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 by Mary Gardella

Norma Pera is a dancer and dance teacher who has trained generations of young dancers in Baltimore at the Baltimore School for the Arts, where she has led the dance department since 1992.

She joined BSA’s dance faculty in 1979, 39 years ago, when the innovative pre-professional public school for the arts first opened. Many of her students have gone on to illustrious careers in dance or the arts, and many other fields. She joins Tom in Studio A.

Ms. Pera is retiring this week from the School for the Arts. The school will celebrate her career and her legacy tomorrow afternoon, June 9, at 4 pm. For more information and to reserve tickets for that event, click here.

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On this edition of Midday at the Movies -- our monthly look at new flicks and new trends in the film industry --movie mavens Ann Hornaday, film critic for the Washington Post, and Jed Dietz, founding director of the Maryland Film Festival,  join Tom to consider the surprisingly weak box office performance of the latest iteration of the Star Wars franchise,  director Ron Howard's Solo: A Star Wars Story, and the equally surprising popularity of RBG, the new documentary about the life and career of 84 year-old Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, co-directed by Betsy West and Julie Cohen.

Plus, Ann and Jed list their picks for new summer films you'll want to check out at local theaters.

photo by Matthew Murphy

Each Thursday, Midday's peripatetic theater critic, J. Wynn Rousuck, joins us with a review of one of the region's many theatrical offerings.  This week, she's spotlighting On Your Feet!, the new touring musical production based on the life and career of Cuban pop sensations (and husband-and-wife team) Gloria and Emilio Estefan, that's now on stage at Baltimore's Hippodrome Theatre.

Photo Courtesy Flickr

 

Today, on Midday, a conversation about the Foster Care System.  Nearly 430,000 children and young people are currently in the care of foster families.  About 112,000 of them are hoping to be adopted permanently.  And for the young people who “age out” of the system on their 18th or 21st birthdays, the challenges are daunting, and the statistics are devastating.

Only three to four percent of young people who are foster care alumni earn a college degree by the age of 26.  One in five will experience homelessness.  Only half will be employed.  7 of 10 female foster youth will become pregnant by the time they are 21, and one in four foster youth will experience PTSD.

Tom’s guests include Shalita O’Neale, Founder and Executive Director of the Fostering Change Network.  Fostering Change is producing a conference this weekend at Johns Hopkins Medicine to connect people in the system with resources and networking opportunities.

And joining us on the line from the studios of NPR in Washington is Jelani Freeman.  Like Shalita O’Neale, he is a product of the foster care system.  He is an attorney who serves as a court appointed special advocate for foster children in Washington, and he sits on the board of the Center for Adoption Support and Education.

We will also hear testimony from Luigi Kramer, a 22 year old college student and foster care alum who has recently transitioned out of the system; and Lisa Phillips an entrepreneur and alum who was  taken into care in the 1980’s. 

Photo Courtesy Flickr

 

On today’s, edition of Midday Culture Connections with Dr. Sheri Parkswe examine some of the stories making headlines across the country.

We begin to with a look at the cognitive effects of violent video games and the Military’s stake in the multi-billion dollar industry of gaming.  Following the deadly May 18th shooting at Santa Fe High School, Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick cited violent video games as a contributing factor to the national epidemic of deadly violence and apathy in our culture, reigniting the debate on the psychological effects of violent video games on our children, specifically young boys. 

Serena Williams returned to the French Open last week after 14 months of maternity leave. In keeping with WTA policy, the former world number one entered into the grand slam tournament unseeded.  Serena’s experience has many questioning not only the WTA’s policies towards new mothers; but also, the broader politics of women and pregnancy in the workplace.

Finally, the Trumpian era has been marked by political tension, social tumult and temerarious tweets.   It is an era of fraught with class and racial division, violent identity politics and targeted attacks on the media.  These deep societal fissures came to a head this week, as comediennes Samantha Bee and Roseanne Barr became the mascots for America’s new ‘culture wars’ . 

Dr. Sheri Parks is the Vice President of Strategic Initiatives at the Maryland Institute College of Art, and a regular contributor to our show on Midday Culture Connections.  She’s the author of Fierce Angels: Living with a Legacy from the Sacred Dark Feminine to the Strong Black Woman.

photo by Earl Wilson, New York Times

Many have suggested that this election year is, once again, the year of the woman.  As primaries continue in this mid-term cycle, there are nearly 80 women who have already secured a spot on November 2018 ballots for U.S. congressional seats and governorships across the country.

