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Midday News Wrap 7.13.2018

Jul 13, 2018
Photo courtesy AP News

It’s the Midday Newswrap.  Today, a look at some of the big stories of the week on the international, national and local scenes.

With the showmanship that usually attends a reality TV show, former reality TV star Donald Trump announced his latest nomination to the Supreme Court.  Federal Circuit Court Judge Brett Kavanaugh is the President’s second pick for the highest court in the land, and it is quite possible that it won’t be his last.  Kristen Clarke joins Tom on the line from Washington, D.C.  She’s the president and executive director of the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.

Then Philip Bump, a National Correspondent for the Washington Postjoins the program to assess President Trump’s trip to the NATO Meeting, his talks with Prime Minister Theresa May of Great Britain, and his upcoming get-together with Vladimir Putin.

Tom also talks with Pamela Wood of the Baltimore Sun about the recount under way in Hunt Valley in the incredibly tight race for the Democratic nomination for Baltimore County Executive. After the first tally, John Olszewski, Jr. had nine more votes than his closest challenger, Senator Jim Brochin. Pam discusses where things stand with that, and when we may know the results of the County-mandated re-count.  

National Great Blacks in Wax Museum

The National Great Blacks in Wax Museum is filled with dozens of life-size, lifelike wax figures that illustrate the accomplishments of African American notables--historical and contemporary. Saturday, July 14, history will extend beyond the museum walls for the Voices of History street fair. Museum co-founder and director, Dr. Joanne Martin gives us highlights of the fair, and discusses why she and her late husband started the museum 35 years ago.

Shindana Cooper tells her Stoop Story about an ill-fated cruise with the Middle Passage Monument Project. You can hear her story and others at stoop storytelling dot com.

So many inspiring activities this weekend! If drumlines get your blood pumping, don’t miss the Baltimore Christian Warriors 30th Anniversary. They’re hosting the Tri-state Drumline Competition and Showcase tomorrow at Baltimore City Community College, 2901 Liberty Heights Avenue. It starts at noon, tickets at the door.

And at the Community College of Baltimore County in Catonsville, you can attend the Maryland Humanities 2018 Chautauqua, titled: ‘Seeking Justice.’ Actors dressed as historic figures describe their character’s contribution to the pursuit of justice: Frederick Douglass at 7 pm tonight, Eleanor Roosevelt at 7 pm tomorrow and Thurgood Marshall at 7 pm Sunday -- all at the Center for the Arts Theatre, 800 S. Rolling Road.

Image courtesy Cinereach

It’s Midday at the Movies, and joining Tom in the studio for our monthly look at new films and film industry trends are our favorite movie mavens: Jed Dietz, founding director of the Maryland Film Festival, and Ann Hornaday, film critic for the Washington Post.

A recent study finds that nearly 78% of movie reviews last year were written by white men.  How does the paucity of diverse perspectives affect the kinds of movies that get made, and which ones become hits?  If more women wrote film criticism, would movies be different? 

Might it speed the currently slow progress in securing more roles for women in front of and behind the movie cameras? 

Ann and Jed comment on the issue of film critics' diversity, and also offer their takes on some of the new films out in local theaters this weekend, from director Boots Riley's Sorry to Bother You  (at the Charles) and David and Nathan Zellner's Damsel (at the Parkway) to Pixar's long awaited CGI action sequel, Incredibles 2 (at the Senator).

And as always, they take your questions and comments on the movies that matter to you.

A note about the free summer movie event Tom mentions in the show: Robert Zemeckis' 1988 live-action/animated classic "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?" is being screened at 9pm at the Hughes Family Outdoor Theater in Federal Hill Park, part of the  American Visionary Art Museum's "Flicks from the Hill" series.  For more info, click here.

Photograph by Seth Freeman

Today on Midday, theater critic J. Wynn Rousuck ventures a bit beyond Charm City, as she shares her thoughts on the roster of new plays at the 2018 Contemporary American Theater Festival at Shepherd University in Shepherdstown, West Virginia -- about a 90-minute drive from Baltimore.

