Maryland Morning Podcast

President Obama visited the Islamic Society of Baltimore on Wednesday in Catonsville.  In the crowd, Baltimore Imam Earl el-Amin and Muslim educator Danette Zaghari-Mask  listened to his plea for greater religious tolerance. They’ll share their thoughts on the President’s first visit to an American mosque.

Then, Jed Deitz and Ann Hornaday pick their Oscar favorites, and talk about the lack of racial diversity in this year’s list of Academy Award nominees.  

Finally, J. Wynn Rousuck reviews a new version of the “Phantom of the Opera,” along with Gil Sandler's  Baltimore Story. 


Today, we continue our series of weekly conversations with candidates for Mayor of Baltimore City. David Warnock joins me to make his case on what sets him apart in this year’s crowded race for Charm City’s top job. He’s 57 years old, a Democrat, and a successful businessman. He is the founder of a private equity firm and co-founder of the Green Street Academy, a charter school in West Baltimore. Warnock is also the chairman of a charitable foundation that has funded a variety of educational and community-focused organizations, including The Center for Urban Families.

Then, former Baltimore Sun pop music critic Rashod Ollison joins me to talk about his new book, Soul Serenade: Rhythm, Blues and Coming of Age Through Vinyl. It’s a memoir about growing up in rural Arkansas in the 1980s and 90s, and how he sought refuge in music and literature as he navigated the treacherous paths of a difficult childhood.


One in four Baltimore residents lives in a so-called food desert -- a place without easy access to healthy, nutritious food.  The Reverend Heber Brown, a pastor and social justice activist, is helping to solve that problem.  He joins me to talk about the Black Church Food Security Network, which gets good food from local farmers into the hands of city residents.

Plus, a conversation about how our relationships with our siblings evolve as we get older.  Geoffrey Greif and Michael Woolley have written a book about adult brothers and sisters, love and loyalty, complications and consequences. 

Then, Dr. Skipp Sanders has just stepped down as the director of the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture.  We’ll talk about the unique role the museum plays in Baltimore’s cultural life. 

And Theater Critic J. Wynn Rousuck has a review of the all-female production of Shakespeare’s As You Like It, at Baltimore’s Center Stage.


Today, we continue our series of conversations with candidates for Mayor of Baltimore City.  Nick Mosby joins us today.  In 2011, he was elected to represent the 7th District on the Baltimore City Council.  Last spring, he and his wife, State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby, garnered national attention during the unrest following the death of Freddie Gray.  Now, he has entered a crowded race for Mayor.  I’ll ask Nick Mosby about his vision for the City.

Then, the US Department of Agriculture has issued a new set of Dietary Guidelines.  Think about that:  is the Department of Agriculture, which regulates the meat and dairy industry, for example, the best agency to suggest guidelines about how much meat and dairy we should all eat?  Our Nutrition Diva, Monica Reinagel, is here to help us sort it all out.  

Jonna McKone/WYPR

As streets and sidewalks slowly, slowly find their way back to black, we’ll check with the Emergency Operations Center in Baltimore for an update on plans to clear the streets.  What city residents and businesses can expect on Day 2 of the big dig. 

Then, Justin Fenton of the Baltimore Sun and attorney Edward Smith walk us through last week’s important developments in the trials of the officers accused in the death of Freddie Gray.

And the Rev. Dr. Robert Franklin, the President Emeritus of Morehouse College in Atlanta, joins me to talk about how Christians imagine justice.

Plus, Ayaan Hirsi Ali -- who has been identified by the Southern Poverty Law Center as an anti-Muslim extremist -- is scheduled to appear on the Baltimore Speakers Series tomorrow night.  WYPR’s Sheilah Kast  talks with the controversial activist and author. 

And Theater Critic J. Wynn Rousuck reviews the Vagabond Players' production of  Our Town.   

Wide Angle Youth Media

The Maryland General Assembly is 10 days deep into this year’s session.  WYPR’s Annapolis reporter Rachel Baye and Senior News Analyst Fraser Smith join me to recap some of the early action, including efforts to overturn a veto on voting rights for felons.

Then, Mark Hyman drops in to talk about the big money the Orioles have thrown at first baseman Chris Davis, the big splash in the Big Ten made by the University of MD men’s basketball team, the big game in its 50th year, and a big loss for the city of St. Louis. 

Plus- students from Wide Angle Youth Media explore “food deserts” in Baltimore, and: more and more shoppers are looking to update their wardrobe in consignment stores.  Fashionista Zoey Washington Sheff shares some tips for finding treasures in the resale racks.

Sheila Dixon Campaign Website


Today, we continue our conversations with candidates for Mayor of Baltimore City.  Sheila Dixon joins me in Studio A.  In the late 90s she became the first African American woman elected as the President of the City Council, and in 2007, she became the first African American woman to become Mayor.  Her story after that is well-known: she resigned in 2010 after a conviction and an Alford plea.  She has entered a crowded race asking for a second chance.  I’ll ask her about her vision for the City.

Then, the award-winning local writer Kathy Flann introduces us to some of the quirky characters who populate her new collection of short stories.  Get a Grip explores Baltimore from the perspective of people who often live on the margins, and who flavor the city with funky charm.

On this Martin Luther King Day, 48 years since his death, a look at the past and present of the civil rights movement.  First, a conversation with two women whose actions in Baltimore and the Eastern Shore changed the tide of equality in Maryland.  In the early years of the movement, women were often overshadowed by men, but today, we meet Helena Hicks, who’s 1955 action led to the integration of Read’s Drug Stores, and Gloria Richardson, a founder of what’s come to be known as the Cambridge Movement.  

Sagamore Development

Our monthly series, The Accountability Index, continues this morning with a closer look at the Port Covington project that Under Armour 's CEO Kevin Plank is proposing.  It’s one of the biggest waterfront developments in Baltimore since the Inner Harbor.  But are private developers driving the planning?  Tom talks about that with Baltimore Brew reporters Fern Shen and Ed Gunts.

Then, as temperatures plummet, a status report on efforts to care for the thousands of Baltimoreans who are homeless this winter.  Dr. Jaquelyn Duval-Harvey, the director of the Mayor’s Office on Human Services, and Kevin Lindamood, the CEO of Health Care for the Homeless in Baltimore, join Tom in the studio to discuss new strategies for helping people deal with housing insecurity.

And as the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra celebrates its centennial, Tom talks with BSO oboist and author Michael Lisicky, whose new book, A Century of Sound, chronicles the first hundred years of this cultural colossus.


Today, we begin a series of weekly profiles of candidates for Mayor of Baltimore City.  Every Wednesday for the next several weeks, we’ll talk to the people who want to lead the city at a time when we face tremendous challenges.  This morning, a discussion with Elizabeth Embry, who had this to say when she announced her candidacy in early November: 

"I love Baltimore, and I’ve devoted my entire career to Baltimore City, to government, and state government -- working on the problems that Baltimore City faces.  There is nothing more noble and more important than working for the city."

Elizabeth Embry joins Tom in the studio to talk about her experience, her vision, her hopes for Baltimore. 

Plus, the 436th session of the Maryland General Assembly gets underway today.  The budget is in the black; the Governor and the legislature have different ideas about what to do with the surplus.  We’ll parse the big issues facing lawmakers with Erin Cox, the State House bureau chief for the Baltimore Sun.  She joins Tom by phone from Annapolis.