Today, Tom's guest is Amy Chozick, a reporter for the New York Times who covered Hillary Clinton, the most famous woman in American politics, in her two attempts to win the White House.  Chozick's new book is called Chasing Hillary: Ten Years, Two Presidential Campaigns and One Intact Glass Ceiling

There is no shortage of theories to explain why Secretary Clinton was not able to break the glass ceiling of the Presidency, even when pitted against a candidate who was as divisive and abhorrent to as many people as Donald Trump was, and continues to be.  But how does Clinton's loss in 2016 -- and her loss to her Democratic rival, Barack Obama, in 2012 -- inform the current crop of women who are storming the barricades in this cycle?  Given Clinton’s unique place in American politics, in what ways might she present a model for that woman who eventually does break the proverbial glass ceiling of the Oval Office?

Amy Chozick joins Tom for the hour.

photo courtesy Thiru for Baltimore.

Continuing our series of Conversations with the Candidates, our focus today is on the Democratic primary election later this month for Baltimore City State’s Attorney Three candidates, including the incumbent, Marilyn Mosby, are competing in that race to be the city’s top prosecutor.

It’s a big job, overseeing more than 200 lawyers and tens of thousands of prosecutions every year, and it's a job our guest today would very much like to have. 

Thiru Vignarajah is a former prosecutor who’s spent most of his legal career in public service.  He was born in Baltimore to Sri Lankan immigrant parents, both of them Baltimore City public school teachers. Vignarajah himself is a product of the public school system, having gone from Edmondson Heights and Woodlawn High to Yale University and Harvard Law School, where he served as president of the Harvard Law Review . He went on to clerk for Supreme Court Justice Stephen G. Breyer, and he served as a federal prosecutor at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Baltimore, working under then-U.S. Attorney Rod Rosenstein. Vignarajah subsequently moved to the Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office, where he headed the Major Investigations Unit.

Today on Midday, a conversation about race, and corporate culture. 

Last Wednesday, the NFL announced that they would ban players from kneeling on the field during the national anthem, and that they teams would face fines if any players chose to do so. 

On Tuesday, ABC cancelled the reboot of the popular 90’s sitcom “Roseanne” following racist tweets by the program’s star Roseanne Barr. 

While Barr was getting boot, 175,000 Starbucks employees were engaged in racial bias training, as the company closed 8,000 locations following an incident in Philadelphia in which two African American men were arrested for...well, being in Starbucks.   How is institutional racism and racial bias confronted in the corporate world?

Tom is joined by Dr. Kimberly Moffitt is an associate professor of American Studies and affiliate assistant professor of Africana Studies and Language, Literacy and Culture at the University of MD Baltimore County.  

Michael Fletcher is a senior writer at the Undefeated, ESPN’s online platform that explores the intersection of race, culture and sports.  He is a former national economics reporter for the Washington Post..  

And on the phone, Milton Kent, the host of Sports at Large here on WYPR, and a lecturer in the School of Global Journalism and Communication at Morgan State University. 

photo courtesy Annapolis Shakespeare Co.

It's Thursday, and time again for a visit with Midday theater critic J. Wynn Rousuck, who joins us in the studio each week with her reviews of the region's theatrical endeavors.  This week, she spotlights the new production of Kiss Me, Kate, the Bard-inspired musical now on stage at Annapolis Shakespeare Company

Kiss Me, Kate is the "backstage" story of the production of a fictional musical version of William Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew, fueled by the conflicts, on-stage and off, between the show's director, producer and star, and his temperamental leading lady (and ex-wife).

Written by Samuel and Bella Spewack, with music and lyrics by the inimitable Cole PorterKiss Me, Kate opened on Broadway in 1948 and enjoyed a long and successful initial run. In 1949, it won five Tony Awards, including the first Tony ever presented for Best Musical.  Ever since, it has been a frequent and internationally popular choice for revivals.

Directed and choreographed for Annapolis Shakespeare Company by Sally Boyett, with musical direction by Marc IrwinKiss Me Kate features a 17-member cast led by Benjamin Russell as producer Fred Graham and Robin Weiner as his ex-wife and star, Lilli Vanessi.

