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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. 

 

Forgetting someone’s name, getting caught with spinach in your teeth. We all experience cringe worthy moments, but some people seem never to grow out of their awkward teenage years. Psychologist Ty Tashiro tells us why these mishaps happen and why some people are more awkward than others. His book is called Awkward: The Science of Why We’re Socially Awkward and Why That’s Awesome. Tashiro says that awkward behavior can have its advantages. Original airdate 7.25.17

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.

Photograph by Mary Garrity, restored by Adam Cuerden / Wikimedia Commons

The pioneering investigative reporter and anti-lynching activist Ida B. Wells was born into slavery in Mississippi 156 years ago. Her tenacity and loyalty to the truth remain a standard for all journalists. We ask her great granddaughter Michelle Duster about Wells’ legacy.

Click here for ticket information for the Q&A and cocktail reception tonight at Ida B's Table. Read more information about the Ida B. Wells Memorial Foundation.

Plus, Lucy Dalglish, journalism dean at the University of Maryland, tells of a scholarship honoring the victims of the Capital Gazette shooting. More information about the Capital Gazette Memorial Scholarship Fund here. You can submit stories here to remember alumni Gerald Fischman and John McNamara and faculty member Rob Hiaasen.

Curious about how the original seed got planted for Out of the Blocks? This week marks the ten-year anniversary of Aaron Henkin & Wendel Patrick’s audio bro-mance, and on this episode the two friends unearth archival audio from when they first crossed paths. They originally met in 2008, when Wendel was Aaron’s musical guest on WYPR’s old radio show, The Signal. Aaron liked Wendel’s music, Wendel liked Aaron’s interviewing style, they hit it off, and the rest is history. Plus: Did you know that ‘Wendel Patrick’ isn’t Wendel Patrick’s real name? Take a trip down memory lane with the guys and enjoy the back-story!

Garrett Berberich

When summer vacation comes to an end, and kids return to the classroom, many find they’ve fallen behind. What can be done to prevent summer learning loss?

The Summer Arts and Learning Academy is a free camp for elementary school students run by Baltimore City Schools and Young Audiences of Maryland. We hear from Stacie Sanders Evans, head of Young Audiences of Maryland, who says pairing teachers and artists can halt summer slide and make math and reading fun. And from Lara Ohanian, Director of Differentiated Learning at Baltimore City Public Schools.

Click here for information on SummerREADS. Click here for a list of other drop-in programs for Baltimore students.

Plus, slime and other do-it-yourself experiments at the Maryland Science Center. Samantha Blau, External Programs Manager at the Maryland Science Center, describes ways to encourage scientific exploration.

Check out the calendar of events at the MD Science Center here. Click here for more "Science at Home" activities.

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.

therealtonyforeman/instagram

Can't get any time off work to take that dream vacation? Travel to your favorite location while never leaving your kitchen! Tony and Chef Cindy discuss the dishes and dinners they would make to replicate the feeling of some of their favorite travel destinations. We also hear from Wolfgang Raifer of Colterenzio in the Alto Adige region of Italy. Wolfgang tells us about the history and production process of the wines made on their picturesque estate.

This is a re-broadcast. 

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.  

National Great Blacks in Wax Museum

The National Great Blacks in Wax Museum is filled with dozens of life-size, lifelike wax figures that illustrate the accomplishments of African American notables--historical and contemporary. Saturday, July 14, history will extend beyond the museum walls for the Voices of History street fair. Museum co-founder and director, Dr. Joanne Martin gives us highlights of the fair, and discusses why she and her late husband started the museum 35 years ago.

Shindana Cooper tells her Stoop Story about an ill-fated cruise with the Middle Passage Monument Project. You can hear her story and others at stoop storytelling dot com.

So many inspiring activities this weekend! If drumlines get your blood pumping, don’t miss the Baltimore Christian Warriors 30th Anniversary. They’re hosting the Tri-state Drumline Competition and Showcase tomorrow at Baltimore City Community College, 2901 Liberty Heights Avenue. It starts at noon, tickets at the door.

