Midday with Dan Rodricks | WYPR

Midday with Dan Rodricks

Former Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon

Aug 18, 2015

Former mayor and current candidate for the office, Sheila Dixon, joins Midday in Studio A to discuss her political comeback. Can she overcome the shroud of scandal under which she left office? What is she hearing from citizens as she campaigns in Baltimore, post-Freddie Gray? Will residents dissatisfied with Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake turn to Dixon? Plus, we find out her thoughts on development, crime, and bringing jobs to the city.

Midday Special on Religion: The Handy Islam Answer Book

Aug 18, 2015

We take a look at the roots and practices of Islam, the world’s second largest religion, with Islam scholar John Renard, professor of theology at Saint Louis University. At a time when many Americans fear rather than understand Islam, we explore the faith’s traditions, as well as its overlaps with Christianity and Judaism. Original air date: July 13th.

Midday Special on Religion: One Nation, Under Gods

Aug 17, 2015

The spiritual history of the United States is much more complex, and less uniformly Christian, than many realize. Annapolis-based historian and journalist Peter Manseau joins Midday to discuss his book, “One Nation, Under Gods,” an exploration of the role of religious minorities in shaping Maryland and American history. Original air date: July 13th.

Midday Eats: Memorable Meals

Aug 14, 2015

Midday foodies John Shields of Gertrude’s and Henry Hong of Thames Street Oyster House share stories with Midday listeners about meals that hold a special place in their culinary memories. Original air date: 09/13/13.

Midday Friday

Aug 14, 2015

In this edition of Midday Friday, we follow-up on the firing of Pocomoke City’s police chief and hear from Kelvin Sewell himself. We also take a look at the Select Lounge case --civil charges against four city police officers accused of wrongful death were dismissed by a Circuit Court judge after five weeks of testimony. We also have our weekly business report, and film reviews from critic Chris Reed and book recommendations from librarian Paula Gallagher.

The Man Who Wasn't There

Aug 13, 2015

Where in the brain is our sense of self located? How can you pinpoint what makes us who we are and what do you do when that knowledge is lost? Science journalist Anil Anathaswamy followed individuals with complex neurological disorders - from Alzheimer’s and schizophrenia to a rare disorder that causes the delusional belief that one is dead -- and wrote about their experiences in his book, “The Man Who Wasn’t There.” In this hour, we find out what he discovered about the human sense of self.

Police Brutality Settlements; Hogan Proposes Redistricting Reform

Aug 13, 2015

Some of Maryland’s 8 congressional districts have been called “the most gerrymandered in the nation.” A judge described the shape of one of them as "a broken-winged pterodactyl.” Governor Larry Hogan promised to change the system that created the oddly-shaped districts, and he wants to put a constitutional amendment before Maryland voters next year. We’ll hear arguments for and against that idea. Up front, Baltimore taxpayers are putting out another $280,000 to settle three more lawsuits alleging police misconduct and excessive force.

Open Phones

Aug 12, 2015

Open phones and listener emails in this one o’clock hour, as we follow-up on the conversation you just heard with Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. Baltimore hit the 200 homicide mark on Monday, after a shooting near Clifton Park. The homicide count did not reach 200 last year until December. How is the surge in violence affecting life in your neighborhood, and in your view of the city and its leadership? We’ll also welcome more reaction, pro and con, to the Hogan administration’s punt on mass transit projects in Baltimore.

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake

Aug 12, 2015

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings Blake joins Midday to discuss the city’s violent crime streak, her relationship with Governor Hogan, and what alternatives are being considered since the cancelation of the Red Line light rail project.

Tech For Good

Aug 11, 2015

We hear about three efforts to promote technology skills in Baltimore. Gretchen LeGrand, co-founder of Code in the Schools, tells how they are working provides computer science education to more than 2,500 students each year. Stephanie and Shawn Grimes from Digital Harbor Foundation, talk about the after-school programs, summer camps, workshops they provide for community members and educators. And Will Holman, of Baltimore Arts Realty Corp, talks about transforming properties throughout the city into so-called “maker spaces.”

