Midday | WYPR

Midday

Baltimore City Public Schools

Last week, Baltimore City Public Schools President & CEO Dr. Sonja Santelises announced that unless additional funding is secured for next year’s school budget, Baltimore schools are facing layoffs of more than 1,000 teachers and faculty. Cuts to arts and enrichment programs are likely to come as well, as the system tries to to close a $130 million budget gap. Rising school costs and declining enrollment are not new challenges to city schools, but this year’s shortfall is the largest the district has faced in a long time.

The Baltimore Teachers Union called the layoffs “unacceptable” and Dr. Santelises herself concedes that her plan to balance the budget, will drastically change how the school system operates.

National Press Foundation

Mirroring the nationwide epidemic, the number of opioid addiction and abuse victims in Baltimore continues to rise, and overdose cases crowd the city’s emergency rooms.  Last week, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan appointed a Heroin and Opioid Emergency Task Force, and proposed new legislation for the General Assembly that would put strict limits on opioid prescriptions and impose tough new penalties for traffickers.  On this month's edition of  HealthwatchBaltimore City Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen joins Tom Hall  to discuss the city’s continuing response to the opioid epidemic. 

Dr. Wen answers our questions for the hour,  and takes your calls, emails and tweets about your public health concerns.

Stephen Melkisethian

We begin today with a conversation about the travel ban implemented by President Trump on Friday afternoon. The President blocked visitors from seven predominately Muslim countries, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. The initial ban even included those who hold green cards. After a night and day of chaotic events at airports around the world, those holding green cards were allowed to re-enter the US.

Reuters

Today, we begin a regular Friday feature: The Midday News Wrap, in which we'll spend the hour reviewing major local, national and international developments with a rotating panel of esteemed journalists, commentators and community leaders.

Friday marks the end of the first week of the Trump administration, a week marked by a dizzying array of Executive Orders and official memoranda by the President that at times placed him in opposition to his senior team and Cabinet nominees.  Trump showed no inclination to change his tone or style following his inauguration, nor did he show an impulse to modify any positions in the face of clear evidence that he is mistaken.  

Monica Reinagel

Artificial sweeteners aren’t just in diet sodas anymore, they’re in many of the processed foods we eat, and a new study shows consumption of those fake sugars is soaring among the very young – from middle schoolers to toddlers. Should we be worried about that?  Licensed nutritionist Monica Reinagel thinks so. She joins us today for another edition of Smart Nutrition.  She’ll also weigh in on the never-ending debate over those low-fat versus low-carb diets – a debate the Nutrition Diva says we probably don’t need to have.

And she takes your calls, emails and tweets about food, dieting and nutrition.

Photo by Joan Marcus

Midday theater critic J. Wynn Rousuck joins us every Thursday with her reviews of local and regional productions. This week, she's here with her take on Beautiful – The Carole King Musical , the touring-company production of the Broadway hit that's now on stage at Hippodrome Theatre through Sunday, January 29th.   Beautiful tells the story of King’s extraordinary rise to stardom.  It follows the arc of that career from the late 1950s to the early 1970s:  from her role in a hit songwriting team with husband Gerry Goffin, to her relationship with fellow writers and best friends Cynthia Weil and Barry Mann. We watch King's emergence as one of the most successful solo acts in popular music history.  Featuring an inspiring litany of treasured songs written by Gerry Goffin/Carole King and Barry Mann/Cynthia Weil, including “I Feel The Earth Move,” “One Fine Day,” “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman,” “ You’ve got A Friend” and the title song, Beautiful has a book by Tony Award®-nominee and Academy Award®-nominated writer Douglas McGrath, direction by Marc Bruni, and choreography by Josh Prince. The musical has won two 2014 Tony Awards® and a 2015 Grammy® Award.

Beautiful - the Carole King Musical runs through Sunday, January 29th at Hippodrome Theatre. 

Michelle Singletary

It’s not unusual for the election of a new president to cause uncertainty in the stock market. On election night when it became clear that Donald Trump would win the presidency markets dropped sharply, but they have bounced back to record highs. This morning, the Dow Industrial Average topped 20,000 for the first time in history.  That’s good news for investors but some analysts worry that the deregulation, the repeal of the Affordable Care Act without a substitute, or possible cuts to programs like Medicare could send the economy into a tumble.  

