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Midday

The John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

David Simon needs no introduction in Baltimore, but a quick reminder for our far-flung listeners: David is an author, writer and producer of the acclaimed TV series about criminal justice in Baltimore, The Wire, and many other projects, including Treme, Show Me a Hero, and the upcoming HBO drama, The Deuce.

He joins Tom today in Studio A to talk about City of Immigrants: A Night of Support, an event that he has  organized in support of immigration and in opposition to the Trump Administration's proposed curbs on refugee admissions and travel from seven Muslim-majority nations. Tonight’s event  at Beth Am Synagogue in Reservoir Hill will include, in addition to remarks by David Simon, the Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Taylor Branch, the activist DeRay Mckesson, City Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen and others, with music by singer/songwriter/actor Steve Earle. Proceeds from the event will be donated to The National Immigration Law Center, the Tahirih Justice Center, the International Rescue Committee and the ACLU of Maryland. Donations will be matched up to $100,000 by David Simon’s Blown Deadline Productions.

The event  is sold out.  A small number of additional tickets be made available at 4 pm today.  If you can't get a ticket, don't despair.  The gathering of Baltimoreans "united against fear, nativism and the immigration ban" will be live-streamed on the Washington Post website. Here’s the link.  And, after the event, use the link to watch any time. 

Creative Common

Today marks the end of the third week of the Trump administration, and there was no let-up in the controversies the new president is generating.  A federal Appeals Court ruling last night upheld a lower court’s stay on the president’s executive order temporarily banning refugee admissions and travel from seven Muslim-majority countries. The President attacked the judges involved in that decision; his nominee to the Supreme Court called those attacks “demoralizing.”  Betsy DeVos was confirmed as the new Secretary of Education.  Her confirmation was historic, for all the wrong reasons.  Democrats convened at the Inner Harbor, struggling with a strategy to counter the Republicans’ dominance in DC.  And the city of Baltimore has begun the year more violently than in any year since the 1970s.

Helping us sort out the week's news on today's News Wrap:

White House correspondent Jenna Johnson of the Washington Post.  She joins Tom on the line from the Washington Post studios in DC; on the phone is John Fritze, Washington correspondent for the Baltimore Sun, and with Tom in the studio is A. Adar Ayira, program manager at Associated Black Charities.

 

SNL

WYPR producers Bridget Armstrong and Jamyla Krempel join Tom for Tube Talk. Shows like Saturday Night Live, Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, and The Late Show with Stephen Colbert are tackling President Trump and his administration one episode at a time. We'll talk about how the presidency is informing television. 

And, BET's New Edition biopic, which chronicles the ups and downs of the R&B boy band, is the highest rated program the network has aired in five years. We'll talk about what made the film successful and other shows on the horizon.

Photo by Britt Olsen-Ecker

Theater critic J. Wynn Rousuck joins us every Thursday with her reviews of regional stage productions. Today she's here to talk about Samsara, a new play by Lauren Yee now on stage at the Single Carrot Theatre that explores good intentions and unintended consequences, in a story that takes audiences from Northern California to India.  An American couple hoping to have a child engage a surrogate mother in India, whose pregnancy becomes an unexpectedly cathartic experience for her and the American parents. Their lives, and the life of the unborn child, intertwine in a karmic cycle of life, death and rebirth known to Hindus and Buddhists by the Sanskrit word, samsara.

Samsara continues at the Single Carrot Theatre through Sunday, February 12th.

Lloyd Fox The Baltimore Sun

When the Department of Justice issued its report on the findings of their investigation into the Baltimore City Police Department last summer, it stated unequivocally that the Police Department “engages in a pattern or practice of conduct that violates the Constitution or Federal Law.”

What followed after that report was a series of negotiations between the DOJ and Baltimore City Police that resulted in a consent decree that outlined the ways in which the police could address the problems identified in the report.

The consent decree was announced on January 12th, just a week before the Trump Administration assumed power. It called for, among other things, the creation of a Community Oversight Task Force, new procedures for stops, searches and arrests, new directives concerning use of force, and enhanced training for officers. A judge was appointed to approve and oversee the implementation of the consent decree.

Last week, U.S. District Judge James K. Bredar held a hearing at the federal courthouse in Baltimore. Judge Bredar must sign the consent decree in order for it to be in effect. He asked the parties involved, including Mayor Catherine Pugh, about various aspects of the deal, to determine whether or not it is feasible. Signing the consent decree is one thing. Repairing the damage done to the relationship between citizens and the police is quite another. But the consent decree is seen by many to be an important first step in fixing the distrust that exists between the police and in particular, communities of color here in Charm City.

Today, an update on where things stand so far in this lengthy and complex process. Tom's guests today in Studio A are Ganesha Martin,  Chief of the Baltimore Police Department of Justice Compliance and Accountability. Ray Kelly is a community organizer, an advocate, an activist and the Co-director of the No Boundaries Coalition of Central West Baltimore. Kevin Rector covers, among other things, crime and the courts for the Baltimore Sun. We invited the Dept. of Justice to participate in our conversation today and they declined that invitation. We also reached out several times to the Fraternal Order of Police, who did not respond.

