Rob Sivak | WYPR

Rob Sivak

Senior Producer, Midday

Rob Sivak is senior producer of Midday, with host Tom Hall.  Rob joined WYPR in 2015 as senior producer of Hall's previous show, Maryland Morning (which aired its final show on September 16th, 2016).  Before coming to the station, Rob enjoyed a 36-year career at the congressionally funded global broadcaster, Voice of America.  At VOA, he honed his skills as a news and feature reporter, producer, editor and program host.

After reporting stints at VOA's New York City, United Nations and Los Angeles bureaus, Rob spent two decades covering international food, farming and nutrition issues for VOA's 180-million worldwide listeners, and created and hosted several popular VOA science magazines.  At Midday, he continues to pursue his passion for radio and his abiding interests in science, health, technology and politics.

Rob grew up as an ex-pat "oil brat" on the Persian Gulf coast of Saudi Arabia, and studied and traveled widely in the Middle East, Europe and Africa.  He attended Hofstra University in New York and Boston University's School of Public Communications.  Rob and his wife, Caroline Barnes, live in Silver Spring, Maryland, where they've raised three daughters.

Stephen Crowley/The New York Times

Today, all eyes are on Hamburg Germany, the site of the G-20 summit, where about three hours ago, Donald Trump met Vladimir Putin for the first time as President. The meeting takes place as North Korea continues its sword rattling, the Syrian conflict continues to displace and kill thousands, big policy differences between the US and other G-20 members in areas like climate change are once again laid bare, and new economic agreements that exclude the US are taking shape.

Photo by Jamyla Krempel

We welcome to Studio A the legendary blues musician and storyteller, Guy Davis.  He’s in town to headline the Common Ground on the Hill Roots Music and Arts Festival, which takes place tomorrow at the Carroll County Farm Museum in Westminster.  Guy is no stranger to the festival.  He’s been teaching and performing at Common Ground for 23 years.  He is also this year’s recipient of the Robert H. Chambers Award for Excellence in the Traditional Arts, an award he shares with some pretty bold-face company:  people like Jose Feliciano, Pete Seeger, Richie Havens, and Odetta are past recipients…

Also joining us in the studio today is Walt Michael.  He’s a hammered dulcimer virtuoso, and an internationally acclaimed expert in the traditional arts…He’s also the founder and executive director of Common Ground on the Hill; a two-week series of classes focusing on arts, music and culture, held each July on the campus of McDaniel College.  Founded in 1994, Common Ground on the Hill, discovers and teaches the common ground found in the traditional arts, and celebrates it each year with two Summer Festivals at the Carroll County Farm Museum, and a monthly concert series at the Carroll Arts Center.

On today's edition of Midday at the Movies, our monthly conversation with Jed Dietz, founding director of of the Maryland Film Festival, and Ann Hornaday, film critic for the Washington Post, Tom and our movie mavens will be talking about Ann’s new book: Talking Pictures: How to Watch Movies.

In this veteran film reviewer's guide, Hornaday suggests that the best movies let us grapple with tough questions, reflect on cherished ideals, experience the world from another point of view, and know the joy of authentic human connection. So, how do you know you've seen a great movie? By examining the various aspects of filmmaking -- writing, acting, directing, cinematography, editing and sound -- Ann explains the ways that great filmmakers have produced work that resonates with audiences across generations.

Photo by Robert Neal Marshall

Midday theater critic J. Wynn Rousuck joins Tom in the studio each Thursday with her weekly reviews of the region's thespian offerings.  This week, she critiques the new production of The Tempest from the Chesapeake Shakespeare Company

Today, we’re talking sports.  In May, the Baltimore Orioles had the best record in baseball.  In June, they broke a record by allowing 5 or more runs in 16 consecutive games.   They lost last night in Milwaukee.  They will send only one player to the All Star game next week, second baseman Jonathan Schoop.

As concerns grow about the catastrophic and often fatal consequences of concussive brain injuries in professional football players, some prominent voices are calling for an end to tackling in youth leagues, until players are at least 14. 

