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.

Johns Hopkins University

On this edition of Midday on Ethics, Dr. Jeffrey Kahn stops by Studio A to discuss human gene editing and some of the ethical questions that surround its implementation.  Dr. Kahn is director of the Johns Hopkins Berman Center of Bioethics.  We also take a look at some of the first successful gene therapies, including one that the FDA recently approved for the first time in its history. 

The approved therapy is aimed at adults and some children with B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia, a common form of the disease. It  involves genetically modifying immune cells from a patient’s blood and then infusing them back into the same patient.

Dr. Kahn also addresses listener questions and comments.

flickr

Three million people are without power in Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria.  And the latest deadly earthquake in Mexico has left more than 280 dead as search and rescue efforts continue.

Many critics, both foreign and domestic, considered President Donald Trump’s debut address to the United Nations General Assembly in New York a different kind of natural disaster, this one of the diplomatic variety.  He threatened to “totally destroy” North Korea and referred to Kim Jong-un as “Rocket Man,” a soubriquet the President appears to think is funny.   Kim Jung-Un, however, found the President's comments to be less than amusing, blasting Trump as a  "dotard," and a "frightened dog."

marylandreporter.com

In the 1960's, the iconic developer and visionary Jim Rouse was inspired to create a new kind of city, one that was integrated and economically diverse, and which offered amenities like green space, recreation, and outstanding schools.  The result was Columbia, Md., which Money magazine called "the best small city to live in America."

Len Lazarick, editor and publisher of the website of MarylandReporter.com and resident of Columbia for over 40 years, joins us in studio to talk about his latest book Columbia at 50: A Memoir of a City.

Amy Davis

In 1950, when Baltimore’s population was at its peak, there were 119 movie theaters in Baltimore City. Today, there are five. Amy Davis has photographed more than 70 of Baltimore’s often neglected old movie theaters. In some cases, like the Hippodrome or the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Parkway, the theaters have been lovingly restored. In other instances, only a shell or remnants of the buildings exist, and in several cases, the buildings have been razed. In telling the stories of these theaters and what happened to them along the way, Amy Davis has compiled a history not only of the theaters, but of Baltimore itself. The book is called Flickering Treasures: Rediscovering Baltimore’s Forgotten Movie Theaters.

City of St. Petersburg

On this edition of the the Midday News Wrap:  An IED explosion rocks  the Parsons Green tube station in Southwest London during rush hour this morning leaving 23 people hospitalized.  It is the fifth act of terrorism in Britain this year.  The death toll from Hurricane Irma continues to rise as clean-up continues.  At least 39 people on the U.S. mainland, and at least 43 people in the Caribbean have died as a result of Irma.   

On Wednesday night, Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer issued a statement saying they a reached an agreement about DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.  The President, however, tweeted on Thursday morning that there was no deal.  Also, the Department of Justice said this week that none of the Baltimore Police officers who were charged in the 2015 death of Freddie Gray will face federal civil rights charges in his death.   Discussing these issues and more,  Tom is joined by Michael Fletcher  of ESPN's The Undefeated and Andrew Revkin, senior reporter for climate and related issues at ProPublica.  

Courtesy Monica Reinagel

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 overweight and whose cholesterol is okay, who have normal blood pressure, and whose other health indicators are not worrisome.   Some experts say that’s okay.  This idea, that you can be fit and  fat, has informed a movement called the Health at Every Size movement.

The Nutrition Diva, Monica Reinagel, joined Tom Hall in studio to talk about this.  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.  

Courtesy MPT

On this anniversary of 9/11, we look back at another time when America was attacked, during the war of 1812, and we consider the complexities and uncomfortable truths about a figure who emerged from that war as a well-known hero.  Francis Scott Key is heralded not for his bravery on the battlefield, but rather for his poetic prowess.  