Kiss Me Kate continues at Annapolis Shakespeare Company through Sunday June 3.

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Early on Saturday morning, June 2, several thousand runners are expected to turn out for the 10th annual Baltimore Ten-Miler.   It starts and finishes in Druid Hill Park, and includes scenic strolls across 33rd Street and around Lake Montebello.  When that many runners lace-up and hit the pavement, there are bound to be a few twisted ankles, sore knees and strained backs.  

Dr. Miho Tanaka joins Tom in the studio to talk about how you can avoid serious injuries on race day and how you can minimize some of the inevitable aches and pains that follow a long run.  Dr. Tanaka also discusses the importance of an active lifestyle, and different kinds of exercise that help us stay healthy.  

Dr. Tanaka is an orthopedic surgeon and the Director of the Women’s Sports Medicine Program at Johns Hopkins Hospital. Before moving to Baltimore, she was the team physician for the St. Louis Cardinals and the St Louis Surge in the WNBA.  She’s also served as assistant team physician for the Baltimore Orioles and another professional women’s basketball team, the NY Liberty.   

Dr. Tanaka also answers listeners' questions about fitness and training routines, and possible treatments for the aches and pains of their active lives.

Johns Hopkins University

Before we begin today’s show, here’s a link that lists organizations that are helping people in Ellicott City with shelter, food and other humanitarian relief, following the severe flooding in that city’s historic downtown on Sunday – the second deadly flood in two years.

Today, it’s another edition of Midday on Ethics. We’re exploring some ethical questions pulled straight from the headlines. We begin with the ethics of organ transplantation, amid news of a medical breakthrough -- a transplant performed just weeks ago at Johns Hopkins Hospital here in Baltimore. For the first time, anywhere, doctors successfully performed a total penis and scrotum transplant on a service member who was injured in Afghanistan. Now that it’s possible to transplant a penis, or a uterus, what are the ethical issues that donors, recipients and transplant surgeons need to consider? Should we think about life-saving transplants like hearts and kidneys in the same way as non-lifesaving surgeries, the so-called quality-of-life transplants?

Plus, another news story caught our eye: California investigators used publicly available genetic information that was posted on an ancestry website to identify someone that they say is the Golden State Killer. He has been charged with murders police say he committed more than 30 years ago. Is your genetic information publicly available? Should it be, and if so, should it be more private than it is?

Dr. Jeffrey Kahn, the director of the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics, is Tom’s guest today in Studio A.  Dr. Kahn stops by from time to time to help us explore how ethicists frame these kinds of very complex questions.

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It's Midday: The Afro-Check In, a regular feature where we sit down with our colleagues at the Baltimore-Afro American Newspapers to talk about some important local news developments.  

This week: grief and racial tension on both sides of the City/County line as the death of Baltimore County Police Officer Amy Caprio, and the subsequent charges handed down to four Baltimore City teens, have unleashed a torrent of political mudslinging and racially charged bitterness. 

Also, with early voting in the Maryland primaries a little more than two weeks away, tensions continue to simmer between the campaign of gubernatorial candidate Valerie Ervin and the Maryland State Board of Elections, over the Board's decision not to provide updated ballots printed with the names and new candidacies of Ms. Ervin and her running mate, Marisol Johnson. 

Joining Tom here in Studio A:  Sean Yoes, the Baltimore Editor of The Afro-American Newspapers, and host of the podcast, Afro First Edition.  Sean is also the co-host of a new podcast that has its home here at WYPR:  Truth and Reconciliation.

Photo courtesy U. of Pennsylvania

This program originally aired on March 28, 2018 .

Today on the show, a conversation with Dr. Mary Frances Berry.  She is a scholar, an author and activist whose new book chronicles the history of American protest and resistance movements, from the Roosevelt administration through the Obama years.

From the Vietnam War to the end of apartheid in South Africa, to her long tenure on the U.S. Civil Rights Commission that spanned several administrations, Dr. Berry brings deep experience and erudition to her fascinating book.  It’s called History Teaches Us to Resist: How Progressive Movements Have Succeeded in Challenging Times.  

Today, Tom speaks with Derek Thompson, a senior editor at The Atlantic, where he writes about business and technology, and hosts the new podcast Crazy/Genius.  He is also the author of  Hit Makers: The Science of Popularity in the Age of Distraction.   