And on the basketball front, more than half of the players in the first round of the NBA draft were college players who played only one year.  That’s more Freshman than ever before who went pro.  We’ll talk about possible changes to NBA policy affecting what age young players will need to be in order to qualify for the league. 

Dr. Terry Anne Scott, an assistant professor of history at Hood College, is in the studio.  She’s currently working on a book about basketball legend Lenny Wilkens, among other projects.

Milton Kent joins us as well.  He’s the host of Sports at Large here on WYPR; he also serves on the faculty of the School of Global Journalism and Communication at Morgan State University.

And our longtime sports guru Mark Hyman is here too.  He’s on the faculty of George Washington University in their Sports Management program, and the author of a bunch of books, including Concussions and Our Kids:  America’s Leading Expert on How to Protect Young Athletes and Keep Sports Safe, which he co-authored with Dr. Robert Cantu.

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. 

Jeremy Daniel

Thursdays are for theater here at Midday, and theater critic J. Wynn Rousuck is here as always to review a local production. This week, she's discussing "Finding Neverland" at the Hippodrome Theatre. Directed by Tony Award winner Diane Paulus, "Finding Neverland" delves into the life of J.M. Barrie, the creator of one of the world's most beloved stories, Peter Pan. Barrie's relentless battle to find inspiration for a new play leads him to a single mother and her four children, whose imaginative spirits shape Barrie's stories and awaken his inner child.

"Finding Neverland" runs at the Hippodrome through July 2, 2017. 

Courtesy AP Photo

The Senate version of healthcare legislation is the topic on most people’s minds on Capitol Hill. Senate leadership wants to replace the Affordable Care Act with The Better Care Reconciliation Act.  As of this moment, passage of the Senate health care bill appears somewhat in doubt. Yesterday’s CBO score, and a chorus of critics, say the Senate bill will cause at least 15 million Americans to lose their health insurance by next year. It remains to be seen what effect passing the bill would have on patients, doctors, hospitals, insurers, and public health agencies, although there are plenty of people from each of those groups who have criticized McConnell’s “discussion draft” of the bill.

On today’s edition of Healthwatch, our monthly conversation about health and well-being in Baltimore with Baltimore City Health Commissioner, Dr. Leana Wen, we’ll talk about the impact the Senate bill might have on our city’s most vulnerable populations, and the ongoing fight to quell the growing opioid epidemic. 

What Ya Got Cookin'?: Creative Summer Grilling

Jun 22, 2017
Tookapic

One of the great joys of the summer season, of course, is cooking and dining outdoors. So today, we’re metaphorically firing up the grill.  Whether you have a traditional charcoaler or one of those gleaming gas ranges, we’ll talk about those fabulous flame-licked creations we make when we have meat or fish or veggies, and even fruit, and we bring on the heat.

Today, Tom hosts a roundup of great ideas for the backyard grill with  Midday's resident foodies: chef John Shields of Gertrude’s Restaurant, and Sascha Wolhandler of Sascha’s 527 Café.  In this installment of What Ya Got Cookin? John and Sascha share some of their favorite recipes for fabulous flame-cooked meals, and offer tips on getting the most out of your summer grilling experience.  Plus, we take your calls, emails and tweets on the subject.

Sascha says the best recipe for the mysterious hotdogs she offers Tom in the studio can be found here.

And here's the grilled chicken recipe Sascha describes during the show:

Photo by Britt Olson-Ecker

Midday theater critic J. Wynn Rousuck joins Tom for our regular Thursday focus on the region's thespian happenings. Today, she reviews the Single Carrot Theatre and STEREO Akt world premiere production of Promenade: Baltimore.

Not your conventional stage production, Promenade: Baltimore invites its audience to board an actual bus and travel around the city, passing through neighborhoods familiar to some, and unknown to others. Audience members watch from their bus as actors on the street perform scenes portraying various aspects of life in Baltimore, accompanied by a live-mixed soundtrack of music, narration, and stories inspired by and, in some cases told by, neighborhood residents.  

Know Your Neighbors: A Promenade Post-Show Roundtable, Thursday, June 22, following the 6:30pm performance.  See the Single Carrot Theatre website for details on this and other post-show events.

