Tom Hall | WYPR

Tom Hall

Host

Host, Midday  (M-F 12:00-1:00)

In the Bromo (3rd Friday of the month at 4:44)
What are You Reading? (4th Friday of the month, at 4:44) 

Tom Hall joined the WYPR staff as the Host of Choral Arts Classics in 2003.  After 10 years as the Culture Editor and then host of Maryland Morning, in September, 2016, Tom became the host of Midday, the highly rated news and public policy program that features interviews with elected officials, community leaders, and thought provoking authors, artists, researchers, journalists, and scholars from around the world.

Tom is also the Host of In the Bromo and What Are You Reading? on WYPR.  In addition, he has served as the host of the Maryland Morning Screen Test, and the WYPR/MD Film Festival Spotlight Series.  In 2006, as the Music Director of the Baltimore Choral Arts Society, Tom received an Emmy Award for Christmas with Choral Arts, a special that aired on WMAR television, the ABC affiliate in Maryland, for 21 years.  He has been a guest co-host of Maryland Public Television’s Art Works, and in 2007, he was named “Best New Broadcast Journalist” by the Maryland Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.  In 2009, the Baltimore City Paper named him “Best Local Radio Personality,” an award he was also given in the 2016 Baltimore Magazine Reader’s Poll.

Tom is invited frequently to speak to professional and community organizations, including the Oregon Bach Festival, the American Choral Directors Association, Chorus America, the College Endowment Association, the Baltimore Broadcaster’s Coalition, The Johns Hopkins Brain Science Institute, the Johns Hopkins Community Conversations Series, and the Creative Alliance.  He has moderated panels and given presentations at the Baltimore City Lit Festival, the Baltimore Book Festival, the Baltimore Museum of Art, the Walters Art Museum, the University of Maryland, the Enoch Pratt Library, and MICA. He has also moderated Mayoral Debates, panels at Light City in Baltimore, and at the Stevenson University Speakers Series.

He appears each year as the moderator of the Rosenberg-Blaustein Distinguished Artist Recital Series at Goucher College.  His publications include articles in the Baltimore Sun, Style Magazine, and Baltimore Magazine, as well as many scholarly music journals, and he is the co-author of The Bach Passions in Our Time:  Contending with the Legacy of Antisemitism, published on-line by the Institute for Islamic Christian and Jewish Studies.  Tom was appointed the Music Director Emeritus of the Baltimore Choral Arts Society in 2017.

Tom Hall lives in Baltimore, with his wife, Linell Smith.  Their daughter, Miranda, is a playwright, based in Washington, DC.

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.

Johns Hopkins University

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

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

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

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

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

Courtesy Congressional Pictorial Directory

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

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

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

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.

Philip Montgomery for The New York Times

Today another installment of the Midday Culture Connection with Dr. Sheri Parks of the University of Maryland, College Park. Presidential senior advisor and first son-in-law Jared Kushner’s meeting with a Russian banker back in December is the subject of a federal and congressional investigation. ProPublica reporter Alec MacGillis conducted his own investigation into Kushner that hits closer to home. Kushner Companies owns and operates 15 apartment complexes in the Baltimore area. Although Kushner stepped down as CEO in January he’s still a stakeholder, with a share of the company estimated to be worth at least $600 million. 

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.

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