This year's CATF is featuring six powerful new plays, each portraying aspects of contemporary life through tragedy, romance, drama, and comedy: "The Cake," "Memoirs of a Forgotten Man," "Thirst," "The House on the Hill," "Berta, Berta," and "A Late Morning (in America) with Ronald Reagan."

Rousuck notes two standouts among the new CATF offerings:  In “Berta, Berta,” directed by Reginald L. Douglas, playwright Angelica Cheri creates a backstory for an American work song. Set in 1920s Mississippi, Cheri's prison pipeline account focuses on a widow and her former lover, who has done time in Mississippi’s notorious Parchman prison and fully expects to go back. Rousuck says though “Berta, Berta” contains seeds of hope, it will break your heart.

And the political thriller, "Memoirs of a Forgotten Man," written by D.W. Gregory and directed by Ed Herendeen, takes viewers back to Soviet Russia where the fates of a journalist, psychologist, and government censor become entwined as victims and collaborators in Stalin’s campaign to rewrite public memory. 

The Contemporary American Theater Festival continues at Shepherd University in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, through Sunday, July 29th.  Follow the link above for more information on tix, show schedules and directions.

In the first half of the 19th century, wealthy Baltimore was in love with art, especially art from Europe. Art historian Stanley Mazaroff tells of George A. Lucas, the son of one upscale family who was so enamored that just before the Civil War he moved to Paris and built a new kind of career -- as a transatlantic agent advising prosperous American collectors.

Mazaroff's account of George Lucas' life as an art agent and collector is "A Paris Life, A Baltimore Treasure". He’s speaking about it next Thursday evening, July 19 at 7 pm at the Ivy Bookstore on Falls road.

Today, a conversation about sports, kinda sorta.  Not the World Cup.  Certainly not the Orioles, God help us.  Not the Ravens, who start training camp a week from Thursday, but instead, we’re going to talk about a simple question, that when applied to certain moments and historical realities in sports can lead to some delicious fantasizing.  That question is “What if?” 

What if Billie Jean King had LOST to Bobby Riggs?  What if Richard Nixon had been Good at Football?  What if the Olympics had never dropped Tug of War?  What if Muhammad Ali had GOTTEN his draft deferment?

Mike Pesca has assembled a group of essayists to pose those and other questions in a great and engaging and funny and sometimes profound book called Upon Further Review: The Greatest What-Ifs in Sports History. 

Mike Pesca is the host of The Gist, a podcast on Slate.com.  He’s a former sports reporter at NPR 

 

Larry Canner/JHU

About two million people in the U.S. have lost an arm, a hand, a leg or other limb. Many opt to use a prosthesis -- a fabricated upper or lower limb. Luke Osborn, a graduate student in biomedical engineering at Johns Hopkins University, tells us about an electronic skin that can create the sensation of touch for the user of an upper-limb prosthesis. And George Levay, a research participant who lost his arms to meningitis, describes what it was like using the electronic skin on his prosthetic hand.

Vox photo by John Moore/Getty Images

Today, a panel of immigration lawyers joins Tom to discuss the Trump Administration’s "zero tolerance"  immigration policies.  Today is the court-ordered deadline for the government to re-unite migrant children under the age of five with their families, most of whom were detained for crossing the US border illegally.  It’s a deadline that will not be met for at least 40 of the more than 100 infants and toddlers who have been separated from their parents. 

A District Court Judge has also denied an Administration motion to extend the time the government is allowed to detain children past the current 20-day limit. 

So, what’s next for the 3,000 minors who have been separated from their families? 

Amy Webb / Future Today Institute

Summer means a bounty of fresh fruits and vegetables. But when you choose those juicy plums or ripe tomatoes from your favorite grocery produce section … do you stop to question where and how they were grown? Amy Webb, founder of the ‘Future Today Institute’, has some answers. She talks about the future of farming, from genetic editing to collaborative robots to urban indoor warehouse farms. She also offers some perspective about the sci-fi feel of agricultural technology developments.

Webb suggests the online magazine, Modern Farmer, as a good, accessible source to stay informed on future farming developments.

