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Johns Hopkins University

Today, we consider some important issues in the field of bioethics.

Tom welcomes Dr. Jeffrey Kahn to Studio A.  Dr. Kahn is the director of the Berman Center of Bioethics at Johns Hopkins University.  Folks in his field think about things like the ethical ramifications of research, how doctors interact with patients, public health policy, and global approaches to things like food distribution and allocation of medicine.  Different approaches have different outcomes, and bioethicists think about those outcomes through the prism of the moral dimension of those choices.

We thought we’d start by talking about the public health issue that has dominated the headlines since this summer.  The Zika virus grabbed the public health spotlight and spread like crazy in certain parts of the world, including an outbreak that has been controlled in the Miami area. One of the approaches to eliminating the virus that scientists are considering involves genetically modifying mosquitoes and then releasing them into the environment. On the surface, it may seem that changing the genetic make-up of some insects shouldn’t be cause for alarm. But like so many of the issues that Jeff Kahn and his colleagues consider, it’s not that simple.

Dr. Kahn also weighs in on the topic of babies now being born with more than two biological parents. They actually carry the genetic material of three parents. To the parents who otherwise might not have biological children, the technology that makes this possible is a blessing. But is it a good idea? What are the consequences of these new possibilities? Tom asks Dr. Kahn about framing the questions we should be asking in bioethics, to find the answers we need.

Photo by Joan Marcus

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is a play adapted from the 2003 mystery novel by British writer Mark Haddon. The novel is told from a first-person perspective by Christopher John Francis Boone, a 15-year-old boy living in suburban England who describes himself as "a mathematician with some behavioral difficulties."

Christopher's condition is never identified, but he appears to fit the profile of someone living on the autism spectrum, with a condition once referred to as Asperger's syndrome.  Haddon has blogged that he is not an expert on autism, and that "Curious Incident is not a book about Asperger's....if anything, it's a novel about difference, about being an outsider, about seeing the world in a surprising and revealing way."

Johns Hopkins University

The Baltimore Marathon is one of nearly 1,200 certified marathons in the United States.  On Saturday, runners from all 50 states and 24 countries around the world will converge on Charm City to run through some of our most historic neighborhoods and beautiful parks.  About 4,000 runners will attempt the Olympian feat of staying in motion for 26.2 miles.  Roughly 12,000 brave souls will jog through the 13.1 mile half marathon, and about 5,000 will run the 5K race earlier in the day.  Another few thousand will run distances of 6-7 miles on relay teams.   That’s a lot of collective steps, and a lot of potential blisters, backaches, and wobbly knees.

Tom's guest today knows a lot about the physical challenges that are faced by professional athletes and weekend warriors alike.  Dr. Miho Tanaka is an orthopaedic surgeon and the Director of the Women’s Sports Medicine Program at Johns Hopkins Hospital.  Before moving to Baltimore, she was the team physician for the St. Louis Cardinals and the St Louis Surge in the WNBA.  She has also served as assistant team physician for the Baltimore Orioles and another professional women’s basketball team, the NY Liberty.  She is a former collegiate athlete herself.   She was on the Stanford University track team, and has treated student athletes from high school to college.    She joins Tom in the studio for the full hour, and takes your calls and emails.

What is the lineage between the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s and the Black Lives Matter Movement of today? Both movements focus on racial justice but the Black Lives Matter Movement prides itself on being a broad and inclusive movement that is not led by any one particular person. The Civil Rights Movement is largely characterized as being led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 

Liz Copeland; Maryland Public Television

The pace of bizarre events in the presidential campaign continues at a dizzying clip. On Friday, David Fahrenthold of The Washington Post broke the story that in 2005, Donald Trump bragged about committing sexual assault to, of all people, a first cousin of former president George W. Bush and former presidential candidate Jeb Bush.

In the debate Sunday night (10/09), Mr. Trump said it was just locker room banter, and that the assaults never happened. Julian Assange of WikiLeaks released emails hacked from Clinton campaign manager John Podesta’s gmail account which indicated that, in some speeches to Wall Street banks, Sec. Hillary Clinton discussed the need to hold one position in private and another in public.

Last night, she said that political leaders who did so include Abraham Lincoln. This only confirmed for her detractors that she can’t be trusted. Over the weekend, about 50 Republican lawmakers, including Sen. John McCain and Sen. Rob Portman disowned Trump. Trump disowned them right back, and even publicly parted ways with his running mate over policy in Syria.  Clinton is widely credited with not making any mistakes last night, but the Trump camp most certainly considers it a win.

Let’s put winning and losing aside for the moment, and ask two political observers what we learned last night, and where we’ve come as the presidential campaign enters its final month.

Liz Copeland is the founder of the Urban Conservative Project, and a former Republican candidate for the Baltimore City Council. Charles Robinson reports on business and politics for Maryland Public Television. They joined Tom in studio.

Dwight Cendrowski

When the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra hired Marin Alsop as its Music Director in 2005, it made history by becoming the first major American orchestra to engage a woman as its artistic leader.

Women have continued to make progress in major symphonies. But even the most casual and infrequent visitor to the Meyerhoff in Baltimore or the Music Center at Strathmore will notice that while there are a lot of women playing in the BSO, there is only one African American member of the orchestra. She is Esther Mellon, and she’s been a gifted member of the BSO ‘cello section since the 1980s.

The BSO is not alone. Orchestras across the country, even in majority African American cities like Baltimore, rarely have more than just a few people of color in their ensembles. Aaron Dworkin is working to change that. Dworkin is the Dean of the School of Music, Theatre & Dance at the University of Michigan. For years, he has been a leader and animating force behind efforts to connect people of color with jobs in the classical music business. He is the founder of the Sphinx Organization in Detroit, which is a national organization dedicated to transforming lives through the power of diversity in the arts.

Dworkin is in Baltimore today to give a talk at the Peabody Institute this afternoon at 2:30. That event is free and open to the public.  It can also be seen via livestream. Tom welcomed Mr. Dworkin to Studio A just before his event at Peabody.


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.