Midday | WYPR

Midday

Sen. Ben Cardin said he is optimistic about a possible bipartisan health care bill. He made the comments on Friday while speaking with WYPR’s Tom Hall on Midday.

  

Tom is joined by Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), the senior senator from Maryland. This morning, he led an interfaith meeting to respond to the violence in Charlottesville.  We’ll talk about President Trump’s pandering and bigoted response to that dark day, his decision to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, and the prospects for tax reform.  

Senator Cardin is the ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. We’ll also talk about the growing tensions with North Korea and the president’s recent comments about the prospects of a military conflict. 

Photo courtesy Andrea Carlson

Singer, songwriter, and guitarist  Andrea Carlson performs tracks from her latest album 'Love Can Be So Nice'  live in the Midday studio. Carlson is appearing at Germano’s Piattini this evening, and her performance is one of many that is included in the 3rd annual Madonnari Festival, a celebration of music, Italian food and art. Jennifer Chaparro, artist and winner of the International Chalk Festival, will also join us in studio to chat about the annual event where artist from Baltimore and all over the world will be canvasing the streets of Little Italy with chalk and chalk tempura art.  

photo courtesy HBO.com

It's Midday at the Movies, our monthly conversation about new flicks and new trends in the film industry. Tom's guests today are Maryland Film Festival founder and director Jed Dietz, and Baltimore Magazine's managing editor and film critic Max Weiss, who also writes about culture at Vulture.com, the entertainment website of New York Magazine.

The last four months of the year are typically when movie  studios give us their best shot, with an eye on the year-end deadline for the awards season.

So what happened this year?  This summer's movie season included more flops than an Olympic track meet.  Can the film industry bounce back from one of its worst summers in 25 years? 

Tom and his guests discuss how a new crop of films, in theaters as well as on streaming Internet services, could help turn things around.  They'll  be talking about the new HBO series from director David Simon and George Pelacanos called "The Deuce",  which premiers Sunday September 10th,  and about the new movies coming to local theaters, including Ingrid Goes West, Logan Lucky, Okja, and Beach Rats, among others.

photo courtesy Hippodrome Theatre

It's Thursday, and that means our theater critic J. Wynn Rousuck joins Tom in the studio with her weekly report on the region's thespian landscape.  

This week, Judy looks ahead to the 2017-2018 season and spotlights some of the local and touring productions slated to grace the region's stages in the coming months, including two notable musicals coming to the Hippodrome:  Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber's sequel to his Phantom of the Opera, called Love Never Dies, and The School of Rock.  

The Kids Count Report: Tracking Child Welfare in America

Sep 6, 2017
Photo Credit datacenter.kidscount.org

It's back-to-school time for many of our nation's young people, and today we are taking a look at the status of children in our state and across the country.   The 2017 Kids Count Data Book,  a new report from the Baltimore-based Annie E Casey Foundation, ranks all 50 states by measures of health, education, economic well-being and more.  As more than 16 million American children currently live in poverty, our panel considers how to best meet the challenges that this most vulnerable segment of our population faces.  Where does Maryland stand in the rankings?  And how can obstacles be overcome through more effective policies and social services?     

Tom is joined in Studio A by Patrick McCarthy, president and CEO of the Casey Foundation; Becky Wagner, executive director of Advocates for Children & Youth  in Baltimore (the Maryland partner for the Casey Foundation’s  Kids Count project); and Dr. Camika Royal, assistant professor of Urban Education at Loyola University Maryland and co-director of Loyola’s Center for Innovation in Urban Education. 

 

Farrar, Straus, and Giroux,

With the Baltimore City Council, the Mayor, the Police Chief and the City States Attorney advocating for mandatory minimum sentences for gun possession, a conversation about incarceration, race, and criminal justice. African Americans are 6x more likely to imprisoned for drug charges, even though blacks and whites use drugs at similar rates. Overall, African Americans are incarcerated at more than 5 times the rate of whites? How did we get here? What laws and policy shaped our bias criminal justice system, and what role did African American political, law enforcement and religious leaders play in shaping that system? James Forman Jr. is a professor of law at the Yale Law School and the author of Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America.

Sheri Parks is an Associate Dean for Research, Interdisciplinary Scholarship and Programming at the College of Arts and Humanities at the University of MD College Park, where she is also an Associate Professor in the Department of American Studies. She’s the author of Fierce Angels: Living with a Legacy from the Sacred Dark Feminine to the Strong Black Woman. 