Promenade: Baltimore continues at Single Carrot Theatre through Sunday, July 2nd.

Courtesy Richard Harris Twitter

  

NPR Science Correspondent Richard Harris joins Midday for a conversation about the reliability of biomedical research. He's talking about his fascinating and frankly, kinda scary new bookRigor Mortis: How Sloppy Science Creates Worthless Cures, Crushes Hope, and Wastes Billions.  Discussion of disconcerting data begs the question, is science really getting sloppier?

Photo courtesy the Brookings Institution

Last night was a long night for Democrats, who lost two more special elections to fill vacancies created by congressional Republicans who left for jobs in the Trump administration.  In Georgia’s hotly-contested 6th congressional district, Republican Karen Handel beat newcomer Democrat Jon Osoff by 4 points, a comfortable margin of victory in what most considered a close race.  And in South Carolina, Republican Ralph Norman defeated Democrat Archie Parnell by about the same margin, which was considered much closer than most people had expected.

That makes it 4-0 for the Republicans in Special Elections since President Trump took office.   

Tom discusses the significance of these election results, and  the state of the body politic, with E.J. Dionne, a syndicated columnist for the Washington Post and a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.  He is also a university professor at Georgetown University, and the author of several books, including Why the Right Went Wrong: Conservatism – From Goldwater to Trump and Beyond.  His newest book, due out in September, is called One Nation After Trump: A Guide for the Perplexed, the Disillusioned, the Desperate, and the Not-Yet Deported, which he has co-authored with Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein.

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.

photo courtesy Arizona Republic

Last Wednesday, on a baseball field in Alexandria, VA, Republican Congressman Steve Scalise and three others were shot, including a Capitol Hill police officer who lives in Baltimore County.  Congressional leaders vowed to tamp down their vitriolic rhetoric.  But in a week that included the anniversary of the worst mass killing in US history, there seems to be no end in sight to this violence,  even in our political discourse. 

Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh and DC Attorney General Karl Racine filed a lawsuit against President Trump for what they say is a violation of anti-corruption clauses in the Constitution. Congress has filed a suit too.  Jeff Sessions gave often defiant testimony to the Senate Intel Committee on Tuesday.  And there are now published reports confirming that President Trump is himself a subject of an investigation into possible obstruction of justice.  Plenty to talk about with Tom's News Wrap guests, Ayesha Rascoe, a White House correspondent for Reuters, and Alan Walden, who was last year's Republican candidate for Mayor of Baltimore.  

Courtesy Peabody Consort

We end Friday's Midday with a little music from yesteryear.  Like, way yesteryear.  Members of the Peabody Consort join Tom in Studio A.  They specialize in music from the earliest eras of what we have come to know as classical music.  The consort is on their way to the Indianapolis Early Music Festival next week, and in November, they’ll appear at Early Music Hawaii, another prestigious festival (in a great place to be in November).

And this weekend in Baltimore, they'll be giving a concert of music from the three Abrahamic religions, performing at an event called Words and Music of Three Faiths.  It takes place this Sunday night (June 18) at 7:00, at Second Presbyterian Church, located at 4200 Saint Paul Street in Baltimore (21218).  

Today, they join Tom with their instruments to offer a little preview.  Soprano Julie Bosworth is here, and Brian Kay is here with his oud.  The founder of the consort is Peabody faculty member Mark Cudek.

Their performance today features the Cantigas de Santa Maria: "Tanto son da Groriosa" (No. 48) from the Court of Alfonso X or “el Sabio” (1221–1284); an improvisation on the Arabic “oud,” the ancestor of the lute; and a Sephardic romance: the anonymously composed "Cuando el Rey Nimrod,” which closes out the show.

Photo courtesy Md. Attorney General

Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh joins Tom at the start of today's show to explain why he’s suing President Donald Trump for breaching the Emoluments Clause of the U.S. Constitution. He and District of Columbia Attorney General Karl A. Racine announced on Monday that they have filed a lawsuit against the president, claiming that his widespread business entanglements violate constitutional anti-corruption clauses. 

