Cianna B. Greaves | WYPR

Cianna B. Greaves

Producer

On today’s Midday Culture Connection with Dr. Sheri Parks: a conversation about sexual assault in education.   When Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and Judge Brett Kavanaugh testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee last week, not only was it another pivot point in the #MeToo Movement, it also afforded a window into a culture of drinking and bad conduct among privileged young people in the 1980s.   Was that culture of privilege and excess substantially different from the 1970s or 1960s?  Did the culture change in the next millennium at elite private high schools and the nation’s most exclusive colleges and universities? 

Photo Credit Enoch Pratt Library

This week, two important gatherings are taking place in Baltimore that will explore ways to increase investment in small businesses and other ventures that will help the city grow its economy.  Today, tomorrow and Wednesday, the Johns Hopkins 21st Century Cities Initiative, in conjunction with the Federal Reserve of Philadelphia, will host a conference called Investing in Opportunity.  And later this week, the first Baltimore Homecoming will launch.  It’s an effort to identify prominent people with Baltimore roots, bring them back home for a few days, and acquaint them with companies and causes they may find appealing.

On today’s show, Tom speaks with Mary Miller.  She was for many years a senior executive with T Rowe Price, before a five year stint at the US Treasury during the Obama Administration, where she served as the Acting Deputy Treasury Secretary and the Under Secretary for Domestic Finance.   She’s now a Senior Fellow at Johns Hopkins University in the 21st Century Cities Initiative, and she serves on the Host Committee of Baltimore Homecoming. 

Later in the program, Tom is joined by the architects behind Baltimore Homecoming, Co-Founders, Nate Loewentheil, who is also serves as  President of the non-profit organization, and Treasurer, J.M. Schapiro.        

Photo Courtesy Dr. Carol Anderson

When Democratic Senator Doug Jones won his election in Alabama against Roy Moore last year, many credited his victory to the large turnout among African American voters. Yet more than 100,000 Alabama voters can’t vote because they don’t have the ID required by the state. In fact, Alabama is one of the most difficult places to vote in all the land.  Most of the people who are affected by strict voting regulations, in Alabama and elsewhere, are people of color.

Today, a conversation about voting.  In a lot of places, and for a lot of people, registering to vote and the act of voting itself is hard.  While there is consensus that Democracy is best served when most people are engaged in the Democratic process, there is much less agreement about how voting should be made both uncorrupted and easy for individual voters.

Tom’s guest is Dr. Carol Anderson, the Charles Howard Chandler Professor of African American Studies at Emory University, author of, White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide.  Now she has turned her scholarly gaze to the often unspoken truths around voting. Her latest offering is called One Person, No Vote: How Voter Suppression is Destroying Our Democracy.  

Today we continue our series of Conversations with the Candidates with three people who will be on the ballot in November -- who are neither Democrats nor Republicans.

The Democracy Fund Voter Study Group reports that for the first time in the last 25 years, 2/3 of Americans see the need for a third party. This support for alternatives to Democrats and Republicans grows out of dissatisfaction with what many see as a dysfunctional two party system, but as to which third party that should be, or if there should be more than one, there is much less consensus. Today, we’ll talk to an Independent, a Libertarian and a member of the Green Party about the reasons behind their candidacies, and their views on the future of third parties moving forward.

Photo Courtesy John Shields

It's time now for What Ya' Got Cookin', where we talk about recipes, food trends, traditions and good eats. 

Today, Toms speaks with chef John Shields. He is an author and owner of Gertrude’s Restaurant at the Baltimore Museum of Art. He’s also the host of Coastal Cooking and Chesapeake Bay Cooking on MD Public Television and PBS, and he’s got a new book: 

The New Chesapeake Kitchen.

 A Baltimore native, John Shields' latest epicurean manuscript, pays reverence to the culinary traditions of the past, and shares how those traditions have influenced a new generation, of watermen, farmers, artisans and environmentalist. 

Photo Courtesy Flickr

Today, in the blizzard of news over the last couple of weeks, including new revelations last night, about Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, and reports that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein will  resign in anticipation of his being fired by the President, we thought it a good idea to take stock of where things stand in the Mueller probe.