In his book -- which happens to be a best-seller -- Thompson takes a scientific approach to understanding why certain things in our culture become "cool," at least for a while, and whether or not there are commonalities between them across creative and cultural disciplines.  Thompson examines the hidden psychological and market forces that make a song, a movie or a politician popular, and how those forces are constantly reshaping our cultural landscape.  

photo by Amy Davis/Baltimore Sun

Today we continue our series of Conversations with the Candidates...

Here in Baltimore, the city’s top prosecutor is the Baltimore City State’s Attorney, an elective position that's often in the eye of the storm surrounding some very high profile criminal cases.  The incumbent State’s Attorney, Marilyn Mosby, attracted national attention with her decision to indict six officers involved in the arrest of Freddie Gray in 2015.  Mr. Gray died while in police custody.  None of the indicted officers were convicted of a crime.   

But while cases like those involving Freddie Gray get a lot of scrutiny, the State’s Attorney’s office prosecuted more than 41,000 cases in 2017.  The State’s Attorney oversees more than 400 people, including more than 200 lawyers, and the salary is the highest of any city employee.  It’s a big job, and there are two people challenging the incumbent for it in next month’s Democratic primary. 

Tom's guest for the hour today is one of those challengers. 

Ivan J. Bates is a veteran litigator, defense attorney and city prosecutor.  He earned his BA in journalism at Howard University in 1992 and got his Law Degree at William and Mary in 1995.  He was admitted to the Maryland bar that year and after clerking for Judge David B. Mitchell on the Circuit Court of Baltimore City, he served as an assistant state’s attorney in Baltimore, where he worked in the Juvenile Crime Division and later, the Homicide Division.  He started his own law practice in 2006.

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Today, Midday goes Back to the Garden.  

It’s been a pretty unusual spring, with the Eastern United States recording one of the coldest Marches in nearly two decades and an April that was also colder and wetter than normal. 

But here we are in May, with the Memorial Day Weekend on the horizon.  If you’re staying in town, sunshine is predicted at least for Saturday, and lots of us are raring to go in our gardens. 

Joining us with some tips on how to make those gardens grow: 

Carrie Engel, the greenhouse manager at Valley View Farms, the popular family-owned nursery in Cockeysville, Maryland.  She’s been a plant specialist at Valley View for most of nearly five decades.  She takes care of the annuals, tropicals and vegetables...

...and Denzel Mitchell, Jr. the former owner of Five Seeds Farm. Last month, he signed on as the farm manager at Strength to Love 2 Farm, a 1-½ acre workforce training farm in Baltimore's Sandtown-Winchester neighborhood.  They work with returning ex-offenders and serve as a Baltimore food resource with produce outlets around the city.  The farm is run by the faith-inspired non-profit group called Intersection of Change.  It's also a member of the Farm Alliance of Baltimore, a network of producers that’s working to increase the viability of urban farming and to improve access to city-grown foods...

We invite you to join the conversation with questions about your garden.

This segment was streamed live on WYPR's Facebook page.  You can check out the video here.

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It's time again for our weekly visit from theater critic J. Wynn Rousuck, who joins Tom today with her review of the new production of The Book of Joseph, now on stage at Baltimore's Everyman Theatre.

The play is a stage adaptation by Seattle playwright Karen Hartman of a book by former Baltimore newpaper and TV journalist Richard Hollander.  After Hollander's parents were killed in a car accident in the mid-1980s, he discovered in their attic a briefcase filled with correspondence. The letters, all stamped with Third Reich swastikas, provided a unique record of the tragic fate of his Jewish relatives in German-occupied Poland during the Holocaust, and of his father's heroic efforts to save them.

The discovery of those letters led Hollander, eventually, to write a book, which he published in 2007, called “Every Day Lasts a Year: A Jewish Family’s Correspondence from Poland.”  The book inspired the play that world-premiered in Chicago in 2017, and has now come to the Everyman, with Noah Himmelstein directing the resident company cast.

The Book of Joseph continues at Baltimore's Everyman Theatre until Sunday, June 10. 

Today, we continue our series of Conversations with the Candidates  who will be on the June 26th primary ballot here in Maryland.

