Midday | WYPR

Midday

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 medicine.  We welcome your questions and comments. E-mail us at midday@wypr.org, tweet us: @MiddayWYPR, or call us at 410-662-8780.
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Meet the Midday team

Midday programs with Sheilah Kast as host ended on September 16, 2016

Archive prior to October 5, 2015

Photo Courtesy Jeff MacMillan

The guitarist Michael Joseph Harris, bassist, Shawn Simon and vocalist Alexis Tantau, are members of Hot Club of Baltimore, a local Jazz ensemble specializing in gypsy jazz and swing in the tradition of the legendary Belgian-born, Romani-French guitarist, Django Reinhardt.   

Alexis and the Hot Club of Baltimore will be performing a program of jazz, swing and French standards tonight at Germano’s Piattini in Little Italy. For more information on tonight's performance, click on the link below:

http://germanospiattini.com/events/

Image courtesy Neon

It's another edition of Midday at the Movies, and our favorite movie mavens -- Jed Dietz, founding director of the Maryland Film Festival and Ann Hornaday, film critic for the Washington Post -- join Tom to spotlight film industry trends and some notable new releases.

One of the flicks they talk about today is the new documentary, Three Identical Strangers, by director Tim Wardle.  It tells the remarkable story of three identical triplets who were separated at birth but who find each other coincidentally as young men, and who then discover the dark truth of why they were separated.  

Jed and Ann offer very different takes on the latest Joaquin Phoenix vehicle, director Gus Van Sant's Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far on FootThe movie is based on the late cartoonist John Callahan's  titular 1990 memoir of his struggle with alcoholism, the quadraplegia that bound him to a wheelchair after a drunken car wreck, and his efforts to rebuild his shattered life.

And Tom asks Ann and Jed about the latest run of films that explore the Daddy-Daughter relationship, a theme that's been a mainstay of Hollywood movies for decades.

Tom Lauer

Midday theater critic J. Wynn Rousuck joins Tom in the studio every week with a review of the one of the region's many thespian productions,  and today she stops by to discuss Cockpit in Court's new production of Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean.

Set in an old-style five-and-dime variety store in the small west-Texas town of McCarthy, the play explores the reunion of the "Disciples of James Dean," a fan club obsessively devoted to the brief, stellar career of 1950s film star James Dean, who became a cultural icon after his death in a car crash at the age of 24.  The club members prize their special connection to the moody, handsome actor, recalling their roles as local extras in Dean's final movie, Giant (1956).

Written by Ed Graczyk in 1976, the play became a 1982 film directed by Robert Altman, and now, at Cockpit in Court, the twists and turns of the Disciples' lives again grace the stage, under the direction of Linda Chambers,  

As the Disciples pay tribute to the life of their teenage Hollywood idol , the group is rallied by their ringleader, Mona, (played as a teen by Sarah Jones, as an adult by Regina Rose) as they reminisce about their youth -- and stir up some long-buried passions.

Cockpit in Court's production of Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean continues through August 5th on the Essex Campus at the Community College of Baltimore County.

Baltimore Sun

Today, a conversation about the consequences of a Supreme Court ruling last May that struck down a 1992 federal law that disallowed most states from being in the business of organized betting on sports.  This opens the door for states to pass sports gambling legislation

Five states had already passed laws allowing sports gambling in anticipation of the Supreme Court ruling.  A little later in the program, we’ll talk about the possibilities of that happening in MD.  But first, a conversation with a person whose perspective on this issue is unique. 

Tom McMillan was a basketball star at the University of MD in the 1970s, who played in the NBA for 12 years.  After his pro basketball career, he went on to represent MD’s fourth district in the US Congress.  Today, he is the President and CEO of LEAD1, an association of Athletic Directors at the most prominent NCAA Division One Schools. Tom McMillan joins us on the line from Washington, DC.   

Jeff Barker covers the business of sports and the casino gambling industry, among other beats, for the Baltimore Sun.  He joins us from the studios of NPR in Washington DC.

And, joining us on the line from Boston, Daniel Barbarisi, a journalist and author of book Dueling With Kings: High Stakes, Killer Sharks, and the Get-Rich Promise of Daily Fantasy Sports.   Daniel is a former reporter for the Wall Street Journal.  He’s a Senior Editor at the sports website, The Athletic.

Today, a special edition of Midday, live from historic Sumner Hall, in Chestertown, on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.  Sumner Hall was built in 1908.  It served as the meeting place for the Charles Sumner Post #25, a Grand Army of the Republic post founded by African American Union Veterans of the Civil War.   For decades, Sumner Hall was the social and cultural hub of Chestertown’s African American community.  