Tom guest is New York Times reporter Scott Shane.  He was part of teams at the Times that won Pulitzer Prizes in 2017 and 2018 for their Russia coverage.  He is also the author of Objective Troy: A Terrorist, a President and the Rise of the Drone.

Scott Shane joins us on the telephone from the Washington, DC bureau of The New York Times.  

Photo Courtesy Associated Press

On today’s show, a closer look at polls released by Goucher College on Tuesday and Wednesday which revealed some contradictory preferences among Maryland voters.  Gov. Larry Hogan enjoys a sizable lead in his bid to be re-elected, but several of the ideas espoused by his Democratic opponent, Ben Jealous, also enjoy wide support. 

An increase in the minimum wage, Medicare for All, and increasing funding for education are all popular and have all been central tenets of the Jealous campaign since the former head of the NAACP announced his candidacy more than a year ago.  But the Maryland governor remains very popular as well, with an approval rating of about 66%, one of the highest of any governor in the country. 

Mileah Kromer is an associate professor of political science and Director of the Sarah T. Hughes Field Politics Center at Goucher College.  Luke Broadwater reports on City Hall and local politics for the Baltimore Sun. 

They join Tom for a look behind the numbers. 

Photo Courtesy Rep Stage

Today, Midday theater critic J. Wynn Rousuck joins Tom with her review of Sweeney Todd, The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, now playing at the Rep Stage in Columbia. 

From the pages of the Penny Dreadful, to the stage and screen, the story of the 'Demon Barber of Fleet Street' has been adapted many times over over the years.  But, be it a fable of love or revenge, the shocking deeds of the murderous barber,  his accomplice, the lovelorn baker Mrs. Lovett, and her dubious recipe for meat pies, have frightened and enchanted audiences for over a century. 

Joseph W. Ritsch directs and choreographs the Tony Award-winning Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler musical, which is set in the impoverished lanes of Victorian London.

Sweeney Todd, The Demon Barber of Fleet Street continues at the Rep Stage through Sunday September 23rd.

Photo Courtesy Al Redmer Jr., for Baltimore County Executive

Today, another in our series of Conversations with the Candidates, with Maryland Insurance Commissioner and former state delegate Al Redmer, Jr.   

Mr. Redmer is the Republican nominee for the office of Baltimore County Executive, running against Democratic candidate Johnny Olszewski, Jr.  

Mr. Redmer served as the Maryland Insurance Commissioner during the Ehrlich administration, and in 2015, Republican Gov. Larry Hogan appointed him to be the Commissioner for the second time.  Gov. Hogan has endorsed Mr. Redmer's campaign for Baltimore County Executive.

Photo Courtesy Reginald F. Lewis Museum

On today’s show, a conversation about the legacy of Jim Crow, representation, race and reclaiming racial stereotypes. 

The Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture has mounted a traveling exhibition from the Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia in Big Rapids, Michigan.  It’s called Hateful Things, and it includes objects from the 19th century through the present that dehumanize African Americans, and show, in striking and disturbing ways, how the pernicious legacy of Jim Crow remains woven into the fabric of the American story.   

On Saturday afternoon, the Johns Hopkins University Center for Africana Studies is presenting a panel at the Lewis Museum called “Unpacking Hateful Things & Contemporary Practices.”  Today, Tom welcomes two of the panelists to Studio A.

Photo Courtesy April Ryan

Today, Tom's guest is veteran White House reporter April Ryan.  She has been a fixture in the White House press corps for more than two decades.  In addition to her reporting for the American Urban Radio Networks on the administrations of Presidents Clinton, Bush, Obama and Trump, she joined CNN last year as a political analyst. She is also the author of three books, the latest of which explores the chaotic inner workings of the Trump administration.  It’s called Under Fire: Reporting from the Front Lines of the Trump White House.

April Ryan will talk about her book at the Baltimore Book Festival on Sunday, September 30th.   

Photo Courtesy Everyman Theatre

This week, Midday's esteemed theater critic, J. Wynn Rousuck, joins us for a review of Dancing at Lughnasa.  