MikeRowe.com

(This program was originally broadcast on September 21, 2016)

Mike Rowe joins Midday host Tom Hall to talk about rolling up his sleeves and getting down to work in some of the hardest professions on Discovery Channel's Dirty Jobs and later on Somebody’s Gotta Do It, which aired on CNN from 2014 until May 2016.

These days, in addition to hosting a podcast called The Way I Heard It, Mike has turned his focus to closing the skills gap by providing scholarships through the mikeroweWORKS Foundation, for people who want to learn a skill or trade that is in high demand. Mike says the desire to start the foundation came from meeting thousands of skilled workers who make good livings and are passionate about their careers. Many of the folks he shadowed did not have advanced degrees, a point that isn’t missed on Mike. He says as a society we put too much emphasis on obtaining a four-year degree as the only path to success and not enough on obtaining a skill set in a specific vocation that could lead to a successful career.

Mike also shares how he got his big break into showbiz when Tom Hall hired him for an opera in 1983.

Courtesy Harper Collins Publisher

(This program was originally aired on June 5, 2017)

With more than 6,000 hours of shows logged during an influential career that spanned more than 30 years, David Letterman’s impact on the landscape of late-night is unquestioned.    On today's Midday, a closer look at the life and work of the trend-setting funny man, through the eyes of a writer-journalist who's spent the past three years sizing up the Letterman legacy.

Doug Mills/NY Times

(This program originally aired on May 17, 2017.) 

Our country is becoming increasingly diverse. People of color will outnumber non-Latino, white Americans in 30 years. Are our newsrooms representative of our increasingly diverse nation? It’s a question that news organizations are grappling with across the country. Last month, NPR’s Ombudsman Elizabeth Jensen published a report that said that in 2016, of the 350 employees in the NPR news division 75.4 percent were white. In the commentary Jensen wrote "There's simply no way around it: If the goal is to increase diversity in the newsroom, last year's was a disappointing showing” 

Last December, New York Times Public Editor Liz Spayd published a frank piece about the lack of diversity in their newsroom. Of course NPR and the New York Times are not alone. In 2014, minorities made up 22 percent of television journalists, 13 percent of radio journalists, and 13 percent of journalists at daily newspapers. That’s according to the Radio Television Digital News Association and the American Society of News Editors. People of color make up about 15% of the programming staff at WYPR.

Photo courtesy Creative Commons

 (We originally aired this program on June 28, 2017.)

There's no shortage of think pieces exploring the ways Millennials -- that is, folks born between 1981 and 1996 -- differ from older generations. Those pieces often describe a generation of entitled, lazy, participation-trophy babies.  But some experts say that perception is wrong and reflects our society's misunderstanding of Millennials and their relationship with technology. 

James VanRensselaer Homewood Photography

(We originally aired this program on June 20, 2017.)  

Last month (May 2017), the stabbing death of Bowie State University student and 2nd Lt. Richard Collins III grabbed national headlines, and left students and faculty wondering how the frightening and tragic incident could have happened 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. 

Penguin Random House

“Do black lives matter to the courts?” It’s the question raised time and time again when unarmed black men are killed by police and the officers are either not indicted, or not convicted. It’s the question raised by NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund President Sherrilyn Ifill in a new collection of essays called Policing the Black Man: Arrest, Prosecution and Imprisonment.

Professor Angela J. Davis is the collection's editor. She's a law professor at American University's Washington College of Law. She's also the author of several books, including Arbitrary Justice: The Power of the American Prosecutor.

Sherrilyn Ifill, with her colleague Jin Hee Lee, co-wrote the essay in Policing the Black Man,  titled "Do Black Lives Matter to the Courts?" Sherrilyn is also the author of On the Courthouse Lawn: Confronting the Legacy of Lynching in the 21st Century

Photo by George David Sanchez

(This program originally aired on April 25, 2017)  

Today, it’s Midday on Mid Life.  Mid Life can be a dizzying hash of juggling jobs, keeping a marriage vibrant, tending to children as they enter adulthood, and caring for parents as they enter their twilight years.  No wonder the term “midlife” so often has the word “crisis” attached to it like a tentacle.     

But our 40s, 50s and 60s can also be a time when we come into our own, forge new relationships, and discover fresh things about the world and ourselves. 

In her most recent book, Life Reimagined: The Science, Art and Opportunity of Midlifeformer NPR correspondent Barbara Bradley Hagerty takes a clear-eyed look at the challenges and joys of being old enough to know better, and young enough to enjoy the new things that life might have to offer. 

