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.

Baltimore Link

The Baltimore Link, Charm City’s new transit system, is making its debut. After almost two years of planning, the $135 million dollar revamped system was launched in the wee hours of Sunday morning.  MTA Director Kevin Quinn, along with Brian O’Malley, president and CEO of the Central Maryland Transportation AllianceSamuel Jordan, president of the Baltimore Transit Equity Coalition; and city planner Klaus Philipsen join Tom today to discuss the new system and its impact on city residents. MTA officials say that it will speed up time for commuters and get people closer to more of the places where they work.  But not everyone is convinced.

Johns Hopkins University

Today, Tom talks with  bioethicist Dr. Jeffrey Kahn about clinical trials and diversity. Why is so much medical research still done with white subjects -- and more often with men rather than women -- and what are the consequences of that, particularly for women and people of color?

If clinical trials are done by examining only parts of our society, what does that mean for the efficacy of the findings, and how reliably can those results be extrapolated to apply to the rest of the population?

And what are the consequences when that research is then used to develop treatments? Will they be effective for everyone, or primarily just for the group at the heart of the research?

To wit: African Americans have a far greater incidence of Alzheimer’s Disease and a far lower rate of inclusion in clinical trials. What, if any, is the connection between those two realities?

Dr. Jeffrey Kahn is the Director of the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics and he stops by Midday from time to time to talk about how ethicists help us frame complex questions like these.

Courtesy Congressional Pictorial Directory

Today on Midday, a conversation with Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger, the representative of Maryland's Second Congressional District. Like several other Maryland congressional districts, the second is a sprawling -- some would say gerrymandered -- district that includes pieces of many jurisdictions:  Baltimore City and Baltimore, Anne Arundel, Harford and Howard counties. Rep. Ruppersberger, a Democrat, was first elected to the Congress in November 2002.  He has been re-elected seven times.  He is a member of the powerful House Appropriations Committee.

Before heading to Capitol Hill, Ruppersberger was the executive of Baltimore County from 1994 until 2002. Before that, he was an attorney in private practice, and in the 1970s, Mr. Ruppersberger was an assistant state’s attorney in Baltimore County.   He was born and raised in Baltimore City.  

Former FBI Director James Comey was center stage yesterday in public and classified appearances before the Senate Intelligence Committee. Following Comey's public testimony, President Trump’s private lawyer pronounced the President vindicated. The President himself tweeted the same thing this morning. Many observers, however, disagree. Partisanship was by no means absent during Comey’s testimony. Like beauty, Obstruction of Justice is in the eye of the beholder.  The cloud of scandal hovering over the Trump administration is perhaps murkier than ever.  

Organizers expect upwards of 5,000 people to assemble in Druid Hill Park this Saturday morning, June 3,  for the 10th annual Baltimore 10-Miler. If you’ll be running this weekend, or if you’re into cycling, swimming, soccer, baseball, or any number of other athletic pursuits, you'll want to listen to today's show.

Dr. Miho Tanaka joined Tom in the studio today. She knows the challenges that are faced by professional athletes and weekend warriors alike.  Dr. Tanaka is an orthopedic surgeon, an assistant professor of orthopaedic surgery and the director of the Women’s Sports Medicine Program at Johns Hopkins Hospital. She is a team physician for U.S. Soccer. Before moving to Baltimore, she was the team physician for the St. Louis Cardinals and the St Louis Surge in the WNBA.  She has also served as assistant team physician for the Baltimore Orioles and the New York Liberty. Dr. Tanaka took your questions about fitness and how to get the most out of our exercise regimens, regardless of your age, gender or fitness level.  

Here's some good news for local joggers, runners and walkers: "parkrun" -- a free, weekly, 5K event -- is coming to Charm City. Parkruns take place in 11 U.S. cities, and 13 other countries.  Yesterday, the founder of parkrun, Englishman Paul Sinton-Hewitt, was in Leakin Park to announce the launch of Baltimore's free, weekly parkrun, to be held in the park each Saturday morning at 9 a.m. starting June 24.