This is one of two big lawsuits filed in the last couple of days.  The other has been filed by nearly 200 congressional Democrats, who are also claiming that the President's global business holdings, and his failure to consult with Congress  about them, violates the U.S. Constitution. 

Courtesy Crystal Forman/ Courtesy Valley View Farms

The summer gardening season is in full-swing here in Maryland, so we’re turning our attention today to the joys and challenges of keeping those flower beds blooming and those vegetable gardens bountiful.  We’ll get tips for you today on plant care, soil management and bug and weed control from two local gardening and urban farming experts, Carrie Engel and Crystal Forman. These two veteran green thumbs will do their best to answer your questions about what to plant and when, how to deal with pests and predators, and how to ensure that those veggies make it from the garden to the family table

Carrie Engel is a long-time plant specialist and greenhouse manager for Valley View Farms Garden Center and Nursery in Cockeysville, Maryland.

Crystal Forman is a certified Master Gardener and the interim director of The Farm Alliance of Baltimore.  She’s also the owner of Holistic Healthy Living for All, and the director of Holistic Wellness and Health, which promote healthy eating, physical fitness and wellness.

CreativeCommons

Today, a conversation about the relationship between religion and environmentalism on another installment of Living Questions, a monthly series exploring faith in the public sphere. 

Some have decried President Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord as a “dishonor” to God. To what extent does faith play a role in motivating environmental activists? What do religious scriptures and faith leaders say about the human responsibility to protect the earth?

Rabbi Nina Beth Cardin is a Baltimore-based rabbi, writer, and environmental advocate.  She is the director of the Baltimore Jewish Environmental Network at the Pearlstone Conference and Retreat Center. She is also the founder of the Baltimore Orchard Project, a non-profit coalition of Baltimorians dedicated to growing the urban orchard and providing free healthy local fruit to people living in Baltimore’s food deserts.

Jodi Rose is the executive director of Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake, a 5-year-old network of nearly 200 congregations working on the restoration and protection of the Chesapeake watershed.

Emmalee June Aman is a convert to Islam and the founder and lead advocate of Winds of Change Advocacy, a consulting business which advises environmental groups on effective ways to organize and mobilize. She also helps lead the Dayspring Permaculture Garden, a communal farming experiment underway on a private 200-acre environmental preserve and interfaith retreat in Germantown, MD.

Photo by Richard Anderson

Midday theater critic J. Wynn Rousuck is back for her weekly review of a local production! Today, she discusses Baltimore Center Stage's Jazz, the world premiere of Nambi E. Kelley's adaptation of Toni Morrison's 1992 novel. Directed by Kwame Kwei-ArmahJazz depicts the turbulent relationship of a couple living in 1920s Harlem. 

Jazz runs at Baltimore Center Stage on North Calvert Street through Sunday June 25th.

Courtesy Harper Collins Publisher

With more than 6,000 hours of shows logged during an influential career that spanned more than 30 years, David Letterman’s impact on the landscape of late-night is unquestioned.    On today's Midday, a closer look at the life and work of the trend-setting funny man, through the eyes of a writer-journalist who's spent the past three years sizing up the Letterman legacy. 

Jason Zinoman writes about comedy for the New York Times, and has contributed to Slate, the Guardian and Vanity Fair.  He’s the author of three books:  Shock Value, a chronicle of the horror film industry, and Searching for Dave Chappelle, a probing look at the unexpected twists and turns in the career of that brilliant comedian. 

courtesy AP Photo

It’s the Midday News Wrap, our regular Friday look at the week's top local, national and international stories, with host Tom Hall and a rotating panel of journalists and commentators. 

We begin today with a conversation about a Maryland bill to require employers at businesses with 15 or more full time employees to earn at least five paid sick days a year.  The sick leave bill was sponsored by  Luke Clippinger, who, along with Robbyn Lewis and Brooke Lierman, represents Baltimore City in the Maryland House of Delegates.  The bill passed in late April.  Last week, Governor Larry Hogan vetoed it.  To discuss the prospects for overturning that veto next January, and how the law might impact the state's small businesses, Delegate Clippinger joins Tom on the phone today from Frederick, Maryland, where he is attending a meeting.

