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

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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Photo by Britt Olsen-Ecker

It's Thursday, and that means our peripatetic theater critic, J. Wynn Rousuck, is back in Studio A with a review of one of the region's many thespian offerings.  This week, Judy joins Tom in a conversation about  Lear, a new production of a 2010 play by Young Jean Lee, now on stage at Single Carrot Theatre.

An artful weave of Elizabethan and modern pop cultures, Lear is a riff, of sorts, on Shakespeare's tragedy, "King Lear," that shows how dysfunctional, selfish and self-absorbed children can still wreak havoc on their elders -- and themselves.  

Lear is directed by Andrew Peters, with costume design by Nicki Siebert.  The play stars Surasree Das as Goneril, Paul Diem as Edgar, Tim German as Edmund, Chloe Mikala as Cordelia, and Elizabeth Ung as Regan.

Lear continues at Single Carrot Theatre through Sunday, October 29th.

AP Photo

Is the 45th president of the United States unfit to serve in the nation's highest office?  More than 64,000 mental health professionals have signed a petition that says that Donald Trump manifests a serious mental illness and should be removed from office under the 25th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. 

But how could those mental health professionals come to that conclusion without having examined Mr. Trump, and should they share an opinion about him without his consent?   

Dr. John Gartner joined host Tom Hall in studio.  He is a psychologist and the founder of an organization called Duty to Warn.  He taught at the Johns Hopkins Medical School for 28 years and continues to practice in Baltimore.  He has written two books, and he contributed to a book released last week called The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President.

Dr. Allen Dyer joined Tom on the line from NPR in Washington, D.C.  He is an M.D. and holds a Ph.D. in Ethics.  He is a professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at George Washington University Medical School. He was a member of the American Psychiatric Association’s Ethics Committee when the so-called Goldwater Rule was written more than 40 years ago.

Photo by Robert Kniesche/Baltimore Sun

MiddayWYPR and the Baltimore Museum of Industry team up for a special program -- presented as part of BMI's Issues in Industry series -- examining Baltimore's calamitous de-industrialization, the challenge of rebuilding the city's workforce, and the future of work in Baltimore's increasingly dynamic industrial landscape.  Broadcast in front of a live audience at BMI's Communications Gallery, the hour-long discussion features guest panelists Anita Kassof, BMI’s executive director; Dr. Nicole King, associate professor and chair of the Department of American Studies at UMBC;  Phillip J. Pack, a retired Sparrows Point steelworker and union trainer; Lauren Purviance, with Jane Addams Resource Corp., a Baltimore job training firm; Dr. Julianne Malveaux, a labor economist, author, media commentator and CEO of Economic Education, LLC; and Joe Jones, Director, Center for Urban Families, a Baltimore nonprofit.

The panel also addresses emailed and tweeted questions and comments from the audience.

Fern Chen/Baltimore Brew

Today, a conversation about the legacy of Christopher Columbus. Is it appropriate to celebrate the Italian explorer with statues, street names, and a federal holiday?

While many enjoyed the Columbus Day Parade in Little Italy yesterday that celebrates the explorer’s courage and determination; others point to Columbus' role in establishing trans-Atlantic slave trade; and to the atrocities he and others committed against the native people who were already living in the lands he so-called discovered. 

Most jurisdictions in the United States celebrate Columbus' landing in what is now the Bahamas on the second Monday in October. In Los Angeles, that won’t be the case much longer. LA County voted to begin celebrating Indigenous People’s Day in 2019. South Dakota began celebrating “Native American Day” in 1989. Native American organizers in Baltimore are working on a proposal that will change Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples Day. In August, a Columbus monument in Baltimore that's considered to be the oldest in the country was vandalized. There are calls for other Columbus statues, including the one in  Druid Hill Park, to be removed.

flickr

On this edition of the Midday News Wrap,  we look at President Trump's visit to Puerto Rico and his talk of relief efforts for the US territory in the wake of Hurricanes Irma and Maria. 

