Monday-Friday from noon-1:00, Tom Hall and his guests are talking about what's on your mind, and what matters most to Marylanders: the latest news, local and national politics, education and the environment, popular culture and the arts, sports and science, race and religion, movies and medic…
Tom's guest today is the acclaimed author, Alice McDermott. She is the winner of a National Book Award. Three of her novels have been finalists for the Pulitzer Prize, and she's garnered many other prizes and accolades in a career that has spanned 40 years, and counting. She's an insightful observer of the passing parade and her prose is a delight to encounter. Books like Charming Billy,After This, Someone, or her most recent novel, The Ninth Hour, have afforded readers some of the most enjoyable and enlightening experiences available in contemporary fiction. Alice McDermott has long been revered as a teacher of writing as well, serving for many years on the faculties of the Johns Hopkins Writing Seminars and the Sewanee Writers' Conference. Her latest book is a work of non-fiction, in which she proffers what might be dubbed a Bill of Rights for readers, and a how-to guide for writers. It is a celebration of great writing, and an investigation into what makes great writing, great. The book is called What About the Baby?: Some Thoughts on the Art of Fiction. Alice McDermott joins us on our digital line from her home in Bethesda, Maryland. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, is traditionally one of the biggest shopping days of the year; the kick-off of a shopping frenzy that retailers hope will sustain them for many months. This year, those hopes may be dashed. Supply chain problems are affecting sectors up and down the economy. What can sellers and buyers expect this year? Joining Tom now is Dr. Tinglong Dai, Professor of Operations Management and Business Analytics at the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School. Dr. Dai joins us on Zoom from Baltimore. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
In Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott's Comprehensive Violence Prevention Plan, Oakland, California is held-up as a city that has had significant success in reducing violence. In 2019, the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence published a report entitled A Case Study in Hope: Lessons from Oakland's Remarkable Reduction in Violence. It documented that between 2012-2019, shootings and homicides were down by almost 50%. Oakland, like many cities, has seen an increase in violence since 2019, but given its prominence in the thinking of the Mayor and others who are working to reduce violence in our city, it would be helpful to examine what Oakland did to achieve that dramatic reduction, at least for a 7-year period, and to see if there are lessons to be learned for Baltimore. Tom's guest is Erica Ford. She co-chaired the Black and Brown Gun Violence Prevention Consortium, one of the co-sponsors of the Oakland report. She is also the CEO And Co-Founder of Life Camp Inc., a peacemaking organization in New York. Erica Ford joins us on Zoom from Queens, NY… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
It's time for another visit with Midday theater critic J. Wynn Rousuck, who joins Tom this week with her review of Everyman Theatre's live (and streamed) production of Flyin' West. Pearl Cleage's 1992 play tells the story of four 19th-century Black women forging a new life, working their own land, and beating the odds as strong-willed homesteaders in the all-Black town of Nicodemus, Kansas. Directed on stage by Everyman's Associate Artistic Director Paige Hernandez, Flyin' West features Aakhu TuahNera Freeman as Miss Leah,Eleasha Gamble as Sophie Washington; Bianca Lipford as Minnie Dove Charles;Calvin McCullough as Frank Charles;Gibson Reeves as Fannie Dove; and Everyman resident company actor Jefferson A. Russell as Will Parish. Flyin' West continues live on stage at Baltimore's Everyman Theatre until October 31. The play also streams for ticketed patrons from October 22 through November 11. For times and ticketing information, click here. Flyin' Westcontains portrayals of physical violence and mature language. Viewer discretion is advised. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Today on Midday, it's Midday on Cars. Tom's guest is John Davis, the creator, producer and host of MotorWeek,the weekly automotive TV magazine that's produced by Maryland Public Television (MPT) and syndicated on PBS stations across the country and on the Velocity Cable Network (now the MotorTrend Network). The 41st season of MotorWeek kicked off last month. You can catch it on MPT at 5:00 on Saturdays. (In other parts of the country, check your local listings.) It's an interesting time to be in the market for a new set of wheels. Computer chips are still scarce, and that's affecting the price of both new and used cars. And the old routine of going to a dealership and kicking the tires is giving way to on-line car purchasing. And, when it comes to the kind of car you may want to buy, the choices have never been more plentiful, including an expanding array of hybrid and all-electric cars and trucks. John Davis stays on top of all of it, and today we'll take your questions and comments about all things automotive. John joins us on our digital line from Owings Mills, Maryland...MPT's and MotorWeek's home base. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
If you haven't heard the latest news about the search for Gabby Petito, and the boyfriend with whom she was last seen, that information is not hard to come by. Ms. Petito and her fiancé, Brian Laundrie, embarked on a cross country trip in June. Ms. Petito was in touch with her parents throughout the summer until the end of August, when her communication stopped. Her parents reported her missing on September 11th. Brian Laundrie returned to his parents' home three days later, without Ms. Petito, and refused to speak with authorities. Ms. Petito's remains were found in Wyoming on September 19th. Brian Laundrie left his parents' home on September 14, and his whereabouts remain unknown. The FBI has issued a federal arrest warrant for him. More than a half a million people were reported missing in 2020. By the end of that year, about 89,000 missing person cases were active, and nearly 45% of those cases were people of color. But naming any of those victims based on news accounts of their fates is nearly impossible. Baltimoreans may remember the case of Phylicia Barnes, a young African American woman from North Carolina who was killed while visiting MD, and a missing Asian American woman, Lauren Cho, has attracted some media attention, but Gabby Petito, Natalee Holloway, Chandra Levy, Laci Peterson and others who have become national household names are White, and the vast majority of women and girls of color who are missing remain far outside the media spotlight. In 2004, the late PBS News Anchor Gwen Ifill coined the term, “Missing White Woman Syndrome,” referring to the fact that White women who are reported missing are much more likely to have their stories covered. Today on Midday, we'll examine this phenomenon, and explore why the coverage of missing people of color is so disproportionate. We begin with two scholars who study this issue. Dr. Danielle Slakoff is an assistant professor of Criminal Justice at Sacramento State University whose research focuses on media and crime. Dr. Slakoff joins us on Zoom from Sacramento. And Zach Sommers is an attorney with the firm of Kirkland and Ellis. He's also a criminologist who has studied the nexus of criminal law, race and the news media. He joins us on Zoom from Chicago. Later in the hour, we're joined by Natalie Wilson, who, along with her sister-in-law, Derrica Wilson, is a co-founder of The Black and Missing Foundation, a DC-based organization that works to bring media attention to cases involving missing persons of color. Natalie Wilson also joins us on Zoom, from Washington DC. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Today, Indigenous Peoples Day is being observed in more than a dozen states. Maryland isn't among them. But the movement to ditch the traditional Columbus Day holiday is growing, in favor of celebrating the unique contributions Native Americans have made, and continue to make to our nation. Several cities in Maryland have replaced Columbus Day with the holiday to honor Native American history, including Baltimore, Washington DC, and more than 130 other cities, counties and school districts across the country do too. On Friday, President Biden issued the first ever Presidential Proclamation on Indigenous People's Day, which was widely seen as a major stride towards re-directing the focus of the federal Columbus Day holiday towards recognition of Native Peoples. It said, in part, “our Nation celebrates the invaluable contributions and resilience of Indigenous peoples, recognizes their inherent sovereignty, and commits to honoring the Federal Government's trust and treaty obligations to Tribal Nations.” Columbus Day is a federal holiday established by Congress. The President also issued a Columbus Day Proclamation, in which he acknowledged “the painful history of wrongs and atrocities that many European explorers inflicted on Tribal Nations and Indigenous communities. Joining us now is Daisee Francour. She is a member of the Oneida Tribal Nation and serves as Director of Strategic Partnerships and Communications at Cultural Survival, a Cambridge, Massachusetts-based non-profit group that helps indigenous communities protect and preserve their cultural traditions. Daisee Francour connects with us on Zoom from Chicago. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
In 2026, the United States, Canada and Mexico will share the stage of the largest World Cup Soccer Tournament in history. It's expected that 16 different North American venues will host matches between an expanded roster of teams from around the globe. Eleven of those venues will be in the United States. And maybe, one of them will be right here in Baltimore. Baltimore, Maryland is making a bid to be one of the hosts of this global party. Today, we'll talk about what putting our best foot forward looks like. Lt. Governor Boyd Rutherford joins us. Along with Baltimore Mayor, Brandon Scott, he co-chairs the committee that is working to bring the World Cup to Baltimore. Lt. Gov Rutherford joins us on Zoom from Annapolis… Terry Hasseltine is the Executive Director of Maryland Sports (the state's sports commission), and the Vice President of the Maryland Stadium Authority. Mr. Hasseltine joins us on Zoom as well… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Tom's guest today is the writer Sarah Ruhl. She is among the top 20 most frequently performed playwrights in the country. She has been nominated for a Tony award and twice been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. She has also published a terrific collection of essays, a book of poems, and a memoir of her friendship with the poet Max Ritvo. Her new book is a memoir of sorts as well, which chronicles her struggle with Bell's Palsy, a disease that caused part of her face to freeze. The book is a delight. Ruhl walks us through some of the most harrowing and difficult times of her life, poignantly and insightfully, sharing discoveries she makes about herself, and about how all of us think about ourselves. It's called Smile: The Story of a Face. Sarah Ruhl and Tom recorded their conversation earlier, so we aren't able to take any calls or comments today. She joined us on our digital line from her home in Brooklyn, New York. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Now, a look at the problem of gerrymandering, or partisan redistricting, the widespread practice in the United States by which the political party in control of a state legislature redraws election-district boundaries to favor the election or re-election of that party's candidates. The Maryland General Assembly is scheduled to convene a special session in early December to consider a new congressional district map. Maryland law says that General Assembly districts must be re-drawn during the regular session, which begins in January. Many states have formed commissions intended to take partisanship out of the redistricting process. Here in Maryland, politics are far from out of the process. We have not one, but two commissions, one formed by Republican Gov. Larry Hogan, and the other put together by the Democratic controlled legislature. The Hogan-appointed Maryland Citizens Redistricting Commission is holding virtual public meetings every Wednesday night this month to gather input about a draft of how a Congressional district map might look. They have published a draft of a possible map, and have invited comment. The Legislative Redistricting Advisory Commission, convened by Democratic leaders in the General Assembly is holding a series of a dozen meetings for community input through the middle of November. They have opted not to publish any drafts of maps they are considering. For a big picture look, we turn now to the journalist and author David Daley. He's a former editor-in-chief of Salon, and the author of two books about gerrymandering, the latest of which is called Unrigged: How Americans Are Battling Back to Save Democracy. He's also a Senior Fellow at FairVote, a non-profit that advocates for election reform. Daley published an essay in the NY Times on September 29th that cautioned that partisan politics has not been erased from the redistricting process, even in states that have independent commissions formed to keep partisanship out of it. And he suggests some alternatives that could ensure more fair and democratic elections Dave Daley joins us on Zoom from Western Massachusetts. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Tom's next guest is Maryland Sen. Jim Rosapepe. He represents Prince Georges and Anne Arundel Counties, and he was a longtime friend of former Baltimore County Executive Ted Venetoulis, who passed away yesterday at the age of 87. Venetoulis served as County Executive from 1974-1978, and ran unsuccessfully in 1978 to be the Democratic nominee for Maryland Governor. But even out of office, Venetoulis was an active and influential player in Maryland's Democratic Party politics. Sen. Jim Rosapepe join us on Zoom to pay tribute to Ted Venetoulis. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Today, it's another edition of Midday with the Mayor, and our monthly conversation with Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott about key issues on the mayor's and the city's agenda. The Mayor, who has been vaccinated but tested positive for COVID this week (and is working from home during his 10-day quarantine) joins Tom to talk about the progress the city is enjoying in its COVID vaccination efforts. He also discusses the issues surrounding the city's Inspector General, how the city is planning to spend the $641 million in American Rescue Act funds that have been earmarked for Baltimore, and his continuing efforts to promote transparency in city government. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
It's time for our weekly visit with Midday theater criticJ. Wynn Rousuck, who joins Tom today with her review ofWit,the multi-award-winning one-act play written in 1994 by Margaret Edson that's getting a new, live (and COVID-safe) production at Baltimore's Fells Point Corner Theatre. Directed by Lindsey R. Barr, and starring Kay-Megan Washington as Dr. Vivian Bearing, the play explores the intersection of two powerful human experiences: dying, and discovering the profound value of friendship. Other members of the cast include John Dignam, Vanessa Eskridge, Isaiah Mason Harvey, Kylie Miller, Willem Rogers, Kyla Tacopina and Dana Woodson. Besides winning the 1999 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, Wit also earned playwright Margaret Edson the New York Drama Critics Circle Award, the Drama Desk Award, the Outer Critics Circle Award, the Lucille Lortel Award, and the Oppenheimer Award.Wit continues live (with no streaming option) atFells Point Corner Theatre until October 24. Follows the link for information on times and ticketing. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Tom's guest today is Richard Antoine White, an extraordinary classical musician with an extraordinary story. It begins in Sandtown-Winchester, on Baltimore's West Side, in difficult circumstances, and bad, if not impossible odds. In his new memoir, wryly titled "I'm Possible," Richard chronicles how he beat those odds. How he smashed barriers. How he developed a career full of firsts. Richard is a graduate of the Baltimore School for the Arts and The Peabody Institute, as well as Indiana University's Jacobs School of Music, where he became the first African American in the country to be awarded a doctorate in tuba performance. Today, Dr. White is in his fifth season as a member of the New Mexico Philharmonic Orchestra. He also teaches at the University of New Mexico, where he is Associate Professor of tuba/euphonium, and Associate Director of the Spirit Marching Band. His teacher and mentor at Peabody was David Fedderly, the former tubist with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. David Fedderly joins us briefly on Zoom from his home in South Carolina. The full title of Richard Antoine White's memoir is I'm Possible: A Story of Survival, a Tuba, and the Small Miracle of a Big Dream. (Flatiron Books) Richard Antoine White joins us on Zoom from his home in Albuquerque, NM. Richard Antoine White will discuss and read selections from his book, in conversation with writer Judith Krummeck, at the Enoch Pratt Library's free Writers Live! series event tomorrow (October 7) at 7pm. For more information and to register, click here. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Today, we welcome back to Midday a wonderful friend of the show, Dr. Miho Tanaka. She's an orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine expert who will answer your questions about training and exercise. We call our segments with Dr. Tanaka, What Hurts Today? If you've got something that hurts, feel free to give us a call… But first, the Baltimore Running Festival is back. On Saturday (October 9), runners will hit the streets in four different events: the 26-mile full marathon, a half marathon, a 10K race (that's about 6 miles) and a 5K race (that's about 3 miles). It's the 20th anniversary of this popular event, which like so many events, took a COVID-related hiatus last year. Tom's first guest today is Lee Corrigan, the Festival's executive race director and president of Corrigan Sports Enterprises, the Elkridge-based company that organizes this and many other footraces across the region. After Mr. Corrigan's marathon preview, it's time for a Midday segment that, like the Baltimore Running Festival, has been absent during the pandemic. It's a segment we call, with our tongues firmly ensconced in our cheeks, What Hurts Today? We pose this question because, let's face it. Something hurts. Your knee. Your shoulder. Your elbow. Your ankle. I ask with all due respect, with genuine concern,and with a shared sense of what it means to have things that hurt. I have things that hurt, and so do you. And what's more fun than comparing what hurts? Dr. Miho Tanakaspecializes in what hurts. She is an acclaimed orthopedic surgeon and the director of the Women's Sports Medicine Program at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. She is a member of the faculty at the Harvard Medical School. Dr. Tanaka has treated professional athletes and weekend-warriors alike. Whether or not you are running in one of the races in the Baltimore Running Festival this weekend, or your idea of a good time is hopping on your bike and riding, or leashing up your dog and walking, or playing soccer or tennis or golf or lifting weights; whatever you like to do to keep active and fit, Dr. Tanaka is here to answer questions you may have about how to stay active and injury-free, and to suggest some things to think about if you have an injury you need to address. Dr. Miho Tanaka joins us on our digital line from Boston. We welcome your questions and comments. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
It's Midday on Ethics. Today, a conversation about vaccine mandates. Tom's guest is Dr. Jeffrey Kahn, the director of The Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics. To entice those who are reluctant to become inoculated, the private and public sector have tried education, trusted influencers and a range of incentives, from money to doughnuts to tickets to beer. But patience is wearing thin with those who are still, despite wide availability and solid evidence of efficacy and safety, refusing to act in a way that will help stop transmission of this deadly disease. There is some early evidence that mandates are effective. The New York Times reported last week that in New York, where a mandate for health workers is in effect, roughly 92% of workers in hospitals and nursing homes have now been vaccinated. Other Health systems in California and Texas report that the wave of resignations predicted when mandates were announced have not materialized. Private companies report equally high levels of vaccinations after they instituted mandates.In California, not only teachers and staff at public schools will be required to be inoculated. Soon, all students age 12 and up will have to get vaccinated in order to attend classes. Mandates are the subject of several lawsuits, but so far, the courts have held that the state or private employers do have the right to require vaccination against certain diseases in the interest of public health. On Friday, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor denied a request from some New York City teachers to block the city's vaccine mandate.Many who choose not to be vaccinated frame the issue as one of personal liberty rather than public health. What do the rest of us owe them? Dr. Jeffrey Kahn joins us on our digital line from his office in Baltimore. We welcome listener comments and questions. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Today on Midday, it's Midday at the Movies, our monthly look at films, filmmaking and the movie industry. Tom guests are our movie-maven regulars, Washington Post film critic Ann Hornadayand Maryland Film Festival founder and former director Jed Dietz. We'll discuss the question of whether pandemic-weary filmgoers feel it's safe to return to movie theaters. And we get Ann and Jed's takes on some of the current cinema, including the re-release of Sankofa, Ethiopia-American filmmaker Haile Gerima's 1993 masterpiece about slavery, now on Netflix; Nuclear Family, independent director Ry Russo-Young's new autobiographical documentary series on HBO Max about her same-sex parents and the unexpected complications they faced in raising their family; The Eyes of Tammy Faye, director Michael Showalter's dramatic adaptation of the documentary about the disgraced televangelist, played by Jessica Chastain; and The Card Counter, writer-director Paul Schrader's latest portrait of alienation and redemption starring Oscar Isaac, and now showing at the Charles and area theaters. Ann Hornaday joins us on our digital line; Jed Dietz is on Zoom. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Today on Midday,it's Midday on Politics, with a focus on local government. Tom's guests today are three members of the Baltimore City Council: Phylicia Porter lives in Pigtown and represents the 10th district. Odette Ramos lives in Charles Village and represents the 14th District. Mark Conwaylives in North Guilford and represents the 4th District. They were all elected in 2020. They are part of a group of five freshman lawmakers who have been in office about 10 months. In 2016, the Council had eight new members. Two of them, Shannon Sneed and Leon Pinkett, chose not to run for re-election to their council seats, choosing instead to run in the primary for City Council President. Nick Mosby won that election. He is serving in that position for the first time. Comptroller Bill Henry and Mayor Brandon Scott were also elected to their offices for the first time. All of which is to say that of the 17 public officials elected to run City Hall, only two, Council Vice President Sharon Green Middleton and 11th district Councilman Eric Costello have served more than one term. Some would say that this infusion of new people brings fresh perspectives and new ideas to city government. Others worry that lack of experience in elective office might impede efforts to govern effectively. We welcome listener comments and questions for our three Council members. Councilman Conway joins us on our digital line. Councilwomen Ramos and Porterjoin us on Zoom. In her response to a question about help for renters struggling to pay their energy, water and rent bills during these difficult times, Councilwoman Ramos gave the phone number to reach the Baltimore City Community Action Partnership, a service of the City's Office of Children and Family Success. That number is 410-396-5555. Here is the link: https://www.bmorechildren.com/residents See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