The theme of our show today is “Embracing Change in a Historic Community,” and over the course of the next hour, Tom and his guests will focus on three examples of that change -- in health care, public education, and race relations -- and its impact on the people of Chestertown and Kent County.

It’s Midday on PoliticsThe general election is November 6th, which is 14 weeks from tomorrow. Today, we continue our series of Conversations with the Candidates.  

Tom's guest is Richmond Davis, the Republican nominee for election to the U.S. House of Representatives from Maryland’s 7th District.  He is running against the incumbent, Rep. Elijah Cummings, a Democrat, who has served in Congress since 1996. 

Richmond Davis is a lawyer in private practice in Columbia, admitted to the bar in both Maryland and the District of Columbia. He is a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys. He has an undergraduate degree in Government and Politics from the University of Maryland and a JD from the Georgetown University Law Center. This is his first run for public office.

Our Conversations with the Candidates series continues now with Liz Matory, the Republican candidate for Congress in the 2nd District.  She’s facing the incumbent Democrat, Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger, who's held the seat since 2003.   

Matory is a Silver Spring-based entrepreneur and business consultant. She’s a former field worker for the Maryland Democratic Party.  She quit the Dems in 2014, and this past June won the Republican primary in the 2nd District.  

This is Liz Matory’s second run for the US Congress. She lost a primary bid to run in the 8th District two years ago. And in 2014, running as a Democrat, she ran unsuccessfully for a seat in the Maryland House of Delegates.  She’s the co-author of the 2016 political memoir, Born Again Republican.

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

AP Photo/Mark Lennihan

On today’s News Wrap:  Tronc, Inc., the controversial Chicago based media company that owns several newspapers around the country including the Baltimore Sun and The Daily News, is once again making headlines.  This week Tronc made dramatic cuts to the news room at The NY Daily News, laying off over 90 employees.  Politico media reporter, Jason Schwartz is on the line from Arlington, Va. to discuss the implications of those cuts on local journalism in New York City and around the country. 

Later on in the program, AP White House reporter, Darlene Superville speaks with us about some of the big stories in a week that has seen yet another tsunami of headlines from the White House, and various investigations about the Trump administration that are on-going. 

Photo Courtesy Kimberly Reed

Tom's guest is director Kimberly Reed, whose new documentary, Dark Money, chronicles the insidious effects of political donors, both corporate and individual, who go to great lengths to keep their identities hidden. As the documentary shows, the corrosive impact of this well-financed political advocacy is on full display in state houses across the country, in the halls of Congress, in the courts, and in the executive branch of government. 

The documentary is showing at a number of theaters in the region. In Baltimore, it begins a run Friday night at the Parkway.

Johns Hopkins University

It’s another edition of Midday on Ethics, in which we explore some ethical questions pulled straight from the headlines. Guiding us in that exploration is Dr. Jeffrey Kahn, the Director of the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics. He joins Tom in Studio A from time to time to help us examine how ethicists are framing these very complex questions.

We begin with the story of Jahi McMath, a 13-year -old girl in California who was declared dead in late 2013, after a routine surgery went wrong. Then, last month, 4½ years later, she was declared dead, again, in New Jersey. It’s a tragic story that raises issues about end of life that has pitted the medical profession against people with deeply held religious beliefs. Just like there is no consensus on when life begins; there is also a lack of agreement about when life ends. How do we define death? And who gets to define it?

Spotlighters Theatre/Shealyn Jae Photography

Midday theater critic J. Wynn Rousuck joins us each week with her review of one of the region's many theatrical productions. Today, she spotlights Judy and the Generalthe new musical comedy on stage at Spotlighters Theatre in Baltimore.

Judy and the General is playwright Rosemary Frisino Toohey's funny, feminist take on the biblical character Judith, and her 1st-century confrontation with the powerful Assyrian general, Holofernes. 

The play (whose book, music and lyrics are all by Ms. Toohey) draws from The Book of Judith, a so-called deuterocanonical book that's included in the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Christian versions of the Old Testament Bible, but excluded from Jewish texts and assigned by Protestants to the Apocrypha.

photo courtesy Better Homes and Gardens

Today, Midday goes Back to the Garden!   Two of our favorite green thumbs join Tom in Studio A again to talk about what to grow and how to grow it, and to answer your questions about gardening.

Carrie Engel is the Greenhouse Manager and a plant specialist for most of the past 50 years at Valley View Farms in Cockeysville, Maryland, where today she’s responsible for the well-being of the family-owned company’s large inventory of herbaceous plants, including annuals, tropicals and vegetables...