It’s time for another installment of Smart Nutrition here on Midday.

When it comes to nutrition, we’re often faced with information overload and conflicting conclusions from different studies.  For example, if you drink one diet soda per day, do you increase your chances of getting dementia? Maybe. Maybe not. Broccoli is good for you, right?  If you have irritable bowel syndrome, not so much.  Same goes for cauliflower, cabbage and Brussel sprouts. Good for most people most of the time, but not all people, all of the time.    

How are we to make sense of the steady stream of research about what to eat and what to avoid -- and just how much of a connection is there between what we eat and diseases we may develop?  Should we try to eat well?  Sure, of course.  But a lot of us are confused by what seem to be varying conclusions when it comes to food research. A new study sheds some light on why making the best nutritional choices can be challenging for a lot of us --  and why the sources of our information about nutrition are not always the most reliable.    

To help us sort this all out today, we turn to Monica Reinagel, The Nutrition Diva.  She is an author and a licensed nutritionist who blogs at nutritionovereasy.com.  And she joins us on Midday every other month to discuss the latest trends in food, health and nutrition, and take your calls, emails and tweets.  

Today, guest host Aaron Henkin (producer of WYPR's Out of the Blocks series) spends the hour examining how well the Baltimore City Public School System's "school choice" program is working, twelve years after its launch.

The program was created to give all students (and their parents) a chance to participate in the selection of the middle schools and high schools they wish to attend. 

The annual high-school choice program starts each fall, it goes on through each spring, and it gives late middle-schoolers an opportunity to identify their top five preferred high schools.  Kids make these selections based on a range of criteria:  they look at student population, gender mix, sports programs and, special academic offerings like advanced placement courses and college-credit curricular tracks.

Mark Wilson/Getty Images

President Trump spent a year on the campaign trail saying terrible things about Muslims and NATO. He railed against Hillary Clinton for mishandling classified information. He even had bad things to say about the Pope.  

He leaves today to meet with leaders of Saudi Arabia, NATO, and Israel, whose trust he abused when he revealed secrets Israel had collected, to Russian diplomats. He’ll also meet with the Pope.  

Meanwhile, computers across the globe were paralyzed by ransomware, a white police officer was acquitted in Oklahoma after shooting an unarmed black man during a traffic stop, and layoffs are imminent in the Baltimore City Schools.  

MD GovPics/Jay Baker

On Saturday, all eyes will be on the Pimlico race track for the 142nd running of the Preakness Stakes.  As the sports world bends its gaze to the aging track in Northwest Baltimore, track owners and local leaders are considering the future of Pimlico.

Almost everyone agrees that the track needs an upgrade. Will it take a facelift, or a complete tear-down and re-build to assure that the second leg of the triple crown stays in Charm City? Or, will the Preakness move to Laurel, MD? What’s at stake, with the Preakness stakes? Sandy Rosenberg, who represents Baltimore City in the House of Delegates, and WYPR reporter Karen Hosler join Tom to talk ponies and politics.     

Netflix

Next,  a conversation about a new, seven-part documentary that will be released on Friday (May 19) on Netflix. It's called "The Keepers," and it has already engendered intense interest in the cold murder case of a 26-year-old Catholic nun who taught at Archbishop Keough High School in Baltimore City.  Sr. Catherine Ann Cesnik went missing in November 1969. Her body was found at a dump in Lansdowne, in Baltimore County, in January, 1970. Her murderer has not yet been identified.

In February of this year, Baltimore County Police exhumed the body of a former Catholic priest who died in 2001. Seven years before his death, A. Joseph Maskell had been accused of abusing students at Keough High School. Police exhumed his body looking for evidence that may link him to Sr. Cathy Cesnik’s murder.

Ryan White, who directed "The Keepers," joined Tom in Studio A. He has met with and interviewed several of Sr. Cathy’s former students, some of whom have been actively investigating her murder for years. Several of these former students figure prominently in "The Keepers."