How to Reinvent Bus Transit

Aug 11, 2015

On Monday, the Maryland Transportation Secretary Pete Rahn met with state elected officials to discuss alternative mass transit solutions since Governor Hogan’s cancelling of the Red Line. One alternative in play -- improvements to the MTA bus system. We take a look at the city of Houston, Texas, which unveils its revamped system this weekend, and hear how city officials navigated responses from impacted communities. Plus, Baltimore architect Klaus Philipsen offers his ideas on how the city could harness the potential of bus transit.

Baltimore County Chief Jim Johnson

Aug 10, 2015

2015 has been the deadliest year in Baltimore since the 1970’s, and other major cities are seeing increases in violence too. Last week, officials of police departments from across the country met in Washington to discuss the trend. The prevalence of guns, Synthetic drugs, retaliatory violence were identified as some of the common trends among Baltimore, New York, Milwaukee, Houston and Chicago. Our guest this hour is Baltimore County police chief Jim Johnson, a staunch advocate of tougher gun laws as one way to reduce violence in urban areas.

We delve into the controversial firing of a police chief in a waterfront town on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. In Pocomoke City, a decision by the mayor and city council to dismiss the town’s first black police chief has led to charges of racial discrimination, drawn the attention of the Justice Department and caused rifts among old friends. That story among three this hour. We’ll also hear about a documentary on a Maryland death row inmate exonerated by DNA evidence and have a follow-up to a recent Midday hour on reducing teen pregnancy.

Midday Friday

Aug 7, 2015

Rudy Chow, Baltimore’s director of public works, updates on the city’s efforts to collect the balances on long-unpaid water bills. Then, local reaction to the Republican presidential primary debate, with Richard Cross, Barry Rascovar and Melissa Deckman.

Midday on Culture

Aug 6, 2015
Creative Common

Midday culture commentator Sheri Parks talks about two things -- the significance of the recent uploading of millions of minutes of Movietone and AP newsreel film footage to YouTube, and the presence of Donald Trump in the Republican presidential campaign.

Ferguson Anniversary

Aug 6, 2015

Michael Pinard, professor at the University of Maryland School of Law, reflects on issues of race and criminal justice, noting the approach of one year since the shooting death of Michael Brown by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri.

Rise of the Robots

Aug 5, 2015

As technology advances and automation increases, how imminent is the threat of a jobless future? Author Martin Ford joins us to discuss his book, “Rise of the Robots,” in which he envisions a world where even “good jobs,” like paralegals and physicians can be made obsolete by robots and smart software.

Neighborhood Battles with Baltimore Bars

Aug 5, 2015

Today's guest is Becky Lundberg Witt, an attorney for the Community Law Center who serves as a watchdog of the Baltimore City Liquor Board. She chronicles the board's weekly meetings for the blog Booze News. Governor Larry Hogan recently appointed two new members of the three-member board, and Witt will share her observations about the transition.

The Complicated Relationship Between Man and Pig

Aug 4, 2015


From ancient kosher laws, to modern bacon festivals, the pig has been called the most “loved and loathed” animal to grace our plates. In this hour of Midday, we’ll hear why these domesticated and highly intelligent creatures have been written off as lazy, filthy gluttons to some; lunch to others, and to an even smaller group, they’re surprisingly close to human. Our guest is historian Mark Essig, author of "Lesser Beasts: The Snout to Tail History of the Humble Pig."


Hopkins Research

Aug 4, 2015

From needle exchanges to diabetes to the aging brain, a look at research out of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, one of the busiest places in Baltimore. Can mentoring young people help you stay sharp as you enter your 70s and 80s? A new study by Michelle Carlson might make you want to take up volunteering today. Plus, at a time when more cases of diabetes are being diagnosed, just one in three Americans has their problem under control. Why is that such a challenge? Elizabeth Selvin has the answers.

