses for $1 apiece, and helped the buyers with financing and renovation assistance.     

Clarke, a Democrat, has represented the 14th District on the Baltimore City Council since 2004.  From 1987-95, she was president of the City Council, the first woman ever elected to that position.  She ran unsuccessfully for mayor in 1995.

Clarke joined Tom today in Studio A. Later, Jay Brodie and Mike Posko joined the conversation.  Brodie was the commissioner of the city’s Housing Department from 1977 to 1984.  After that, he served as the president of the Baltimore Development Corp, the city’s quasi-public economic development arm. He did that for 16 years, serving under four mayors, until his retirement in 2012.  Posko is the CEO of Habitat for Humanity of the Chesapeake. Over the past 35 years, Habitat has built or renovated more than 700 homes throughout Central Maryland.

NASA

Jeffrey Kluger joins Tom in Studio A to talk about his latest book, Apollo 8: The Thrilling Story of the First Mission to the Moon, in which he makes the case that Apollo 8's historic orbital flyby of the Moon -- the first human venture beyond the bounds of close-Earth orbit -- was as important, if not more important, than the later mission, Apollo 11, that actually landed men on the lunar surface.

Kluger has been a science editor and senior writer for Time Magazine for more than two decades.  He’s the author of eight other works of fiction and non-fiction, plus some books for young readers.

He grew up in Pikesville, and he’s back in town for a reading of Apollo 8: The Thrilling Story Of The First Mission To The Moon  this evening at The Ivy Bookshop in North Baltimore at 7 pm.  

Copyright Epic Photography Jamie Schoenberger

Tom’s guest today is Alice McDermott, the New York Times best-selling author of eight novels. 

Three of them, After This, At Weddings and Wakes and That Night, were finalists for the Pulitzer Prize. Another novel, Charming Billy, won the National Book Award in 1998. Her eighth novel, The Ninth Hour, published just last month, is a profound and moving contemplation on the big issues: love, family, faith, religion, and bringing meaning to one’s life. The story is told with tenderness and compassion, by an artist at the height of her creative and literary powers.

Alice McDermott will read from her work at two events at Johns Hopkins’ Homewood Campus in Baltimore in the next few weeks. On Nov. 6 at 5:30 pm, she will talk about and sign The Ninth Hour. Click here for free tickets.  On Nov. 28 at 6:00 pm, McDermott and Katharine Noel will read from their work – part of the Hopkins President’s Reading Series. Click here for more information. 

AP Photo

It's another edition of the Midday News Wrap, our Friday discussion of some of the week's top news stories with a panel of journalists and commentators.  Joining Tom Hall on this week's panel: reporter Jenna Johnson, who covered the 2016 Trump Campaign.  Now, she covers the White House for The Washington Post, and she joins Tom on the line from The Post's radio studio.  Also on the panel and with us in Studio A is Pastor Shannon Wright.  She is the Third  Vice-Chair of the Maryland Republican Party and the first Black woman ever elected to any party office in Maryland.  In 2016, she was a Republican candidate for president of the Baltimore City Council.  She is also the co-host of the Wright Way With Shannon and Mike morning show  and a panelist on Roland Martin on News One.

Photo courtesy Liz Simmons

Now, a little music to take us into the weekend.  Low Lily is a vocal and string trio from Vermont whose modern acoustic sound also taps the roots of folk and fiddle music.  They join Tom live in Studio A. 

Low Lily is:  Liz Simmons on guitar.  Flynn Cohen on guitar and mandolin.  And Lissa  Schneckenburger on fiddle.

They’ll be playing at Germano’s Piattini in Little Italy here in Baltimore on Friday night.  Use the link to get details.

AP Photo

Is the 45th president of the United States unfit to serve in the nation's highest office?  More than 64,000 mental health professionals have signed a petition that says that Donald Trump manifests a serious mental illness and should be removed from office under the 25th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. 

But how could those mental health professionals come to that conclusion without having examined Mr. Trump, and should they share an opinion about him without his consent?   

Dr. John Gartner joined host Tom Hall in studio.  He is a psychologist and the founder of an organization called Duty to Warn.  He taught at the Johns Hopkins Medical School for 28 years and continues to practice in Baltimore.  He has written two books, and he contributed to a book released last week called The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President.

Dr. Allen Dyer joined Tom on the line from NPR in Washington, D.C.  He is an M.D. and holds a Ph.D. in Ethics.  He is a professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at George Washington University Medical School. He was a member of the American Psychiatric Association’s Ethics Committee when the so-called Goldwater Rule was written more than 40 years ago.

Pages