Gemma Hoskins is one of those former students. She joined us on the phone from Ocean City.  She maintains a Facebook page about the killing of her favorite teacher that now has more than 1,000 members.

Help is available 24/7 for victims of sexual assault via the National Sexual Assault Hotline at their website (click here) or by calling 1-800-656-4673.

Today, a discussion about what we might call the privacy paradox.

We say one thing when it comes to online privacy, but many of us act in decidedly un-private ways when we’re on the internet. What do we mean by that? We often say that we don’t want to be spied on -- by big government or by big data, the companies that collect and sell information about every place we go online. But our behavior suggests that we don't really care about our privacy as much as we say we do.   We post all sorts of intimate details about our lives and our families. We voluntarily allow apps to know exactly where we are at all times. That information is valuable to all sorts of companies, and sometimes to certain government agencies. Do we, perhaps, care about privacy in some abstract way -- but not enough to behave online in a way that would keep our information more secure?  And if we say we value privacy, are we, as a society, able to articulate what’s wrong with losing privacy?

Joining Tom at the top of the show today is Firmin DeBrander, a professor and philosopher who has thought a great deal about our relationship with online privacy and why privacy matters.  DeBrabander is an associate professor of philosophy at MICA here in Baltimore, where he has taught since 2005.  He is the author, most recently of the book, “Do Guns Make Us Free?”  He is working on a book about privacy, and an article that he wrote recently on the subject caught our eye, so we asked him to stop by Studio A to tell us more.

This afternoon Tom welcomes to the show two scholars who think a lot about the technical and legal ways in which our privacy is up for grabs, how privacy protections are changing in the Trump Era, and what those changes mean.

Melanie Teplinsky is a cyber law and policy expert and an adjunct professor at American University’s Washington College of Law.  As a lawyer, she has advised international clients on a broad array of technical and policy positions having to do with privacy. She began her career as an analyst at the National Security Agency, and she then worked on encryption policy and a wide range of information technology policy issues as part of the Clinton Administration. Teplinsky writes and speaks extensively on cyber law and policy issues.  She joined us on the line from the studios of WAMU in Washington.

Prof. Avi Rubin joined Tom in the studio.  Rubin is the Technical Director of the Information Security Institute at Johns Hopkins University, where he also teaches computer science.  He specializes in the areas of cybersecurity and applied cryptography. He is the author of five books on information and computer security.

Scribner, an imprint of Simon and Schuster

Today, a conversation about Dorothy Day, the journalist and Catholic social activist. She was the author of five books, and the co-founder and publisher of the Catholic Worker newspaper, which she edited from 1933 nearly until her death in 1980 at the age of 83. She was a rabble-rouser. She was a champion of social justice, pacifism and women’s suffrage. She converted to Catholicism as an adult. And now she’s being considered by the Catholic Church for canonization as a saint.

Dorothy Day’s granddaughter, Kate Hennessy, joins Tom in the studio to share some personal recollections of this iconic public figure. Hennessy, the youngest of Day’s nine grandchildren, is the author of a new book called “Dorothy Day: The World Will Be Saved by Beauty: An Intimate Portrait of My Grandmother.” . She’ll be speaking tonight at 6 pm at Viva House, at 26 South Mount Street in Baltimore. For more information about tonight's event, call Viva House at 410-233-0488. Kate’s book will be available for sale at tonight's event, courtesy of St. Bede’s Bookstore.

Viva House is one of more than 250 Catholic Worker hospitality houses around the world, inspired by the houses Dorothy Day and others established decades ago. It’s run by Brendan Walsh and Willa Bickham. Bickham and Walsh joined Tom on the show last December for a conversation about their book of essays and art about Viva House. That lovely book is called "The Long Loneliness in Baltimore."

Associated Press photo.

