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.

Today, we continue our series of Conversations with the Candidates who will be on the June 26th primary ballot here in Maryland.

Tom's guest is Sen. Richard S. Madaleno, Jr. He is one of nine Democrats running for Governor on the ballot this June. The winner will go up against Republican Gov. Larry Hogan in the general election in November.

Unlike several of his Democratic opponents, Sen. Madaleno is not a political outsider. He has represented Montgomery County in the MD Legislature for more than 15 years -- first in the House of Delegates and, since 2007, in the State Senate. Since 2015, he has been Vice-Chair of the powerful Senate Budget and Taxation Committee. He is the first openly gay person elected to the MD House of Delegates and the State Senate. If elected, he would be the first openly gay governor of any state in America.

His running mate is Luwanda W. Jenkins, a Baltimore native and business executive who served in the administrations of Maryland’s last three Democratic governors -- O’Malley, Glendening & Schaefer. 

Sen. Madaleno also took your questions, emails and tweets.  Like all of Midday's Conversations with the Candidates, this program was streamed live on the WYPR FB page. Check out the video here.

image courtesy hackaday.com

(This story originally aired on April 5, 2017) 

Today, an archive edition of Midday on Ethics.  A year ago, HBO and Oprah Winfrey brought the story of Henrietta Lacks to television. The film, “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” based on the book of the same name by Rebecca Skloot, is still available for streaming on the HBO website.

You may already be somewhat familiar with the story of Henrietta Lacks, who lived in southeastern Baltimore County in the early 1950s, in Turner Station.   She had cancer, and in 1951, doctors at Johns Hopkins Hospital did a biopsy to diagnose her disease and to determine her course of treatment.  She died 8 months later.  But her cells -- a rare "immortal" line that could be reproduced endlessly -- have lived on.  She may have consented to the biopsy.  But without her consent, and without the knowledge of her family, cells taken during that procedure were used, for decades, in medical research around the world.  In fact the HeLa cell line – H-E for Henrietta and L-A for Lacks -- revolutionized medical research, and, by some accounts, has resulted in billions of dollars’ worth of medical breakthroughs.  None of the proceeds, however, ever went to Ms. Lacks or to her descendants.

So, could the same thing happen today?  What follows is a conversation about Informed Consent. How much have standards changed in the 65 years since Henrietta Lacks was a cancer patient at Hopkins? And what are today’s standards for Informed Consent?

Dr. Jeffrey Kahn is the director of the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics.  He stops by Midday from time to time to talk about how ethicists help us frame the complex questions that surround stories like the extraordinary case of Henrietta Lacks.

Because this is an archive edition of Midday, we’re not able to take any new calls or emails.   We first aired this show in April of last year, just before the Henrietta Lacks film debuted on HBO. 

Smythe Richbourg/Creative Commons

It’s the Midday News Wrap. The Maryland General Assembly wraps up its 2018 session on Monday at midnight. So far, more than 3,100 bills have been introduced in this session. Today, a tally of what legislation has passed, and what is likely to pass -- or fail -- between now and “sine die.”

First, Tom takes a look at one of the most controversial bills of the session: Senate Bill 122, the Comprehensive Crime Bill of 2018. It calls for increasing penalties for certain crimes, including mandating penalties for crimes involving a firearm. It would also fund the anti-crime initiative, Safe Streets, and establish a task force to study statutes related to gangs.

Joshua Harris and Rev. Kobi Little join Tom in studio to explain why the NAACP (and other groups) oppose the bill.  Harris is director of communications for the NAACP Maryland State Conference. He’s also a former mayoral candidate in Baltimore City.  Little is the Maryland NAACP’s director of political action.

Later in the News Wrap, Bryan Sears of the Daily Record joins Tom on the line from the State House with the latest news about several other bills on this, the second to last official day of the session.

Today, Tom's guest is Krish Vignarajah, a Democratic candidate for Governor -- as we continue our series of Conversations with the Candidates who will be on the June 26th primary ballot here in MD.  She is one of nine Democrats on the ballot in June. The winner will go up against Republican Gov. Larry Hogan in the general election in November. 

Several candidates have chosen women as their Lt. Governor running mates, but Ms. Vignarajah is the only woman running for the top job. Her running mate is Sharon Blake, the former head of the Baltimore Teacher’s Union.

Krish Vignarajah served as Policy Director to First Lady Michelle Obama. She was also a senior advisor at the State Department for Secretaries of State Hillary Clinton and John Kerry. Before working in the Obama administration, she was a consultant at McKinsey & Company. She is a Yale and Oxford educated lawyer who practiced law in Washington, DC. She clerked for Chief Judge Michael Boudin on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, and she taught as an adjunct professor at Georgetown University. She is 38 years old. She and her husband, Collin O’Mara, who is the President and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation, live in Gaithersburg with their baby daughter.

We streamed this conversation live on WYPR's Facebook page. Want to watch that video? Click here.

photo courtesy Hood College

A special Midday broadcast today, live from Hodson Auditorium on the campus of Hood College, in historic Frederick, Maryland.