(Barbara Bradley Hagerty talked about her book April 26th at the Towson Unitarian Universalist Church on Dulaney Valley Road in Lutherville, Maryland.  Her talk was sponsored by Well for the Journey, a spiritual wellness center offering classes and workshops in Towson.)

The Urban Forest: Why It's Crucial

Aug 24, 2017
Photos by Peggy Fox/K. Wilson

(This program originally aired on Nov. 22, 2016)

When you look up, what do you see? If you’re in Baltimore and many other U.S. cities, what you see are trees. When viewed from above, the tree canopy, as it is known, covers more than 27% of Baltimore. And, if today’s urban arborists have their way, that figure will be significantly higher 20 years from now.

Today, a conversation about urban forests. What purpose do they serve in our daily lives? Who planted them, and why? What lessons did we learn from the mid-20th century disaster known as Dutch Elm Disease, or the Emerald Ash Borer infestation, which have decimated the urban tree-cover in cities across the U.S.? And what do today’s science and technology reveal about the importance of the grown environment in American cities?

Tom's guests in Studio A are Jill Jonnes and Erik Dihle.

Jill Jonnes is an author, a historian, and self-described “tree-hugger.” She’s also the author of six books. Her latest is called “Urban Forests: A Natural History of Trees and People in the American Cityscape.” She’s the founder of the Baltimore Tree Trust. She was a scholar in residence at the Woodrow Wilson International Center in Washington and has been both a Ford Foundation and National Endowment for the Humanities scholar. She is based here in Baltimore. She'll be reading from "Urban Forests" tonight at the Ivy Bookshop in Baltimore at 7 pm. 

Erik Dihle is Baltimore City’s Arborist and Chief of Urban Forestry. He leads Tree Baltimore, the city’s tree planting initiative, which works with non-profit partners, including the Baltimore Tree Trust, to increase the city’s tree canopy.

Nina Subin

(This program originally aired January 18, 2017)  

This week, we are taking a look back at the Presidency of Barack Obama. Tom is joined by Dr. Michael Eric Dyson, a searing provocateur whose unstinting critique of the historic nature of Obama’s tenure includes what he considers to be the missed opportunities to advance the cause of racial equality. One of Dyson’s chief criticisms is the President’s reluctance to hold white people at least partially responsible for black suffering.  

In his latest book, Tears We Cannot Stop: A  Sermon to White America, Dyson argues that the responsibility lies not just with uninformed bigots, but with people who may consider themselves enlightened and fair-minded, but who can’t accept the truth of racial history.  < Dr. Michael Eric Dyson is a sociology professor at Georgetown University. He is the author of 18 other books, including The Black Presidency: Barack Obama and the Politics of Race in America.

Penguin Random House

(This program originally aired on April 18, 2017)

Tom is joined today by Nigerian author, essayist and activist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. She splits her time between her native country Nigeria and the US, where she has a home in Columbia, Maryland. She's won several prestigious awards, including the Orange Broadband Prize for Fiction and a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship. She's headlining the 2017 Baltimore CityLit Festival later this month. That’s an annual event sponsored by the CityLit Project, an organization that advances the cause of all things literary here in Maryland.

Cover art courtesy Little, Brown and Co., Publisher

(This program originally aired March 13, 2017)

Their names are familiar: Freddie Gray, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice...and others.   Young, unarmed black men killed by police. Their common, tragic fates and what led to them are the focus of Tom's conversation today with Wesley Lowery.

Lowery is a Washington Post reporter who’s been on the ground covering incidents of police violence since protests erupted in Ferguson, Missouri, following the death of Michael Brown.

Lowery’s new book examines law enforcement culture and the legacy of unconstitutional treatment of African-Americans that continues to seed mistrust between police and communities of color. 

“For most white Americans," Lowery tells Tom, "the police are someone you call when you are in trouble. For most black and brown Americans, the police are an oppressive force, who they see as harassing them and interacting with them in ways that could lead to them being dead.”

A Midday Special Edition: Pulitzer Prize-winning author Wesley Lowery on his new book, They Can’t Kill Us All: Ferguson, Baltimore, and a New Era of America’s Racial Justice Movement. 

This program was pre-recorded, so we didn't take any phone calls.  If you want to comment on the show, you can tweet us @middaytomhall, or write to us at midday@wypr.org or on Midday's Facebook page. 

