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.

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.

The John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

David Simon needs no introduction in Baltimore, but a quick reminder for our far-flung listeners: David is an author, writer and producer of the acclaimed TV series about criminal justice in Baltimore, The Wire, and many other projects, including Treme, Show Me a Hero, and the upcoming HBO drama, The Deuce.

He joins Tom today in Studio A to talk about City of Immigrants: A Night of Support, an event that he has  organized in support of immigration and in opposition to the Trump Administration's proposed curbs on refugee admissions and travel from seven Muslim-majority nations. Tonight’s event  at Beth Am Synagogue in Reservoir Hill will include, in addition to remarks by David Simon, the Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Taylor Branch, the activist DeRay Mckesson, City Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen and others, with music by singer/songwriter/actor Steve Earle. Proceeds from the event will be donated to The National Immigration Law Center, the Tahirih Justice Center, the International Rescue Committee and the ACLU of Maryland. Donations will be matched up to $100,000 by David Simon’s Blown Deadline Productions.

The event  is sold out.  A small number of additional tickets be made available at 4 pm today.  If you can't get a ticket, don't despair.  The gathering of Baltimoreans "united against fear, nativism and the immigration ban" will be live-streamed on the Washington Post website. Here’s the link.  And, after the event, use the link to watch any time. 

Lloyd Fox The Baltimore Sun

When the Department of Justice issued its report on the findings of their investigation into the Baltimore City Police Department last summer, it stated unequivocally that the Police Department “engages in a pattern or practice of conduct that violates the Constitution or Federal Law.”

What followed after that report was a series of negotiations between the DOJ and Baltimore City Police that resulted in a consent decree that outlined the ways in which the police could address the problems identified in the report.

The consent decree was announced on January 12th, just a week before the Trump Administration assumed power. It called for, among other things, the creation of a Community Oversight Task Force, new procedures for stops, searches and arrests, new directives concerning use of force, and enhanced training for officers. A judge was appointed to approve and oversee the implementation of the consent decree.

Last week, U.S. District Judge James K. Bredar held a hearing at the federal courthouse in Baltimore. Judge Bredar must sign the consent decree in order for it to be in effect. He asked the parties involved, including Mayor Catherine Pugh, about various aspects of the deal, to determine whether or not it is feasible. Signing the consent decree is one thing. Repairing the damage done to the relationship between citizens and the police is quite another. But the consent decree is seen by many to be an important first step in fixing the distrust that exists between the police and in particular, communities of color here in Charm City.

Today, an update on where things stand so far in this lengthy and complex process. Tom's guests today in Studio A are Ganesha Martin,  Chief of the Baltimore Police Department of Justice Compliance and Accountability. Ray Kelly is a community organizer, an advocate, an activist and the Co-director of the No Boundaries Coalition of Central West Baltimore. Kevin Rector covers, among other things, crime and the courts for the Baltimore Sun. We invited the Dept. of Justice to participate in our conversation today and they declined that invitation. We also reached out several times to the Fraternal Order of Police, who did not respond.

photo courtesy cardin.senate.gov

Tom's guest for the hour today is the Senior Senator from Maryland, Ben Cardin

We are two weeks into a Trump administration that has moved quickly to make good on several campaign promises, but which has also retreated from other positions and aligned with policies long held by previous administrations.  Senator Cardin, a Democrat, has served in the U.S. Senate since 2007, and is currently the Ranking Member on the Foreign Relations Committee. He's also an outspoken advocate for the environment, financial ethics, health care reform, and small business development, among a broad range of legislative interests.

Tom asks Senator Cardin about Russia’s latest moves in Ukraine, the new Trump Administration's stance on expanding Israeli settlements in the West Bank , its new sanctions against Iran,  its feud with Australia, and the impact of its controversial immigration and travel ban. Other issues Tom explores with Senator Cardin:  What will the repeal of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) mean for Marylanders? And how would Appeals Court Judge Neil Gorsuch's confirmation as the 9th justice on the Supreme Court impact the nation's most powerful bench?

Those questions and more, plus listener calls, emails and tweets for the hour with Senator Ben Cardin.

Johns Hopkins University

Some people call it “assisted suicide.” Others prefer the terms “death with dignity,” "aid to the dying," or “the right to die.” Whatever the label, nearly 20 percent of Americans now live in places where it’s legal. Washington, DC is one of those places. Maryland is not.  Should it be? 

