Midday | WYPR



As the Oscar deadline looms, studios are releasing films as fast as anyone can watch them. Movie Mavens Jed Dietz and Ann Hornaday join Tom to talk about the new movies that standout. 

Will the controversy around actor and director Nate Parker’s 1999 rape charge – a charge he was acquitted of – overshadow his film The Birth of a Nation? Despite Parker’s assertion that the film is an “important story that everyone should see,” many have decided to boycott the release. The film chronicles the life of a Nat Turner, a slave who led an 1831 rebellion in Southhampton County, VA.   

Photo by Jazzy Studios

Forty years ago, Baltimore was a major manufacturing center. One third of the city’s workforce was employed in factories both large and small. Today, just 5% of Charm City’s workforce earns a living making things. That decline has played out in cities across the country. US manufacturing employment peaked in 1979, and it’s been declining ever since, down to just 9% of the national workforce today. Baltimore's manufacturing base has suffered, just like everywhere else in the nation, from cheap labor overseas, surging imports, new technologies and a changing business climate.

Today we’re going to look at the evolving state of manufacturing in Baltimore, through the lens of three innovators who’ve been working in various ways to foster a flowering of small business manufacturing and artisan craftwork such as textiles and furniture-making.

Will Holman is the General Manager of Open Works, the 11-point-5-million-dollar “makerspace” that opened September 19th in the Station North Arts and Entertainment District, near Greenmount Cemetery. He’s an architect by training, and also a furniture maker.

Andy Cook is the founder of the Made in Baltimore Campaign, a project of The Baltimore City Planning Department’s Office of Sustainability. Made in Baltimore is partnering with the Urban Manufacturing Alliance on a study to assess the State of Urban Manufacturing across the country. Baltimore will serve as one of the case study cities.

Rasheed Aziz is here as well. Six years ago, he started the Citywide Youth Entrepreneurship Program to work with teens in Baltimore's most distressed neighborhoods.

They all join Tom in the studio.

Photo: Rob Clatterbuck

As she does most every Thursday on Midday, veteran theater critic J. Wynn Rousuck joins Tom in the Midday studio, this week with her review of  The Wild Party, the latest production by Iron Crow Theatre company, now on stage at the Theatre Project.  The musical is based on a lusty -- and lengthy --narrative poem from the 1920s by a writer named Joseph Moncure March.

Iron Crow's script moves the action out of the 1920s and closer to present-day, and the music, too, is more contemporary.  As Ms. Rousuck explains, this high-spirited musical also deals with some pretty  contemporary themes.

The Iron Crow Theatre’s production of “The Wild Party” continues at the Theatre Project tonight through Sunday (Oct. 9).

Donald Trump

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has taken a lot of heat for not releasing his tax returns. While it isn’t mandatory, presidential candidates have released their tax records since George Romney called Richard Nixon out for refusing to release his in 1968. Over the weekend the New York Times published a copy of Mr. Trump’s 1995 returns that they say was sent to them by mail. The document shows that Mr. Trump reported a $916 million dollar business loss -- a loss that may have allowed him to legally duck out on federal taxes for 18 years. Add that to a less than stellar debate performance last week and  you could say Mr. Trump is having a very bad, no good couple of weeks.

Jenna Johnson covers the Trump campaign for the Washington Post. She joins to discuss how Trump's campaign is responding. 

Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images

Last night vice presidential candidates Indiana Governor Mike Pence and Virginia Senator Tim Kaine met in Farmville, VA for a 90-minute debate that had more than a few moments of interruptions from the candidates.  

So what did we learn? Did either Vice Presidential candidate move the needle for their respective campaigns? A. Adar Ayira is the Director of Programs for the More in the Middle Initiative with Associated Black Charities.  She also serves on the advisory board of Baltimore Racial Justice Action. Richard Cross is a former Capitol Hill staffer, and a speechwriter for Gov. Robert Ehrlich. He also volunteered as a speechwriter at the Republican National Convention this summer. They join Tom for Vice Presidential debate analysis. 