Tom’s guest today is Valerie Ervin.  She is one of nine Democrats running for Governor this June.  The winner will go up against Republican Gov. Larry Hogan in the general election in November. 

Last week, the former Montgomery County Councilwoman announced that she would be taking the place of her former running mate, the late Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, as a Democratic candidate for Governor.  She is the second woman, and one of four African Americans running for Governor in the Democratic primary. 

Ervin’s career includes politics, education and labor advocacy.  She was the first African American woman to serve on the Montgomery County Council where she served two terms; she was only the 2nd African American woman to serve on the Montgomery County Board of Education. 

Her running mate is Marisol Johnson, former Baltimore County school board Vice Chair.  She is the first Latina to hold public office in Baltimore County. 

Valerie Ervin also took your questions, emails and tweets.  Like all of Midday’s Conversations with the Candidates, this program was streamed live on the WYPR FB page.  Check out the video here

Today, we continue our series of Conversations with the Candidates, which includes those who already hold public office.

Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger is Tom's guest in Studio A, for the hour today.  He has represented Maryland’s 2nd congressional district since 2003.  That district includes parts of five jurisdictions: Baltimore City and Baltimore, Anne Arundel, Harford and Howard Counties.

Rep.  Ruppersberger serves on the House Appropriations Committee as well as the Subcommittee on Defense and the Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations & Related Programs. He is a former ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee. A number of institutions and organizations in his district are involved in cyber security issues.

Like all but one of the eight members of the Congressional delegation from Maryland, he is standing for re-election this year. He is being opposed in the primary by a political newcomer, Jake Pretot.

We livestreamed this conversation on WYPR's Facebook page.  If you missed it, check out the video here. 

Friends of Rushern Baker III

Today, we continue our series of Conversations with the Candidates who will be on the June 26th primary ballot here in Maryland. 

Yesterday, former Montgomery County Councilwoman Valerie Ervin entered the Democratic primary race for Maryland governor, following the sudden passing of Baltimore County Executive and gubernatorial candidate Kevin Kamenetz, with whom she'd been running as a candidate forLieutenant Governor. 

We begin the program with WYPR's Baltimore County politics reporter, John Leeand his analysis of the changing dynamics of the governor's race.  

Tom’s guest for the balance of the hour is Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker III, also a Democratic candidate for Maryland governor. 

Rushern Baker is one of three candidates in the race who is not a political outsider, and now, the only one currently serving as a county executive.  Baker entered politics in 1994, serving in the Maryland House of Delegates until 2003.  He lost his first two elections for Prince George's county executive, but in 2010, he beat incumbent Jack Johnson.  Soon after that election, federal prosecutors arrested Johnson on corruption charges.  Mr. Baker has been widely credited with improving the county’s image and ending its “pay to play” legacy.

Photo courtesy Donna Brazile

Tom's guest today is Donna Brazile.  A Democratic political operative for more than 40 years, Ms. Brazile encountered a firestorm of criticism last fall when she published her memoir of the 2016 election, Hacks: The Inside Story of the Break-Ins and Breakdowns That Put Donald Trump in the White House.  Many of her fellow Democrats read the book as a bitter diatribe from a disgruntled member of the old guard.

But perhaps lost in the scrum of discord were Ms. Brazile’s alarming accounts of Russian interference in the electoral process.  Yesterday, the Republican Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee affirmed the conclusion of multiple intelligence agencies that the Russians did indeed act to support Donald Trump and discredit Hillary Clinton in the run-up to the US presidential election of 2016. 

Courtesy of Yale University Press

We begin the show today with an update on the resignation of Baltimore City Police Commissioner Daryl DeSousa. WYPR reporter Dominique Maria Bonessi attended Mayor Catherine Pugh’s press conference this morning. She joins Tom in Studio A.

Tom’s guest for most of the hour is David Linden. He’s a professor of Neuroscience at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and the former editor of the Journal of Neurophysiology. Linden writes books about our brains, and in his latest opus, he says the public is “inundated by a fire hose of neuro BS.”

He wrote the new book Think Tank with more than three dozen fellow neuroscientists. It’s a collection of essays about the brain and the biological roots of human experience. The essays address questions such as, “How are children’s brains different from those of adults?” “What can monkey brains teach us about advertising?” And “How do our brains process pain?”