Today, Dr. Jeffrey Kahn, the Director of the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics, joins host Tom Hall in the studio to discuss the dilemmas that dying patients, their families, and doctors face.

Every medical or scientific advancement comes with a slew of sometimes complex ethical dilemmas. Dr. Kahn’s regular visits to the Midday studio help us wrestle with the ethical questions faced by researchers and policy makers – and the rest of us. Can ethicists help us frame the questions we need to ask when we are confronted with new research possibilities, or new advances in science and technology? We think so.

Shepard Fairey

Joining Tom today are two journalists who attended the historic Women's March in Washington on Saturday. Mary Rose Madden is a reporter for WYPR. Natalie Sherman is on the line from The Baltimore Sun newsroom.  We also take your calls, tweets and emails about how you experienced this past weekend's historic events. 

Many people are already referring to the Inauguration on Friday and the protests that occurred in Washington and around the world the next day as indicative of a massive paradigm shift, both in the policies of the U.S. government, and in the ways opposition to those policies might be organized moving forward. The President’s election was seen as a celebration of business acumen, triumph of populism, and a rejection of the status quo.

Mr. Trump came to power with the lowest approval rating of any president in history, and his first two-and-a-half days in office were seen by many as a calamitous mess. He signed executive orders that have already shaken the markets for health care, he astonished some in the intelligence community by giving a self-obsessed peroration in what is considered hallowed ground at CIA headquarters, and his press secretary’s debut in the White House briefing room included brazen and false claims about the size of the crowd at Friday’s inauguration. Yesterday, a Senior Advisor, Kellyanne Conway, asserted the primacy of “alternative facts.”

The fervor of Trump supporters, before and since the election is undeniable. On Friday, they enthusiastically applauded the new President’s brief, forceful inauguration speech in which he promised to put an end to violence in American cities, an end to the corruption that pervades politics, and an end to America’s not winning on the global stage. It was a speech that was short on graciousness, and long on bromides and slogans. It was rapturously received by the large crowd who braved the rain, and who ignored the scattered and sometimes violent protests that took place throughout the day.

And oh, what a difference a day makes. The dichotomy between Friday and Saturday on the Mall in Washington couldn’t have been more pronounced. On Saturday, a crowd estimated to be three times the size of the one that attended the inauguration, gathered on the National Mall to express their distaste for many parts of the perceived Trump agenda, and to stake a claim as an opposition that is energized and determined to thwart the initiatives of President Trump and the Republican-led Congress.

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Flickr/Creative Commons

Today, we continue our week-long look at the Obama years and consider the legacy of the 44th president as he leaves office.  Tom's guests in Studio A today are an historian and a journalist who have closely observed presidents for many years, and who can compare and contrast Mr. Obama's style and impact with some of his presidential predecessors. 

Historian Taylor Branch is perhaps best known for his landmark trilogy about the civil rights era, America in the King Years, the first volume of which, Parting the Waters, 1954-63, won Branch the Pulitzer Prize for history in 1989.  He is also the author of the 2009 memoir, The Clinton Tapes: Wrestling History with the President, which chronicles his eight-year project to gather a sitting president’s comprehensive oral history on tape.

Journalist Michael Fletcher also joins Tom in  Studio A. He is a senior writer at The Undefeated, ESPN’s online journal exploring the intersection of race, culture and sports.  Before joining The Undefeated, Fletcher was a national economics reporter for The Washington Post. Before that, he covered the Obama administration and the Bush White House including Iraq war policy, efforts to restructure Social Security, and presidential trips around the globe.

Fletcher spent 13 years as a reporter at The Baltimore Sun before joining The Washington Post  in 1996.

He is co-author, with Kevin Merida, of the 2007 biography, Supreme Discomfort: The Divided Soul of Clarence Thomas. 

Seth Wenig/AP

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

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

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

Templeton Press

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

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

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

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

Mithun

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

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

Baltimore Link

Why doesn’t Baltimore have a first-rate public transit system? Why should a major US city have one subway line, rather than an entire subway system?  And why does that single subway line not connect with the light rail? Why does Baltimore have a Streetcar Museum, but no streetcars?

Access to public transit - or the lack of it - can seriously impact the prosperity of a city.  A study at Harvard identified poor transportation options as the number one obstacle for people trying to escape poverty.  In survey after survey, college kids’ biggest compliant about Baltimore is the lack of good public transit. The New Year brings with it a renewed optimism in the future of Baltimore’s public transit.

