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Photo by Annie Leibovitz

Tom's guest for the hour is Pulitzer Prize-winning author and historian Doris Kearns Goodwin.

In her new book on presidential character, Leadership in Turbulent TimesGoodwin asks: Do leaders shape the times or do the times summon their leaders? Goodwin argues persuasively that while great presidents were highly ambitious and driven to succeed, they also overcame devastating personal setbacks to lead the country through the most difficult challenges our republic has ever faced.

Goodwin chronicles Lincoln’s struggles with depression and his handling of the Civil War. She explores how Theodore Roosevelt’s leadership philosophy changed after his young wife and his mother died on the same day, and how he went on to broker a settlement in a potentially crippling coal strike. She writes of Franklin Roosevelt’s struggle with polio, and his decisive moves to end the Depression and win World War II.

Here’s a Stoop Story from Elliot Wagenheim about finding the motivation to get up off the recliner. You can hear his story and many others at stoopstorytelling.com, as well as the Stoop podcast.

The shuttering of saloons, the death of distilleries. For 13 years, Prohibition was the law of the land--banning the manufacture, sale, and distribution of “intoxicating liquors.” But Maryland’s approach to enforcement was “hands off.”

Historian Michael T. Walsh details local resistance in his book, “Baltimore Prohibition: Wet and Dry in the Free State.”

He will be speaking tomorrow at B.C. Brewery from 1-3 PM, at 10950 Gilroy Road in Hunt Valley.

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. 

Amazon

Later this month, authors, poets, and readers will gather at the Inner Harbor for the 23rd annual Baltimore Book Festival. Director of the City Lit Project Carla DuPree tells us about the talented writers from near and far who will attend. And Marion Winik, host of WYPR’s Weekly Reader podcast, previews her new book, “The Baltimore Book of the Dead” Plus, author and screenwriter Evan Balkan takes us inside his new young adult novel, “Spitfire,” set in 1950s Highlandtown.

The link to Gil Sandler's story, referred to in Balkan's interview can be found here.

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.

For millions of Americans, higher education just doesn’t work. Of all those who start college each fall, barely more than half graduate with a degree or certificate in six years. And many leave campus saddled with huge debts.

Photo courtesy of the Ben Jealous campaign

Today on Midday, we continue our series of Conversations with the Candidates.

Tom's guest for the hour is Ben Jealous, the Democratic nominee for Governor of Maryland. He was one of nine Democrats on the ballot in the primary last June. He beat the crowded field handily with 40% of the vote, defying pollsters and pundits, many of whom had predicted a win by Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker.

In the end, Mr. Jealous bested Mr. Baker by nearly 10 points. Ben Jealous and his running mate Susan Turnbull, the former chair of the Maryland Democratic Party, are now challenging Republican Gov. Larry Hogan and Lt. Gov Boyd Rutherford. 

African-Americans living free in Baltimore before the Civil War were constantly testing whether the law and courts saw them as citizens, with rights to be respected.

In a new book, "Birthright Citizens: A History of Race and Rights in Antebellum America," Johns Hopkins Professor Martha Jones argues the free blacks of Baltimore shaped the idea of birthright citizenship that made it into the U.S. constitution, and that their struggle still carries meaning for today’s immigrants. This interview originally aired on July 26, 2018.

Martha Jones will be speaking about her book at a panel discussion, next Wednesday, September 26th at the Maryland Historical Society. 

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.

Health Care for the Homeless

For many families, September means back-to-school activities: shopping for notebooks and pens, new clothes, and reuniting with friends after summer break. But for thousands of students--and their parents--experiencing homelessness ... ‘back to school’ means stress and the frustration of navigating enrollment and attendance without the security of a place to call home. We talk with Baltimore City Public Schools homeless-student liaison Allen Blackwell and with Danielle DeShields, a formerly homeless mother of three, and with Healthcare for the Homeless social worker Debbie Wilcox. Visit this link for more information on Health Care for the Homeless.

Breville USA/flickr

Having friends and family over for a Sunday football game? Throwing one last BBQ blowout before the mercury drops? Need some help with managing the logistics of hosting? Tony and Chef Cindy go live to take your questions and comments when it comes to cooking for a crowd.

Photo courtesy the Olszewski campaign

Today we continue our series of Conversations with the Candidates with former state delegate John Olszewski, Jr., the Democratic nominee for Baltimore County Executive. He won a nail-biter primary, emerging as the winner in a four person race by just 17 votes.

