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WYPR Programming

On this edition of the Midday News Wrap, we speak to  NPR Justice Correspondent Carrie Johnson, Baltimore Sun Opinion Editor Andy Green and longtime columnist Barry  Rascovar about  several news stories including,  Sen. Al Franken’s apology for sexual harassing a reporter 12 years ago, the tax code revision passed by the House yesterday, and the status of the Senate plan, now that it’s tied to repealing the individual mandate of the Affordable Care Act. 

The News Wrap begins with some context on Jeff Sessions’ testimony this week to the House Judiciary Committee, the on-going Russia investigation, and the special election in Alabama. NPR Justice Correspondent Carrie Johnson joins us from the studios of NPR in Washington.  

 

Here in Baltimore, Police Detective Sean Suiter, a 43 year old father of five children, died yesterday from injuries he received when he was shot on Wednesday afternoon in Harlem Park while investigating another murder that had taken place in this violence-ridden neighborhood.   There has been a verdict in the Trial Board Hearing for Lt. Brian Rice, the highest ranking officer involved in the arrest and death of Freddie Gray in 2015.  He has been cleared of all charges. 

Later in the show, Tom speaks with WYPR’s Dominique Maria Bonessi, who was at the University of Baltimore this morning when the Rice verdict was announced.

Here is journalist Wil Hylton’s Stoop story about the importance of following a hunch … and being open to hear the truth when you get there. Hylton is a contributing writer for The New York Times Magazine, and the author of Vanished. Don’t miss the next Stoop show, “Breaking with Tradition: Stories about Unconventional Holidays” coming up on Tuesday, December 12, 7:00 pm at The Senator Theatre.

photos courtesy BBJ, CBS.

On this edition of the Midday News Wrap, ​our Friday review of some of the week's top news stories, Tom is joined in Studio A by Heather Mizeur, a former delegate in the Maryland General Assembly who ran a vigorous but unsuccessful campaign in 2014 for the Democratic nomination for governor. Mizeur recently launched a non-profit group called MizMaryland-Soul Force Politics, which is producing a policy blog and a podcast that Mizeur is hosting.

Melody Simmons also joins Tom in the studio.  Simmons is a veteran journalist and a reporter for the Baltimore Business Journal, which, on Wednesday, published her long piece -- in a BBJ series called "The Amazon Effect” – about the economic impact various Amazon projects will have on the city, and what they might cost in taxpayer subsidies.

Fern Chen/Baltimore Brew

Today, a conversation about the legacy of Christopher Columbus. Is it appropriate to celebrate the Italian explorer with statues, street names, and a federal holiday?

While many enjoyed the Columbus Day Parade in Little Italy yesterday that celebrates the explorer’s courage and determination; others point to Columbus' role in establishing trans-Atlantic slave trade; and to the atrocities he and others committed against the native people who were already living in the lands he so-called discovered. 

Most jurisdictions in the United States celebrate Columbus' landing in what is now the Bahamas on the second Monday in October. In Los Angeles, that won’t be the case much longer. LA County voted to begin celebrating Indigenous People’s Day in 2019. South Dakota began celebrating “Native American Day” in 1989. Native American organizers in Baltimore are working on a proposal that will change Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples Day. In August, a Columbus monument in Baltimore that's considered to be the oldest in the country was vandalized. There are calls for other Columbus statues, including the one in  Druid Hill Park, to be removed.

Johns Hopkins University

On this edition of Midday on Ethics, Dr. Jeffrey Kahn stops by Studio A to discuss human gene editing and some of the ethical questions that surround its implementation.  Dr. Kahn is director of the Johns Hopkins Berman Center of Bioethics.  We also take a look at some of the first successful gene therapies, including one that the FDA recently approved for the first time in its history. 

The approved therapy is aimed at adults and some children with B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia, a common form of the disease. It  involves genetically modifying immune cells from a patient’s blood and then infusing them back into the same patient.

Dr. Kahn also addresses listener questions and comments.

What To Expect From The Supreme Court This Session

Oct 2, 2017
supremecourt.gov

Today is the first Monday in October, which marks the beginning of a new term for the Supreme Court.  