There is a lot, however, that most people don't know about the attorney and wordsmith, but a new docudrama abut this enigmatic figure aims to reconcile that. "F.S. Key:  After the Song" will air on Maryland Public Television and nationwide in three parts, beginning tomorrow night.  

Phillip J. Marshall, the writer, director and editor of the series joins Tom in the studio.

The Urban Forest: Why It's Crucial

Aug 24, 2017
Photos by Peggy Fox/K. Wilson

(This program originally aired on Nov. 22, 2016)

When you look up, what do you see? If you’re in Baltimore and many other U.S. cities, what you see are trees. When viewed from above, the tree canopy, as it is known, covers more than 27% of Baltimore. And, if today’s urban arborists have their way, that figure will be significantly higher 20 years from now.

Today, a conversation about urban forests. What purpose do they serve in our daily lives? Who planted them, and why? What lessons did we learn from the mid-20th century disaster known as Dutch Elm Disease, or the Emerald Ash Borer infestation, which have decimated the urban tree-cover in cities across the U.S.? And what do today’s science and technology reveal about the importance of the grown environment in American cities?

Tom's guests in Studio A are Jill Jonnes and Erik Dihle.

Jill Jonnes is an author, a historian, and self-described “tree-hugger.” She’s also the author of six books. Her latest is called “Urban Forests: A Natural History of Trees and People in the American Cityscape.” She’s the founder of the Baltimore Tree Trust. She was a scholar in residence at the Woodrow Wilson International Center in Washington and has been both a Ford Foundation and National Endowment for the Humanities scholar. She is based here in Baltimore. She'll be reading from "Urban Forests" tonight at the Ivy Bookshop in Baltimore at 7 pm. 

Erik Dihle is Baltimore City’s Arborist and Chief of Urban Forestry. He leads Tree Baltimore, the city’s tree planting initiative, which works with non-profit partners, including the Baltimore Tree Trust, to increase the city’s tree canopy.

STEP the Film

The new documentary film, "STEP" by Amanda Lipitz, who grew up in Charm City, has been critically acclaimed, and it’s raised the profile of a Baltimore middle and high school  immeasurably.  “STEP” follows a high school step team during their senior year at the Baltimore Leadership School for Young Women, an all-girls public charter school here in Baltimore City. 

Paula Dofat is one of the faculty members who are featured in the film. She’s the Director of College Counseling at the school – charged with ensuring that the school's graduates attend college. She's a powerful force in a terrific film, and she joined Tom today in Studio A. 

MTA

Today, we take another look at Baltimore Link, the city’s new bus system.

Gov. Larry Hogan promised the bus system overhaul after he killed the proposed Red Line extension of the Light Rail in 2015. Hogan contended that the $135 million overhaul of the Baltimore bus system would be a better option that the $2.9 billion dollar light rail proposal.  

MTA officials promised that Baltimore Link would speed up travel times for commuters and get people closer to more of the places where they work.  We discussed Baltimore Link on Midday right after it launched in June, and today, we re-examine it, now that it’s had a couple of months to work out some of the kinks, which are to be expected with any large overhaul.

The House and Senate and the president have all left town for the August recess. Just before they left they were deep in the drama of the Senate Republicans’ failure to repeal and/or replace Obamacare, otherwise known as the Affordable Care Act.

During this exodus of all politicians from Washington we’ll put politics aside for a moment and ask: What should the healthcare system and healthcare coverage in the U.S. look like? Can we take the system we’ve got and make it work better? And if we were starting from scratch, what kind of system would we create?

Two experts who have been thinking and writing about healthcare for years join Midday to answer these questions.

photo from Johns Hopkins University

Dr. Jeffrey Kahn is the Director of the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics.  When he stops by Midday, we talk about all manner of complex dilemmas. Today, we’re having a conversation about the ethical questions surrounding the case of Charlie Gard. He’s the infant in Britain who died on Friday, a week shy of his first birthday.  He was critically ill for all of his short life.  He had a rare genetic condition that left him brain damaged and unable to move or breathe on his own.