On Friday (05/05/17) afternoon at 1:00pm, Reveal, the nationally syndicated NPR program produced by the Center for Investigative Reporting, will air an episode about police and communities of color here in Baltimore.  Mary Rose Madden of the WYPR news team and Mary Wiltenberg, a freelance reporter here in Baltimore, have each contributed stories about what happens when suspects in a crime react to police in different ways.  It’s called Running from Cops: In the Streets to the CourtsYou can hear it tomorrow afternoon on the radio or on-line, and you can also be part of a special listening event with the two reporters at 1:00 tomorrow at the Charles Theater here in Baltimore.  Mary Rose Madden and Mary Wiltenberg join Tom in Studio A with a preview.

BPD

Tom's guest is Kevin Davis, the Police Commissioner of the City of Baltimore.  He oversees the eighth largest police department in the country, with an annual budget of $480 million; that’s almost 19% of the entire city budget.  The BPD is one of about 25 agencies around the country that were investigated by the Civil Rights Division of the Dept. of Justice during the Obama Administration.  Other jurisdictions included New Orleans, Cleveland, and Ferguson, MS.   

In August of 2016, the Justice Department issued a scathing report about the Baltimore Police Department that found a pattern and practice of unconstitutional stops and arrests that singled out African Americans, the use of excessive force, and other very serious allegations.  That report led to a consent decree that was agreed to on January 12th of this year, just 8 days before the Obama Administration handed power over to the Trump Administration.  

Photo by Getty Images

It's the Midday News Wrap, our weekly roundtable on the week's major local, national and international developments, with a rotating panel of journalists and commentators.

Joining Tom on the News Wrap panel today:

Dr. Zeynep Tufekci is a contributing opinion writer at the New York Times and author of  the new book Twitter and Tear Gas: The Power and Fragility of Networked Protests.  She joins Tom on the line from Chapel Hill, where she is an associate professor at the University of North Carolina.

Kamau High joins us in Studio A.   He is managing editor of the Afro-American Newspaper, based here in Baltimore, and a former reporter and digital producer in New York City for the Wall Street JournalThe Financial Times, among others.

Michael Fletcher is also here today.  He is a senior writer at ESPN’s The Undefeated.  He was for many years a national economics reporter and a White House reporter for The Washington Post, and before that, he was a reporter for many years at The Baltimore Sun. 

Penguin Random House

Today, another edition of Midday on Ethics. Later this month, HBO and Oprah Winfrey will bring the story of Henrietta Lacks to television. The film, “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks,” based on the best-selling book of the same name by Rebecca Skloot, premiers on April 22.

You may already be familiar with the story of Henrietta Lacks, who lived in southeastern Baltimore County in the early 1950s. She had cancer, and in 1951, doctors at Johns Hopkins Hospital did a routine biopsy. She died eight months later. But her cells live on, because without her consent, and without the knowledge of her family, cells taken during the biopsy 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, went to Ms. Lacks or to her descendants.

Could the same thing happen today? We’ll try to untangle the ethical questions in this conversation about Informed Consent. How much have standards changed in the 65 years since Henrietta Lacks was a cancer patient at Hopkins? What are today’s standards?

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

Photo courtesy NY Daily News

It's the Midday News Wrap, our regular Friday effort to make sense of the week that was.  

This was a week of unraveling and unveiling.  The Trump administration unraveled Obama-era rules on internet privacy and the environment.  The House Intelligence Committee, which is -- or was -- investigating Russian meddling in the U.S. election and possible Trump ties to Russia, unraveled itself -- cancelling its public hearings amid loud calls for Committee chair Devin Nunes to recuse himself from the Russia investigation. 

The New York Times and the Washington Post reported that Nunes met secretly with two or possibly three White House officials and then briefed the president about information that he had not shared with his own committee.  The Senate Intelligence Committee, which is investigating the same issues picked up the slack in what is, at least for the moment, a much more bi-partisan way.  It held ITS first hearing yesterday, which included dramatic testimony from a former FBI agent.   

In Baltimore, Mayor Catherine Pugh unveiled her first budget proposal, which calls for lowering taxes, while spending more on schools and police.  She also vetoed a bill that would have raised the minimum wage in the city to $15 by the year 2022. 