Last week, the courts decided to postpone hearings on President Trump’s travel ban, but the justices still have several contentious cases to consider. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, speaking to law students at Georgetown University recently, predicted it be, quote, “momentous.” They are expected to take on political gerrymandering in Wisconsin; voting rights in Ohio; religious exemptions from discrimination laws.

It is also the first full term for Justice Neil Gorsuch, who was confirmed last April, following the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. 

Midday legal analyst Edward Smith joins Tom in Studio A. He’s a retired  private practice lawyer, who's worked in the office of the State’s Attorney and he has argued cases in front of the Supreme Court.  

Tom is also joined by Jamal Greene, the Dwight Professor of Law at Columbia Law School and frequent media commentator.  

photo courtesy hessgunshow.com

Tom speaks with the artist and curator behind a provocative art exhibition called Gun Show.  The installation is currently at University of Maryland-Baltimore County's Center for Art, Design and Visual Culture in Catonsville.  David Hess is the artist, and Dr. Kathy O’Dell is the UMBC curator who's put together this thought-provoking installation, which examines the ubiquity of guns in American culture, and what that signifies about our values as a nation.   

Gunshow will be on display at UMBC until October 14th.  Dr. O’Dell will lead a gallery talk next Friday, October 6th and the following Wednesday, October  11th; both talks will begin at noon.  For more information click here.  

Karl Merton Ferron/Baltimore Sun

The Excel Academy, a high school on the west side of Baltimore, in Poppleton, has just under 100 students, many of whom have been working to overcome behavioral problems; some are dealing with homelessness or pregnancy. And there is another, heartbreaking problem that these students have had to cope with. Six of their classmates have been killed in street violence over the last year. Six kids, from one school.

To date, 263 people have been killed in Baltimore in 2017. Of those 263 people, 26 were children and young people who did not live long enough to celebrate their 21st birthdays. Most were teenagers. Two were babies. 

Today on Midday, a conversation about what the constant trauma of street violence does to the mental and emotional health of young people. Tom is joined by a panel of guests. 

Writer and poet Kondwani Fidel wrote about his experience growing up in Baltimore in a cover story for the City Paper titled How a young boy has been decaying in Baltimore since age 10: A Death Note.

Courtesy Chris Van Hollen

US Senator Chris Van Hollen was elected to represent Maryland in the Senate last November after serving seven terms in Congress. He currently serves on the Budget, Banking, Agriculture and Appropriations Committees. The senator joins Tom in the studio to discuss some of the most pressing issues facing our nation, including the Graham-Cassidy healthcare proposal and a Medicare-for-all bill from Sen. Bernie Sanders; the big data breach at Equifax; mounting tensions on the Korean Peninsula; and the impact of the growing NFL protests. Sen. Van Hollen also fields questions from Midday listeners.

flickr

Three million people are without power in Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria.  And the latest deadly earthquake in Mexico has left more than 280 dead as search and rescue efforts continue.

Many critics, both foreign and domestic, considered President Donald Trump’s debut address to the United Nations General Assembly in New York a different kind of natural disaster, this one of the diplomatic variety.  He threatened to “totally destroy” North Korea and referred to Kim Jong-un as “Rocket Man,” a soubriquet the President appears to think is funny.   Kim Jung-Un, however, found the President's comments to be less than amusing, blasting Trump as a  "dotard," and a "frightened dog."

Kiirstn Pagan/Everyman Theatre

M Butterfly, the Tony Award-winning play is the current offering at Baltimore's Everyman Theatre, through Oct. 8. Everyman Theatre founder and Artistic Director Vincent Lancisi and Everyman Ensemble actor Bruce Randolph Nelson are in Studio A with Tom to talk about the production and to tell us about an extraordinary, chance meeting in France with Bernard Bouriscot,  the real diplomat at the heart of the M. Butterfly story.  

marylandreporter.com

In the 1960's, the iconic developer and visionary Jim Rouse was inspired to create a new kind of city, one that was integrated and economically diverse, and which offered amenities like green space, recreation, and outstanding schools.  The result was Columbia, Md., which Money magazine called "the best small city to live in America."

Len Lazarick, editor and publisher of the website of MarylandReporter.com and resident of Columbia for over 40 years, joins us in studio to talk about his latest book Columbia at 50: A Memoir of a City.