His parents sought permission from UK courts to do what they thought was best for their son.  First they wanted to take him to the U.S. for experimental treatment.  More recently, his caregivers said that there was nothing more than could be done to help him and that he would die without artificial life support.  His parents wanted to take him home from the hospital to die.  In both instances, the courts ruled that what the parents wanted was not in the best interest of little Charlie.

Photo courtesy of Monica Reinagel

It's another edition of Smart Nutrition, our regular series of bi-monthly conversations with the Nutrition Diva, Monica Reinagel.  Today, she and Tom talk about whether there's any such thing as a "disease proof" diet. 

We’ve all heard the expression: we are what we eat. Study after study suggests that if people would only eat more of this and less of that, they would be less likely to develop cancer, diabetes or heart disease. But what if someone eats all the right things but still develops cancer? If people make good food choices – if people eat leafy greens and we avoid processed sugar and trans fat - can people actually “disease-proof” themselves? There are plenty of books in which authors claim just that. There are titles like "The Breast Cancer Prevention Diet", "The MIND Diet", "The Fertility Diet"; there’s even one called, "Disease Proof."  The Nutrition Diva helps us sort the facts from the fiction.

Monica Reinagel is an author and a licensed nutritionist who joins us on Midday every other month. Follow her blog at nutritionovereasy.com.

Photo courtesy WBUR

It's the Midday News Wrap, with guest host Nathan Sterner sitting in for Tom Hall.  Among the stories Nathan spotlights in this week's review: the drama of competing healthcare bills, the wrangling and chaos within the Republican Party, and the still-unfolding puzzle of possible Russian ties to President Trump's inner circle.

 Early in the week, Senate Republicans lacked the votes for their latest proposal to replace the Affordable Care Act.  By Tuesday, President Trump announced, “We’ll let Obamacare fail.”  The confusion deepened later in the week with proposals to Repeal without Replace and Repeal with Delayed Replace.

Also this week, there was the drip, drip of revelations about exactly who else was in the room in June of 2016 when Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort, the Trump campaign chief at the time, attended a meeting where they were promised Russian government help for their campaign and some dirt about Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.  Then on Thursday came the announcement that Trump Jr., Kushner and Manafort have all agreed to appear before Senate committees next week to discuss Russia and the 2016 election.

Andy Green, Editorial Page editor of the Baltimore Sun, and Richard Cross, a longtime Republican communications staffer in both Annapolis and Capitol Hill, are here with background and analysis on the week's developments.

But first, Julie Rovner is on the line from DC to help us make sense of the week’s healthcare news.  Rovner is chief Washington correspondent for Kaiser Health News, where she is the Robin Toner Distinguished Fellow.  If her voice is familiar to you, that’s because Rovner was a health policy reporter for NPR for 16 years before joining KHN.  She is the author of the book “Health Care Politics and Policy A-Z,” now in its third edition.  

Courtesy of Reuters

Today, we examine the realities of being an immigrant in Baltimore in the Trump Era.  President Trump has called for the immediate deportation of millions of undocumented immigrants, commonly known as illegal aliens.  Mr. Trump and his Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, have made immigration enforcement a priority. Plans continue for a wall of unprecedented scale all along the U.S.-Mexico border.  And the Department of Justice has threatened to withhold federal funds from so-called "sanctuary cities" -- municipalities where local police authorities do not check the immigration status of people who are stopped for other reasons, or who are seeking public services.

Courtesy Jaclyn Borowski / Baltimore Business Journal

Cities from Tallahassee to Spokane have implemented comprehensive networks of protected bike lanes on major city streets. Baltimore City has been steadily following suit, though not without controversy.

Baltimore City recently installed semi-protected bike lanes on several major roads throughout the city, most recently on Maryland Avenue, Roland Avenue, and Potomac Street. Immediately after the construction of the Potomac Street lane in Canton, nearby residents began to register their complaints, primarily about limited options for parking. However, it wasn’t until the Baltimore City Fire Department assessed that the road was too narrow for emergency vehicles to pass that Mayor Pugh decided to take action.

