Midday | WYPR


Penn State/Flickr via Creative Commons

Buddha, Jesus, Mohammed. Plato, Socrates, Hippocrates. All of them had at least one thing in common. They fasted. It turns out these influential figures were on to something, at least when it comes to health. Some scientists say that regularly abstaining from food for even short periods of time may improve health, boost brain power, and fight diseases ranging from cancer to diabetes to Alzheimer’s. It could even extend lives. The catch is that you have to periodically put down your fork. Could you permanently say goodbye to breakfast if it meant you might live longer? What about skipping all your meals two days a week? We speak to Mark Mattson, chief of the Laboratory of Neurosciences at the National Institute on Aging, and University of Maryland molecular geneticist Steve Mount, who has been a practitioner for the last 12 years. Original air date: May 18, 2016

Courtesy of Thread

How do you take students performing in the bottom 25 percent of their class to walking across the stage at college graduation? The Baltimore non-profit Thread seems to have the answer: follow each student for a decade, provide them with a team of supporters, and do whatever it takes to help kids succeed, from packing lunches to matching students with summer internships. Ninety-two percent of Thread students graduate from high school, and 90 percent are accepted to college. Sarah Hemminger, co-founder of Thread, tells us how Thread is scaling up its efforts. And we hear from a volunteer and from a member of Thread’s first cohort, now a board member with the organization. Original air date: April 13, 2016.

Kevin Galens/Flickr via Creative Commons

Capable of moving thirty million tons of international cargo valued at more than $50 billion dollars. First in the nation for handling autos and light trucks. One of just four East Coast ports able to accommodate the massive ships now passing through the expanded Panama Canal. The Port of Baltimore is an essential player in both global trade and Maryland’s economy. This hour, we catch up with James White, executive director of the Maryland Port Administration. Will larger ships coming to Baltimore bring more jobs to the city? What challenges lie ahead for the port? All this, plus we remember Helen Delich Bentley, congresswoman, reporter and longtime advocate of the port. 

AFGE/Flickr via Creative Commons

The Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, is a massive undertaking. The text of the trade accord is more than 5,000 pages. If it’s approved it would be the largest regional trade agreement ever, governing nearly 40 percent of the global economy. The Obama administration argues the TPP would support American jobs and protect workers’ rights and the environment throughout the dozen countries in the deal. Critics say the agreement is geared to protect the interests of multinational corporations, and would hurt American workers. The Trans-Pacific Partnership has become a hot topic on the campaign trail. What exactly is it? And what would it mean for citizens of the United States and the 11 other Pacific Rim countries involved? 

Courtesy Sagamore Development

With rents rising faster than wages, affordable housing around Baltimore is out of reach for many working people. While thousands of new housing units have been built across the city over the past decade, fewer than 40 of them have come from the city's inclusionary housing program. The city has also exempted the planned Port Covington development - which is asking the city for more than half a million in bonds - from inclusionary housing requirements. The developer has set a goal of setting 10 percent of its units at below market rates. In the County, the Council just rebuffed a bill to keep landlords from rejecting housing vouchers. We discuss the struggle for affordable housing. 

Philip Montgomery / Bloomberg Businessweek

If you live or work in Baltimore, you may have been filmed by an aerial surveillance camera some time this year. In January, a private company began flying a Cessna outfitted with high-tech cameras over Baltimore City, on behalf of the police department. The program was paid for by an anonymous donor. Most of us, including members of the City Council and perhaps even the mayor, learned about the program just last week, when Bloomberg Businessweek published an article about it. What is this technology capable of, and why wasn’t the public informed? Has Big Brother come to Baltimore? Our guests: Monte Reel, reporter for Bloomberg Businessweek; David Rocah, staff attorney for the ACLU of Maryland; and Baltimore Police Department spokesman T.J. Smith

News coverage of the health care needs of LGBT individuals tends to focus on young people. What about the needs of older LGBT adults? Research shows that nearly half of LGBT older adults report they have disability, one-third report they are depressed, and more than one out of five say they have not disclosed their sexual or gender identity to their physician. With nearly 3 million adults age 50 and older in the U.S. self-identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender, we discuss their unique needs and hear their stories. We speak to Bethany Henderson, a social worker who until recently worked with LGBT elders at Chase Brexton, and Jessica Rowe, a licensed clinical social worker and member of the Howard County Older Adult LGBT Task Force.

Clinton - Hillary for America/Trump - Michael Vadon / Flickr via Creative Commons

Hateful. Inflammatory. Empty. The word “rhetoric” has a bad reputation. But it has a pedigree: in history, rhetoric is a skill. Plato called it “the art of winning the soul by discourse.” As the campaign for president hits high gear, the public is getting a heavy dose of political rhetoric. How does the discourse this election season compare to campaigns of the past? What kinds of rhetorical strategies are candidates using? We’ve all heard of logical fallacies like the red herring and the slippery slope. How often do they crop up in political speech, and how can we learn to recognize them? From alliteration to tapinosis, the role of rhetoric in politics. Our guests: Trevor Parry-Giles, a professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Maryland, and Shirley Logan, a newly retired English professor from the University of Maryland. 

Two hundred forty years ago, just weeks after the colonies had declared their independence from Great Britain, George Washington’s army was outnumbered and outmaneuvered. The rebels would likely have been wiped out, and the revolution over before it began,.. except for the elite unit of Maryland fighters who repeatedly attacked British headquarters, buying a precious hour for the bulk of Washington’s army to escape. Two hundred-fifty-six Marylanders were killed in the Battle of Brooklyn. Where they are buried is still a mystery. But the Maryland regiments went on to supply the margin of victory in dozens of battles. Military historian Patrick O’Donnell tells their story in "Washington’s Immortals: The Untold Story of an Elite Regiment Who Changed the Course of the Revolution".

Park Heights Renaissance

The northwest Baltimore community of Park Heights is home to Pimlico RaceTrack and the annual Preakness Stakes. To the frustration of those who live there, it’s also known for vacants, crime, and blight. A decade ago, the city devised an extensive roadmap for redevelopment there. Since then, a few affordable housing developments have opened and a recreation center has been revamped. Two area schools are undergoing renovations. But the scale of the blight in Park Heights tends to dwarf efforts like these. What would it take to truly revitalize Park Heights? What would revitalization look like? Is the city’s roadmap the way to go? We hear from urban designer Klaus Philipsen, of ArchPlan Inc., and Cheo Hurley, executive director of the nonprofit organization Park Heights Renaissance