Midday | WYPR

Midday

Photo by Doby Photography/NPR

On the very first page of his very unsettling book, Richard Harris points to some of those ground-breaking, fantastic studies that we sometimes hear about as the next big thing, the next miracle cure.  These are studies that are often published in prestigious scientific journals.   And Harris says that “too much of what is published is wrong.”

Harris knows his way around medical studies.  He’s been a science correspondent with NPR for more than 30 years.  His new book is called Rigor Mortis: How Sloppy Science Creates Worthless Cures, Crushes Hope, and Wastes Billions. 

The book is an assiduously reported indictment of a culture in the scientific community that often allows for short cuts to be tolerated and for basic research principles to be ignored.  Richard Harris joins Tom from the studios of NPR in Washington.

James VanRensselaer Homewood Photography

Last month, the stabbing death of Bowie State University student 2nd Lt. Richard Collins III grabbed national headlines and left students and faculty wondering how the frightening and tragic incident could happen on a college campus. Collins, who was black, was stabbed on the campus of the University of Maryland, College Park by UMD student Sean Urbanski. Urbanski, who’s white, was a member of an online hate group that shared bigoted memes and messages. While Urbanski has not been charged with a hate crime, students of color at UMD say Collins’ death is not an isolated incident and that racial climate on campus is fraught with bias and bigotry. In early May a noose was found hanging in UMD frat house. 

College Park is not the only campus battling bigotry. Last month, bananas hung by nooses were found on the campus of American University in Washington, DC. Harvard, Columbia, Dartmouth and other universities across the country have reported dozens of incidents of bias in recent months.   Some scholars have observed that racism on predominantly white college campuses is as old as the universities themselves.  Tom is joined by Lawrence Ross, the author of several books including The Divine Nine:The History of African American Fraternities and Sororities. His latest is called Blackballed:The Black and White Politics of Race on America's Campuses. He is a frequent contributor to TheRoot.com.

Baltimore Link

The Baltimore Link, Charm City’s new transit system, is making its debut. After almost two years of planning, the $135 million dollar revamped system was launched in the wee hours of Sunday morning.  MTA Director Kevin Quinn, along with Brian O’Malley, president and CEO of the Central Maryland Transportation AllianceSamuel Jordan, president of the Baltimore Transit Equity Coalition; and city planner Klaus Philipsen join Tom today to discuss the new system and its impact on city residents. MTA officials say that it will speed up time for commuters and get people closer to more of the places where they work.  But not everyone is convinced.

photo courtesy Arizona Republic

Last Wednesday, on a baseball field in Alexandria, VA, Republican Congressman Steve Scalise and three others were shot, including a Capitol Hill police officer who lives in Baltimore County.  Congressional leaders vowed to tamp down their vitriolic rhetoric.  But in a week that included the anniversary of the worst mass killing in US history, there seems to be no end in sight to this violence,  even in our political discourse. 

Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh and DC Attorney General Karl Racine filed a lawsuit against President Trump for what they say is a violation of anti-corruption clauses in the Constitution. Congress has filed a suit too.  Jeff Sessions gave often defiant testimony to the Senate Intel Committee on Tuesday.  And there are now published reports confirming that President Trump is himself a subject of an investigation into possible obstruction of justice.  Plenty to talk about with Tom's News Wrap guests, Ayesha Rascoe, a White House correspondent for Reuters, and Alan Walden, who was last year's Republican candidate for Mayor of Baltimore.  

Courtesy Peabody Consort

We end Friday's Midday with a little music from yesteryear.  Like, way yesteryear.  Members of the Peabody Consort join Tom in Studio A.  They specialize in music from the earliest eras of what we have come to know as classical music.  The consort is on their way to the Indianapolis Early Music Festival next week, and in November, they’ll appear at Early Music Hawaii, another prestigious festival (in a great place to be in November).

And this weekend in Baltimore, they'll be giving a concert of music from the three Abrahamic religions, performing at an event called Words and Music of Three Faiths.  It takes place this Sunday night (June 18) at 7:00, at Second Presbyterian Church, located at 4200 Saint Paul Street in Baltimore (21218).  

Today, they join Tom with their instruments to offer a little preview.  Soprano Julie Bosworth is here, and Brian Kay is here with his oud.  The founder of the consort is Peabody faculty member Mark Cudek.