Today we continue our Conversation with the Candidates series with guest Allan Kittleman, county executive of Howard County, elected to that position in 2014, and also discuss the future of Old Ellicott City.  On July 30, 2016, Old Ellicott City was ravaged by what was called at the time a once-in-1,000-years flood.  The historic downtown was largely rebuilt. And less than two years later, on May 27 of this year, another deadly flood struck Old Ellicott City -- perhaps even worse than the 2016 flood.  A state of emergency for the historic downtown is still in effect. 

In May of 2015, a year before the first Ellicott City Flood, Gov. Larry Hogan made good on a campaign promise to repeal the law that required nine counties to charge residents and businesses a Stormwater Remediation Fee, to create a dedicated source of funding for stormwater projects.  Mr. Hogan and opponents of the law referred to it as a “rain tax.” 

Allan Kittleman was a vocal supporter of repealing the law.  A year later, a few months before the first flood, Mr. Kittleman proposed a reduction and the eventual repeal of the Stormwater Remediation Fee in Howard County, a proposal that was rejected by the County Council.  Nine days ago, Howard County residents received tax bills that included fees ranging from $15 to $90, depending on the amount of impervious surfaces they have on their property. 

RICH BROOKS/FLICKR

Whether it's cooking at the beach, grilling outside or packing food for a road trip, Tony and Chef Wolf have food and wine ideas for your outdoor adventures. 

Brenda Sanders / Thrive Baltimore

After a holiday week when grills have been ablaze for hot dogs, burgers and ribs, we’re going to shift focus -- and diet -- to learn about some delicious vegan options for summer meals. We talk with Brenda Sanders, co-founder and CEO of Thrive Baltimore. Thrive Baltimore provides education and resources to those seeking to adopt a vegan diet and lifestyle. Tomorrow, July 7, from noon to 6pm they’re hosting the second annual Vegan Marketplace, at 6 E. Lafayette Ave. Free Admission!

Here's a Stoop Story from 'Cafeteria Man' Tony Geraci about how working in school kitchens steered him to his passion. Geraci led efforts in Baltimore and in Memphis to make public school lunches more nutritious. Now, he works as a consultant to create healthier meals for children across the U.S. You can hear his story and others at stoopstorytelling dot com.

Gil tells us how our beloved crab could've been second fiddle to another civic symbol: the banana.

Photo courtesy Floyd Abrams

(This program was originally aired on May 3, 2018)  

Today, a conversation about American exceptionalism when it comes to our cherished tradition of free speech.

Tom’s guest is the acclaimed legal scholar, Floyd Abrams, a distinguished constitutional lawyer who has litigated some of the most consequential 1st Amendment cases of our time, including the Pentagon Papers case and Citizen’s United. He is the author of the 2017 book, “The Soul of the First Amendment,” which is just out in paperback.

Floyd Abrams joins Tom on the line from New York, where he is  a senior partner in the law firm Cahill Gordon & Reindel.

(AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Thousands of children and adults have crossed the southern U.S. border. For some, violence in their home countries pushed them to this risky journey. While the practice of separating families at the border has ended. About two thousand children have yet to be reunited with their parents. Emily Kephart from the legal advocacy group Kids in Need of Defense, tells us about the case of a six-year-old girl who for weeks has been held far from her father.

Then UMBC political science professor Jeffrey Davis describes treaties and international laws that govern how refugees are treated, and promise them due process. You can read his piece on the US' 'zero tolerance' immigration policies at The Conversation.

Melissa Gerr

Sunscreen, bug spray, shampoo, deodorant. When we wash personal care products like these off of our bodies, they go down the drain, pass through wastewater treatment plants, and end up in our rivers and oceans. Scientists have found numerous ill effects from these chemicals, including the feminization of fish. Environmental engineer Lee Blaney, associate professor at UMBC, joins us to talk about his research in local waterways.

Read about Blaney's research here.

