Maryland Morning with Sheilah Kast

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This program aired with Sheilah Kast as host until 10/2/15.  Find out more about us, check out shows that aired prior to February 2014, listen to our series, and listen to each day's show.

Maryland County Executives Copy Each Other

Oct 2, 2015
Baltimore County Government


Just shy of half of Maryland’s population is packed into its three biggest counties – Montgomery, Prince Georges, and Baltimore Counties. Now the chief executives of those jurisdictions have decided they’re pretty smart about some aspects of government, and could get smarter by copying each other. ‘Smarter’ translates into more cost-effective, and less pressure to raise taxes or fees.

So right now, as we’re starting this show, Baltimore County’s executive and a few handful of his top staffers are sitting down in Rockville with the Montgomery County executive and top staffers to talk information technology, and how to do it smarter. Sheilah sat down with Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz yesterday.

October's Indy and 3D Blockbuster Movies

Oct 2, 2015
New York Film Festival

  Tom is joined by our Movie Mayhem critics, Ann Hornaday, film critic for the Washington Post, and Jed Dietz, Executive Director of the Maryland Film Festival to discuss some of October's best Indy films, and 3D Blockbusters.

The Rousuck Review: "Kinky Boots"

Oct 2, 2015
Matthew Murphy


Kinky Boots” won six Tony Awards, including best musical in 2013. Now this Broadway musical -- script by Harvey Fierstein, score by Cyndi Lauper -- has opened the season at the Hippodrome. Based on a movie that was in turn based on a true story, "Kinky Boots" is about a dying British shoe factory that saves itself by making stiletto-heeled boots for drag queens. Theater critic J. Wynn Rousuck and Tom Hall discuss whether you’ll get a kick out of “Kinky Boots.”


Andrew Bardwell // Flickr Creative Commons

About a third of all Americans have a criminal record; less than 5 percent for violent crimes. Those of us who don’t have records are probably aware of some of the consequences, like fines, probation, jail time and parole. We may not be aware of collateral consequences that affect employment, public assistance, housing and voting rights. For example, ex-felons earn about 40 percent less annually than non- felons.

Several new laws take effect tomorrow that could allow Marylanders with criminal records to expunge or shield from public view certain parts of them. One of the new laws would also allow actions that are no longer crimes, like possession of small amounts of marijuana, to be removed from peoples’ records.

With Sheilah to talk more about the new laws is Caryn Aslan, Senior Policy Advocate at the non-profit Job Opportunities Task Force. She’s spent years lobbying in Annapolis to adopt laws to make it possible for people with a record to remove those marks. Joining them is Danielle. She’s 37, has 7 children and a criminal record for an arrest that resulted in no trial and no conviction. The offense occurred during a domestic violence dispute in 2002. 

Penguin Random House

    Tom's guest this morning is Daniel James Brown, the author of a New York Times No. 1 best-selling book, The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. It tells the amazing story of a group of nine young American rowers, who, against all odds, triumph at the 1936 Olympics, stealing thunder from Adolf Hitler’s Nazi regime, and transforming the sport.

The Boys in the Boat has been chosen as this year’s One Maryland, One Book selection by the Maryland Humanities Council. It’s just been published in a young reader’s edition, too. Daniel James Brown joins Tom this morning in Studio A.

Free Fall Baltimore


Free Fall Baltimore kicks off tomorrow. For the entire month of October, artists and arts organizations all around Baltimore will offer free concerts, exhibitions, and performances. One of the most highly anticipated of these will take place Saturday afternoon when the great jazz saxophonist, composer and teacher Carl Grubbs presents a piece inspired by Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. 

The piece is called “Inner Harbor Suite Revisited: A Tribute to Baltimore,” and Carl Grubbs joins Tom in the studio, along with his wife, Barbara Harrell Grubbs who produces events like this one for their organization, Contemporary Arts. Grubbs will present his Inner Harbor Suite at Baltimore’s Inner Harbor Saturday afternoon at 4:00.  Because of the probability of inclement weather, the venue for the concert has been changed.  It will take place in the Ballroom of the Pier Five Hotel, adjacent to Pierce's Park, where the concert was originally scheduled.

Germano's Piattini

  There’s a lot going on this weekend, not only in the Inner Harbor, but a few blocks east as well, in Little Italy. Tom welcomes Cyd Wolf, who, along with her husband Germano Fabiani run Germano’s Cabaret in Little Italy. They have organized the first ever Baltimore Madonnari Arts Festival, in which some of the streets of Little Italy become the canvas for incredible art done with chalk.

The Madonnari Arts Festival starts tomorrow night and runs through Sunday in Baltimore’s Little Italy. You can enjoy music and some masters of chalk art, the Columbus Day Parade, and of course, the food for which Little Italy is famous. 

Michael Newman // Flickr Creative Commons

The Open Society Institute-Baltimore and the Pratt Library are inviting the public to a discussion tomorrow evening about bias in how the media covers communities of Baltimore, reminding us again that public radio brings something different to the table. The way public radio covered the riot and uprising in Baltimore this spring is not the way cable TV covered it. But, let’s be realistic: society is probably shaped more by commercial media than non-profit media in the way it frames race, crime, poverty and inequality. The Society of Professional Journalists’ Code of Ethics says the duty of journalists is to “seek truth and provide a fair and comprehensive account of events and issues.” When it comes to reporting on issues of race, have the media met that standard? To what extent are media unaware of their own bias?

Journalist Stacey Patton is one of the panelists who will be addressing those questions tomorrow at the Pratt. She’s a former reporter for the Baltimore Sun, and the Chronicle of Higher Education. She is now a columnist, writing about race for Dame Magazine, which describes itself as “For Women Who Know Better.” She’s also working on two books for Beacon Press. Sheilah reached her Friday, when she called from Atlanta, where she was moderating a panel for the centennial celebration of the ‘Association for the Life and Study of African American History.’

About 13 hours ago, it was wheels-up for Pope Francis, following a packed schedule of events in Washington, DC, New York and Philadelphia, that included an historic speech before a joint session of the US Congress, an address to the largest group of world leaders ever assembled in one place at the United Nations, a controversial canonization Mass, visits to a prison and a homeless shelter, and huge adoring crowds witnessing every public step he took.  This morning: a conversation about the Pope’s American sojourn with a Catholic scholar, a Jewish academic and blogger, and a Muslim radio host and professor of Communications.

John Gehring is a native Baltimorean who is the Catholic program director at Faith in Public Life, an advocacy group in Washington.  He’s also the author of a new book called The Francis Effect: A Radical Pope’s Challenge to the American Catholic ChurchHe joins me in the studio.

Mark Silk, founding director of the Greenberg Center for the Study of Religion in Public Life at Trinity, where he is also Professor of Religion in Public Life also joins us. He writes the blog "Spiritual Politics" as a contributing editor at the Religion News Service and he’s chair of the editorial advisory board of the Connecticut Jewish Ledger.

And joining us on the phone from her home in Silver Spring is Sahar Khamis, an Associate Professor of Communication at the University of MD, who hosts a radio show on U.S. Arab Radio, the first Arab-American radio station broadcasting in North America.  

Richard Anderson

Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice has spawned a zombie novel, a murder mystery,and even a Bollywood movie. Now Center Stage has mounted a brand new stage version. Will our own Jane Austen fan, Maryland Morning theater critic J. Wynn Rousuck, take pride in this latest adaptation?