Director Amber Paige McGinnis brings playwright Brian Friel's 1990 Tony Award-winning fable of family, harvest and hearth to Baltimore's Everyman Theatre.  The play is set in 1930s Donegal, Ireland, and tells the tale of the five Mundy sisters, characters reportedly inspired by the playwright's own mother and aunts.  Friel, who is often referred to as the "universally accented voice of Ireland" uses carefully crafted prose and empathetic protagonists to transport the audience to an Ireland that remains hopeful, even in the shadow of economic depression and political turmoil.  

Dancing at Lughnasa continues at Everyman Theatre through Sunday, October 7.   

Photo Courtesy Ben Jealous for Governor

Today, another installment in our series of Conversations with the Candidates Tom's guest for the hour is Susan Turnbull.  Active behind the scenes of the Democratic party for years, she is now stepping out front as the Democratic candidate for Lt. Governor, running alongside former NAACP president, and the Democratic gubernatorial nominee, Ben Jealous

Susan Turnbull served as chair of the Maryland Democratic Party from 2009 to 2011.  Prior to that, she was vice chair of the Democratic National Committee.  She also chaired the DNC Women’s Committee in the late 90s and early 2000s, and she led the DNC’s Women’s Leadership Forum. 

Turnbull is also a co-founder of Emerge Maryland, a non-profit organization that offers training to women who want to run for elective office.  She also served on the Montgomery County Board of Appeals.

It's Midday on Education: School children in Baltimore City and around the state returned to their classrooms last week.  Some kids in the City and in Baltimore County couldn’t go to school, or they were dismissed early on a few days because their classrooms weren’t air conditioned.  Others formed the first classes in brand new, state of the art buildings, constructed under the 21st Century Schools program.

The budget for the current year did not call for any teacher layoffs.  It did target literacy coaching as a priority, and it does includes some cuts for Charter Schools.  Unlike school systems in some of the adjacent counties, Baltimore City Public Schools has faced shrinking enrollment for many years, a persistent problem that speaks to the larger challenges of the city in attracting and keeping young families.

Declining enrollment, of course, affects funding.  Changing the formula for how schools are funded is one of the mandates of the Kirwan Commission, which is expected to release its long awaited final report this month, or early next month. 

Dr. Sonja Santelises, CEO of Baltimore City Public Schools, joins Tom in Studio A.  This conversation was live-streamed on the WYPR Facebook page.  If you missed that video, check it out here. 

Photo Courtesy Craig Wolf for Attorney General

Today, we continue our series of Conversations with the Candidates.  The general election is on November 6th, which is 56 days away.

Tom's guest is  Craig Wolf, the Republican candidate for Maryland Attorney General.  He is facing the incumbent Democrat, Attorney General Brian Frosh, who's held the seat since 2015.  

In the 1990s, Mr. Wolf served as a federal prosecutor in the Justice Department, and as an Assistant State’s Attorney and Senior Circuit prosecutor in Allegany County.  He also served as Counsel to the US Senate Judiciary Committee. 

As a businessman for ten years, he was the President and CEO of the Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of America, a position he left last June. 

At the age of 40, in 2003, in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, Mr. Wolf enlisted in the Army.  He was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal and the Bronze Star for his service during Operation Enduring Freedom.  He currently serves as an International Law Officer with the Civil Affairs Brigade.

Craig Wolf is 55 years old.  He lives in Howard County.  He and his wife Sally have two children in their twenties.

Like all of our Conversation with the Candidates, this interview was live-streamed on WYPR's Facebook page, and you can find the video here.  

Photo Courtesy Calvin Ball for Howard County Executive

Our Conversations with the Candidates series continues with Calvin Ball, the Democratic candidate for Howard County Executive.  He is facing incumbent Republican, Allan Kittleman, who has held the seat since 2014.  

Dr. Ball has served on the Howard County Council since 2006.  He represents the Villages of Long Reach and Oakland Mills, as well as parts of Elkridge, Ellicott City and Jessup.  He is the youngest person to serve as the Council Chair.  He is in his fourth term. 