Midday News Wrap 8.18.17

Aug 18, 2017
Photo courtesy Kenneth K. Lam/Baltimore Sun

It's the Midday News Wrap, our review of the week's top news stories, with a rotating panel of journalists and commentators.

Protesting the planned removal of a Confederate monument was the pretext for a Unite the Right rally by armed neo-Nazi and Ku Klux Klansmen in Charlottesville, Virginia, last weekend.  Dozens were injured in the ensuing melee with counter protesters, and a young woman named Heather Heyer was killed when a white nationalist drove his car into the crowd.  

President Trump angered critics and supporters alike with his shifting analyses of the violence in Charlottesville, his refusal to unequivocally denounce the white supremacist groups by name, and his insistence that counter-protesters share equal blame for the weekend violence. 

In the days that followed, Confederate-themed monuments became rallying points for anti-racism protests and criticism in many US cities, resulting in the removal of monuments here in Baltimore and North Carolina, with other states, including Florida and Kentucky, pledging to remove their monuments as well.  

To help parse these and other news stories, Tom is joined by Dr. Ray Winbush, Research Professor and Director of the Institute for Urban Research at Morgan State University and Ayesha Rascoe, White House correspondent for the Reuters news agency.  

Photo courtesy National Radio Astronomy Observatory

Jim O'Leary, the lead space science and astronomy specialist at the Maryland Science Center, speaks with Tom about the partial solar eclipse that will be visible here in Maryland on Monday afternoon.  Although Maryland is not in the path of totality, if weather conditions are right, we will  experience a hearty partial solar eclipse -- a celestial phenomenon only slightly less remarkable than totality. 

Symphony Number One, Live in Studio

Aug 18, 2017
Photo courtesy Jordanrsmith.com

Conductor Jordan Randall Smith joins Tom in the Midday studio, along with two members of his 20-piece chamber orchestra,  Symphony Number One: clarinetist Scott Johnson and bassoonist Mateen Milan.  

Smith founded the classical ensemble two years ago and already they've released two albums and given world premiere performances of more thana dozen works.

The two SNO musicians perform live in the Midday studio and Smith, Johnson and Milan discuss the finer points of working in a small classical orchestra.

Playlist:

Beethoven, Duo No. 1 for Clarinet and Bassoon 

Scott Joplin, The Entertainer 

For more information on all upcoming concerts please visit symphonynumber.one/eve.  

Courtesy of Rollin Hu

Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh moved quickly and quietly early Wednesday morning to have the city's four Confederate monuments removed from their pedestals, in response to the weekend violence in Charlottesville and concerns that conflicts over the statues could threaten public safety.  

Tom speaks with filmmaker and arts curator Elissa Blount Moorhead about the mayor's decision. Moorhead is a filmmaker and partner at TNEG Films. She is also an Incubator Fellow at the Saul Zaentz Innovation Fund in Film & Media at Johns Hopkins.  She recently directed a short film for Jay Z called 4:44.

In September of 2015, then-Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake appointed Moorhead and several other people to a commission to make recommendations about what to do with the four monuments. In August 2016, the commission recommended the city remove two of Baltimore's confederate statues— the Roger B. Taney Monument on Mount Vernon Place and the Robert E. Lee and Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson Monument in the Wyman Park Dell. The commission recommended the placement of contextual signage at the two other monuments: the Confederate Soldiers and Sailors Monument on Mount Royal Avenue and the Confederate Women's Monument on West University Parkway.

Courtesy of Raqui Minwell

Welcome to another edition of What Ya Got Cookin? -- Midday's bi-monthly tribute to the wonders of good food, good cooks, and good eating.  Today the topic is soul food and southern cooking.  

As always, Tom is joined by Midday’s resident foodies, John Shields and Sascha Wolhandler

John is a chef, author and the owner of Gertrude’s Restaurant at the Baltimore Museum of Art. He’s also the host of Coastal Cooking and Chesapeake Bay Cooking on Maryland Public Television and PBS. Sascha and her husband Steve Susser recently retired from their long career running Sascha’s 527 Cafe in the Mt. Vernon neighborhood of Charm City

Our special guest today is Chef David Thomas, a career food professional with more than 25 years in the restaurant and food service trade. Previously the chef and owner of The Herb & Soul Café, Thomas has now partnered with the media company, Real News Network, on a new restaurant in downtown Baltimore called Ida B’s Table.