Our topic today: Frederick at the Crossroads.

Founded in 1748, Frederick has seen its share of American history.  It was founded at the crossroads of a major north-south Native American trail and the east-west route from the Chesapeake Bay across the Appalachian Mountains to the Ohio River Valley.  Frederick County is home to Ft. Detrick and a branch of the National Cancer Institute. The Catoctin Mountain Park, and the presidential retreat, Camp David, are here.

It is quaint.  And beautiful, as anyone who has been in downtown Frederick can tell you. But while it may be old, it is anything but standing still.  In fact, the city and the county are among the fastest growing parts of Maryland. The population of Frederick City, with its 70,000 residents, has grown 32 percent since 2000 and a whopping 73% since 1990.  And with growth like that, Frederick finds itself at a crossroads once again. How does it honor its past, while being thrust into the future by incredibly rapid growth?  How does it remain charming, despite the pressures to become a bedroom community of Rockville and, by extension, Bethesda and Washington, DC?

Today, we continue our series of Conversations with the Candidates who will be on the June 26 primary ballot here in Maryland. Early voting begins June 14th.

Tom’s guest for the hour, live in Studio A, is Ben Jealous, a Democratic candidate for Governor. Last May, when he stood in front of his cousin’s flower shop in Baltimore’s Ashburton neighborhood and jumped into the race, he was only the second Democrat to announce his candidacy. Now, he has plenty of company: There will be nine Democrats on the ballot in June. The winner will go up against Republican Gov. Larry Hogan in the general election next November.  

Ben Jealous is perhaps best known as the former president and CEO of the NAACP. When he was appointed to that position in 2008, he was, at 35 years old, the youngest person ever to lead the NAACP. He was there for more than 5 years. When he left the NAACP in 2013, he joined Kapor Capital as a partner and investor. It’s a progressive investment firm based in Oakland, CA. He manages the firm’s Baltimore office. He is also a visiting professor at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University. He is a former community organizer and, early in his career, he was a journalist. He is 45 years old and the father of two. He lives in Anne Arundel Co.

Today's conversation, like all our Conversations with the Candidates, was streamed live on WYPR's Facebook page.

Courtesy of The Standard

Negin Farsad is a New York-based writer, director and social justice comedian. She’s the host of the podcast, Fake the Nation, a comedy round-table about politics on the Earwolf network, and the author of the book, How to Make White People Laugh, which has been nominated for a Thurber Prize for Humor. She co-directed and starred in the movie The Muslims Are Coming! -- which also stars Jon Stewart and Lewis Black.

On Thursday night at 7 pm, several short films that are part of a series called “The Secret Lives of Muslims” will be screened at Baltimore’s Creative Alliance, in an event sponsored by the Institute for Islamic, Christian and Jewish Studies. Negin Farsad is featured in one of those films. She’ll be on a panel to discuss the films at the Creative Alliance, and she’ll also do a stand-up comedy set. She joins Tom on the line from the studios at NPR in New York.

EPA/ YULIA SKRIPAL/FACEBOOK

On this edition of the Midday News Wrap: Tom speaks with Dayvon Love, Director of Public Policy at Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle (LBS), about the comprehensive crime bill recently passed by the State Senate, over strong opposition from the Baltimore delegation.  The bill would introduce higher mandatory minimums for gun crimes and stringent sentencing for repeat offenders. 

Then, Tom is joined by John Fritze, Washington Bureau Chief for the Baltimore Sun, for a closer look at the race for Maryland's 6th congressional district, where the rising human toll of the opioid crisis looms over both constituents and candidates. 

Later, Will Englund, Foreign Assignment Editor at the Washington Post, veteran Moscow correspondent and a Pulitzer Prize-winning author, talks with Tom about the Trump administration's reactions to the alleged Russian nerve-agent attack in Britain on a former Russian spy and his daughter, and the new sanctions the White House has imposed on Russia for recent acts of political cyber-warfare.

Flickr Creative Commons

We begin today with an update on the results of  Tuesday’s special election in the 18th Congressional District in Pennsylvania.

Tom is joined on the line by An-Li Herring, politics and law reporter for WESA, Pittsburgh's NPR News Station. 

Now it's time for another edition of Smart Nutrition, our regular focus on healthy eating.    Here’s a question that has puzzled philosophers and poets for ages: Should a veggie burger go out of its way to taste like a beef burger, or should it embrace its veggie-ness? A new meat-free burger has taken imitation to a whole new level of flattery.

It’s called the Impossible Burger. It’s new. It’s only available in restaurants -- and not many restaurants, so far -- and it is so much like a beef hamburger that it actually bleeds when you bite into it. But it’s made from plants, not from cows. Midday’s Nutrition Diva Monica Reinagel is here to help us size up the Impossible Burger, and to talk about other items of interest in the ever-changing landscape of healthy eating. Monica is a licensed nutritionist and the author of six books who blogs at nutritionovereasy.com. She is also the creator of the weekly Nutrition Diva podcast, which has become one of iTunes' most highly ranked health and fitness podcasts since it debuted in 2008.