David Linden and a few of the book’s contributors will hold a panel discussion about the book tomorrow, May 17, at 1pm at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine Department of Neuroscience, and you can also catch Linden at Greedy Reads in Fells Point on June 4 at 7 pm.

We livestreamed today’s show on the WYPR Facebook page.  If you missed it, catch that video here. 

Photo by Bill Geenan

Midday theater critic J. Wynn Rousuck joins Tom today with her review of the world premiere of Soul: The Stax Musical, now rattling the boards at Baltimore Center Stage.

The production is the directorial swansong of departing artistic director Kwame Kwei Armah, who's stepping down after seven years running the shows at Center Stage. (Check out his May 9 interview here on Midday).

With a book by Matthew Benjamin, choreography by Chase Brock, musical direction by Rahn Coleman and a multi-talented 21-member cast, Soul: the Stax Musical tells the story (with renditions of more than 30 songs) of Memphis-based Stax Records and the recording company's role in launching such legendary artists as Otis Redding, The Staple Singers, Isaac Hayes, Booker T & The MG's, Rufus & Carla Thomas, David Porter, Wilson Pickett, Johnnie Taylor, and Eddie Floyd — singers whose iconic work during the 1960s and 70s laid the foundations for American Soul Music. Their story, and the rise and fall of Stax Records, play out against the backdrop of the evolving civil rights struggle and the growing power of R&B music -- still evident today -- to unite a divided nation.   

Soul: The Stax Musical continues at Baltimore's Center Stage through Sunday, June 10.   

Photo Courtesy Kevin Kamenetz for Maryland

Few events in recent MD history were as shocking or disruptive to the political landscape as the death of Kevin Kamenetz last week, from a heart attack. The 60 year old Baltimore County Executive was one of the leading contenders in the crowded field of hopefuls vying for the chance to run against incumbent Governor Larry Hogan in November.

With just a month until early voting starts in the primary, candidates are scrambling to assess the new and uncertain dynamics of the race. Will Valerie Ervin, Kamenetz’s running mate in the primary, choose to run herself, and if so, with whom? Will she run at the top of a newly formed ticket, or will she maintain her position in the Lieutenant Governor slot?

Kamenetz’s death also occasions many questions about the future of Baltimore County. Three Democrats and two Republicans are running in their respective primaries to face-off for the County’s top job in the fall. In the meantime, who will the County Council appoint to serve-out the remainder of Kevin Kamenetz’s term?

Today on Midday, Tom explores these and other questions with Pamela Wood, who covers Baltimore County government and politics for the Baltimore Sun; and Bryan Sears , government reporter for the Daily Record.

Hollander photo by Katherine Marmion/Everyman; Hartman photo by Lou Daprile

We turn now to a play that's based on a book by a former journalist whom many Baltimoreans of a certain age will recognize.   After Richard Hollander’s parents were killed in a car accident in the mid-1980s, he discovered in their attic a suitcase full of correspondence that gave him great insight into the fate of his Jewish relatives in German-occupied Poland during the Holocaust.  That discovery led him to write a book, with co-authors Christopher R. Browning and Nechama Tec, which he published in 2007, called “Every Day Lasts a Year: A Jewish Family’s Correspondence from Poland.”  That book, in turn, inspired a play that is currently on stage at the Everyman Theater.  It’s called The Book of Joseph.  It was adapted by Seattle-based playwright Karen Hartman, whose other recent works include Roz and Ray and Project Dawn. She joins us on the phone from Seattle.

Author Rich Hollander was a reporter for the long-defunct Baltimore News American newspaper and later for WBAL Television. He now runs Millbrook Communications, a sports marketing firm in Baltimore.  He joins Tom in Studio A.

AP Photos

Tom's guests today are two longtime politicians, one a Republican, the other a Democrat, who are now working together to try to fix the dysfunction in political Washington.

Former Republican Congresswoman Connie Morella represented Maryland’s 8th Congressional District from 1987 until 2003. President George W. Bush appointed her U.S. ambassador to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), a position she held in Paris from 2003 until 2007. She was the first former member of Congress to be named ambassador to the OECD. Ambassador Morella currently serves on American University’s faculty in the Dept of Government and as an Ambassador in Residence at AU’s Women & Politics Institute.