Denzel Mitchell is an urban farming pioneer in Baltimore.  The former owner of Five Seeds Farm, Mitchell signed on this past Spring as farm manager at Strength to Love 2 Farm, a 1-½ acre workforce training farm in Sandtown-Winchester for returning ex-offenders, and a Baltimore food resource with produce outlets around the city.  The farm is run by the faith-inspired non-profit development group called Intersection for Change…and it’s a member of the Farm Alliance of Baltimore, a network of producers that’s working to increase the viability of urban farming and improve access to city-grown foods.

Photo by Ron Aira, Creative Services GMU

(A Midday re-broadcast: originally aired June 19, 2018)

Tom’s guest is General Michael Hayden.  In more than 40 years in the Air Force and the Intelligence Community, the retired four-star general served as Director of the National Security Agency from 1999-2005, during the George W. Bush Administration.  He also served for about a year as the Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence, and in 2006, he became the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, until President Obama appointed Leon Panetta to that position in 2009.  

The thesis of General Hayden’s latest book is disconcerting and frightening.  Given President Trump’s proclivity to lie about what he knows to be true, and the danger that there are things he should know to be true, but doesn’t, Michael Hayden paints a picture of an intelligence community at risk, whose efficacy is directly affected by the President’s refusal to acknowledge facts, and his harsh and undisciplined rhetoric. 

It’s July, it’s hot, and even with all the recent rain, we’re thirsty.  But for an increasing number of Baltimore households, water -- we’re talking plain old water from the faucet -- is becoming unaffordable. On July 1st, water rates in Baltimore City rose almost 10%, the third big jump in as many years.  In fact, since 2010, the typical Baltimore household’s water and sewer bill has more than doubled. And by 2022, the typical bill is expected to more than triple.  

Some say the steep increases are necessary, because the city MUST invest in expensive infrastructure projects to provide this essential public service.  But an alarming number of families are at risk for losing their homes because they can no longer afford to pay their water bills.

Midday: The Afro Check-In 7.23.18

Jul 23, 2018
Photo by Jay Reed, Baltimore Sun

Kamau High, managing editor of The Afro, joins us for another of our bi-monthly Check-Ins to talk about some of the stories being reported by The Afro's newsroom this week:

A report on a grieving community's preparations for the funeral of Taylor Hayes, the child who was shot July 5 in the rear seat of her mother’s car, and who died July 19.  The police are still searching for suspects in her killing, and few witnesses have come forward so far. 

A profile of soon-to-be-former Democratic State Senator Nathaniel McFadden, who's represented the 45th District -- and also chaired Baltimore's senate delegation in Annapolis -- since he first won office in 1995.  McFadden, a champion of East Baltimore development efforts, lost his seat to Del. Cory McCray in the June 26th Democratic primary. 

And the sentencing of former state senator Nathaniel Oaks to 3-1/2 years in federal prison for accepting $15,000 in bribes and obstructing justice.  Despite his fall from grace, The Afro reports that Oaks' supporters say they have forgiven him and are "ready to join him for the next chapter in his life." 

Photo courtesy National Review

Today, another edition of the Midday News Wrap.

We begin today with U.S. Senator Ben Cardin, a Maryland Democrat and a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.  He joins Tom by phone to comment on the roiling controversy over President Trump’s performance at his meeting Monday with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Mr. Trump's contentious discussions the week before with America's European allies, and the President's announcement yesterday that he's invited Mr. Putin to meet again this fall -- at the White House.

Meanwhile, a Russian gun rights advocate and former student at American University is in jail in Washington DC awaiting trial, accused of working as an unregistered agent of the Russian government.  And Congress refuses to increase funding for election securitySenator Ben Cardin talks about what’s next for US-Russia relations.

Later in the hour, Luke Broadwater, who covers city politics for the Baltimore Sun, joins us in the studio to review this week's top local stories, including Mayor Pugh's ambitious redevelopment plans for East Baltimore,  the latest on the Baltimore Police Department's response to the Department of Justice Consent Decree, and a prison sentence for a state senator.

graphic courtesy BOPA

Artscape is underway in the Mt. Royal, Bolton Hill, Charles Street and Station North neighborhoods of Baltimore.  It’s billed as the largest free arts festival in the United States. It runs from July 20-22, and it's produced by the Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts, lovingly known as BOPA

BOPA has a new boss.  Joining us in the studio today is Donna Drew Sawyer, who took the reins of BOPA a couple of weeks ago, after serving as its chief of external affairs for about a year.  She succeeds Bill Gilmore, who served in various leadership positions at BOPA for more than 37 years. 

As the CEO of BOPA, Donna Drew Sawyer will oversee some of Baltimore’s biggest events, including Artscape, the Baltimore Book Festival and Light City. 