He is the Director of the Baltimore City Community College Complete Baltimore Program.  Dr. Ball holds a PhD in Education from Morgan State University. 

Dr. Ball is 43 years old.  He and his wife Shani have two teenage daughters. 

A reminder that early voting begins on Thursday October 25, 2018.  The November 6th general election is just 57 days away.  

Today's discussion was live streamed on WYPR's Facebook page.  

Photo Courtesy Flickr

It’s the Midday Newswrap: The Labor Department released the monthly job numbers this morning, and, as has been the case for the last seven or eight years, the numbers continue to be good.  The unemployment rate has stayed steady at 3.9%.  The economy added 201 thousand jobs in August, and wages grew by .4 percent , up nearly three percent for the year.  Analysts have observed that wages are growing at a faster rate than inflation for the first time in a long time.

In a controversial op-ed in the NY Times submitted by a person identified by the Times only as a "senior administration official,"  the author claims that she or he is one of many people working for President Donald Trump who have been alarmed by the "amorality" of his decision-making, and who are now working "to frustrate parts of his agenda, and his worst inclinations.”  Just what parts, just how many people, and who is making this claim, are not yet known. 

Also this week: the NFL opened its season Thursday night in a broadcast that featured a new Nike commercial narrated by Colin Kaepernick, the former 49ers quarterback who ignited controversy by kneeling during a game-opening national anthem to protest racial injustice in America.  We’ll talk about Nike’s decision to place Kaepernick front and center in its 30th anniversary ad campaign.

Tom is joined in studio by Michael Fletcher, a senior writer with ESPN’s The Undefeated, the online platform that explores the intersection of race, culture and sports; and Ian Samuel, an associate professor of law at Indiana University, and the co-host of a podcast about the Supreme Court, called First Mondays.

Stephen Houseworth Photography

The fourth annual Madonnari Festival kicked off this weekend in Little Italy.  The festival is the brainchild of Cyd Wolf, who runs Germano’s Piattini, a great cabaret venue here in Baltimore.  Madonnari is art that literally takes it to the streets.  60 artists from all over the world are hard at work as we speak creating Chaulk art on the streets of Little Italy and in front of the American Visionary Art Museum.  You can see their work come to life all weekend. 

The festival also includes 100 performing artists, and we hear now from three musicians from Italy's Liguria region: Carlo Aonzo is an Italian mandolin player, who is joined here in Studio A by Lorenzo Piccone on guitar and Luciano Puppo on double bass.  Together they are the Carlo Aonzo Trio.

Spires photo by Celia Bell; Collier photo courtesy Michael

Today, it’s Midday on Poetry:  Tom and his guests explore a variety of poetic styles that all resonate with universal themes. 

Tom is joined first by two local poets who enjoy international acclaim.

Michael Collier has written numerous books of poetry over the past forty years, including The Ledge -- a finalist for the 2000 National Book Critics Circle Award.  He served as Poet Laureate of Maryland from 2001-2004, and he stepped down last year after more than two decades as director of the prestigious Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference @Middlebury. He leads the creative writing program at the University of Maryland.  His latest evocative collection, published by the University of Chicago Press, is called My Bishop and Other Poems.

And Elizabeth Spires is the author of seven collections of poetry and six critically acclaimed children’s books.  She is a Professor of English at Goucher College, where she holds the Chair for Distinguished Achievement.  Spires' new book is a searing collection of probing and poignant work called A Memory of the Future

On this installment of Midday Culture Connections: we  look at one of the legacies of the transatlantic slave trade that might not immediately come to mind:  modern business management.  A new book looks at how the pecuniary practices of slave owners have endured and how those practices continue to inform capitalism.    

Caitlin C. Rosenthal, an Assistant Professor of History at UC Berkeley in California, details the correlation between modern finance and chattel slavery in her new book Accounting for Slavery: Masters and Management.  She joins us on the line from her office in Berkeley. 

Plus, a conversation about the cities and industries profiting from the increase in what’s become the big business of detaining immigrants and asylum seekers.  