Jack Garofolo/Paris Match via Getty Images

The 1960s and 70s were a time of protest and change in America, and while marches and rallies were bringing the messages of dissent and disaffection to a world stage, movement activists were also using the marketplace to share and promote their ideas. Their unique storefronts offered politically-conscious alternatives to conventional, profit-driven business models. Today we’re going to take a closer look at those radical shops -- why many failed, some succeeded, and what impact they had on their movements.

Joining guest host Rob Sivak in the studio is Joshua Clark Davis, an assistant professor of history at the University of Baltimore and the author of a fascinating new book, From Head Shops to Whole Foods: the Rise and Fall of Activist Entrepreneurs, which chronicles the struggles, successes and legacies of those pioneering storefronts.

Later in the hour, Darius Wilmore joins the conversation to share his unique perspective on activist enterprise. Wilmore is a Baltimore-based design artist who’s produced the award-inning barber-shop style social commentary show, Fades and Fellowship, as well as the monthly storytelling series, The Short Cutz Show, rooted in the African-American and civil rights experience.  As a self-described “social impact designer” who got his start with the legendary Def Jam rap music studio 20 years ago, he has been closely involved for the past decade in the creation and evolution of a successful Baltimore business called Taharka Brothers Ice Cream, a company that has used its products, and its profits, to support programs for young African American men in Baltimore.

Like the Grand Canyon/Flickr Creative Commons

WYPR producer Jamyla Krempel hosts today’s show.

There’s been lots of talk lately about changing the narrative in Baltimore. Last month, Mayor Catherine Pugh told an audience at the Parkway Theatre that Baltimore had a “perception problem.” She also said she wanted to “work on the media not depicting Baltimore always as this negative place to be.” The Mayor’s statements got many people, including Jamyla, thinking about how Baltimore is perceived.

For the first half of the show, Jamyla welcomes two journalists who’ve spent a lot of time thinking and writing about the city. Lawrence Lanahan is a freelance journalist whose work has appeared in Al Jazeera, Columbia Journalism Review and other outlets. He was the creator of WYPR’s The Lines Between Us series. And he was senior producer of the WYPR show “Maryland Morning.” Lisa Snowden McCray is a longtime Baltimore journalist. She was a writer and associate editor for the Baltimore City Paper and then editor-in-chief of The Baltimore Beat, a weekly alternative paper which, sadly, ceased publication yesterday. 

Later in the show, Jamyla welcomes Al Hutchinson, the president and CEO of Visit Baltimore, and Annie Milli, the executive director of Live Baltimore to talk about Baltimore’s narrative going forward.

Today on Midday, with high winds blowing outside our Baltimore studio, we explore whether the winds of change will blow through Annapolis come November, as we begin a series of Conversations with the Candidates who will be on the June 26th primary ballots here in Maryland. 

Between now and the election, Tom Hall will be talking with Democrats who are running in the gubernatorial primary, as well as the Democrats and Republicans who are running for Baltimore County Executive, and candidates in a few other races as well. 

Today, Tom's guest for the hour is Alec Ross.  Last April, Ross became the first person to announce his candidacy in the Democratic primary for Maryland governor. Since then, eight rivals have joined him on that ballot. Alec Ross is an innovation expert, and the author of the New York Times best-selling book, “The Industries of the Future,” about innovation and the changes that economies and societies can expect over the next decade. Ross served in the State Department as Senior Advisor on Innovation to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.  He also worked in the Obama campaign and transition team in 2008. He’s a former Distinguished Senior Fellow at Johns Hopkins University.  He is 46 years old. He and his wife, who is a teacher in a Baltimore City School, live in Baltimore, where they are raising three children.

Today's conversation was streamed live on WYPR's Facebook page, where you can view the video of this and all future Conversations with the Candidates.

Wikimedia Commons

The Congressional Research Service estimates that about 4.3 million people hold permanent government security clearances, but many close advisers to President Trump do not -- including presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner.

Last week, Director of National Intelligence, Dan Coates, said the system of approving security clearances for top officials is “broken” and must be overhauled. 

A couple of days after Coates’ Senate testimony, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly wrote a memo outlining an overhaul of how the White House manages security-clearance investigations. In that memo, obtained by the Washington Post, some White House staffers with Top Secret interim clearances, a group that may include Kushner, will lose their clearances on Friday.

Tom’s guests today are two reporters who have been covering national security matters for years. Deb Reichmann has written about national security for the Associated Press for the past six years.  Before that, she was an AP reporter in Afghanistan. She also covered the George W. Bush White House and the final year of the Clinton White House for AP. She joins us on the line from the AP studios in Washington. 

Scott Shane is a reporter with the investigative unit of the New York Times. He’s written about national security as a reporter in the Washington bureau of the Times since 2004. He’s also the author of several books, including Dismantling Utopia, on the Soviet collapse, and Objective Troy, about the American terrorist Anwar al-Awlaki.

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. 

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