City of St. Petersburg

On this edition of the the Midday News Wrap:  An IED explosion rocks  the Parsons Green tube station in Southwest London during rush hour this morning leaving 23 people hospitalized.  It is the fifth act of terrorism in Britain this year.  The death toll from Hurricane Irma continues to rise as clean-up continues.  At least 39 people on the U.S. mainland, and at least 43 people in the Caribbean have died as a result of Irma.   

On Wednesday night, Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer issued a statement saying they a reached an agreement about DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.  The President, however, tweeted on Thursday morning that there was no deal.  Also, the Department of Justice said this week that none of the Baltimore Police officers who were charged in the 2015 death of Freddie Gray will face federal civil rights charges in his death.   Discussing these issues and more,  Tom is joined by Michael Fletcher  of ESPN's The Undefeated and Andrew Revkin, senior reporter for climate and related issues at ProPublica.  

Courtesy MPT

On this anniversary of 9/11, we look back at another time when America was attacked, during the war of 1812, and we consider the complexities and uncomfortable truths about a figure who emerged from that war as a well-known hero.  Francis Scott Key is heralded not for his bravery on the battlefield, but rather for his poetic prowess.  

There is a lot, however, that most people don't know about the attorney and wordsmith, but a new docudrama abut this enigmatic figure aims to reconcile that. "F.S. Key:  After the Song" will air on Maryland Public Television and nationwide in three parts, beginning tomorrow night.  

Phillip J. Marshall, the writer, director and editor of the series joins Tom in the studio.

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.

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.

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.   

Tom speaks with Senator Ben Cardin, the senior senator from Maryland and ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, about President Trump's  escalating war of words with North Korea. This conversation was recorded on Thursday morning.  At that time, President Trump had already talked about the "fire and fury" of a response to North Korea should they initiate hostilities. This morning, the President tweeted that the US military was "locked and loaded" with military solutions should North Korea act "unwisely." The President appears to be implying that he’s ordered some sort of new military plan for North Korea.  Most military observers doubt that American preparedness for a conflict with North Korea is, in fact, substantially different than it has been for some time. 

Baltimore City Government

On Wednesday Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh released her plan for curbing the spike in violence in the city. Her violence reduction plan takes a holistic approach to fighting crime.  The mayor wants more training for police officers, increased access to housing and jobs, and free community college for Baltimore city public school graduates. Critics say the Mayor’s plan lacks accountability and measurable goals. 

Dominique Maria Bonessi is WYPR's City Hall reporter.

Edward Jackson is a professor of criminal justice at Baltimore City Community College. He’s also a former Baltimore City Police Department Colonel, who retired from the department in 2004. He was recently appointed by Mayor Pugh to Baltimore City’s Community Oversight Task Force. 

They join Tom to discuss the mayor crime plan and a crime reduction plan put forth by the city council's public safety committee led by 2nd district councilman Brandon Scott. 

Today, a conversation with a man who has filed or joined more than half a dozen cases against the Trump Administration: Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh. Mr. Frosh is a Democrat who was elected in 2014, after serving for 28 years on the Maryland General Assembly.

Earlier this year, to the chagrin of the Governor, the general assembly gave the Attorney General’s office the authority to sue the Trump administration without Governor Larry Hogan’s permission. Back in March, Maryland joined the state of Washington in a lawsuit against the second travel ban.  Maryland also filed a lawsuit with the District of Columbia alleging that President Trump violated anti-corruption clauses in the constitution by accepting payments from foreign governments after he took office. Attorney General Frosh pushed back against president Trump’s voter fraud commission, saying that the commission only exists to “indulge Trump’s fantasy that he won the popular vote.” He also called the commissions’ request for voter data “repugnant.” The lawsuits of course are not without critics. Republican state lawmakers accused the Attorney General of “grandstanding,” saying that he’s exploiting his political power to go after President Trump.

Closer to home, Attorney General Frosh has spoken out about criminal justice reform. In an opinion issued last year, he told state lawmakers that our cash bail system is unconstitutional. Mr. Frosh joins Tom to talk law, respond to comments, and field all of your burning questions.

Baltimore Sun

On Tuesday, a very heated City Council public committee hearing on a bill that proposed a mandatory one-year sentence for people caught carrying illegal handguns erupted into chaos and confusion when several area university representatives were invited to testify before members of the public who had been waiting to speak for hours. Two people were arrested in a confrontation with police in the chamber.