Donna Drew Sawyer joins Tom in Studio A. 

The conversation was live-streamed on WYPRs Facebook page, and you can see that video here.

Photo courtesy Baltimore Sun

So, read a good book lately?  If that’s the case, today’s the day on Midday that we’d like to hear about it.  Tom's guest is Heidi Daniel, CEO of the Enoch Pratt Library here in Baltimore, a position she has held for about a year.  She took the reins last summer from Carla Hayden, who was selected by then President Barack Obama to head the Library of Congress.

We’re at about the halfway point in the lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer.  And we think it's a good day to talk books, to get some of Heidi’s suggestions, and yours!

Photograph by Doug Hamilton

Today, theater critic J. Wynn Rousuck joins Tom with her review of Ain't Too Proud--The Life and Times of the Temptations, now playing at the Kennedy Center

The Broadway-bound musical showcases one of the most influential R&B groups in the history of contemporary music.  We see how five young men are discovered by Motown Records producer Berry Gordy (played by Jhai Kearse) on the streets of Detroit, and how they become the legends known as "The Classic Five," rising to the top of the charts amid the political and civil unrest in America during the 1960s and '70s.

"My Girl," "Just My Imagination,"  "Papa Was a Rolling Stone," and the titular "Ain't Too Proud to Beg," are just a few of the hits that enliven the show, whose book is by the Kennedy Prize-winning playwright Dominique Morisseau, based on Otis Williams' original book, The Temptations.  The Kennedy Center show is directed by two-time Tony Award-winner Des McAnuff (Jersey Boys), and Laurence Olivier-Award winning choreographer, Sergio Trujillo (On Your Feet!).

Ain't Too Proud--The Life and Times of the Temptations continues at the Kennedy Center through Sunday, July 22nd. 

Today, we continue our series of Conversations with the Candidates.  The general election is November 6th, which is 16 weeks from yesterday.

Tom's guest is Anjali Reed Phukan, the Republican nominee for Maryland Comptroller.   She is running against the incumbent, Democrat Peter Franchot, who was first elected as the state’s fiscal chief in 2006.

Ms. Phukan is an auditor for the State of MD.  She is a Certified Public Accountant.  This is her second bid to become the state’s Comptroller.   She ran as a write-in candidate in 2014.  She also ran for the school board in Montgomery Co., where she lived at the time, in 2016.

This conversation was livestreamed on the WYPR Facebook page. Click here to watch the video. 

Note: Imamu Baraka died last week. He is the Good Samaritan whose video of a patient who had just been dumped outside a local hospital went viral last January.  He shared his story on Midday.

Five years ago, Alicia Garza helped create Black Lives Matter. Now, her focus is the Black Futures Lab,  an organization set up to take the pulse of African American communities, build political power for people of color and challenge policymakers.

One of the group’s initiatives is the Black Census -- which aims to provide a better understanding of the diversity of opinion in the Black community, and to use that information to help improve the ways in which those communities are served.   Alicia Garza joins Tom from a studio at the University of California at Berkeley. 

 

Midday on the Media with David Folkenflik 7.17.18

Jul 17, 2018

It’s Midday on the Media.  Today: NPR Media Correspondent and author David Folkenflik joins me to talk about President Trump’s trip to Helsinki.  Was it a Diplomatic Debacle or as some Fox News hosts said last night, did the media simply go into a meltdown like it always does when it comes to the President?

 David Folkenflik joined NPR in 2004 after a decade as a reporter for the Baltimore Sun.  He’s also the author of  a new book about Rupert Murdoch called Murdoch's World: The Last of the Old Media Empires.  He joins us on the line from the studios of NPR in New York.

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?

Today, a conversation about a book by Sean Yoes, a highly respected Baltimore journalist, who chronicles what happened in the turbulent weeks following Freddie Gray’s death, and the three years which followed.  Sean Yoes is a good friend of this program.  He is the Baltimore Editor of the Afro American Newspaper, and co-host of Truth and Reconciliation, a podcast that we are proud to have as part of WYPR’s Podcast Central.  For several years, Sean hosted a show on WEAA Radio, and he even served as a producer of Midday back in the day, when our show was hosted by Dan Rodricks.

His new book is a collection of selected essays that he has published in the Afro during the last three years.  It’s called Baltimore After Freddie Gray: Real Stories from One of America’s Great Imperiled Cities.

Midday News Wrap 7.13.18

Jul 13, 2018
Photo courtesy AP News

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

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

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

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

Image courtesy Cinereach

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photograph by Seth Freeman

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Vox photo by John Moore/Getty Images

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo courtesy Floyd Abrams

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

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

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

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

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