Photos by Shealyn Jae

It's time for another visit from our well-traveled theater critic, J. Wynn Rousuck, who joins us each week with  a review of one of the region's many theaterical offerings.  Today, she's spotlighting the Chesapeake Shakespeare Company's new production of the Bard's romantic farce, A Midsummer Night's Dream, being performed on the outdoor stage at the PFI Historic Park in Ellicott City.

A Midsummer Night's Dream was written by William Shakespeare in 1595-96. The play portrays the madcap events surrounding the marriage of Theseus, the Duke of Athens, to Hippolyta, the former queen of the Amazons. These include the interconnected adventures of four young Athenian lovers and a group of six amateur actors who are manipulated by the Fairies who inhabit the forest in which the play is mostly set.

One of Shakespeare's funniest and most popular works for the stage -- and performed by theater companies around the world -- AMSND is directed for the Chesapeake Shakespeare Company by Gerrad Alex Taylor.   He guides a 19-member cast that features guest actor Michael Toperzer as Theseus/Oberon, CSC member Elana Michelle as Hippolyta/Titania, and Imani Turner as Puck.

The Chesapeake Shakespeare Company's production of A Midsummer Night's Dream continues at the PFI Historic Park in Ellicott City, Maryland, through Sunday, July 29.  For ticket info and directions, click here.

On this holiday in which we celebrate independence and the courage of our revolutionary heroes, a word about a different kind of revolutionary, and her exercise of the free speech and religious practice the founders fought for.

Elizabeth McAlister has lived at Jonah House, on the West Side of Baltimore, for most of the last 50 years. She and her husband, the anti-war activist Philip Berrigan, founded Jonah House as part of a network of Catholic Worker Houses across the country. Philip was one of the Catonsville Nine, who burned draft records in 1968, setting-off a series of similar actions across the country. He died in 2002, but McAlister has continued to protest against violence and war, in particular, nuclear weapons.

In April, on the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s assassination, McAlister and six others cut through a fence and entered the King’s Bay Naval Submarine Base in Camden County, GA, which is home to a fleet of Trident Submarines, which carry nuclear war heads.

The group’s purpose was to commit what they call a Ploughshares Action, based on a phrase from Isaiah in the Bible:

“They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore.”

The first Ploughshares Action took place in 1980. Since then, more than 100 similar protests have occurred in the United States and around the world.  

Shan Wallace/ @sisterswithstories Instagram

On today's Life in the Balance, we focus on Black women: their experiences, their concerns, and their contributions to our country and to Baltimore.

Black women have faced racial and gender discrimination, violence, and economic and political disenfranchisement for hundreds of years. 

But, like the generations of women that have come before them, Black women are continuing to rise above the challenges. Here in Baltimore, a majority-minority city – when we talk about issues facing the City and its residents, how often do we hear discussions that center around Black women?

Guest host Jamyla Krempel and four local activists and educators add to the conversation in this episode. 

 

Joshua McKerrow

Today, in this installment of Midday Culture Connections with Dr. Sheri Parks, the Press and Public Trust.  For three years, since he announced his candidacy for President in 2015, Donald Trump has pounded a steady drumbeat of claims that major news outlets promulgate fake news. A recent poll indicated that 61% of Democrats and 89% of Republicans agree with him. 

Mr. Trump and other political leaders have taken those claims one step further, asserting that the press is the enemy of the people.  Is there a link between that rhetoric and the kind of violence inflicted on the newsroom of the Capital Gazette last week?

Dr. Sheri Parks is the Vice President for Strategic Inititiaves at the Maryland Institute College of Art. She's the author of Fierce Angels: Living With A Legacy From Scared Dark Feminine to Strong Black Woman. 

Tom also talks to Joshua McKerrow, a photographer for the Gazette, and Courtney Radsch, the Advocacy Director for the Committee to Protect Journalists about the violence in Annapolis. 

Historic London Town and Gardens

In 1683 London Town was established on the South River, in Anne Arundel County. It was a vibrant trade point, but faded away by the 1800s. Kyle Dalton, Public Programs Administrator of Historic London Town and Gardens, says the town’s residents were commoners--tailors, indentured servants, slaves.

How might London Town’s residents have reacted to news of the Declaration of Independence? Check out information about the living history events this Saturday and Sunday here.