This program was originally broadcast May 9, 2017.

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.

courtesy CNN Photo

When Senate Republicans unveiled their health care bill a little more than a week ago, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said it would be voted on this week -- before Congress’s July 4 recess.  But, on Tuesday of this week, McConnell, realizing he didn’t have the 50 votes needed to pass the bill, pulled the plug on the vote.  What’s next for the bill that, according to the Congressional Budget Office, would result in 23 million more people without health insurance in the next decade?   

Also this week, the President’s Travel Ban is back, in part. The Supreme Court announced that it will hear arguments next fall regarding lower court decisions that stayed the President’s executive order: And that parts of President’ Trump’s revised travel ban could be enforced.

The Trump administration made further claims about fake news this week.  

We’ll take on these stories and others this week on the Midday News Wrap:  Tom is joined  in the studio by AP White House correspondent Julie Bykowicz and, on the line from Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, by Dr. Carol Anderson, the Chair of African American Studies at Emory and author of the NYT best-selling book “White Rage.”   

Photo by Dietmar Lipkovich

 

The members of Insingizi, a Zimbabwean musical trio, join Tom in Studio A. They specialize in performing inspiring concerts full of harmonious singing, call-and-response chanting, hand percussion and energetic choreography. The ensemble is stopping in the Baltimore area for the free Patterson Park Summer Series, at which they will perform this Sunday at 6:30 p.m., as well as in Washington, D.C. for Serenade: A JFK 100 Celebration, before making their way to Germany later in July. 

 Today, they join Tom in studio to offer a little preview of what’s to come this weekend.  Members Dumisani “Rama” Moyo and “Blessings” Nqo Nkomo are here with de facto leader of the ensemble, Vusa Mkhaya. Their performance today features “Boom Boom Jeys” (working translation: “It is important to know who we are and where we come from, so that we know where we are going”),  and the South African hymn “Siyahamba” (Zulu for “We Are Marching”), which closes out the show. 

Courtesy Penguin Random House

Today, Tom is joined by writer Daniel Mark Epstein for a discussion of his latest book, The Loyal Son: The War in Ben Franklin’s House.

Epstein is a prize-winning poet, playwright and biographer whose writing career spans nearly 50 years.  In addition to his nine books of poetry, he has written several plays plus acclaimed biographies of an eclectic group of historic figures including Aimee Semple McPherson, Nat King Cole, Bob Dylan, and Abraham Lincoln.

His new book examines the complex relationship between Ben Franklin and his only son, William. Benjamin Franklin was one of the most revered Founding Fathers of the country and an aid in drafting both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution; William Franklin, however, remained loyal to the British crown throughout and after the revolutionary war. The Loyal Son is a fascinating read about the turmoil within one prominent family during the struggle for American independence. Epstein makes use of previously unknown source material to place a saga of loves won and lost, illegitimate children, and family intrigue in the context of our nascent country’s formative first years.

Daniel Mark Epstein will be reading from his book  tonight at the Ivy Bookshop in North Baltimore at 7pm.

Photo by Doby Photography/NPR

On the very first page of his very unsettling book, Richard Harris points to some of those ground-breaking, fantastic studies that we sometimes hear about as the next big thing, the next miracle cure.  These are studies that are often published in prestigious scientific journals.   And Harris says that “too much of what is published is wrong.”

Harris knows his way around medical studies.  He’s been a science correspondent with NPR for more than 30 years.  His new book is called Rigor Mortis: How Sloppy Science Creates Worthless Cures, Crushes Hope, and Wastes Billions. 

The book is an assiduously reported indictment of a culture in the scientific community that often allows for short cuts to be tolerated and for basic research principles to be ignored.  Richard Harris joins Tom from the studios of NPR in Washington.

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.

photo from 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.     

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