The Supreme Court will begin its new term on Monday, October 4th. For the first time since the COVID crisis began, the Court will hear oral arguments in person - though the Supreme Court building remains closed to the general public. It will hear those arguments in several cases that are reflective of some of America's deepest cultural and political divides, including cases that concern reproductive rights, gun regulation and religious freedom. And it will convene as public opinion of the Court has plummeted, with polls showing a lack of confidence and the perception that the justices are political partisans. In just the past few weeks, Justices Clarence Thomas, Stephen Breyer and Amy Coney Barrett have made public remarks aimed at convincing people that they are not politically motivated, a recognition, at the very least, that the Court is acutely aware of the possibility that their credibility has been undermined. Today on Midday on the Law, we take a look at some of the hot-button issues the Court will consider during the new session, with legal scholar Kim Wehle, a law professor at the University of Baltimore School of Law, a former Assistant US Attorney, and the author of two excellent books,How to Read the Constitution-And Why, and What You Need to Know About Voting-And Why. Kim is also the host of an Instagram show called #Simple Politics. Kim Wehle join us on our digital line from Chevy Chase, Maryland. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Today is National Voter Registration Day. The record voter turnout in the 2020 Presidential election gave way to re-doubled efforts on the part of Republican state legislators across the country to make voting regulations more restrictive and to make voting more difficult. Most of the laws that have been enacted or proposed will affect, in particular, voters of color. Tom's first guest today is Andrea Hailey. The veteran organizer and founder of the Civic Engagement Fundis the first African American woman to be the CEO of Vote.org, the non-partisan, on-line voter registration organization. She joins us on Zoom. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Now, a conversation about the importance of global vaccine equity, the role that the United States is playing, and what else it could be doing. Last Wednesday, the White House convened a Global COVID 19 Summit with more than 100 leaders from governments and international organizations. President Joe Biden announced that the US would purchase 500 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine for underdeveloped countries, and he committed nearly $800 million dollars to help distribute the vaccines in nine countries across three continents. Other countries also announced their intentions to donate vaccines and money as well. Joining Tom on Zoom from Baltimore is Bill O'Keefe, the Executive Vice President for Mission and Mobilization at Catholic Relief Services, a private relief and development agency that has been deeply involved in helping poor countries around the world cope with the COVID pandemic. Mr. O'Keefe advocates for U.S. policies that promotes justice and reduces poverty internationally. And from Monrovia, Liberia, in West Africa, Abena Amedormey joins us on Zoom, as well. She's the Country Manager for Catholic Relief Services in Liberia, one of many African nations where fewer than 4% of the population has received a COVID vaccination. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Today on Midday, it's the Midday Healthwatch with Dr. Leana Wen, an emergency physician and former Baltimore City Health Commissioner who joins us each month to talk about public health issues, and who has been providing us with timely updates on the COVID-19 pandemic. Trends in the pandemic are headed in a relatively positive direction. Nationally, cases are down about 20% in the last couple of weeks, but that still amounts to about 114,000 new cases every day. With 45% of the country still unvaccinated against the coronavirus, many people who received the Pfizer vaccine six months or more ago, are now cleared to get a third dose. There was some confusion last week when an advisory panel of the CDC made a recommendation as to who should qualify for a booster shot. CDC Director Rochelle Walensky broadened the group that her advisors had identified. The people who are now eligible include people who are immunocompromised, at least 65 years old, or who work in front line jobs like medical personnel and teachers. That group is likely to expand to include people who received the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, but the FDA and CDC have not yet approved boosters of those vaccines. Today on the Midday Healthwatch, Dr. Leana Wen will help us sort out these developments. Dr. Wen teaches at the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health. She's also a columnist for the Washington Post, a medical analyst for CNN, a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution and the author of Lifelines: A Doctor's Journey in the Fight for Public Health.Dr. Wen lives with her husband and their toddler and baby in Baltimore. Dr. Leana Wen joins us today on Skype…and as always, we welcome your questions and comments… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
It's the Midday Newswrap. Today, we're going to focus on local stories with three members of WYPR's award-winning news team. John Lee covers Baltimore County for WYPR, and won a 2020 Chesapeake AP Broadcasters Association Award for his series of reports on COVID-19's impact on the Baltimore County Schools. He joins Tom today on our digital line to discuss the story he broke last week about a devastating auditor's report on the Baltimore County School system that described the school board as dysfunctional, the central office as bloated, and found systemic problems of low morale and poor communications. Rachel Baye, WYPR'S Statehouse and Maryland politics correspondent, whose reporting on kids in the Maryland foster care system won her a prestigious 2021 National Edward R. Murrow award, joins Tom on our digital line to discuss her recent coverage of the Columbia hotel that laid off its employees last year because of the pandemic and took $2.5 million in federal PPP loans this year, but has so far failed to rehire or compensate its laid-off workers. Rachel also describes the ongoing battles over mask mandates in the state's public schools, and the latest legislative efforts to legalize recreational marijuana in Maryland. Joel McCord has been WYPR's News Director since 2012, and also covers the Chesapeake Bay region and various counties throughout the state. In 2019, Joel won a Chesapeake AP Broadcasters Association Award for his moving commentary on the mass shooting that killed five staffers at the Capital Gazette newspaper, in his home town of Annapolis. Today he joins Tom on Zoom to discuss his recent reporting of improved prospects for a proposed Chesapeake Bay Bridge replacement, following signs of a compromise from a long-time critic of the plan, Anne Arundel County Supervisor Steuart Pittman. And Joel recaps his coverage of the Talbot County Council's vote on September 16 to remove the Talbot Boys Confederate monument from the courthouse lawn in Easton. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
It's time again for Midday theater critic J. Wynn Rousuck, who joins Tom today with her review of Rapid Lemon Productions' Rachel,a seminal, century-old play about racism that's been newly adapted for the stage by Baltimore playwright Aladrian C. Wetzel. Rachel was written in 1916 by Angelina Weld Grimké, one of the luminaries of the so-called Harlem Renaissance. She penned it as an artistic retort to the 1915 release of director D.W. Griffith's racist film, “Birth of a Nation”. Originally titled “Blessed are the Barren”, the play tells the story of a Black woman who rejects marriage and motherhood after discovering a horrifying family secret. It was first produced in Washington, DC, by the NAACP, and published in 1920. Ms. Wetzel's new adaptation is her second commissioned play for Rapid Lemon Productions, after 2019's acclaimed Thank You, Dad. Rapid Lemon's production of Rachel is being performed live on stage, and also live-streamed, through September 26th at Baltimore's Motor House, located at 120 W North Ave, Baltimore, MD 21201. For ticketing information, click here. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