Their performance today features the Cantigas de Santa Maria: "Tanto son da Groriosa" (No. 48) from the Court of Alfonso X or “el Sabio” (1221–1284); an improvisation on the Arabic “oud,” the ancestor of the lute; and a Sephardic romance: the anonymously composed "Cuando el Rey Nimrod,” which closes out the show.

Monday, the 19th of June, is Juneteenth, the day that commemorates June 19, 1865 when enslaved African Americans in Galveston, TX were informed by Union soldiers that slavery was legally over, months after the end of the Civil War and more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was issued by Abraham Lincoln. Juneteenth is one of the most widely celebrated emancipation days in the country. It’s officially recognized in 45 states; Maryland became the 43rd state in 2014. Today a conversation about Juneteenth. What’s the historical significance of the day and as we reflect, how does it inform our understanding of slavery and the reconstruction era?  What was life like for African Americans as they transitioned from bondage to freedom? 

Tom is joined by Dr. Terry Anne Scott; she’s an assistant professor of History at Hood College in Frederick. Also joining are B. Cole and Aisha Pew, entrepreneurs and the owners of the Dovecote Café in Baltimore, and the leaders of Brioxy, a network of innovative people of color who are creating economic opportunity for themselves and others. This weekend they’re hosting a Juneteenth Home and Garden tour in their Reservoir Hill neighborhood.  

David Spence of David Spence Photography

Theater Critic J. Wynn Rousuck returns to Midday with her weekly review of a regional production. This week, she’s talking about Fred’s Diner at the Maryland Ensemble Theatre in Frederick, MD. The new dark comedy by award-winning playwright Penelope Skinner transports the audience to an American Diner on an English motorway, brimming with captivating characters and deadly secrets. After premiering London, this is the 2nd time the play has been produced in the U.S. and first time it's been produced on the East Coast. Fred’s Diner is directed by Peter Wray, and runs through June 18th, 2017.  

Photo courtesy Md. Attorney General

Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh joins Tom at the start of today's show to explain why he’s suing President Donald Trump for breaching the Emoluments Clause of the U.S. Constitution. He and District of Columbia Attorney General Karl A. Racine announced on Monday that they have filed a lawsuit against the president, claiming that his widespread business entanglements violate constitutional anti-corruption clauses. 

This is one of two big lawsuits filed in the last couple of days.  The other has been filed by nearly 200 congressional Democrats, who are also claiming that the President's global business holdings, and his failure to consult with Congress  about them, violates the U.S. Constitution. 

Courtesy Crystal Forman/ Courtesy Valley View Farms

The summer gardening season is in full-swing here in Maryland, so we’re turning our attention today to the joys and challenges of keeping those flower beds blooming and those vegetable gardens bountiful.  We’ll get tips for you today on plant care, soil management and bug and weed control from two local gardening and urban farming experts, Carrie Engel and Crystal Forman. These two veteran green thumbs will do their best to answer your questions about what to plant and when, how to deal with pests and predators, and how to ensure that those veggies make it from the garden to the family table

Carrie Engel is a long-time plant specialist and greenhouse manager for Valley View Farms Garden Center and Nursery in Cockeysville, Maryland.

Crystal Forman is a certified Master Gardener and the interim director of The Farm Alliance of Baltimore.  She’s also the owner of Holistic Healthy Living for All, and the director of Holistic Wellness and Health, which promote healthy eating, physical fitness and wellness.

Johns Hopkins University

Today, Tom talks with  bioethicist Dr. Jeffrey Kahn about clinical trials and diversity. Why is so much medical research still done with white subjects -- and more often with men rather than women -- and what are the consequences of that, particularly for women and people of color?

If clinical trials are done by examining only parts of our society, what does that mean for the efficacy of the findings, and how reliably can those results be extrapolated to apply to the rest of the population?

And what are the consequences when that research is then used to develop treatments? Will they be effective for everyone, or primarily just for the group at the heart of the research?

To wit: African Americans have a far greater incidence of Alzheimer’s Disease and a far lower rate of inclusion in clinical trials. What, if any, is the connection between those two realities?

Dr. Jeffrey Kahn is the Director of the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics and he stops by Midday from time to time to talk about how ethicists help us frame complex questions like these.

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