Tom is joined in the studio for the full hour by Delegate Kathy Szeliga.  She is the Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Barbara Mikulski, who has served in Congress longer than any woman in history.  Del. Szeliga will go head-to-head with her chief rival for that senate seat in November: Representative Chris Van Hollen, a Democrat, who has served Maryland’s 8th Congressional District since 2003. (To listen to Tom's pre-primary interview with Rep. Van Hollen on the March 2, 2016 Maryland Morning program​, click here.)   Del. Szeliga has represented Baltimore and Harford Counties in the Maryland House of Delegates' District 7 for five years, and is the minority whip.  Should she be Maryland’s next U.S. senator? A conversation with Del. Kathy Szeliga. 

This program is part of Tom Hall's Talking with the Candidates series that began early this year on Maryland Morning and continues now on Midday -- an ongoing effort to help inform you about the Maryland candidates running for local, state and national elective offices.  

Is Donald Trump's candidacy an aberration?   Not if you look at recent political history.  The Republican primary voters who helped Mr. Trump win the party's US presidential nomination have many antecedents in American and European politics.   Tom's guest today has written a book that traces the history of populism as a political movement, from Huey Long in Louisiana in the 1930s, through George Wallace’s run for President in 1968, through Donald Trump’s persistent candidacy -- which appears to have a base of support larger than almost anyone imagined when he began his run for the White House in the summer of 2015.

The author  suggests that the ground Trump is tilling became fertile during the financial crisis of 2008-2009, and that the populism of the left, with figures such as Bernie Sanders, grew out of this same soil.   The book is called The Populist Explosion: How the Great Recession Transformed American and European Politics.  The author is John Judis, who lives in Silver Spring, and who joins Tom this afternoon in Studio A.

Coppin State University

There are approximately 107 Historically Black Colleges and Universities in the United States. Many were established to educate African-Americans following the civil war and continued to prosper during an era when white institutions refused to admit black students. At one point, HBCUs were responsible for educating 80 percent of black college grads. When the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was signed, it opened the doors for students of color to attend predominately white colleges and HBCU enrollment declined.  Now, many HBCUs are seeing a surge in enrollment and experts say the Black Lives Matter movement and increased attention to racial tension on predominately white campuses could be behind the enrollment trend.

Photo by Tim Prendergast

The gypsy-jazz band Hot Club of Baltimore joins Tom in the studio for a live session, playing a couple of tunes from the songbook of the legendary Django Reinhardt.  Hot Club Baltimore is a four-year-old local trio that includes Michael Joseph Harris and Sami Arefin on acoustic guitars and Eddie Hrybyk (pr. RYE-bik) on upright bass. They'll join a roster of 50+ top local bands, soloists and singers at this weekend's first-ever Baltimore JazzFest, a free event inspired by Baltimore JazzAlliance founder Barry Glassman and produced by current BJA President Ian Rashkin.  Baltimore JazzFest is happening Saturday, October 1st, from noon to 8:30pm at Druid Hill Park.  Rain or shine. Click here for more information.

On Wednesday, September 28th, Congress finally approved long-delayed funding to fight the Zika epidemic.  What will that one-point-one billion dollar measure mean for the battle against  the mosquito borne disease in MD?  Baltimore City Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen joins Tom Hall  for our monthly Healthwatch segment.  She’ll have an update on the status of local control efforts.

Other topics today include how the city plans to use a new 5-million dollar federal grant to help West Baltimore communities traumatized by the violence of the 2015 uprising.   And Dr. Wen notes the second HealthyBaltimore 2020 conversation planned for Thursday evening, from 6-8pm, at the National Great Blacks in Wax Museum. These townhall meetings are an opportunity for city residents to learn more about the city's new strategy for bringing more equitable health and wellness services to Baltimorians before the end of the decade. Check out the event site www.hb2020.com for details