Kathleen Cahill | WYPR

Kathleen Cahill

Producer, Midday

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

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

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

Today, 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.

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.

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