A group called Transit Choices is a coalition of businesses, community groups, and planners who are trying to coordinate a comprehensive overhaul of Baltimore’s transportation system.  Today, Jimmy Rouse of Transit Choices, and Klaus Philipsen, an urban planner and transportation expert, join Tom in the studio for a conversation about the future of Baltimore's public transit system.

Johns Hopkins University

Every scientific advancement comes with a slew of questions. Take autonomous cars, for example.   In an accident, whose lives should a driverless vehicle be programmed to protect?   Passengers in the car, or people on the street? The field of bioethics addresses the complicated ethical dilemmas that researchers and policy makers face in an ever-changing modern world.

Today, Tom is joined by Dr. Jeffrey Kahn, 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 questions we need to ask when we are confronted with new research possibilities, or new advances in science and technology.

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

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

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

Center Stage

Today, a conversation about Center Stage. Maryland’s State Theater is undergoing a major facelift. The first phase of the renovation has been on display since Thanksgiving weekend, when previews for their current show, Les Liaisons Dangereuses opened in a spruced-up Pearlstone Theater. Center Stage hopes to complete their renovations in the next few months.  

How will the new space inform the programming at Center Stage and create opportunities for up-and-coming playwrights and actors?  Tom is joined by Center Stage Artistic Director Kwame Kwei-Armah OBE, the theater’s Associate Director, Gavin Witt and Midday theater critic J. Wynn Rousuck. They’ll also discuss Center Stage’s new program “Wright Now, Play Later” that takes theater-making outside the building and into the community by bringing accomplished playwrights, patrons and performers together to turn an idea about a play into a spontaneous, lively performance executed in Baltimore’s local businesses and well-known public places. 

University of Illinois Press

Today on Midday, an exploration of one of America’s greatest songwriters: Cole Porter. From songs like Night and Day to shows like Kiss Me Kate, Porter defined sophistication and elegance, and influenced generations of songwriters.

Apprentice House Press

Tom’s guests today are two social justice activists who have lived and worked among some of Baltimore‘s poorest and most disadvantaged people for nearly 50 years. 

Brendan Walsh was a seminarian from The Bronx, and Willa Bickham was a nun from Chicago before they changed course, married each other, and started feeding and housing the poor -- in Baltimore. Bickham and Walsh were married in 1967 and in October of the following year, they opened Viva House in Southwest Baltimore (or Sowebo, to city residents). Since then, they estimate that more than a million people have come to them asking for help: shelter, food, financial assistance, or maybe just a little TLC.

Viva House is part of a network of places around the country that are part of the Catholic Worker Movement. Viva House serves two meals per week to about 200 people from the neighborhood and elsewhere; they give away hundreds of bags of donated groceries every month; and they agitate for non-violence. In their new book, Brendan Walsh writes: “Long ago, our society lost a fundamental understanding of the common good and the necessity for human solidarity.” Brendan Walsh and Willa Bickham have stood in solidarity with their neighbors in Sowebo, their fellow anti-war activists around the world, and the notion that the common good is worth standing for, worth fighting for, and worth bearing witness to. Their book is called The Long Loneliness in Baltimore; Stories Along the Way. Walsh and Bickham will be reading from their book at the Enoch Pratt Free Library on Jan. 24. For details about their reading, click here.  If you would like to volunteer or donate food for Viva House, or to buy the book, "The Long Loneliness in Baltimore," please call  Viva House at 410-233-0488. 

Baltimore is once again on track to reach a horrid and unacceptable milestone:  300 murders in one year.  As of today, 295 people have been the victims of a homicide in our city.  Plus, 620 people have been victims of non-fatal shootings.  Every Sunday, at Memorial Episcopal Church in Bolton Hill, they read the names and pray for the people who have died from violence in Baltimore during the previous week.  It may also be the case that other churches and houses of worship do this too, but Memorial is the only one we know of directly. 

Beginning today, we are going to read those names as well, every Monday, on Midday.  We will stand in witness to their untimely deaths, and we will remember their families and friends in their hour of grief.  A researcher named Ellen Worthing has been compiling a list of Baltimore homicide victims for the past 15 years.  We are indebted to her for the data she posts on her blog, chamspage.  See her blog here. We also consult the Baltimore Sun’s list of homicides, which they have been compiling since 2007. 

From the Saturday after Thanksgiving, through last Friday, the following people lost their lives to violence in Baltimore City:  Jacob Hayes, age 22, Charles McGee, age 23. Dwayne Dorsey, age 27, Davon Dozier, age 29, Troy Smothers, age 23, Jamal Stewart, age 18, plus an unidentified man who was 73 years old. 