 So, what does all of this mean to individual investors who are saving to buy a house, or paying off student loans, or saving for a child’s education, or planning for retirement? Michelle Singletary joins Tom  to give us some tips on what we should be doing to manage our money during the Trump administration. Here's a hint: a lot of it is stuff you should have already been doing. Michelle Singletary writes the nationally syndicated personal finance column “The Color of Money” for the Washington Post. She’s the author of three books including The 21 Day Financial Fast: Your Path to Financial Peace and Freedom

Johns Hopkins University

Some people call it “assisted suicide.” Others prefer the terms “death with dignity,” "aid to the dying," or “the right to die.” Whatever the label, nearly 20 percent of Americans now live in places where it’s legal. Washington, DC is one of those places. Maryland is not.  Should it be? 

Today, Dr. Jeffrey Kahn, the Director of the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics, joins host Tom Hall in the studio to discuss the dilemmas that dying patients, their families, and doctors face.

Every medical or scientific advancement comes with a slew of sometimes complex ethical dilemmas. Dr. Kahn’s regular visits to the Midday studio help us wrestle with the ethical questions faced by researchers and policy makers – and the rest of us. Can ethicists help us frame the questions we need to ask when we are confronted with new research possibilities, or new advances in science and technology? We think so.

Shepard Fairey

Joining Tom today are two journalists who attended the historic Women's March in Washington on Saturday. Mary Rose Madden is a reporter for WYPR. Natalie Sherman is on the line from The Baltimore Sun newsroom.  We also take your calls, tweets and emails about how you experienced this past weekend's historic events. 

Many people are already referring to the Inauguration on Friday and the protests that occurred in Washington and around the world the next day as indicative of a massive paradigm shift, both in the policies of the U.S. government, and in the ways opposition to those policies might be organized moving forward. The President’s election was seen as a celebration of business acumen, triumph of populism, and a rejection of the status quo.

Mr. Trump came to power with the lowest approval rating of any president in history, and his first two-and-a-half days in office were seen by many as a calamitous mess. He signed executive orders that have already shaken the markets for health care, he astonished some in the intelligence community by giving a self-obsessed peroration in what is considered hallowed ground at CIA headquarters, and his press secretary’s debut in the White House briefing room included brazen and false claims about the size of the crowd at Friday’s inauguration. Yesterday, a Senior Advisor, Kellyanne Conway, asserted the primacy of “alternative facts.”

The fervor of Trump supporters, before and since the election is undeniable. On Friday, they enthusiastically applauded the new President’s brief, forceful inauguration speech in which he promised to put an end to violence in American cities, an end to the corruption that pervades politics, and an end to America’s not winning on the global stage. It was a speech that was short on graciousness, and long on bromides and slogans. It was rapturously received by the large crowd who braved the rain, and who ignored the scattered and sometimes violent protests that took place throughout the day.

And oh, what a difference a day makes. The dichotomy between Friday and Saturday on the Mall in Washington couldn’t have been more pronounced. On Saturday, a crowd estimated to be three times the size of the one that attended the inauguration, gathered on the National Mall to express their distaste for many parts of the perceived Trump agenda, and to stake a claim as an opposition that is energized and determined to thwart the initiatives of President Trump and the Republican-led Congress.

______________________________________________________________________________________

Image courtesy Victory Fellowship

It’s time for another installment in our monthly series, Living Questions, in which we examine the role of religion in the public sphere.  We’re producing this series in partnership with the Institute for Islamic, Christian and Jewish Studies.

Today, we’re actually going to be talking about the role of religion in a not-quite-so-public sphere.  Tom's guests are two Lutheran pastors who bring their ministries to Maryland prisons, and a religious scholar who’s taught classes on the Hebrew Bible for Maryland inmates.

The Rev. Gerry Rickel is the Pastor at St. Dysmas, a Lutheran community in the Maryland prison system.  The Rev. Susan Beck is the pastor at The Shepherd of the Glen Lutheran Church in Glenwood.  She works with Gerry Rickel in his prison ministry. And joining Tom on the line from public radio station WAMU in Washington is Dr. Jerome Copulsky. He is a Scholar-in-Residence teaching religion at American University’s Department of Philosophy and Religion, and has taught classes on the Hebrew Bible at the Maryland Correctional Institution in Jessup.

Pages