Britain took its first formal steps to exit the European Union, and Scotland took another step toward exiting Britain…

To help us untangle these stories, Tom is joined in Studio A by a terrific panel of journalists:

Frances Stead Sellers is a writer on the national staff of The Washington Post.  She covered the 2016 presidential election for The Post and she is currently a journalism fellow at Oxford University in the UK.  She was a key member of the Post team that produced the best-selling biography “Trump Revealed…”

E.R. Shipp is here.  She is Associate Professor and Journalist in Residence at Morgan State University’s School of Global Journalism and Communication. She is a columnist for the Baltimore Sun and the winner, in 1996, of the Pulitzer Prize for Commentary, when she was at the NY Daily News. She also worked as a reporter and editor at The New York Times and as the ombudsman at The Washington Post.

And Andy Green is here as well.  He’s the Editorial page editor for the Baltimore Sun.

We also take your calls and comments.

We begin today with Congressman Elijah Cummings. He represents Maryland's 7th District, which includes parts of Baltimore City and some of Baltimore and Howard Counties, and he serves as the ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. 

Rep. Cummings is holding his 20th annual Job Fair on Monday, April 3, from 9 am to 2 pm at the Fifth Regiment Armory near the State Center complex in Baltimore.  

More than 40 employers plan to be at the fair -- interviewing candidates for various positions. Here is a list of employers that plan to attend.  And here is the complete agenda of job-search workshops to be held at the fair. 

Alec Ross joined Tom in Studio A.   Ross is an innovation expert and the author of the New York Times best-selling book “The Industries of the Future,” about the changes that economies and societies can expect over the next decade -- and what we and our children should do to prepare for the changing nature of work. The book is now available in paperback.

He’s also a Distinguished Senior Fellow at Johns Hopkins University, where he advises the university on turning new research into start-up companies.     For several years, he was Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s senior adviser for innovation.  

He also worked on the Obama campaign and transition team from 2007 to early 2009.

Alec Ross will be one of the featured speakers at Light City, the festival of lights and ideas that kicks off for the second year on Friday in the Inner Harbor in downtown Baltimore.  

He and Dr. Freeman Hrabowski, president of the University of Maryland Baltimore County, will be appearing together at Light City, a week from today. Their topic will be “A Path to the Future” for young people.

Kathleen Cahill

Today on Midday, a trip down memory lane with Gil Sandler. You know Gil for his marvelous "Baltimore Stories," heard every Friday morning on WYPR during "Morning Edition." Now he has written and narrated a new radio documentary, Baltimore in the Great Depression: Stories That Tell the Story. The hour-long documentary, produced by Luke Spicknall, and with a contribution by theater critic J. Wynn Rousuck, airs for the first time tonight at 8 pm, here on WYPR.

Ken Jackson, who hosts the Big Band show In the Mood every Friday night at 9 here on WYPR, helped choose the music for tonight's program. He is also with Tom in studio, as is Fred Rasmussen of The Baltimore Sun. Rasmussen started his career at the Sun more than 40 years ago as a photo librarian. He had a column called “Back Story” for a long time; he’s a contributing writer to the “Retro Baltimore” feature in the Sun; and he’s been writing obituaries for the Sun for 25 years.

The Great Depression in Baltimore, and across the country, was a time of unemployment, uncertainty, and fear. But it was also a time of hope, Sandler says. Be sure to hear his radio documentary tonight at 8 pm. But first, listen as Gil, Ken and Fred join Tom with their reminiscences of Charm City in the 1930s. 

AP Photo/Karin Laub

Kathleen Cahill sits in for Tom Hall today.  

President Donald Trump signed his first executive order on immigrants and refugees on January 26th,  less than a week after his inauguration.  It went into effect immediately, leading to chaos – and protests – at airports across the United States. That executive order was put on hold by the courts in February.  President Trump signed a revised executive order on immigrants and refugees on March 6th, set to take effect March 16th.