IMDb

‘Tis the season to spread tidings of comfort and joy. If the cold weather – or the election – leave you craving comfort, we’ve got a few Comfort Movies to suggest on the Midday Monthly Movie Mayhem.

Our Movie Mavens, Ann Hornaday, chief film critic of The Washington Post and Jed Dietz, founder and executive director of the Maryland Film Festival, join Tom in Studio A to discuss the end of the year releases that tug hard at the heart strings.

From the out-of-this-world Arrival; to Loving, the profoundly moving story of interracial couple Richard and Mildred Loving who married in 1958 in segregated Virginia; to the visually stunning documentary The Eagle Huntress; Hornaday and Dietz weigh in on which year-end flicks – and which Yuletide films – shouldn’t be missed. If you’re wondering what to see this weekend, look no further.

Artist: James Pate; Reginald F. Lewis Museum / Willis Bing Davis, curator

Since the National Museum of African American History and Culture opened on the National Mall in Washington this past September,  it's been one of DC’s hottest tickets. Many predict the Smithsonian museum will remain one of Washington’s most popular attractions for the foreseeable future. 

Here in Baltimore, the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture has been telling the story of Black Marylanders for nearly 12 years.  And just one month before the new museum in Washington opened its doors, the Lewis Museum appointed a new Executive Director, whose affiliation with the Lewis dates back to its founding in 2005.  Wanda Draper joins Tom to talk about what’s ahead for the Reginald F Lewis Museum.  Plus, we’ll speak with Willis "Bing" Davis, the curator of a powerful new exhibit, "Kin Killin' Kin" (see the slide show above for a small sampling of artist James Pate's work) that explores the epidemic of violence in communities of color.  

Photos by Peggy Fox/K. Wilson

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, 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?

Our guests today in Studio A are Jill Jonnes and Erik Dihle.

Jill Jonnes is an author, an 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.

Plank Industries

Kevin Plank founded Under Armour in 1995. Ten years later, he took the sports apparel company public, and today, as Plank himself said last week, Under Armour employs around 350,000 people worldwide. It is behind only Nike in the US, in the highly competitive sports apparel industry. Kevin Plank has big plans for Under Armour, and for the city of Baltimore.

Today, a conversation with the guy who runs Mr. Plank’s private company, Plank Industries.

Tom Geddes is the CEO of Plank Industries, whose portfolio includes, among other things, horse racing, rye whiskey, a tech incubator, and Sagamore Development, the company behind the huge plan to create what many are calling a “city within a city” on the waterfront in South Baltimore.

Port Covington will include a new corporate headquarters for Under Armour, coupled with housing, retail establishments, and recreation.

The city of Baltimore has committed nearly $660 million in what’s known as a TIF, or Tax Increment Financing, which will provide infrastructure to support all the new buildings and parks in Port Covington. The State and Federal government may chip in as well. The total price tag for Port Covington is expected to be in the neighborhood of $5 billion. The company has also committed to hiring local residents for some of the construction jobs and permanent jobs, and they’ve agreed to about $100 million to fund things like job training, affordable housing, and profit sharing with the city.

Many observers call the company’s commitment to the Community Benefits Agreement historic, with the potential to set the standard for such development projects nation-wide.  

Tom Geddes is our guest for the hour, and he takes your calls and emails as well.

Theresa Thompson Flickr Creative Commons

Here’s a thought to ponder that some may find scary as we prepare to celebrate Halloween: The Baltimore City Council will surely be transformed after the election next week.

Six City Council incumbents decided not to run in the primary last April. Robert Curran, Rochelle “Rikki” Spector and Helen Holton are retiring for various reasons.  Nick Mosby and Carl Stokes chose to run for Mayor instead of for their council seats. James Kraft ran for Baltimore Circuit Court judge. Two other City Council incumbents, William “Pete” Welch in the 9th District and Warren Branch in the 13th, were unseated in the primary by fellow Democrats. That means that – no matter what happens on Election Day -- at least eight out of 14 seats on the council will be occupied by first time legislators.

What does that mean for the future of Charm City? Today, we bring you a Reporters’ Roundtable with three reporters who follow all things Baltimore very closely. Jayne Miller is an award winning investigative reporter for WBAL Television.  She is a "force of nature," according to the City Paper.  Luke Broadwater covers the city for the Baltimore Sun, and Kenneth Burns is the metro reporter covering Baltimore for WYPR. They joined host Tom Hall in the studio for a breakdown of the interesting council races across 14 Districts, and some prognostication as to how this large class of newbies will get along with veteran Council President Jack Young if he, too, wins reelection, which seems likely, and the rest of their Council colleagues.