Courtesy of Joshua McKerrow

Today, Midday theater critic J. Wynn Rousuck joins Tom with her review of  Alice and the Book of Wonderland, a new rendition of the classic being produced on stage by the Annapolis Shakespeare Company, in Annapolis, Maryland. Sally Boyett and Donald Hicken adapted Lewis Carroll's whimsical children's novel and gave it a modern twist. Boyett directs the action, which involves a series of absurd Carrollian vignettes that draws the curious young Alice deeper into Wonderland's surreal mysteries.

Center Stage

 

In the 24 hours since our last broadcast, we’ve witnessed the horrifying spectacle of the President vigorously defending White Supremacists by equating their actions in Charlottesville, VA last weekend with the actions of counter protesters. It appears that the anodyne remarks the President made on Saturday more closely reflected his true feelings, which appear to have been exposed yesterday. Also, overnight, following a Monday night vote of the City Council, Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh had four controversial Confederate monuments removed from their pedestals.    

Tom is joined by Kwame Kwei-Armah, OBE, the Artistic Director of Baltimore Center Stage. As a playwright, essayist, performer and director, he knows a lot about acting, truth-telling, staging and symbolism. At the end of this season, he’ll leave Center Stage to pursue other projects, and he will leave it a much different place than it was when he arrived in 2011. Kwame Kwei-Armah is no stranger to the power of stage and symbolism.  He talks with Tom about the Confederate monuments: what they mean, and what their absence means.

STEP the Film

The new documentary film, "STEP" by Amanda Lipitz, who grew up in Charm City, has been critically acclaimed, and it’s raised the profile of a Baltimore middle and high school  immeasurably.  “STEP” follows a high school step team during their senior year at the Baltimore Leadership School for Young Women, an all-girls public charter school here in Baltimore City. 

Paula Dofat is one of the faculty members who are featured in the film. She’s the Director of College Counseling at the school – charged with ensuring that the school's graduates attend college. She's a powerful force in a terrific film, and she joined Tom today in Studio A. 

Photo By Kathleen Cahill

Today , a conversation about  mandatory minimums and monuments.

Last night, the Baltimore City Council narrowly passed a preliminary measure related to a bill that at one time could have meant a mandatory jail term for anyone with an illegal gun.  The debate has reopened a conversation about the role of judges, and the best ways to make our streets safer.  Tom speaks with two councilmen who are on opposite sides of this issue: Eric Costello, who voted for it, and Brandon Scott, who opposed it. 

And as the weekend violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, continues to stir national concerns about an emboldened white supremacy movement in America, Tom also talks to both city leaders about the fate of four Confederate monuments in the city's Mt Vernon, Bolton Hill and Charles Village neighborhoods.

Courtesy of Hari Kondabolu

Tom's guest is Hari Kondabolu, the comedian/satirist and co-host of the popular podcast "Politically Re-Active" with fellow comedian W. Kamau Bell.

Their show focuses on what they call "the dumpster fire that is the U.S. political landscape" with leading activists and writers.

A major draw on the nationwide standup comedy circuit and a regular on late-night TV talk shows, Hari's latest stand-up album (available via digital download) is called Hari Kondabolu's New Material Night, Volume 1 , which was recorded live in San Francisco in 2013.

Ahead of his two upcoming shows at The Creative Alliance in East Baltimore on Sunday August 27th, at 7:30 and 9:00pm, Hari joins Tom on the line to talk about racism, rebel statues and living in Donald Trump's America.   

Photo courtesy CBS Sports

We begin with a conversation about the horrific events that took place in Charlottesville, Va.  over the weekend which resulted in the death of one woman and two VA state troopers.  Many were injured, and brazenness about racist and hateful rhetoric is alive and well.  White nationalists succeeded in shining a bright spotlight on themselves in Charlottesville.  The president of the United States has said little to dim that light, drawing severe criticism from, as he might say, many, many sides.  Dr. Nathan Connolly, a professor of history at Johns Hopkins University, joins Tom to reflect on Charlottesville and its aftermath.

MTA

Today, we take another look at Baltimore Link, the city’s new bus system.

Gov. Larry Hogan promised the bus system overhaul after he killed the proposed Red Line extension of the Light Rail in 2015. Hogan contended that the $135 million overhaul of the Baltimore bus system would be a better option that the $2.9 billion dollar light rail proposal.  

MTA officials promised that Baltimore Link would speed up travel times for commuters and get people closer to more of the places where they work.  We discussed Baltimore Link on Midday right after it launched in June, and today, we re-examine it, now that it’s had a couple of months to work out some of the kinks, which are to be expected with any large overhaul.

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