Then, the Midday News Wrap continues with Tamara Keith, a White House reporter for National Public Radio and host of the NPR Politics Podcastwho joins us from NPR studios in Washington, DC; and Will EnglundForeign Assignments Editor and veteran Russia correspondent for the Washington Post, and author of March 1917: On the Brink of War and Revolution, who joins Tom in the studio.  They'll discuss the big stories in another very busy week in Washington, including President Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Accords, the political fallout from his first international trip, and the ongoing investigation of Russia's election meddling and possible ties to the Trump campaign.

Photo courtesy Warner Bros.

It’s the Midday Movie Mayhemour monthly get-together with movie mavens Ann Hornaday, film critic for the Washington Post, and Jed Dietz, founding director of the Maryland Film Festival

Ann has just returned from the Cannes Film Festival, which had its share of controversy this year.  So we’ll get a report on that. 

Jed and his crew at the MFF have now been in operation in their new theater, the Parkway, for about a month, we’ll get an update on that, and we’ll talk about a few of the movies that will be at The Charles Theater, The Senator, and the Parkway here in Baltimore in the coming days, including Wonder Womanthe much anticipated action-adventure flick from director Patty Jenkins. 

One of the controversies at Cannes has to do with requirements about Netflix movies having to be released theatrically in order to qualify for prizes, and how long after theatrical release those movies can be made available to stream, etc.

We also invite your calls, emails and tweets on the issue:  How important is it for you to see a movie in a theater, rather than on a TV or computer or tablet, or even your phone?

Photo by ClintonBPhotography

It's Thursday, and that means theater critic J. Wynn Rousuck joins Tom in the studio with her weekly review of the region's thespian offerings.  This week, she's here to tell us about Noises Off, the British farce now playing at Baltimore's Everyman Theatre. 

Everyman’s Resident Company of actors collectively plays a British company of hapless actors in this broad comedy. With their opening night on London’s West End imminent, the company's actors blunder through their rehearsals, and things get worse as the actual play begins.  The cast struggles to control the chaos of lost lines and crossed lovers, and to pull their act together -- for the audience and for themselves.

Noises Off continues at Everyman Theatre through June 18.

Tom previewed Noises Off with Everyman's founding artistic chief and the play's director, Vicent Lancisi, and with Deborah Hazlett, who stars in the role of Dotty Otley...on the May 19 Midday.  To listen to that conversation, click here.

Photo courtesy Bowie State University

It's the Midday News Wrap, our regular Friday review of the week's top local, national and international news. This week, as headlines focused on President Trump's first foreign trip, his 2018 budget proposal, and on the continuing investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election and possible collusion with the Trump campaign, the nation was stunned by news of the May 20 stabbing death of Bowie State University student Richard Collins III.  The 23 year-old Collins, who had just been commissioned as a US Army lieutenant, was murdered by a University of Maryland/College Park student, who has been identified as a member of a white supremacist hate group on Facebook. How is the community responding to this tragedy, and what are school officials doing to address rising concerns about racially motivated attacks on their campus? Joining Tom on today's NewsWrap panel to discuss these and other issues in the news this week are Kamau High, managing editor of the Afro-American Newspaper and Dr. Kaye Wise Whitehead, an associate professor of communication and African and African American studies at Loyola University Maryland, and the author of “Letters to My Black Sons: Raising Boys in a Post-Racial America.”

Photos courtesy Austin Caughlin, Mikecheck

We close the show today with a little live music to spring us into the Memorial Day weekend. 

Austin Caughlin is a name familiar to listeners of Midday.  Every Friday, we remind you that Austin wrote and recorded the Midday theme music.  Austin is on the composing staff of Clean Cuts, a music production studio here in Baltimore.

On Saturday night, May 27th, Austin hosts a benefit concert  -"Singing in Solidarity" - with other artists and musicians from 7-9 pm at the Four Hour Day Lutherie to raise money for the Southern Poverty Law Center, a non-profit dedicated to fighting hate and bigotry and to seeking justice for the most vulnerable members of our society.  