Election Day is less than two weeks away. Early voting starts tomorrow. Today, a conversation with the leading candidates for Maryland's 3rd Congressional District.  

Incumbent Democrat John Sarbanes first won the seat in 2006; he’s been re-elected to the House four times since then. He is 54 years old and was born and raised in Baltimore. Rep. Sarbanes is a graduate of Harvard Law School who worked as a lawyer for 17 years before running for Congress. He’s the father of three children. He and his wife Dina live in Towson. His father is retired US Senator Paul Sarbanes.  

Luke Broadwater /The Baltimore Sun

When he ran for Governor, Republican Larry Hogan got 22% of the vote in Baltimore City. But he won 53% of the vote in the First District, which includes Harbor East, Little Italy, Canton, Fells Point, Greektown, Bayview and other historic Southeast Baltimore neighborhoods – all the way East to the county line.

Today, a look at the race for the Baltimore City Council in the First District.

Tom's guests are two youthful and dynamic candidates who prevailed in crowded primaries last spring: Democrat Zeke Cohen and Republican Matt McDaniel. If McDaniel does what Hogan did and wins the district, he would become the first Republican to hold a seat on the city council since 1942, and the first Republican to hold any elective office in Baltimore in 50 years.

The Baltimore City Council is about to undergo big changes. With retirements, some incumbent losses, and some members having run for mayor instead of their council seats, regardless of who wins the election on November 8th, eight of 14 seats on the council will be occupied by people who are new to the job.

In the First District, Mr. McDaniel is mounting a serious campaign against his Democratic rival, Mr. Cohen. Both candidates are charismatic, personable – and new to politics. Matt McDaniel and Zeke Cohen join Tom in Studio A for a conversation about the future of the First. 

Johns Hopkins University

Today, we consider some important issues in the field of bioethics.

Tom welcomes Dr. Jeffrey Kahn to Studio A.  Dr. Kahn is the director of the Berman Center of Bioethics at Johns Hopkins University.  Folks in his field think about things like the ethical ramifications of research, how doctors interact with patients, public health policy, and global approaches to things like food distribution and allocation of medicine.  Different approaches have different outcomes, and bioethicists think about those outcomes through the prism of the moral dimension of those choices.

We thought we’d start by talking about the public health issue that has dominated the headlines since this summer.  The Zika virus grabbed the public health spotlight and spread like crazy in certain parts of the world, including an outbreak that has been controlled in the Miami area. One of the approaches to eliminating the virus that scientists are considering involves genetically modifying mosquitoes and then releasing them into the environment. On the surface, it may seem that changing the genetic make-up of some insects shouldn’t be cause for alarm. But like so many of the issues that Jeff Kahn and his colleagues consider, it’s not that simple.

Dr. Kahn also weighs in on the topic of babies now being born with more than two biological parents. They actually carry the genetic material of three parents. To the parents who otherwise might not have biological children, the technology that makes this possible is a blessing. But is it a good idea? What are the consequences of these new possibilities? Tom asks Dr. Kahn about framing the questions we should be asking in bioethics, to find the answers we need.

Liz Copeland; Maryland Public Television

The pace of bizarre events in the presidential campaign continues at a dizzying clip. On Friday, David Fahrenthold of The Washington Post broke the story that in 2005, Donald Trump bragged about committing sexual assault to, of all people, a first cousin of former president George W. Bush and former presidential candidate Jeb Bush.

In the debate Sunday night (10/09), Mr. Trump said it was just locker room banter, and that the assaults never happened. Julian Assange of WikiLeaks released emails hacked from Clinton campaign manager John Podesta’s gmail account which indicated that, in some speeches to Wall Street banks, Sec. Hillary Clinton discussed the need to hold one position in private and another in public.

Last night, she said that political leaders who did so include Abraham Lincoln. This only confirmed for her detractors that she can’t be trusted. Over the weekend, about 50 Republican lawmakers, including Sen. John McCain and Sen. Rob Portman disowned Trump. Trump disowned them right back, and even publicly parted ways with his running mate over policy in Syria.  Clinton is widely credited with not making any mistakes last night, but the Trump camp most certainly considers it a win.