(Just hours after this broadcast, two federal judges -- one in Hawaii and the other in Maryland -- dealt separate blows to the revised travel ban.  As a result, its implementation has been temporarily blocked nationwide. )    

The revised order is aimed at travelers from a targeted list of majority-Muslim countries, including Libya, Sudan Yemen, Somalia, Syria and Iran. This time around, Iraq is not on that list.  No new visas will be issued to people from these countries for 90 days. Like Trump’s first travel ban, Travel Ban 2.0, as it has come to be known,  puts the U.S. refugee program on hold for 120 days. That means refugees from all countries will be barred from entering the United States.  The question is: Will President Trump's latest travel ban do anything to make the country safer from terrorist attacks?

Kathleen is joined in the studio by two guests who have focused intensely on immigrant and refugee issues: lawyer Marielena Hincapie,  Executive Director of the National Immigration Law Center (NILC) in Los Angeles, and Bill Frelick, Director of the Refugee Rights Program at Human Rights Watch in Washington, D.C.

Hincapie comes to our Baltimore studio straight from a hearing  at the federal court in Greenbelt, MD, where the ACLU and refugee rights organizations, including the NILC, have brought legal challenge to the travel ban. 

AP Photo/Evan Vucci

It’s Friday, and time for  the Midday News Wrap.

On Capitol Hill, two House committees voted Thursday to approve a Republican proposal to replace the Affordable Care Act. Some Republicans say it doesn’t go far enough in repealing Obamacare. Other critics, including groups of doctors, hospitals and insurance companies, have called the proposed plan unworkable.

Rod Rosenstein, the current US attorney for MD, was in the hot seat on Tuesday during his confirmation hearing to become the nation’s Deputy Attorney General. If confirmed, he would lead any investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, now that A.G. Jeff Sessions has recused himself. He did that when he admitted to failing to disclose his meetings as a Trump campaign surrogate with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. 

As in other recent weeks, the news has been dominated by Donald Trump. In a Tweet early Saturday morning, Trump leveled an extraordinary claim -- accusing President Obama of ordering wiretaps at Trump Tower in New York. The White House has yet to provide any evidence to support the claim. They’ve called for a Congressional investigation. 

And in Baltimore, Police Commissioner Davis puts an end to undercover policing in the city, in the wake of last week’s indictment of seven police officers on federal racketeering charges. 

Joining Tom today for the Midday News Wrap: 

Julie Bykowicz. She’s a White House Reporter for the Associated Press. She covered politics, and the 2016 election, for AP. Before that she was a political reporter for Bloomberg and for 10 years was a reporter at the Baltimore Sun, where she covered state politics, city courts and crime, among other things. 

Fraser Smith. He's a columnist for the Daily Record. He's also a longtime observer of Baltimore, and was at The Baltimore Sun for many years. He is about to step down as WYPR’s senior news analyst. But you’ll still hear him on our airwaves as a WYPR contributor. 

Classical guitarist Junhong Kuang joins Tom live today in Studio A -- and plays some glorious music.  He is the 17-year-old winner of the 2016 Yale Gordon Concerto Competition at the Peabody Conservatory, here in Baltimore.

Kuang is a native of Chengdu, China. He began playing guitar at age 5. At 15, he was accepted into the Peabody Conservatory where he is working toward a bachelor of arts degree in guitar performance under the tutelage of guitarist Manuel Barrueco.

Already in his young career, Kuang has given nearly 100 concerts. And will give another one tomorrow afternoon, at 3 pm at the Baltimore Museum of Art as part of the Shriver Hall Concert Series.

That free concert is sold out, but you can hear Kuang's extraordinary musical talents by listening to his performance today on Midday.  Enjoy!

Cover art courtesy W. W. Norton & Co., Publisher.

