Midday | WYPR

Midday

Monday-Friday from noon-1:00, Tom Hall and his guests are talking about what’s on your mind, and what matters most to Marylanders:  the latest news, local and national politics, education and the environment, popular culture and the arts, sports and science, race and religion, movies and medicine.  We welcome your questions and comments. E-mail us at midday@wypr.org, tweet us: @middaytomhall, or call us at 410-662-8780.
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Meet the Midday team

Midday programs with Sheilah Kast as host ended on September 16, 2016

Archive prior to October 5, 2015

AP Photo

It's another edition of the Midday News Wrap, our Friday discussion of some of the week's top news stories with a panel of journalists and commentators.  Joining Tom Hall on this week's panel: reporter Jenna Johnson, who covered the 2016 Trump Campaign.  Now, she covers the White House for The Washington Post, and she joins Tom on the line from The Post's radio studio.  Also on the panel and with us in Studio A is Pastor Shannon Wright.  She is the Third  Vice-Chair of the Maryland Republican Party and the first Black woman ever elected to any party office in Maryland.  In 2016, she was a Republican candidate for president of the Baltimore City Council.  She is also the co-host of the Wright Way With Shannon and Mike morning show  and a panelist on Roland Martin on News One.

Photo courtesy Liz Simmons

Now, a little music to take us into the weekend.  Low Lily is a vocal and string trio from Vermont whose modern acoustic sound also taps the roots of folk and fiddle music.  They join Tom live in Studio A. 

Low Lily is:  Liz Simmons on guitar.  Flynn Cohen on guitar and mandolin.  And Lissa  Schneckenburger on fiddle.

They’ll be playing at Germano’s Piattini in Little Italy here in Baltimore on Friday night.  Use the link to get details.

Photo courtesy The Aspen Institute

In his biographies of Benjamin Franklin, Albert Einstein and Steve Jobs, the historian Walter Isaacson has been drawn to his subjects by their uncanny capacity to make connections across disciplines, combining technical expertise with an artist’s eye for beauty, line and grace.  In his latest opus, Isaacson chronicles perhaps history’s greatest creative genius: the 15th century Italian artist, scientist and inventor, Leonardo Da Vinci.  From The Mona Lisa to The Last Supper, DaVinci's iconic paintings revolutionized how artists observed the world, and in fields as disparate as geology, botany, anatomy and engineering, he made lasting contributions.  Walter Isaacson joins Tom on the line from New York City to talk about the nature of genius, and the rewards of insatiable curiosity.

Photo by Matthew Murphy, 2017

It's Thursday, and that means our peripatetic theater critic, J. Wynn Rousuck, joins Tom in Studio A to review one of the region's many new stage productions.  Today, Judy's talking about the newly-revived traveling production of the Tony-Award-winning The Color Purple: The Musical, whose six-day run at The Hippodrome Theatre in Baltimore continues until this Sunday, October 22.

 

On Saturday, thousands of runners will hit the streets to participate in the Baltimore Running Festival. More than 24,000 runners from all 50 states and 30 nations are expected to descend on the Charm City to run our historic streets. That’s a lot of folks taking a lot of steps, and that leaves a lot of room for twisted ankles, swollen knees and sore backs.  

Dr. Miho Tanaka is an orthopedic surgeon and the Director of the Women’s Sports Medicine Program at Johns Hopkins Hospital. Before moving to Baltimore, she was the team physician for WNBA teams the St. Louis Cardinals and the St. Louis Surge. She also served as assistant team physician for the Baltimore Orioles and professional women’s basketball team, the NY Liberty.

She joins Tom to talk about ways to avoid injuries on race day and beyond. 

Photo courtesy Goucher College.

Elizabeth Strout is Tom's guest for this edition of Midday.  She is the author of six novels and many short stories; her most recent book is a series of linked tales called Anything is PossibleLinking stories together was a structural device that Ms. Strout also employed in what is perhaps her most well-known work, Olive KitteridgeThe book earned her the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction , and Frances McDormand starred in an adaptation of the story for HBO that won eight Emmy Awards.

