Midday with Dan Rodricks | WYPR

Midday with Dan Rodricks

Baltimore City Police & April's Riot

Jul 7, 2015

Deputy Baltimore police commissioner Kevin Davis -- on police reforms, recent arrests and efforts to arrest those involved in April's riot following Freddie Gray's funeral.

This is What You Just Put in Your Mouth?

Jul 6, 2015

Exploring the strange-sounding ingredients of processed foods, science writer and former Wired columnist Patrick Di Justo pondered questions such as this: "If I Can't Believe It's Not Butter isn't butter, what is it?" His efforts to know the answer to that question and many others resulted in an interesting and humorous book: “This Is What You Just Put in Your Mouth?: From Eggnog to Beef Jerky, the Surprising Secrets of What's Inside Everyday Products.” Original air date: 03/20/15.

Black Sacred Music

Jul 6, 2015

We listen to -- and talk about -- black sacred music, from the Civil War to the civil rights movement with music historian Robert Darden. The former Gospel editor of Billboard details how sacred music has served for centuries as a catalyst for change. Robert Darden is the author of "Nothing But Love in God's Water."

Great Influences: Lafayette, Beccaria, and Einstein

Jul 3, 2015

How three men of Europe shaped America’s founding -- and its laws, science and conscience. Laura Auricchio, author of “The Marquis: Lafayette Reconsidered,” explains why Lafayette’s bronze statue stands high in Baltimore's Mount Vernon Place and in other American cities and towns; John Bessler, author of “The Birth of American Law: An Italian Philosopher and the American Revolution,” explains Cesare Beccaria’s influence on the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution; and Steven Gimbel joins Midday to talk about his book, “Einste

Inside North Korea

Jul 3, 2015

In "Without You, There is No Us: My Time with the Sons of North Korea's Elite," journalist Suki Kim provides a chilling account of everyday life inside the hermetic North Korean regime. In 2011, Kim spent six months teaching at a North Korean university. Her last day at the school was the same day former dictator Kim Jong-Il died. Original air date: 03/03/15.

Midday Eats: 4th of July Edition

Jul 2, 2015

It's time for Midday Eats with Henry Hong of the Thames Street Oyster House, John Shields of Gertrude's, and special guest Andrea Farnum, aka "The Kitchen Goddess." We're talking barbeque from around the world and food for the Fourth! If you're looking for a delicious dish for the holiday weekend, give us a call.

Midday on Culture

Jul 2, 2015

Midday culture commentator Sheri Parks joins us for a conversation on race in America as the 4th of July approaches. We'll discuss the calls for the removal of Confederate symbology in the wake of the racist mass shooting Charleston. Plus, Sheila Dixon announced yesterday that she will seek the mayor's office once again. Baltimore's first black female mayor resigned in 2010 after being convicted of embezzlement charges.

The World Beyond Your Head

Jul 1, 2015

Walk through an airport today and you’ll see hundreds of noses buried in laptops, tablets or smartphones. If you’re not online, you’ll be endlessly assaulted by commercial images and messages from flashing signs, hidden speakers, TV screens and other gadgets. They’re all out for a slice of what limited attention we have left.

US Labor Secretary Thomas Perez

Jul 1, 2015

On the heels of President Obama's announcement that he will see to expand overtime pay to nearly 5 million workers, we speak to US Labor Secretary Thomas Perez. Plus, we'll take a look at Maryland's job landscape as the state's minimum wage jumps to $8.25 per hour and Baltimore City receives a $5 million grant to support job training programs for youth and young adults. 

MICA President: Samuel Hoi

Jun 30, 2015


A conversation with Samuel Hoi, president of the Maryland Institute College of Art here in Baltimore, at the end of the his first year at the school. We’ll talk about the school’s role in the revitalization of Station North, and the role of art and artists in post-Freddie Gray Baltimore. We’ll also meet some accomplished MICA alumni, including a student whose video game is helping patients suffering from brain injuries. Plus, Rona Kobell of the Chesapeake Bay Journal breaks down the Supreme Court decision on Power Plants and talks about the environmental impact of Gov. Larry Hogan’s decision to kill the Red Line project through Baltimore.

Presidential historian Richard Striner of Washington College comments on President Obama in the context of recent events, including this month's Supreme Court rulings.

Enhancing the "Bio-Diversity of the Gut"

Jun 29, 2015

Dr. Gerard Mullin, a digestive health specialist from Johns Hopkins, talks about how certain foods can replenish so-called friendly bacteria to help people lose weight.

Red Line: What's Next for Baltimore Transit?

Jun 29, 2015

Baltimore's former longtime development director Jay Brodie describes what Gov. Hogan's decision to kill the Red Line light rail project means for the city and the region.

Jaws - The 40th Anniversary

Jun 26, 2015

In this second hour of Midday Friday - more reaction to today's historic Supreme Court ruling on same sex marriage. We speak with Martha Ertman, an expert in family law at the University of Maryland School of Law whose book recounting her own same sex marriage has just been published.

Open phone lines this hour for reaction to the news -- from Washington, an historic Supreme Court decision. The Court ruled that the Constitution guarantees a nationwide right to same-sex marriage. We'll hear more about that from our guests and hear what Midday listeners have to say.