Midday on Health

Aug 3, 2015

Dr. John Cmar, infectious disease specialist at Sinai Hospital, returns for another edition of Midday on Health. In this hour, we’ll look at number of health issues, including gun violence as a public health issue and the increasing risk of salmonella infections.

Record Violence Continues

Aug 3, 2015

On the heels of July's 45 homicides -- a 43 year high -- August is off to an alarming start with 11 people shot, two fatally, over the weekend.

Former Police Commissioner Leonard Hamm

Jul 31, 2015

In this second hour of Midday, a conversation with former Baltimore police commissioner, Leonard Hamm. Leonard Hamm was top cop from 2004 through 2007, serving under two mayors, Martin O’Malley and Sheila Dixon. Today we look back on the era of zero-tolerance policing and mass arrests and the violent crime that challenged Hamm while he was commissioner and still challenges police commanders today.

Midday Friday

Jul 31, 2015
Loyd Fox/Baltimore Sun

On this edition of Midday Friday, Tara Huffman of the Open Society Institute and producer Melody Simmons joins us to report on the sudden closing of the Baltimore City Jail. Then, Lance Lucas of Digital All Systems on his campaign to reduce Baltimore violence by swapping guns for laptops.

A Survivor and A Casualty

Jul 30, 2015

We’ll talk with two guests with fascinating stories from the final days of World War II. The conflict ended almost 70 years ago, when atomic bombs destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki, forcing Emperor Hirohito of Japan to surrender. Our first guest, Edgar Harrell, was a young marine who miraculously survived four days floating at sea in a life jacket without food or water when Japanese torpedoes sank the cruiser Indianapolis. This was just days after the ship delivered the components of the atom bomb to scientists at a U.S. air base in the Pacific. When they were finally rescued, only 317 of the crew’s 1,196 members were still alive. Harrell describes their story in a compelling first-person account called "Out of The Depths."

Is Bus Rapid Transit Plan B for Baltimore?

Jul 30, 2015

Last month, Governor Larry Hogan shelved the Baltimore region’s Red Line - the long-planned $3 billion dollar light rail project to connect western Baltimore County with the southeastern side of the city. Since then, Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford said rapid buses are the way to go. But there is no money for such a project, and the Hogan administration affirmed last week that Baltimore should expect no help from Annapolis for new public transportation projects. Still, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake says officials are looking for a plan B and mentioned a rapid bus system as one possibility. In this hour, a look at fast bus systems across the U.S. and around the world.

When Rain Hurts

Jul 29, 2015

Mary Greene describes the tremendous challenges she and her husband faced after adopting their son from a Russian orphanage. She details her Maryland family’s struggle in “When Rain Hurts: An Adoptive Mother's Journey with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome." Original air date: 02/25/15. Production help from former Midday intern Margorie Goodman.

7,000 Emails

Jul 29, 2015

Baltimore Sun reporters plummed through a massive amount of emails and other documents among city officials to give a picture of response to the April protests and riot following the death of Freddie Gray. Two of the reporters, Luke Broadwater and Ian Duncan, join Dan Rodricks at noon to discuss their findings.

Colorado saw its teen pregnancy rate drop 40 percent from 2009 to 2013. The rate of teen abortions fell 42 percent. Behind those impressive decreases was an experiment in long-acting contraception, implantable devices that last for years, and are considered the most effective forms of birth control. In this hour, we take a look at how Colorado increased access to long-term birth control, and how that experiment has affected the life outcomes of many young, low-income woman. What can Maryland learn from the Colorado experience?

Midday Politics

Jul 28, 2015

In this edition of Midday Politics, we we take a look at national headlines. From Donald Trump's remarks about immigrants and the crowded Republican presidential field (can you name all 16 formally announced candidates?), to President Obama's trip to Africa and the Iran nuclear deal. Our guests: political scientists Melissa Deckman of Washington College, and Morgan State University's Max Hilare.