Russia remains firmly in the news. Seventeen U.S. intelligence agencies have determined that the Kremlin attempted to influence voters during the Presidential campaign, by spreading disinformation and hacking emails of Clinton campaign officials, and senior leadership of the Democratic National Committee. One senior US official, Gen. Michael Flynn, was forced to resign for not being forthright about his contacts with the Russian Ambassador, and another, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, is facing calls to resign for doing essentially, the same thing. America’s posture towards Russia has ebbed and flowed, through two world wars and the Cold War, to the optimism of Perestroika during the Brezhnev/Gorbachev years. Relations deteriorated significantly during the Obama administration, especially when Russian aggression in Crimea and Ukraine led to international sanctions.

President Donald Trump appears to think highly of Russian President Vladimir Putin, but skeptics think that Trump’s bromance with Putin is premised in naiveté, rather than a studied understanding of geo- politics. As Will Englund points out in his new book, it’s nothing new that an American president might not understand Russia, and be ill-equipped to predict what Russian intentions are on the world stage. Englund is an editor on the Washington Post Foreign Desk, and he oversees that paper’s Russia coverage. A Pulitzer Prize winner, he has had three tours as a Moscow correspondent for both The Washington Post and The Baltimore Sun. His book is called March 1917: On the Brink of War and Revolution (published by W.W. Norton & Co.).  Englund joins Tom on the line from the newsroom of The Washington Post.

Will Englund will be talking about his book a week from Tuesday (March 14) at the Ivy Bookshop in North Baltimore, and a month from today (April 6) at the Johns Hopkins Barnes and Noble Bookstore in Baltimore's Charles Village neighborhood.

Mercury News

Midday Movie Mayhem with movie mavens Jed Dietz of the MD Film Festival and special guest Max Weiss from Baltimore Magazine recap the Oscars. Moonlight won best Film.  It won the award after an awkward  moment, and upset LaLaLand in the process.

They also talk about Get Out, The Great Wall, and Before I Fall, a few of the new movies that you might want to watch next.

KEVIN WINTER/ GETTY IMAGES

Today, it’s our monthly Movie Mayhem, and we start with a look back at last Sunday's Academy Award ceremony. That was one weird ending, on a historic night when Moonlight, a low-budget film about a young black man's coming of age and coming out, won the Best Picture Oscar – and deservedly so – but only after its statue was first mistakenly given to La La Land. And that gag with the Hollywood tour group? Did anyone vote for that?

Tom zooms in today on what won and what worked at the 2017 Oscars, plus what’s next on the big screen -- and what's good about the new Cinebistro in the Rotunda -- with regular Midday movie maven Jed Dietz of the Maryland Film Festival, and guest maven Max Weiss, a film and culture critic and managing editor of Baltimore Magazine.

 

The Trump administration is five weeks old today, and there’s never a dull moment. His solo press conference in week four was, depending on your political persuasion, either free-wheeling and refreshing, or out of control and terrifying. You might say that week five was calmer for President Trump than weeks 1-4. Or has this presidency, as some have suggested, become normalized, even though many people think that this White House is anything but? 

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?  

Kira Horvath for Catholic Relief Services

The civil war in Syria has led to one of the worst humanitarian crises since World War II. Since the conflict began six years ago, nearly five million people have fled from Syria to Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt and Iraq. More than six million others have been displaced from their homes, but are unable to get out of Syria. A million people have requested asylum in Europe.

The Obama Administration committed to placing 10,000 Syrian refugees in the US in 2016. Last month, President Trump tried to ban all travel to and from Syria indefinitely. That ban was overturned, at least for the moment, by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals last Thursday night.

Today, a conversation about what is happening on the ground, and what we might be able to do to help the millions of people who are in dire need of humanitarian assistance.

Tom's guests today in Studio A are all deeply involved in the effort to help refugees. Bill O'Keefe is the Vice President for government relations and advocacy at Catholic Relief Services, which is based here in Baltimore. Linda Hartke is the CEO of the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, also based in Baltimore. Bill Frelick is the Director of the Refugee Rights Program at Human Rights Watch in Washington, DC.

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