The Southern Poverty Law Center estimates that there are about 2,000 Confederate Monuments in the United States. Baltimore took down four of its confederate monuments in 2017. In writer Clint Smith's hometown of New Orleans, the city has also removed four monuments. But as he reports in his recent book, at least 100 statues, parks, and streets in the Big Easy are still named after Confederate figures. The book is called How the Word is Passed: A Reckoning With the History of Slavery Across America. In this compelling, insightful and probing work, Dr. Smith takes us on a tour of sites that are important, in different ways, to understanding how America is confronting the legacy of slavery. It's a diary of visits to 8 sites in the US and one in Senegal, Africa, and Smith's reflections on how the history of each place is told, the decisions about what to include, what to ignore, and what is fabricated to create a particular, false narrative. Clint Smith holds a PhD in Education from Harvard. He's an award-winning poet, and a staff writer at The Atlantic. In the context of the uproar over Critical Race Theory and attempts to outright ban teaching about slavery and the history of race in America, Dr. Smith has produced a timely, beautifully written, and deeply personal account of how we reckon with America's original sin. Clint Smith joins us on Zoom from Silver Spring, Maryland. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
The actor Michael K. Williams passed away two weeks ago of an apparent drug overdose. Williams starred in Boardwalk Empire and Lovecraft Country, but he came to fame playing the role of Omar in The Wire, the award-winning HBO series produced by David Simon. When his death was announced on September 6, tributes poured in. On Sunday night, the Baltimore Ravens honored him at their game against the Kansas City Chiefs. That same night, the actress Kerry Washington paid tribute to his gifts at the Emmy Awards ceremony. "Michael was a brilliantly talented actor and a generous human being," she said, "who has left us far too soon...” Tom's next guest is Dominic Dupont, a nephew of Michael K. Williams. He served 20 years of a 25-years-to-life prison sentence for a murder conviction when he was 19. Pardoned in 2017 by then-NY Governor Andrew Cuomo, today he is the program director of “Making Kids Win,” the foundation his uncle set up to reduce gun violence and encourage kids in the arts. Dominic Dupontjoins us on Zoom, from New York, to remember Michael K. Williams as an actor, a justice activist, and a loving and supportive uncle. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
This has been a summer that President Joe Biden may just as soon forget. It's been a rough ride for his 8-month-old presidency. He was ahead of the FDA on a decision to offer coronavirus booster shots to everybody. When those shots are offered, it will only be to older Americans and those with compromised immune systems. The Pentagon admitted it had made a mistake when it sent a drone to kill Isis-K militiamen. It killed children and aid workers instead. France has withdrawn its ambassador to the United States, an amazing action given that the alliance between our countries dates to the American Revolution. And on the Texas border, thousands of migrants from Haiti are amassed in squalid conditions, as the administration continues to struggle with its immigration policy. It was in this context that the President addressed the UN General Assembly in New York yesterday. Citing the challenges of Coronavirus, climate change, and China, which remained un-named in his speech but clearly front of mind, the President said that the world's problems require a unified global response. He pledged that the United States would lead that response. Here is how he put it: "Simply put, we stand, in my view, at an inflection point in history. And I'm here today to share with you how the United States intends to work with partners and allies to answer these questions and the commitment of my new administration to help lead the world toward a more peaceful, prosperous future for all people..." Joining Tom today with analysis and perspective on President Biden's foreign policy challenges is Ishaan Tharoor, a columnist for The Washington Post who covers foreign affairs, geo-politics and history. He joins us on our digital line from New York. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Tom's next guest is the author, Dawne Allette. She lives here in Baltimore. She's a native of Grenada, in the West Indies. She has written seven children's books, biographies of Barack and Michele Obama, a memoir, and a textbook about Henrietta Lacks. Her latest book is a novel called Mango Samba, first published in 2019. She'll be talking about and reading from the book on the beautiful back patio at the Ivy Bookshop in North Baltimore tonight (Tues 9/21) at 6:00, in conversation with Judy Plymer. To register for the event, click here. Dawne Allette now joins Tom on Zoom, to talk about it as well. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
We have spoken many times on this show about incivility in the public square; the coarseness and vulgarity of much of what passes for public discourse; the dire need for basic politeness in an era of extreme political polarity; the ad hominem attacks that many employ as a substitute for reason and rational argument. As the insurrection on January 6th demonstrated, that incivility and willingness to stipulate to counter-factual ideas can have deadly consequences. And whether it's a local school board or a town council, the examples we've all seen of people acting out, and acting violently, are a sad reminder that our differences don't just surround issues like whether we should wear a mask or get a vaccine. They also speak to what we consider appropriate public behavior. These issues take on particularly difficult dimensions when that behavior takes place while people are sharing an airline cabin. Today on Midday, a conversation about the disturbing rise in violent behavior by airline passengers. The Federal Aviation Administration has issued more than $1 million in fines this year to passengers who violate federal law by interfering with the duties of flight crews. As of last week, there have already been more than 4,200 reports of unruly people on planes this year. Tom's guests today represent the folks who have to deal with those unruly passengers. Sara Nelson is the president of the Association of Flight Attendants, a position she has held since 2014. She represents more than 50,000 flight attendants who fly for 17 different airlines. Ms. Nelson joins us on Zoom from Washington, DC. Captain Dennis Tajer is an Air Force veteran, a pilot for American Airlines, and the spokesperson for the Allied Pilots Association, the collective bargaining union that represents 15,000 American Airlines pilots. Captain Tajer joins us on our digital line from Chicago. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Today on Midday, a conversation about the violence that persists on our city's streets, and what can be done about it. Last week, four children were injured when gun fire erupted in a largely blighted block of North Milton Avenue in the Broadway East neighborhood. One girl was 17, two girls were 14 year old twins. The other victim was a 12 year old boy. They were among the more than 500 people who have been injured in shootings in our city so far this year. Two hundred forty-five people have been killed in our city. Over the summer, Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott published his Comprehensive Violence Prevention Plan, the product of community meetings and an multi agency approach that treats violence as a public health issue, and seeks to engage the community in addressing it. As I mentioned at the top of the show, the Mayor is convening his Group Violence Reduction Strategy partners for the first time this afternoon.At the heart of these efforts is a push for prevention. Programs that employ Violence Interrupters — groups like Safe Streetsand Roca — will be expanded. Other, similar community based programs will be developed. Funding will be increased. What do we know about the efficacy of these programs? When a Safe Streets outreach worker intervenes in a dispute and turns people who are arguing about something away from violent resolution of the conflict, is that something that can be tracked and quantified easily? It's hard to collect data on events that haven't happened. Today on Midday, a discussion about the effectiveness of violence interruption programs. Tom is joined by three people who collect data about this and study the issue from different perspectives. Dr. Jeffrey Butts is a Research Professor and the Director of the Research and Evaluation Center at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York. He joins us on Zoom… Amos Gelb is the director of the Washington Media Institute, and the publisher of Baltimore Witnessand DC Witness, organizations that track those accused of violent crimes through the judicial system. He joins us on Zoom as well… And LaTrina Antoine. She is the editor-in-chief of Baltimore Witness and DC Witness, and focuses on data and the reporting that her staff does about violence and the court system. She also joins us on Zoom… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