 Dr. Sheri Parks is the Vice President of Strategic Initiatives at the Maryland Institute College of Art.  She’s the author of Fierce Angels: Living with a Legacy from the Sacred Dark Feminine to the Strong Black Woman, and she joins us on the first Tuesday of the month for Midday Culture Connections.   She is also the host of Beyond the Ballot here on WYPR, which airs twice a month on Thursday afternoons during All Things Considered.

Associated Press photo

(This program originally aired August 7th, 2018)

Today, a conversation about what has come to be known as the "Black Tax."  It is imposed on people of color, in different ways and in different places, every day. 

Reports of hate crimes are on the rise, and in 2017, once again, African Americans were targeted more than any other group.

And in the last few months, social media have been rife with instances of people of color being harassed in public spaces by white people: A 7th grader mowing a lawn; a group of Black women playing golf; a former White House staffer moving into his apartment in Manhattan; a graduate student at Yale taking a nap. 

What are the psychological, social and political implications of this disturbing uptick in racial profiling? Tom considers the question with two astute observers.  

(This program originally aired on July 11, 2018.)

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. 

Pesca is the host of The Gista podcast on Slate.com, and a former sports reporter at NPR.  He joins Tom from Slate's studio in New York.

Photo Courtesy Sean Yoes

This program originally aired on July 16, 2018.  

It has been a little more than three years since the city of Baltimore was convulsed with violence following the funeral of Freddie Gray, who died in police custody on April 19, 2015.  After the National Guard went back to their barracks, after the fire at the CVS Drugstore at the corner of Penn and North was extinguished, and after the curfews were lifted, there was a frenzy of finger pointing as to how the city responded to the crisis.  The Mayor at the time, Stephanie Rawlings Blake, would decide a few months later not to seek re-election.  A new police chief was appointed, and political leaders at the state and local levels promised decisive action to address the underlying problems of poverty and inequality that were seen as the root causes of the unrest.  The business community and numerous non-profits pledged to redouble their efforts to help lift neighborhoods like Sandtown Winchester out of its economic and social morass.

So, what, if anything, has changed since 2015?

Photo Courtesy Associated Press

On this edition of the News Wrap: pressure continues to mount on the White House this week with a conviction and a guilty plea in the cases of two of President Trump's associates, and an increasingly contentious relationship between Trump and his Attorney General, Jeff Sessions.

Guest Host Nathan Sterner speaks with David Smith, the Washington Bureau Chief of The Guardian about the tumult swirling around the Trump White House and the potential negative impact these latest events may have on GOP candidates as midterm elections loom ever closer. 

Here in Baltimore, there are new developments in the case against Keith Davis Jr. as a prosecutor who worked on the case for the States Attorney's office is fired after details of a DWI conviction are brought to light, and Maryland's Catholic Community reflects on child sex abuse in the church following the release of a Pennsylvania grand jury report detailing acts of  sexual violence perpetrated by 301 predator priests on over 1,000 children.  Many are calling for Attorney General Frosh to initiate similar investigations here in Maryland.  Baltimore Sun investigative reporter Jean Marbell and Real New Network Reporter, and contributor to the Baltimore AFRO,  Stephen Janis join us for a look at these stories and more.

Photo Courtesy Joy Buolamwini from the Coded Gaze

On, today's program a discusion about the basic unit of Artificial Intelligence – The Algorithm.  What does it do? Who creates an algorithm? Who’s served by it? Who’s ill-treated by it? And why?

Sci-fi movies and books give us dramatic scenarios about possible dystopian futures,  impending singularities, and computers overthrowing their human creators and spelling the destruction of our species, but the reality is that Artificial Intelligence is already here, and we already trust it with some really important decisions.  But even in its infancy, AI is already veering off in seriously problematic directions.

Guest host Aaron Henkin sits in for Tom Hall today for a conversation about racial and gender bias in AI. Joining Aaron on the line from California is Dr. Safiya Noble, Assistant Professor at the Annenberg School of Communication at the University of Southern California, and author of the book, “Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism.”