Austin joins Tom in the studio today with Mikecheck, a local singer and musician who'll also be appearing at the SPLC benefit tomorrow night, along with other performers, including singer Sandy Asirvatham and writer Rion Amilcar Scott.

Photo by Dave Iden

Midday theater critic J. Wynn Rousuck joins Tom for her weekly review of thespian doings.  This week, it's the final production of Baltimore Annex Theater's 2016-17 season: The King of Howard Street is an original play based on the life of the formerly homeless Baltimore writer and housing rights advocate, Anthony Williams, who's portrayed in this production by Joshua Dixon.

For more than two decades, Williams lived in abandoned buildings up and down Howard Street. Several years ago, he began to chronicle his life story and the stories of his friends and family. Last year, Williams approached Annex Theater's Artistic Director, Evan Moritz, outside of the theater and handed him three spiral-bound notebooks filled with drawings and writings, including a draft of his autobiographical play.  Inspired by Williams' story, Moritz commissioned playwright Ren Pepitone and director Roz Cauthen to bring this story to a wider audience, and they've done so with a compelling mix of dance, music, and theater.

The King of Howard Street also features performances by Nathan Couser (Insurrection: Holding History) as Saint Lewis, William's right-hand man; Desirae Butler (The Tempest) as McFly; and Jonathan Jacobs  (Tempest, Master and Margarita) as Randall.  The cast also includes Malcolm Anomanchi, Kristina Szilagyi, Christian Harris, Mary Travis, David Crandall (Annex Company Member), and Elaine Foster. Costumes are by Stylz, Set by Bernard Dred, Lighting by Rick Gerriets (Annex Company Member), Sound by David Crandall, and Video by Rachel Dwiggins (Cook, Thief, Wife, Lover and Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman)

Over the past 20 years, a revolution in biotechnology has allowed scientists -- and the giant ag-biotech companies many of them work for – to blow past the tedium and imprecision of ages-old traditional breeding and dive directly into the DNA -- the genetic core -- of a plant, animal or microorganism, and move desired traits in or out as needed.  The result is that nearly all of four major crops being grown today -- corn, soybeans, canola and cotton -- are now genetically modified, high-performance varieties that a majority of farmers in the US and many other countries have been planting with gusto.

But the worldwide proliferation of these new GM crops has raised fundamental questions that go far beyond “are GMOs safe to eat?”  The questions go to the nutritional value and diversity of the foods we buy and eat every day, to the social and economic structures of food production and marketing, and to the quality of the environment in which our food is being grown.

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.

photos: Russian Foreign Ministry; American Enterprise Inst.

We begin today's show with yet another stunning development in the 117-day-old Trump Administration: the Washington Post and the New York Times reported last night that President Trump “boasted” about highly classified intelligence relating to a purported ISIS terror plot, in a meeting last week with the Russian foreign minister and ambassador at the White House. The published reports, which were based on anonymous sources described by the Times as “a current and a former American government official,” said Mr. Trump “provided the Russians with details that could expose the source of the information and the manner in which it was collected.”

The classified material disclosed by Mr. Trump in his meeting with Sergey V. Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, and Sergey I. Kislyak, the Russian ambassador to the United States, was reportedly provided to the United States by a Middle Eastern ally known to be very protective of its own intelligence information. The material Mr. Trump shared with the Russians was deemed so sensitive that US officials had not shared it widely within the US government, nor with other American allies.

Although Mr. Trump’s disclosure is not illegal, sharing the information without the permission of the ally that provided it was a major breach of intelligence protocol and could jeopardize a crucial intelligence-sharing relationship.

Joining Tom is Gary Schmitt.  He’s a Resident Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank in Washington, and the Co-Director of the Marilyn Ware Center for Security Studies and Director of AEI’s Program on American Citizenship.

Mr. Schmitt  previously worked on the staff of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence as the Staff Director.  During the second term of the Reagan administration, he served as the executive director of the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board.  

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