It's time for another visit with Midday theater critic, J. Wynn Rousuck, who joins Tom this week with her review of Baltimore Center Stage's live production of The Swindlers: A True-ish Tall Tale. Playwright Noah Diaz, the author of last season's critically acclaimed Richard & Jane & Dick & Sally, based this new, Center Stage-commissioned play "loosely"onthe real-life exploits of his mother and grandfather. His so-called "true-ish tall tale" is a raucous comedy about liars, fools and surviving one's family ties. Will Davis directs the Center Stage cast, which features Rachel Crowl as FOOL 1, Derek Garza as FOOL 2, Christopher Ryan Grant as GEORGE, Jon Hudson Odom as CONTEXT and Carmen Zilles as MARIE. The Swindlers continues live at Baltimore's Center Stage through September 26. The show will also be streaming live for ticketed patrons from September 21-26. Click the production's link for more information. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
There has never been anyone like Muhammad Ali. The uniquely charismatic boxer from Louisville, Kentucky, who died in 2016 at the age of 74, was known for many things. One was the clownish bragging he did before all his bouts, likehis memorable rant at a September 1974 press conference before the “Rumble in the Jungle,” one of his famous fights with George Foreman, which earned him the heavyweight title — a title he held three times in a long and unparalleled career. Ali was revered by millions, reviled, at times, by many. He was more than an extraordinary athlete. He was also a generous philanthropist, a principled, committed and unshakable civil rights activist, and above all, a family man. And in a new, four-part documentary that will air on successive evenings on PBS beginning on Sunday (September 19), the story of his extraordinary life is told by the extraordinary filmmaking team of Ken Burns, Sarah Burns, and David McMahon. Tom spoke yesterday with Sarah Burns and David McMahon. They joined him on Zoom from their home in New York. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Today, it's Midday with the Mayor, and Mayor Colin Byrd joins us. He's a progressive Democrat who was elected in 2019 -- at the age of 27 -- as the youngest mayor ever elected to lead the city of Greenbelt, Maryland, his native city. One of the mayor's initiatives concerns reparations for African Americans and Indigenous people who, for decades after the town's creation as a planned community in 1937, were discriminated against in a racially segregated Greenbelt. In a couple of months, voters in the historic Maryland city will have a chance to weigh in on the issue. The reparations referendum that Mayor Byrd proposed last spring will appear on the November 2nd ballot. Mayor Byrd joins Tom on Zoom from Greenbelt. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Tom's next guest is the internationally acclaimed jazz singer, Dee Dee Bridgewater. She's won three Grammy Awards, and a Tony Award. She hosted a show called JazzSet for 23 years on NPR. She is a UN Goodwill Ambassador, and in 2017 was named an NEA Jazz Master. She's just released a new CD called Memphis: Yes, I'm Ready. And she's appearing now in Baltimore at Todd Barkan's Keystone Kornerjazz club in Harbor East, with the legendary jazz pianist Bill Charlap. You can catch them at 7:30 and 10:00 tonight, tomorrow night and Saturday night, live at the club or streaming online. For more info and tickets, follow the Keystone link. Dee Dee Bridgewater joins Tom on the line from Baltimore. In the open and close today, we hear a bit of Ms. Bridgewater singing, respectively, Lullaby of Birdland, and Hound Dog, from the new Memphis, Yes I'm Ready CD. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Tom's guest today is Dr. Jelani Cobb, one of the most important public intellectuals of our time, a scholar and commentator who has offered invaluable insights in the study of racial equality in America in several books, and as a staff writer at the New Yorker. Dr. Cobb, a finalist for the 2018 Pulitzer Prize in Commentary, teaches journalism at Columbia University and is a frequent commentator on MSNBC. Dr. Cobb has just published a new book, co-edited with historian Matthew Guariglia, that reintroduces us to the Kerner Commission Report, the landmark 1968 study of racism, inequity and police violence. The report, formally known as the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders, and chaired by then-Illinois Governor Otto Kerner, Jr., was released just one month before the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The commission was established by President Lyndon Johnson in the wake of nearly two dozen riots that had taken place in cities across America over the preceding three years. In his televised address to the nation on the evening he announced the commission in July 1967, President Johnson said: "The only genuine, long-range solution for what has happened lies in an attack— mounted at every level—upon the conditions that breed despair and violence. All of us know what those conditions are: ignorance, discrimination, slums, poverty, disease, not enough jobs. We should attack these conditions—not because we are frightened by conflict, but because we are fired by conscience. We should attack them because there is simply no other way to achieve a decent and orderly society in America." Jelani Cobb makes a compelling case for the Kerner Commission's relevance today. In his trenchant and enlightening introduction to the report, he demonstrates that, quote, “Kerner establishes that it is possible for us to be entirely cognizant of history and repeat it anyway.” The racial injustice and inequity that the Kerner Report described more than 50 years ago still create barriers to advancement for people of color. Much of the analysis of the racial dynamic in America that the report offers rings as true today as it did in its day.T he book is The Essential Kerner Commission Report, published by W.W. Norton. Dr. Jelani Cobb joins us on our digital line from his office at Columbia University in New York. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Tom's next guest is Deborah Ramsey. She's a former detective with the Baltimore City Police Department. In 2016, she was named an Open Society Institute Community Fellow. In 2015, the year of the riots and uprising in Baltimore that followed the funeral of Freddie Gray, she began a program for children in the Penn North neighborhood, called Unified Efforts. Now, she is looking to expand that program with a permanent home in the neighborhood. She last appeared on our program in September of 2019. We're delighted to welcome Debbie Ramsey back to Midday. She joins us on Zoom. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Tom's next guest today is Baltimore City Health Commissioner Dr. Letitia Dzirasa, who gives us an update on the city's progress in dealing with the delta variant and getting more people vaccinated against COVID-19, as a Johns Hopkins study gives the city high marks for its efforts so far. Plus, the rationales for mask and vaccination mandates, and why the city's holding off for now on those senior booster shots. Dr. Letitia Dzirasa joins us by phone from her office in Baltimore. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