Former Democratic Congressman Tim Roemer represented Indiana’s 3rd Congressional District from 1991 until 2003. From 2002 until 2004, he served on the 9/11 Commission. He was U.S. Ambassador to India during the Obama Administration, from 2009 until 2011. Ambassador Roemer is now a senior counselor at APCO Worldwide, a global consultancy.

Together, they co-chair the Re-Formers Caucus, which includes nearly 200 former governors, cabinet secretaries and members of Congress -- Republicans and Democrats, from all 50 states -- who have banded togethet to work on bi-partisan solutions to the dysfunction in Washington that, they say, threatens American democracy. They join Tom on the line from NPR studios in Washington, DC.

Photo Courtesy Baltimore Ceasefire 365

Over this past ceasefire weekend, the City saw 72 hours pass with two reported shootings, and one alleged case of first degree child abuse.  The event, which was intentionally scheduled to coincide with Mother’s Day, is the second ceasefire event with no homicides from gun violence. 

Tom is joined  in Studio A by Baltimore Ceasefire 365 Co-Founder, Erricka Bridgeford.   Erricka joined us this past February after the first Ceasefire event with zero homicides.   That ceasefire continued on for a record breaking 12 consecutive days without a murder in Baltimore City.

Public Domain Pictures

Before beginning today's Healthwatch conversation with Baltimore City Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen, Tom talks with WYPR reporter Mary Rose Madden about the news that Baltimore Police Commissioner Daryl DeSousa has been charged by federal prosecutors with not filing tax returns for the years 2013, 2014 and 2015.  DeSousa has admitted to the facts filed in Federal Court yesterday, and he’s apologized.

Following today's Midday broadcast, Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh announced she has suspended Mr. DeSousa with pay until the matter is "resolved." In the meantime, the police chief position will be filled by Deputy Commissioner Gary Tuggle, a former top-ranking Drug Enforcement Administration official tapped by De Sousa in March to oversee strategic and support services for the City.
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As Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz is laid to rest this afternoon, we’ll begin today with a conversation about heart disease.  Mr. Kamenetz’s sudden passing has left a lot of people wondering, “How can a man, who was only 60 years old, not overweight, a healthy eater, and a person who exercised regularly, die of a heart attack?”

Dr. Leana Wen, the Health Commissioner of Baltimore City reminds us of what we can do to prevent heart disease.  She joins Tom on this edition of the Midday Healthwatch, our regular conversations with Dr. Wen about important public health issues affecting the well-being of all Baltimorians.  

Photo Courtesy Baltimore Symphony Orchestra

Tonight and this weekend at the Meyerhoff, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra is screening Steven Spielberg's classic 1981 adventure film, Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark, and performing  composer John Williams' popular score for it.  Weilding the baton will be BSO Pops conductor, Jack Everly, who joins Tom in the studio with a preview of the BSO's latest Movies with Orchestra event.

In a career spanning more than 50 years, composer John Williams has created a vast catalog of music for screen, stage, symphony and sport.  He's garnered 51 Academy Award nominations for his memorable film scores including the aforementioned Raiders as well as Jaws, Jurassic Park, Superman, Star Wars, three of the Harry Potter films and Schindler's List.  

For this weekend's  Movies with Orchestra ticket information, click on the link below: 

https://www.bsomusic.org/calendar/events/2017-2018-events/movie-with-orchestra-raiders-of-the-lost-ark/

Baltimore County Executive's Office

We begin the show today with reflections on the life and career of Kevin Kamenetz, a fixture on the Maryland political scene for more than two decades.

Mr. Kamenetz died early Thursday morning from a heart attack.

He began his career in public service as a prosecutor in the Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s office. He was first elected to the Baltimore County Council in 1994. He served four terms, before being elected as the County Executive in 2010. He was considered a leading candidate in the crowded field of people running for the Democratic nomination for Governor. He is survived by his wife Jill, and their two teenage sons, Karson and Dylan. Our hearts ache for them. Kevin Kamenetz was 60 years old.

Joining Tom on the line to remember Mr. Kamenetz are Donald Mohler III, who was a close friend of Mr. Kamenetz and served as his chief of staff in the County Executive’s Office, Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger, who served as Baltimore County Executive from 1994 to 2002, and Jim Smith, who preceded Kamenetz as Baltimore County Executive. He currently serves as the Chief of Strategic Alliances in the office of Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh.

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