We learn how the historic site is working with the U.S. Marine Corps Historical Company, to bring the past to life. Sgt. Thomas Williams, director of the USMCHC, and Beth Hall, deputy director of the Material Division, give us an inside look.

Funny thing about making a podcast:  You never know who’s listening.  Turns out, Baltimore’s mayor, Catherine Pugh, is a fan of Out of the Blocks, and she invited producer Aaron Henkin to join her in front of a live audience for a conversation about the show.  (Aaron got to ask her some questions, too.)  This episode is a recording of the event, which happened Monday evening, June 25th, at the Chesapeake Shakespeare Company’s theater in downtown Baltimore.  

chefwolf/Instagram

This week’s episode is all about the beautiful bounty that our local treasure, the Chesapeake Bay, provides us. We hear from Rick Baxter of Baxter’s Soft Crabs in Easton, Maryland who tells us what makes a good soft shell crab and his favorite ways to eat them. Then, Tony and Chef Cindy talk oysters, fish and all the best beverages to go along with them. 

Courtesy of the Comptroller's Office

Today, another in our series of Conversations with the Candidates.

Tom's guest is Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot. He’s been the state’s fiscal chief since 2007, after first beating the incumbent, William Donald Schaefer, in the 2006 primary. 

As comptroller, Franchot is a member of powerful Board of Public Works in Annapolis. And he is vice-chair of the State Retirement & Pension System. Franchot is a Democrat who does not always toe the party line. His relationship with the legislative leadership in Annapolis -- fellow Democrats Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller and House Speaker Michael E. Busch -- has seemed increasingly frayed this year. Franchot does seem to have a close working relationship with Republican Gov. Larry Hogan. Before becoming Maryland’s top fiscal officer, Franchot served in the House of Delegates for two decades, representing the 20th District in Montgomery Co. That district reaches roughly from Takoma Park, north to Colesville.

He has been Maryland’s comptroller for 11 years, and he is seeking a fourth term. His opponent in the November election is a CPA from Worcester County, Republican Anjali Reed Phukan.

This conversation was livestreamed on the WYPR Facebook page. To check out that video, click here.

Maureen Harvie / WYPR

What does it take to become a citizen? An interview, a civics exam, and a lot of paperwork.

But these challenges are worth it to those seeking a permanent home in the United States. Yana Cascioffe is the Citizenship Program Coordinator at Baltimore City Community College, which runs classes across the state to prepare people for the naturalization process.

We hear from current students, as well as a Russian immigrant who became a citizen in May.

Associated Press photo

Today, several perspectives on the murders at the Capital Gazette Newspaper.  On Thursday afternoon, a 38 year-old man from Laurel shot five people dead and injured two others at the offices of the Gazette on Bestgate Avenue in Annapolis. 

A little later in the program, WYPR’s Dominique Maria Bonessi will join Tom on the phone with the latest on the investigation into the shooting.  Tom also speaks with security expert  Dr. Keith Williams, vice-president of Support Services at Admiral Security, a company that guards buildings like the one in which the Gazette is located.  We’ll hear from Jamie Costello, an anchor at WMAR 2 News whose own newsroom was attacked a few years ago; from Dr. Paul Nestadt, a clinical psychiatrist at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine who studies gun violence; and from Joel Simon of the Committee to Protect Journalists.

But Tom's first guest is Indira Lakshmanan, a columnist for The Boston Globe, who holds the Newmark Chair in Journalism Ethics at the Poynter Institute, an organization that provides training and resources for journalists around the world.

That was a Stoop Story from Catharine Deitch about serving overseas during World War II in the Women’s Army Corps. You can hear more Stoop stories and the Stoop podcast here.

Fort George G. Meade Museum website

Soon after the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941, a presidential order permitted wide-scale imprisonment of people of Japanese ancestry. Not as well known: This order also allowed Germans and Italians to be held, and several hundred were, at Fort Meade Army Base. Kevin Leonard, who writes The Laurel Leader’s “History Matters” column, describes his research into this internment camp.

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