We begin today with an update on the recall election of California Governor Gavin Newsom. Millions of California voters have cast mail-in ballots over the past several weeks. Today (Tuesday) is Election Day in the state, the last day voters can make their sentiments known. As of today, almost 40% of registered voters have already cast their early voting or mail-in ballots, indicating a bigger turnout than some originally expected. For California, recall elections are not uncommon. Since 1913, there have been 179 recall attempts of elected officials in the Golden State. In the 11 recalls that made it to the ballot, six officials were removed from office. That list includes Democrat Gray Davis, who was replaced by Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2003. Joining Tom now is Joe Mathews. He's a syndicated California columnist for Zócalo Public Square and a founding co-president of the world's leading network for the study of direct democracy, The Global Forum on Modern Direct Democracy. Joe Mathews joins us from Pasadena, California, on Zoom. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Nearly 70% of Americans have a Facebook account, and the giant social media platform's unrelenting mission is to keep all of us glued to those accounts for as long as possible, every day. Executing that mission has made Facebook insanely profitable. The company is also unquestionably problematic and unapologetically purposeful in its manipulation and marketing of our personal data, most of which we offer up quite freely. Last month the US Federal Trade Commission updated its antitrust lawsuit against the tech giant, arguing that it should be broken up into smaller companies, separating, for example, Facebook from Instagram and What's App. Tom's guests today are two award-winning reporters for the New York Times, Sheera FrenkelandCecilia Kang. In their NYTimes-best-selling book, An Ugly Truth: Inside Facebook's Battle for Domination, the authors examine Facebook in the period between the 2016 and the 2020 elections. Forty-four percent of Americans say they get their information about candidates from the behemoth social network. And a lot of the time, that information is spurious, generated by foreign states like Russia, and sometimes, the candidates themselves. The deleterious effect on basic democratic institutions is immeasurable, and as Kang and Frenkel document, Facebook's efforts to curb it are ineffective. And one of the central reasons their efforts fall so short so often is that curbing that kind of abuse runs contrary to Facebook's business model. An Ugly Truth is chilling and persuasive. Kang and Frenkel's book reveals how Facebook's reach into the global community is unmatched, and how its unchecked power presents a conundrum to those who would break it up or attempt to regulate it. Cecilia Kang(pron."Kong") joins us on Zoom. Sheera Frenkel joins us on our digital line. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Tomorrow, America will acknowledge that it's been 20 years since terrorists in four hijacked passenger jets launched coordinated attacks that brought death and destruction to New York City, the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, and Shanksville, Pennsylvania. The victims' families will gather at the 9/11 Memorial Museum in lower Manhattan to remember their loved ones. The first responders — those who survived and those who perished — will also be remembered and honored. Now, a conversation about some journalistic first responders at the Wall Street Journal. The Journal's newsroom was across the street from the twin towers of the World Trade Center. That newsroom was wiped out by smoke and debris when the towers collapsed on that horrific day. When the planes first hit the towers, some reporters were in the newsroom, others were scattered in different proximities to ground zero. But somehow they managed to do exemplary reporting that day, that earned the paper a Pulitzer Prize. Joining Tom now is Dean Rotbart. He's an award-winning former reporter and columnist for the Wall Street Journal and the host of the podcast, Monday Morning Radio. He has written a book about how the Journal staff covered the events of 9/11, and the days that followed. It's calledSeptember 12th: An American Comeback Story. Dean Rotbart joins us on Zoom. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Tom's Newsmaker guest today is US Senator Chris Van Hollen (D., Md). Last evening, President Biden outlined a 6-part strategy to get the country ahead of the curve on the COVID-19 pandemic. The strategy includes requiring some businesses to mandate vaccines or testing. Federal government employees and contractors working for the government will also be required to be vaccinated. As it has through most of the pandemic, Maryland is faring better than many states, but that said, infection and hospitalization rates are among the highest they've been since early last spring. The White House has its hands full with its efforts to pass infrastructure bills as well. Last week, conservative Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia penned an op-ed urging that the Senate take a “strategic pause” on the legislation, as Republicans, drug makers, investment banks, tech giants and other corporate leaders lined up against many provisions in the $3.5 trillion-dollar Democratic plan that has been linked to the $1 trillion-dollar bipartisan plan approved by the Senate. Sen. Chris Van Hollen, Maryland's junior senator since 2017 and previously Maryland's 8th District congressman (2003-17), joins Tom to talk about these and other issues of the day… Sen. Van Hollen connects with us on Zoom from his home office in Kensington, Maryland. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Tom's next guest is Nicholas Jones, the director and senior advisor of Race and Ethnicity Research and Outreach in the US Census Bureau's Population Division. Their conversation spotlights the changing make-up of America that is revealed in the new data from the 2020 Census. The largest race or ethnicity group in the United States is still the group that identifies as White alone, but that population has decreased by more than 8% since 2010 -- the last time the US Census Bureau took the national count. The multi-racial population, on the other hand, is up 276%, from 9 million people in 2010 to nearly 34 million people last year. Mr. Jones also discusses new data from the 2020 Census on the changing demographics of Maryland and Baltimore. Nicholas Jones joins us on Zoom. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
On this month's edition of Midday with the Mayor, Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott joins host Tom Hall to discuss some of the key issues on the mayor's agenda, including: encouraging data on the city's efforts to battle the COVID-19 pandemic, impending vaccine mandates for city employees, the 2020 Census and the Mayor's Growth Plan to reverse the city's declining population, the Homeowner's Tax Credit, continuing efforts to reduce gun violenceand the city's new Western District pilot plan for the Group Violence Reduction Strategy. Mayor Brandon Scott joins us on Zoom from his office in City Hall. As always, we welcome your comments and questions for the mayor. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
It's time for another visit with Midday theater critic J. Wynn Rousuck, who joins Tom this week with her review of Single Carrot Theatre's production of Every Brilliant Thing, a solo show being performed outdoors in multiple neighborhood venues with a rotating cast of three SCT actors. Co-written in 2016 by British playwright Duncan MacMillan with Irish actor Jonny Donahoe, Every Brilliant Thing explores the lengths to which we'll go for those we love. Within the play's life-affirming and joyful storyline, audiences are asked to help tell a moving story of a young child's hopefulness and resilience, despite contending with an emotionally unstable mother. Co-directed by SCT's Paul Diem and ensemble co-founder and artistic director Genevieve De Mahy, the play features rotating performances by SCT ensemble members Matthew Shea, Lauren Erica Jackson and Meghan Stanton. SCT's fifteen performances of Every Brilliant Thing run through September 26th, during Suicide Prevention Month. To spotlight the issue and provide resources for those seeking assistance, SCT has partnered with three mental-health support organizations: the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, On Our Own of Maryland and B'more Clubhouse. People in immediate need of help may also call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. For more information on Single Carrot Theatre's Every Brilliant Thing, click here. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Today on Midday, lessons that can be learned from previous pandemics. Tom's guest is Dr. William Foege. He was the director of the CDC in the late 1970s and early 80s, and he was instrumental in the eradication of smallpox. What can his former agency do moving forward to put a nail in the coffin of COVID 19? See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Tom's next guest is the legendary singer, Johnny Mathis. He has been touring and recording for 65 years, and in that time, he's recorded 79 original albums of love ballads, many of which have become part of the American song book. Mathis, who turns 86 on September 30th, is currently on his "65 Years of Romance" tour across the country. He'll be appearing at the Music Center at Strathmore in North Bethesda, Maryland this weekend (Sat. Sept. 11). Johnny Mathis joins Midday on the phonefrom his home in Los Angeles, California. For more information on his Strathmore concert, click here. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