The National Rifle Association, the powerful gun lobby, issued a statement about "bump stocks," the device that the Las Vegas mass shooter used to increase the carnage he inflicted. “The NRA believes that devices designed to allow semiautomatic rifles to function like fully-automatic rifles," the statement read, "should be subject to additional regulations.”

President Trump is reportedly planning to de-certify the Iran nuclear deal, leaving it to Congress to think about pulling out of the agreement altogether. Reports are that his top advisers are recommending the US stay in.  Last night while posing for a picture with military leaders and their wives, Trump described the moment as the "calm before the storm."  The Commander in Chief did not elaborate further.

And here in Baltimore, a highly respected lawyer from a prominent local law firm has been appointed to serve as the monitor of the Consent Decree between the Police Department and the Department of Justice. 

Tom discusses these and other of the week's top news stories with reporter John Lemire, who covers the White House for the Associated Press; Charles Robinson Political/Business reporter for Maryland Public Television; and Andrew Green, the Opinion Editor of the Baltimore Sun.  

Scott Free Productions

Today, it's another edition of our monthly Midday at the Movies, and movie mavens Ann Hornaday, film critic for the Washington Post, and Jed Dietz , founding director of the Maryland Film Festival, are here to help Midday senior producer and guest host Rob Sivak size up some of the new releases hitting local theaters this weekend, including Bladerunner 2049, the long-awaited sequel to director Ridley Scott's 1982 sci-fi classic. And we’ll be talking about the trove of independent films making their way through the US and international festival circuit, including the Toronto and the more recent Milwaukee Film Festivals that Ann’s just back from and will tell us more about.

Iron Crow Theatre

It's Thursday and that means Midday theater critic J. Wynn Rousuck joins us to spotlight one of the region's thespian offerings.  Today, she talks with Midday senior producer and guest host Rob Sivak about "The Cradle Will Rock," a 1937 "play in music" written by the late Marc Blitzstein that's getting a spirited revival by Iron Crow Theatre, at the Theatre Project, now until Sunday, October 8th.

Blitzstein’s pro-union, anti-capitalist musical was the first ever shut down by the federal government.  It's an allegorical but in-your-face indictment of capitalism and socio-political corruption -- too-familiar themes in today's headlines.  Even as it attacks the wealthy class and the political power it unjustly wields, it also pays homage to the oppressed and the poor, and those struggling to survive. Brechtian in its bold scope and style, The Cradle Will Rock is considered by many critics to be one of the most historically significant works in American theater.

The Cradle Will Rock revival by Iron Crow Theatre continues at The Theatre Project until Sunday, October 8th.

Johns Hopkins University

On this edition of Midday on Ethics, Dr. Jeffrey Kahn stops by Studio A to discuss human gene editing and some of the ethical questions that surround its implementation.  Dr. Kahn is director of the Johns Hopkins Berman Center of Bioethics.  We also take a look at some of the first successful gene therapies, including one that the FDA recently approved for the first time in its history. 

The approved therapy is aimed at adults and some children with B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia, a common form of the disease. It  involves genetically modifying immune cells from a patient’s blood and then infusing them back into the same patient.

Dr. Kahn also addresses listener questions and comments.

REUTERS/Chris Wattie

 

We begin with an update on the Las Vegas mass shooting that left 59 dead and more than 500 people injured. Almost immediately after the tragic shooting --which is being characterized as the largest mass shooting in recent U.S history-- Democrats and Republicans began the predictable debate about gun regulation in our country. Unfortunately it’s story we know all too well. Last year, following what is now the second largest mass shooting in recent history at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Democrats proposed extended background checks in private gun sales, and banning sales to suspected terrorists. Republicans proposed increased funding for a national background check database; and a judicial review process for people on a terror watch list when they attempted to purchase firearms. None of those bills passed. In 2012, after 20 children and six educators were fatally shot at Sandy Hook elementary in Newtown Connecticut, President Obama made an emotional appeal to Congress for tougher gun laws. Obama signed several executive orders relating to gun control, but neither of the two major pieces of gun legislation proposed at the time passed in the Senate. 

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