Two Stories From WWII

Jun 25, 2015


A look back to World War II, with two stories -- an aviator's survival in the Alaskan wilderness and the brutal battle of Okinawa that ended 70 years ago this week. Our guests: Brian Murphy of The Washington Post, author of "81 Days Below Zero," and longtime Maryland journalist Len Lazarick, whose father served in the infantry on Okinawa.

The Big Hack At OPM

Jun 25, 2015

At the top of the hour: The Supreme Court today voted 6-3 to uphold a key element of Obamacare, ruling that federal tax subsidies to help millions of Americans afford health insurance are legal. Jay Hancock, Senior Correspondant from Kaiser Health News, and J. Amy Dillard, associate professor at the University of Baltimore School of law.

Egypt, Napal, and the Great Outdoors

Jun 24, 2015

A Johns Hopkins professor tells the story of a remarkable woman who’s been working in Egypt’s slums -- Mama Maggie, known as the Mother Teresa of Cairo. Plus wildlife photographer Pat Toth-Smith talks about her craft and we get a report from Baltimore-based Catholic Relief Services about Nepal’s recovery from two devastating earthquakes.

A prominent minister orchestrated a rush-hour traffic jam last month to protest plans for a $30 million youth jail in Baltimore. Today we hear from two of Gov. Larry Hogan’s cabinet secretaries about justice and corrections for the state’s juvenile offenders. But first, the Freddie Gray autopsy. According to the Baltimore Sun, the state medical examiner concluded that Gray’s death was the result of a “high energy” impact injury sustained inside the police van. One of the nation’s leading experts in forensic pathology, Dr.

The Plight of the Honeybee

Jun 23, 2015

Maryland lost 60 percent of its honeybee colonies last year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. That puts the state in the top five for honeybee deaths in the country. Population losses at this rate could be unsustainable for both the pollinators, and the US economy. The insect plays an integral role in agriculture, accounting for an estimated $15 billion in value to crops annually.

Midday Politics

Jun 23, 2015

Yesterday, Gov. Larry Hogan revealed that he has been diagnosed with a “very aggressive and advanced” non-Hodgkins lymphoma and will begin chemotherapy immediately. Today on Midday, we’ll cover the governor’s announcement and other news from our region.

In this second hour of Midday, we continue our conversation on the racist killings in Charleston. The alleged shooter’s motivations appear clear, based on what he said and on a manifesto he published online; however, some have raised questions about 21-year-old Dylann Roof’s mental state. Dr. Gordon Livingston talks about violent behavior and the ability of mental health professionals to predict and prevent it.

Talking About Charleston

Jun 22, 2015

After a Sunday of worship and displays of racial solidarity,  the city of Charleston South Carolina prepares for a week of funerals. We talk about the nation’s latest mass shooting today with Maryland congressman Chris Van Hollen  and with Charles Ellison, contributing editor of The Root, who sees the Charleston killings as an act of domestic terror.


Jun 20, 2015

Three stories about human impact on the natural world -- the emerald ash borer, an invasive beetle from Asia that is killing ash trees in Maryland; the monarch butterfly, whose population is threatened by herbicides; and the osprey, whose population in the Chesapeake is on an upswing. Our guests: Mike Raupp, an entomologist from the University of Maryland; Joel Dunn of the Chesapeake Conservancy; and Paul Spitzer, ornithologist and naturalist.

Originally aired on 4/24/15.

The Big Ratchet

Jun 20, 2015

MacArthur Genius Award-winner Ruth DeFries, an expert in the study of the human impact on our environment, counter's the idea of humanity's eventual demise and collapse by offering a positive examination of human capability. Her book is, "The Big Rachet: How Humanity Thrives in the Face of Natural Crisis." 

Originally aired on 10/24/14.

Star Wars Empire

Jun 18, 2015

How did Star Wars go from a movie that no Hollywood studio wanted to a franchise worth $40 billion dollars? We explore the rich history with Chris Taylor, deputy editor of Mashable, author of "How Star Wars Conquered the Universe: The Past, Present, and Future of a Multibillion Dollar Franchise.” Original air date: 01/27/15. 

Urban Scholar David Rusk

Jun 18, 2015

As part of our continuing conversation about the city in the aftermath of Freddie Gray-related unrest, urban scholar David Rusk revisits "Baltimore Unbound," his 1995 prescription for a regional approach to solving Baltimore's social and economic problems in a sustainable way. Original air date: 05/14/15.


Jun 17, 2015

In Midday’s second hour, we travel 50 years into the past to 1965, the height of the civil rights movement. We’ll speak to Julian Zelizer, author of “The Fierce Urgency of Now,” on the political savvy of President Johnson and the fight over the Great Society. And we hear Jim Achmutey’s account of the integration of a high school in rural Georgia -- how a white student's defense of his African-American classmates left a lasting impression on his peers. Original air date: 04/23/15.


Jun 17, 2015

Remember the search engine Alta Vista or the browser Netscape? Where were you when you heard the verdict in the O.J. Simpson trial? W. Joseph Campbell, American University professor of communications, argues that 1995 was not only the breakout year for the Internet, but a pivotal year in American politics and culture. Original air date: 04/23/15.

The Life and Science of Albert Einstein

Jun 16, 2015

The life and science of Albert Einstein, with Steven Gimbel, Baltimore native and chair of the philosophy department at Gettysburg College, author of “Einstein: His Space and Times,” and “Einstein’s Jewish Science: Physics at the Intersection of Politics and Religion.” Original air date: 04/21/15.