Lewis Wallace

What role do journalists play in the so called “post fact”era? It’s no secret that President Trump and his administration have a contentious relationship with the mainstream media. The president routinely calls outlets like CNN and the New York Times “fake news.” Senior Advisor, Kellyanne Conway, famously invoked the validity of “alternative facts” when pressed about inaccurate statements made by the President about the size of the crowd at this year’s inauguration. Another senior advisor, Steven Bannon, called the media “the opposition party,” and urged it to keep its mouth shut.  

So, are we in a “post-fact” era, as some have suggested? Does journalistic objectivity and neutrality mean something different with this President, in this highly segmented media landscape? And how are the notions of objectivity and impartiality being shaped by a more diverse journalism pool?

Photos courtesy Edward Boches; Matt Carr

Last night, the New England Patriots won one of the most exciting Super Bowl championships in football history.  Will any of the ads that aired during the game go down in history?  Do Super Bowl ads even matter anymore? 

These days, a lot of advertising comes to us surreptitiously, often so heavily disguised that we don’t even know it is advertising, sponsored by a corporate entity.

Mara Einstein is Professor of Media Studies at Queen’s College in New York City.  Her latest book is called “Black Ops Advertising,” about why advertisers are becoming publishers, publishers are  becoming advertisers, and how these blurred lines are influencing not only what we spend and where we spend it, but even how we think about ourselves and about the issues shaping our society. 

Edward Boches is Professor of Advertising at Boston University's College of Communication.  He is a former partner at Mullen, a large ad firm, who has created several Super Bowl spots.   He is co-author, with Luke Sullivan, of the new fifth edition of “Hey Whipple, Squeeze This: The Classic Guide to Creating Great Ads”, which updates the popular text with chapters on digital, social and emerging media.  Boches writes the popular industry blog Creativity Unbound and shares his insights and opinions regularly on Twitter.

 

Professor Einstein joins Tom on the line from Argot Studios in New York, and Professor Boches connects from the public radio studios of WGBH, Boston. They're with us for the hour to shed light on the dark art of advertising, and to take your calls, emails and tweets.

photo courtesy cardin.senate.gov

Tom's guest for the hour today is the Senior Senator from Maryland, Ben Cardin

We are two weeks into a Trump administration that has moved quickly to make good on several campaign promises, but which has also retreated from other positions and aligned with policies long held by previous administrations.  Senator Cardin, a Democrat, has served in the U.S. Senate since 2007, and is currently the Ranking Member on the Foreign Relations Committee. He's also an outspoken advocate for the environment, financial ethics, health care reform, and small business development, among a broad range of legislative interests.

Tom asks Senator Cardin about Russia’s latest moves in Ukraine, the new Trump Administration's stance on expanding Israeli settlements in the West Bank , its new sanctions against Iran,  its feud with Australia, and the impact of its controversial immigration and travel ban. Other issues Tom explores with Senator Cardin:  What will the repeal of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) mean for Marylanders? And how would Appeals Court Judge Neil Gorsuch's confirmation as the 9th justice on the Supreme Court impact the nation's most powerful bench?

Those questions and more, plus listener calls, emails and tweets for the hour with Senator Ben Cardin.

FencesMovie.com

It’s Midday at the Movies!  Members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences have announced their nominees for top honors in last year's filmmaking, and in just a few weeks -- on Sunday, February 26th --  we’ll find out who the 2017 Oscar winners are.  Today, we’ll find out who Washington Post film critic Ann Hornaday and Jed Dietz of the MD Film Festival are rooting for.  It’s not an Oscar So White year for nominees, but will black  actors or filmmakers actually take home any statues?  And Jed reports on some of his favorites from last month’s Sundance Film Festival.

Photo by Rob Clatterbuck

Midday theater critic J. Wynn Rousuck joins us today, as she does each Thursday, with a review of the ambitious new production of Grey Gardens at Stillpointe Theatre.

Inspired by Albert and David Maysles' unforgettable 1975 documentary of the same name, the musical Grey Gardens offers a glimpse  into the poignant lives of Edith Ewing Bouvier Beale ("Big Edie") and her daughter Edith Bouvier Beale ("Little Edie"), played and sung by Zoe Kanter and Christine Demuth, respectively. 

The two women -- an aunt and niece of former First Lady Jackie Bouvier Kennedy Onassis -- famously transformed from edgy, upstart socialites into isolated, hoarding eccentrics by the late 1950s, spending their reclusive existence reliving their pasts and tending a colony of cats in their derelict mansion -- dubbed "Grey Gardens" -- in the posh Long Island beach community of East Hampton, New York.

The 2006 musical had a successful Broadway run, thanks in part to the solid book by Doug Wright and an intriguing score by Scott Frankel (music) and Michael Korie (lyrics). 

Daniella Robinette and Ryan Haase co-direct this new production to take full advantage of Stillpointe Theatre's recently expanded performance space.  

Grey Gardens continues at Stillpointe Theatre through February 12. Ticket information here.

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