Midday | WYPR

Midday

In the days leading up to the inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump we’re discussing the legacy of President Barack Obama. Sheri Parks and E.R Shipp join Tom to review some of President Obama’s most poignant moments. How has the president used empathy to shape conversations around contentious issues like gun control, race, and policing?

Plus, an exploration of First Lady Michelle Obama's time in the White House.

Dr. Sheri Parks is an associate professor of American Studies at the University of Maryland, College Park and author of Fierce Angels: Living with a Legacy from the Sacred Dark Feminine to the Strong Black Woman.

E.R. Shipp is a Pulitzer Prize winning commentator, columnist for the Baltimore Sun and Associate Professor and Journalist in Residence in the School of Global Journalism and Communication at Morgan State University.

Globe Pequot

We begin today's show with an update on the Consent Decree, signed Thursday between Baltimore City and the U.S. Department of Justice,  from WYPR Metro Reporter Kenny Burns, who tells us what the agreement to reform the Baltimore Police Department actually requires and what it will mean for policing policies and practices going forward. 

photos courtesy DeRay Mckesson; Ezra Levin

In the weeks since President-elect Donald Trump’s electoral college victory, supporters of his Democratic rival for the White House, Hillary Clinton, have been wondering how they can leverage her historic, nearly 3-million vote plurality in the popular vote to resist the Trump Administration and the far-right agenda they believe Mr. Trump and a Republican-controlled Congress will pursue.  For many liberals and progressives in America, the election outcome is sparking new interest in grass-roots organizing and political activism. Today we’re going to explore the emerging anti-Trump movement with two activists who know a thing or two about harnessing citizen power: DeRay Mckesson, a Baltimore public school official who’s been one of the leaders of the Black Lives Matter movement, and Ezra Levin, co-author of a new online ”field guide” for anti-Trump activism called Indivisible.  They also take your calls, emails and tweets during the segment.

Photo by Tom Lauer

Midday’s theater critic J. Wynn Rousuck returns for her weekly review of a local stage production. This week, she discusses the Vagabond Players’ new rendition of The Complete History of America (abridged), written by Adam Long, Reed Martin, and Austin Tichenor and directed by Howard Berkowitz. Starring Fred Fletcher-Jackson, Sean Kelly, and William B. Meister, The Complete History condenses 600 years of American history into 90 minutes of outrageous satire.

The Complete History of America (abridged) runs through February 5th at Vagabond Theatre in Fell’s Point. 

Seth Wenig/AP

(Today's show is abbreviated because President-elect Donald Trump's press conference ran past Midday's usual noon start time.)

Yesterday, CNN reported that U.S. intelligence officials showed President-elect Donald Trump and President Barack Obama a document which claims, without proof, that Russian operatives have compromising personal and financial information about Mr. Trump.

Online news journal BuzzFeed is caught in a storm of controversy after it posted the previously unpublished 35-page dossier, a collection of reports compiled over a period of months by a respected private British intelligence service as "opposition research" for then-presidential candidate Donald Trump's American political rivals. The dossier, reportedly well-known for months to US investigative journalists and American intelligence agencies, contains unverified allegations about ties between Mr. Trump and Russia. It also contains salacious details of compromising activities in which Mr. Trump allegedly engaged, which Russian operatives purportedly could use to blackmail the U.S. President-elect. 

Flickr-Creative Commons

The 2017 Maryland General Assembly opens for business on Wednesday.  During their annual 90-day legislative session, more than 180 lawmakers from across the state, in the Senate and the House of Delegates, will be drilling down into hundreds of pieces of legislation on issues affecting Marylanders in all walks of life – from business, schools and the environment, to transportation and criminal justice.  They’ll be wrestling with complex tax and budget challenges.  And the 2017 session promises what most recent General Assemblies have provided: pitched partisan battles between the Democratically – controlled legislature and Maryland’s Republican governor, Larry Hogan.  Today on Midday, two intrepid State House reporters join Tom for a closer look at some of the key legislative issues before the General Assembly, and predict where Maryland lawmakers and the Governor are likely to clash, and where they might also find agreement.

Erin Cox is The Baltimore Sun's State House bureau chief.   Rachel Baye covers the legislature for us here at WYPR.  They'll be with us for the full hour, and we'll also take your calls, emails and tweets.

Templeton Press

Unemployment is at its lowest in nearly 10 years. However,  almost one in eight men is out of the labor force entirely, neither working nor even looking for work. So who are these men and what’s keeping them out of the job market?

Today, a conversation with Nicholas Eberstadt and Anirban Basu about the historically high number of men in their prime working years who are not in the workforce.

Nicholas Eberstadt holds the Henry Wendt Chair in Political Economy at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI). His latest book is Men Without Work: America’s Invisible Crisis.

Anirbahn Basu is the Chairman and CEO of the Sage Policy Group, an economic consulting firm and host of the Morning Economic Report on WYPR. 

Today, members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences started voting on nominations for this year’s Academy Awards. Ann Hornaday of the Washington Post  and Jed Dietz of the Maryland Film Festival weigh-in on some of the late Oscar contenders.  Fences is a hit.  Silence is making a lot of noise, and Moonlight, which has already won several pre-Oscar awards, is re-opening in Baltimore at the Charles Theatre.

Mithun

Today, a conversation about State Center, the sprawling office complex in West Baltimore that stretches from Howard St. and Martin Luther King Blvd. in West Baltimore, across both sides of Eutaw St, and all the way north and west to Dolphin St. and Madison Ave.  State Center houses various state agencies. It was built more than 50 years ago, and people who work in and manage the buildings agree that they are in serious disrepair. They’ve agreed about that for a long time. Ten years ago, developers were asked by the administration of Gov. Bob Ehrlich to suggest a plan to upgrade and revitalize the state offices in a way that would also revitalize the surrounding West Baltimore neighborhoods. Gov. Ehrlich got the ball rolling and his successor, Gov. Martin O’Malley, kept it spinning, but it’s been rolling very slowly, and it has encountered more than a few bumps.  Twenty-six million dollars later -- after many public hearings and multiple approvals at various stages by various state agencies, the project is shovel-ready. The Hogan Administration, however, is apparently not ready. Why not?

Tom is joined in the studio today by Caroline Moore. She is CEO and founding partner of Ekistics LLC, the developer that has been working on the State Center project since 2006. John Kyle is here as well. He’s the President of the State Center Neighborhood Alliance, which represents the nine neighborhoods surrounding State Center and nearby institutions,  such as the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and the University of Maryland Medical Center. We’re also joined by Natalie Sherman, a reporter who covers real estate and economic development for the Baltimore Sun.  And Tom spoke earlier by phone with Doug Mayer, the Governor’s communications director, so you’ll also hear what the State has to say about the status of the project and the State’s apparent change of heart about proceeding with the plans.

Photo by Joan Marcus

Midday's theater critic J. Wynn Rousuck  joins Tom every Thursday with her reviews of local and regional stage productions. This week, it's the celebrated Fiasco Theater production that became a surprise hit in New York City: a minimalist re-invention of Stephen Sondheim's and James Lapine's classic Tony Award-winning musical-fantasy, Into the Woods, now on stage at the Kennedy Center.  

Into the Woods at the Kennedy Center runs through Sunday, January 8th.  Recommended for audiences ages 8 and up!

Pages