Let’s put winning and losing aside for the moment, and ask two political observers what we learned last night, and where we’ve come as the presidential campaign enters its final month.

Liz Copeland is the founder of the Urban Conservative Project, and a former Republican candidate for the Baltimore City Council. Charles Robinson reports on business and politics for Maryland Public Television. They joined Tom in studio.

Dwight Cendrowski

When the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra hired Marin Alsop as its Music Director in 2005, it made history by becoming the first major American orchestra to engage a woman as its artistic leader.

Women have continued to make progress in major symphonies. But even the most casual and infrequent visitor to the Meyerhoff in Baltimore or the Music Center at Strathmore will notice that while there are a lot of women playing in the BSO, there is only one African American member of the orchestra. She is Esther Mellon, and she’s been a gifted member of the BSO ‘cello section since the 1980s.

The BSO is not alone. Orchestras across the country, even in majority African American cities like Baltimore, rarely have more than just a few people of color in their ensembles. Aaron Dworkin is working to change that. Dworkin is the Dean of the School of Music, Theatre & Dance at the University of Michigan. For years, he has been a leader and animating force behind efforts to connect people of color with jobs in the classical music business. He is the founder of the Sphinx Organization in Detroit, which is a national organization dedicated to transforming lives through the power of diversity in the arts.

Dworkin is in Baltimore today to give a talk at the Peabody Institute this afternoon at 2:30. That event is free and open to the public.  It can also be seen via livestream. Tom welcomed Mr. Dworkin to Studio A just before his event at Peabody.

KathyforMaryland.com

Tom is joined in the studio for the full hour by Delegate Kathy Szeliga.  She is the Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Barbara Mikulski, who has served in Congress longer than any woman in history.  Del. Szeliga will go head-to-head with her chief rival for that senate seat in November: Representative Chris Van Hollen, a Democrat, who has served Maryland’s 8th Congressional District since 2003. (To listen to Tom's pre-primary interview with Rep. Van Hollen on the March 2, 2016 Maryland Morning program​, click here.)   Del. Szeliga has represented Baltimore and Harford Counties in the Maryland House of Delegates' District 7 for five years, and is the minority whip.  Should she be Maryland’s next U.S. senator? A conversation with Del. Kathy Szeliga. 

This program is part of Tom Hall's Talking with the Candidates series that began early this year on Maryland Morning and continues now on Midday -- an ongoing effort to help inform you about the Maryland candidates running for local, state and national elective offices.  

Beth Am Synagogue/Memorial Episcopal Church

Time now for another installment in our monthly series, Living Questions, in which we examine the role of religion in the public sphere. We’re producing this series in partnership with the Institute for Islamic, Christian and Jewish Studies.

Tom's guests this afternoon are two young, dynamic clergy whose work in their congregations is informed by their commitment to social justice. They are not only spiritual leaders. They are also animating their largely white congregations around the issues that affect our majority African American city.

Daniel Cotzin Burg is the senior rabbi of Beth Am Synagogue in Reservoir Hill, just south of Druid Hill Park. The Rev. Grey Maggiano is the rector of Memorial Episcopal Church in the neighborhood that’s adjacent to Reservoir Hill to the south, Bolton Hill.

Baltimore City Public Schools

Dr. Sonja Sontelises, CEO of Baltimore City Public Schools, joins Midday host Tom Hall to discuss her vision for the school system. 

Dr. Santelises is no stranger to city schools and the challenges within Baltimore's public schools. She was Chief Academic Officer for the system from 2010 to 2013. Prior to that, she served as Vice President for K-12 policy and practice at The Education Trust, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit focused on closing the achievement gap experienced disproportionately by low income families and families of color. 

Sagamore Development

After months of public hearings, private meetings, and political maneuvering, a deal to provide Tax Increment Financing to create the infrastructure for the massive Port Covington development appears to be headed for approval by the Baltimore City Council. A final vote is scheduled for Monday night. Tom speaks with 

Bishop Douglas Miles, a co-chair emeritus of Baltimoreans United in Leadership Development (BUILD), one of the groups of community activists who negotiated what many are calling an historic agreement.     Then, Joshua Harris is the Green Party candidate for Mayor of Baltimore.  He’ll join me to discuss his vision for the future of Charm City.   And,  Mother’s Lament is a new oratorio composed in response to the Baltimore Uprising by James Lee, III and librettist Vincent Stringer.  They’re here with a preview of tomorrow’s premier at Morgan State.  

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