Strout writes about people with big hearts who often live in small towns:  A disgruntled former school teacher, Somali immigrants, a school janitor, a successful writer who returns to rural Illinois to reunite with her estranged siblings.  We meet these and many, many more complicated and brilliant and flawed and eloquent characters who are powerfully and compellingly portrayed by a writer whose tremendous gifts of observation and explication are imbued with great magnanimity and compassion.

Elizabeth Strout is speaking at Goucher College this afternoon and again this evening.  For more information, click here or contact the Kratz Center for Creative Writing at kratz@goucher.edu

Photo by Zach Gross

Tom spends the hour today with Van Jones, a Yale-educated lawyer, former Obama Administration advisor, founder of several social justice organizations, and a commentator and host on CNN.  He's also an author, whose latest book is called 'Beyond the Messy Truth: How We Came Apart – How We Come Together'.

In his new book, Jones asserts that even in our current climate of strident bifurcation in the political arena, there are some issues about which voters and leaders of all political stripes can agree.  “Common pain should lead to common purpose,” he writes.  He criticizes both major political parties for letting down America time and again, and he suggests that a rebellion, like the one we witnessed last November, was justified.  A dedicated Democrat, Van Jones just thinks "the wrong rebel won."

He joins us today from NPR studios in Washington, D.C.

photos courtesy BBJ, CBS.

On this edition of the Midday News Wrap, ​our Friday review of some of the week's top news stories, Tom is joined in Studio A by Heather Mizeur, a former delegate in the Maryland General Assembly who ran a vigorous but unsuccessful campaign in 2014 for the Democratic nomination for governor. Mizeur recently launched a non-profit group called MizMaryland-Soul Force Politics, which is producing a policy blog and a podcast that Mizeur is hosting.

Melody Simmons also joins Tom in the studio.  Simmons is a veteran journalist and a reporter for the Baltimore Business Journal, which, on Wednesday, published her long piece -- in a BBJ series called "The Amazon Effect” – about the economic impact various Amazon projects will have on the city, and what they might cost in taxpayer subsidies.

Jacob Lawrence is one of the most important and renowned artists of the 20th Century. His paintings and prints offer rich portrayals of black life including his famed Migration Series which captured the mass migration of African Americans from the South to the North and Western US after the first World War, and his Toussaint L'Ouverture series about the famed leader of the Haitian Slave Revolt. 

Now, over 50 of Jacob Lawrence’s paintings and prints are on display at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture to celebrate what would have been Lawrence’s 100th birthday.  Charles Bethea, the chief curator and Director of Collections and Exhibitions at the Lewis Museum, joins Tom to talk about the Maryland Collects: Jacob Lawrence exhibition.

Photos courtesy Asma Uddin, Union Theological Seminary

Welcome to another edition of Living Questions, our monthly series on the role of religion in the public sphere, which we produce in collaboration with the Institute for Islamic, Christian and Jewish Studies.

Today: a conversation about religious freedom in the United States.  President Donald Trump continues to advocate for restricting access to the US for Muslims from certain countries, and he nominated Sam Brownback, a strict religious conservative, to head the Office of International Religious Freedom in the State Department.  Mr. Brownback, the highly unpopular governor of Kansas, will leave that post with the Kansas economy in tatters, but his appointment to oversee religious freedom world-wide is being hailed by evangelicals - and others - as a good choice.  Perhaps his most well-known involvement with a religious freedom case in the US is his advocacy for a Kansas florist who refused to make an arrangement for a same sex couple’s wedding. What does that portend for America’s posture in other countries where LGBT citizens face discrimination? 

Joining Tom today to discuss "religious freedom" in America today:  The Rev. Dr. Serene Jones. She is the president of the Union Theological Seminary in New York. She is the first woman to head the historic institution.  She also holds the Johnston Family Chair for Religion and Democracy at UTS. She is the Immediate Past President of the American Academy of Religion, and she served for 17 years on the faculty of Yale University.  She joins us from Argot Studios in New York.

Asma Uddin joins us as well.  She is the founder and editor-in-chief of altmuslimah.com, and the co-founder of altFem Magazine and altVentures Media, Inc. She is a lawyer and a scholar who speaks frequently about American and international religious liberty.   She speaks to us from NPR Studios in Washington, D.C.

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