And from WBUR studios in Boston, we are joined by Joy Buolamwini, the founder of the Algorithmic Justice League to fight coded bias, and a researcher at the MIT Media Lab where she is also working on her PhD. 

A couple of weeks ago, we had the pleasure of traveling to Chestertown for a live broadcast of our show from historic Sumner Hall, a building that was for many generations central to the lives of African Americans on the Eastern Shore.  

One of our guests that afternoon was a community activist and former member of the Kent County Historical Society, Airlee Ringgold Johnson.  She told us a little about Legacy Day, an annual celebration of African American history on the Eastern Shore that takes place in Chestertown on Saturday.  This is the fifth Legacy Day celebration in Chestertown.  Every year, there’s a different theme.  This year, Legacy Day will examine the desegregation of Chestertown public schools.  She joins us today from Washington College in Chestertown.

Bill Leary joins us as well.  He is a historian who offered the first course in African American history at the University of Virginia in the late 1960s.  He also worked at the National Archives and on the staff of the National Security Council.  He’s also on the line from Washington College.

And with Tom in Studio A, Vanessa Issacs Ringgold.  A native of Chestertown, she currently lives in Owings Mills.  She was among a group of five students who integrated Chestertown High School in the 1960s.

Photo Courtesy Flickr

Today, we’re going to talk about education in Baltimore City.  Tom's guests are teachers in the city school system, who teach at the elementary, middle school and high school levels.  We hear a lot about teachers, but it’s not as often that we hear from teachers.  Their perspective comes from daily interactions with students, parents, and colleagues, and they know better than most the challenges they and their students face.

Karen Ginyard teaches the 3rd grade at The Mt. Washington School.

Tavon McGee teaches 6th grade math at City Springs Elementary/Middle School on the city’s East Side.

And Robert Marinelli teaches Science and chairs the Science Department at Baltimore Polytechnic Institute, known for generations as Poly, on Coldspring Lane in North Baltimore.

Today's conversation was Live-Streamed on WYPR's Facebook Page. You can watch the video here.

Photo Courtesy Associated Press

Today on Midday, a conversation about what has come to be known as the Black Tax.  It is imposed on people of color, in different ways, and in different places, every day. 

Reports of hate crimes are on the rise, and in 2017, once again, African Americans were targeted more than any other group.

And in the last few months, social media has been rife with example after example of people of color being harassed in public spaces, by white people.  A 7th grader mowing a lawn, a group of Black women playing golf, a former White House staffer moving into his apartment in Manhattan, a graduate student at Yale taking a nap. 

Dr. Kimberly Moffitt is an associate professor of American Studies at UMBC.  She’s also in the departments of Africana Studies and Language, Literacy and Culture.  She studies subjects ranging from Black hair to body politics and Disney movies.

Dr. Lester Spence is an Associate Professor of Political Science at Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Spence specializes in black politics, racial politics, urban politics, and public opinion.  His latest book is called Knocking the Hustle: Against the Neoliberal Turn in Black Politics. 

Photo Courtesy Baltimore Ceasefire

Tom speaks with Erricka Bridgeford, one of the co-founders oBaltimore Ceasefire 365. 

The Baltimore Ceasefire movement celebrated its first anniversary this past weekend with a free concert, workshops and rallies across the city.

The group’s original mission: the cessation of murder for one weekend every quarter.  Now, with Baltimore Ceasefire 365, it hopes to begin building public support for a year-round, daily effort to end murder in the city.  

Photo Courtesy Mildred Muhammad

On today's show, Tom speaks with Mildred Muhammad, the ex-wife of John Allen Muhammed, the DC sniper who along with an accomplice shot 13 people, killing ten of them at multiple locations throughout the Washington metropolitan area in October 2002.  

Mildred Muhammad has made it her life’s work to help people understand that John Muhammad's murderous rampage was in large part an expression of domestic violence; that he killed other people to disguise his primary intent: to kill his ex-wife.  Mildred  has become an advocate for victims of domestic violence.  She has written five books, the latest of which is called I’m Still Standing: Crawling Out of the Darkness Into the Light.  

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