Mr. Olszewski, also known as "Johnny O," is running against Republican Al Redmer Jr., the state insurance commissioner in the upcoming general election. Olszewski is a lifelong resident of Dundalk. A graduate of Sparrows Point High School and Goucher College, he holds a PhD. in Public Policy from UMBC. He was just 23 years old when he was elected to the Maryland House of Delegates, where he served for nine years. He taught in County schools for seven years. 

We live-streamed this conversation on the WYPR Facebook page.  If you missed that video, check it out here.   The general election takes place on Tuesday, November 6. Early voting begins on October 25. Find out how to register to vote – and where to vote – here.  

Here’s a Stoop Story from John Couzee about a snowboarding trip that turned into a medical emergency. You can hear his story and many others at stoopstorytelling.com, as well as the Stoop podcast.

Ticket information for this season of Stoop shows is here.

More than a century after Fort McHenry repulsed the British bombardment of 1814, it took on a new life as the largest army receiving hospital of the first World War. Thousands of wounded American soldiers and sailors were treated and medical advances were made, especially in facial surgery.

National Park Service Curator Gregory Weidman says the fort hospital aimed to heal the whole person. It offered physical therapy and training in job skills and set up a baseball team and a weekly newspaper.

Gregory Weidman will speak about General Hospital 2 at noon and again at 3 pm tomorrow and Sunday. The park is also hosting many daytime family and children’s events to celebrate the 204th anniversary of the defense of Baltimore. Kids can ‘enlist’ as a soldier in the War of 1812, practice military drills, try on 1814-style uniforms and visit army barracks. 

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.   

Psychics, ouiji boards, nightmares - The Noir and Bizarre, a WYPR original podcast, isn’t afraid to get spooky. Producer Katie Marquette delves into questions about human existence and explores the strange stories we tell ourselves about death.

From Meryl the Mummy--on display at the Walters Art Museum--to Edgar Allan Poe’s grave, Marquette explores Baltimore history with the mysterious in mind.

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.

Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

One hundred years ago, the Spanish flu marched across the globe, leaving between 50 and 100 million people dead in its wake. An exhibit The 1918 Flu Epidemic and Baltimore: 100 Years Later, at the Frieda O. Weise Gallery on the University of Maryland Baltimore campus, chronicles what was going on in the city. Professor Wilbur Chen, a vaccine development specialist, tells us how the flu spreads, and how to prevent it. And Tara Wink, UMB librarian and archivist, offers takeaways from what she learned in compiling the exhibit. The opening for the exhibit is Thursday, Sept. 13 at 10:30am, RSVP here. The exhibit is in conjunction with "Outbreak: Epidemics in a Connected World," at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History.

As politicians fret these days about how to win female voters, and record numbers of women put themselves forth as candidates, it’s worth remembering that a century ago the big dispute was whether women should even have the right to vote. Suffragists persuaded some states to open the ballot to women, but by 1918 had turned their effort into amending the FEDERAL constitution, to cover the whole country.

Elaine Weiss has written "The Woman’s Hour," a fast-moving chronicle of the struggle among women’s advocates, corporate lobbyists and white supremacists.

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. 

Strong Women

Sep 10, 2018

Stories from a mixed-martial-arts fighter, the manager of a diner, a trainer of Doberman Pinschers, a child-abuse survivor, a fashion entrepreneur, a recovering drug addict, a performance artist, a mom who avoided suicide, and the woman who convinced Baltimore to build a skate park.

Paul Aloe/flickr

Tony is just back from a “work” trip to France – visiting wineries and tasting with the producers. Chef Cindy quizzes Tony about his recent trip and gets him to share what insights can be gained from tasting the product with the people who make it, in the place that it is made. All of that plus a Chef’s Challenge on this week’s live episode.

Ivy Bookshop

We often think of racism as operating solely on a visual level - judgments based on skin color or facial features. But what about sounds? What judgments of intelligence, education, and personality lie behind ideas about sounding ‘white’ or ‘black’? Jennifer Lynn Stoever is Associate Professor of English at Binghamton University in New York, and Editor-in-Chief of the blog, “Sounding Out!”. She's talks with us about her book, “The Sonic Color Line: Race and the Cultural Politics of Listening." Original air date 2/26/18.

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.

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