In 2013, the Human Rights Campaign started tracking violence against the Transgender community in the United States. Violence against trans people has increased in recent years. In 2020, more trans people were victims of hate crimes than at any other time. So far this year, nationally, more than 30 trans people have been victims of homicide. Today on Midday, conversations with trans activists who provide services and support to Transgender people in Baltimore. Tom's first guests are Iya Dammons, the founder and executive director of Baltimore Safe Haven, a non-profit organization that advocates for a higher quality of life for TLGBQ people in Baltimore City;Melissa Deveraux is the organization's chief of staff. Later in the program, Tom is joined by Paula Neira, JD, MSN, RN, CEN, FAAN, the Clinical Program Director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Transgender Health. Our guests join us today on Zoom. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
(This conversation was originally aired on July 23, 2021) Welcome to an archive edition of Midday. Tom's guest on this Labor Day broadcast is a country music artist from Baltimore. Brittney Spencerhas been making her mark on the country music scene of late. Spotify and Pandora call her an artist to watch. She's been featured in national media, and her debut EP, Compassion, has garnered rave reviews. Country music is all about storytelling. Brittney Spencer tells her stories authentically and with a compelling openness. This is an artist who says what she means and means what she says. Here's a clip from her new single, a tune she co-wrote with the award-winning singer-songwriter couple Nelly Joy and Jason Reeves. It's called Sober and Skinny: Brittany Spencer's songs encourage us to be as reflective and honest in our journey as she is with hers. As a performer, her vocal delivery is often subtle and always powerful, and her talent has helped cement her spot as a Country star in the making. Brittney Spencer made her debutat the Grand Ole' Opry last May. She and Tom spoke on a July afternoon when she was preparing for another appearance on that hallowed stage that night. She joined us on Zoom, from Nashville. This conversation was pre-recorded, so we aren't able to take any new calls or comments. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
(This conversation was originally aired on August 3, 2021) On this archive edition of Midday, Tom's guest is Dr. Leana Wen, an emergency room physician who is the former Health Commissioner of Baltimore, a columnist for The Washington Post, a professor of public health at George Washington University, a non-resident senior fellow at The Brookings Institution, and a medical analyst for CNN. She is also the co-author of a book called When Doctors Don't Listen: How to Avoid Misdiagnoses and Unnecessary Tests, published in 2013. Today, we'll listen to a conversation about her latest book, a critically acclaimed, important and timely reflection on her life, her career, and the state of public health in America. It's part memoir and part prescription for elevating and improving public health. Leana Wen has long been one of this country's most imaginative and innovative thinkers about public health policy; this book demonstrates the ways in which her masterful grasp of the pressing issues in public health is informed by a host of challenging personal experiences, a searing intellect, and unyielding compassion. It's calledLifelines: A Doctor's Journey in the Fight for Public Health. Because this conversation was previously recorded, we aren't able to take any calls or comments. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
(This conversation was originally aired on March 3, 2021) Good afternoon and welcome to an archive edition of Midday. My guest is the author, George Saunders. He's published hundreds of short stories, and he's the winner of the Man Booker Prize for his first novel, Lincoln in the Bardo. Saunders' short stories have been published in The New Yorker, Harper'sand many other magazines, and collected in best-selling books like The Tenth of December, which was a finalist for the National Book Award, and which Time Magazine called one of the ten best books of the decade. Tom describes George Saunders as "a wholly original, surprising and powerfully imaginative writer whose work is unlike anything I've read before. His writing," Tom adds, "seems to re-invent the rules for how fiction is structured and re-imagine how storytelling can unfold." In 1997, George Saunders joined the faculty of his graduate school alma mater, Syracuse University. Earlier this year, he published his 11th book, which is a fascinating peroration that draws on his experience in the classroom. Saunders has chosen seven stories by a quartet of famous Russian authors: Chekhov, Tolstoy, Turgenev, and Gogol. He examines, explains, and riffs on each story, and in the process, with joy and wonder and delight, he offers insight into how we read, and how great authors write. It's called A Swim in a Pond in the Rain: In Which Four Russians Give a Masterclass on Writing, Reading, and Life. George Saunders joined us on Zoom. Our conversation was recorded in early March, 2021. Because this is a re-broadcast of Midday, we aren't able to take any new calls or comments. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
(This conversation was originally aired on July 6, 2021) Today, on this archive edition of Midday on Politics, a look back at last year's chaotic and unpredictable Presidential election cycle. In a new, comprehensive study of the 2020 race for the Democratic nomination, journalist Edward-Isaac Dovere reports that after losses in early primaries in the beginning of 2020, a despondent Joe Biden thought that his dream of becoming President was once again slipping away. His campaign was broke and in disarray, and he appeared unable to navigate the chaotic nature of a crowded field. But then, with a boost from Congressman James Clyburn, Biden won the South Carolina primary, the first primary he had won in three tries for the Presidency, a victory that propelled him to the nomination. In the general election, even though Biden was facing off against a candidate with a lengthy list of well-known negatives, Isaac Dovere reports one Democratic operative described Biden as “a rowboat with 7 holes in it. We've got to hold on tight and hope he gets across the ocean.” So, why did Biden prevail and why did so many others falter? And even more importantly, is this the best way to choose a President? Edward-Isaac Dovere is a staff writer and lead political correspondent for The Atlantic. He has written a sharp and terrific book about the 2020 campaign. It's replete with great reporting and vivid descriptions of the machinations that took place behind the scenes and insights into how each campaign handled the unprecedented vagaries of this unusual race. It's called Battle for the Soul: Inside the Democrats' Campaigns to Defeat Trump. Isaac Dovere spoke with Tom about the book in July on our digital line from Washington, DC. Because their conversation was recorded, we can't take any new calls or on-line comments. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.