And at the Community College of Baltimore County in Catonsville, you can attend the Maryland Humanities 2018 Chautauqua, titled: ‘Seeking Justice.’ Actors dressed as historic figures describe their character’s contribution to the pursuit of justice: Frederick Douglass at 7 pm tonight, Eleanor Roosevelt at 7 pm tomorrow and Thurgood Marshall at 7 pm Sunday -- all at the Center for the Arts Theatre, 800 S. Rolling Road.

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.

In the first half of the 19th century, wealthy Baltimore was in love with art, especially art from Europe. Art historian Stanley Mazaroff tells of George A. Lucas, the son of one upscale family who was so enamored that just before the Civil War he moved to Paris and built a new kind of career -- as a transatlantic agent advising prosperous American collectors.

Mazaroff's account of George Lucas' life as an art agent and collector is "A Paris Life, A Baltimore Treasure". He’s speaking about it next Thursday evening, July 19 at 7 pm at the Ivy Bookstore on Falls road.

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 

 

Larry Canner/JHU

About two million people in the U.S. have lost an arm, a hand, a leg or other limb. Many opt to use a prosthesis -- a fabricated upper or lower limb. Luke Osborn, a graduate student in biomedical engineering at Johns Hopkins University, tells us about an electronic skin that can create the sensation of touch for the user of an upper-limb prosthesis. And George Levay, a research participant who lost his arms to meningitis, describes what it was like using the electronic skin on his prosthetic hand.

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? 

Amy Webb / Future Today Institute

Summer means a bounty of fresh fruits and vegetables. But when you choose those juicy plums or ripe tomatoes from your favorite grocery produce section … do you stop to question where and how they were grown? Amy Webb, founder of the ‘Future Today Institute’, has some answers. She talks about the future of farming, from genetic editing to collaborative robots to urban indoor warehouse farms. She also offers some perspective about the sci-fi feel of agricultural technology developments.

Webb suggests the online magazine, Modern Farmer, as a good, accessible source to stay informed on future farming developments.

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. 

RICH BROOKS/FLICKR

Whether it's cooking at the beach, grilling outside or packing food for a road trip, Tony and Chef Wolf have food and wine ideas for your outdoor adventures. 

Brenda Sanders / Thrive Baltimore

After a holiday week when grills have been ablaze for hot dogs, burgers and ribs, we’re going to shift focus -- and diet -- to learn about some delicious vegan options for summer meals. We talk with Brenda Sanders, co-founder and CEO of Thrive Baltimore. Thrive Baltimore provides education and resources to those seeking to adopt a vegan diet and lifestyle. Tomorrow, July 7, from noon to 6pm they’re hosting the second annual Vegan Marketplace, at 6 E. Lafayette Ave. Free Admission!

Here's a Stoop Story from 'Cafeteria Man' Tony Geraci about how working in school kitchens steered him to his passion. Geraci led efforts in Baltimore and in Memphis to make public school lunches more nutritious. Now, he works as a consultant to create healthier meals for children across the U.S. You can hear his story and others at stoopstorytelling dot com.

Gil tells us how our beloved crab could've been second fiddle to another civic symbol: the banana.

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.

(AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Thousands of children and adults have crossed the southern U.S. border. For some, violence in their home countries pushed them to this risky journey. While the practice of separating families at the border has ended. About two thousand children have yet to be reunited with their parents. Emily Kephart from the legal advocacy group Kids in Need of Defense, tells us about the case of a six-year-old girl who for weeks has been held far from her father.

Then UMBC political science professor Jeffrey Davis describes treaties and international laws that govern how refugees are treated, and promise them due process. You can read his piece on the US' 'zero tolerance' immigration policies at The Conversation.

Melissa Gerr

Sunscreen, bug spray, shampoo, deodorant. When we wash personal care products like these off of our bodies, they go down the drain, pass through wastewater treatment plants, and end up in our rivers and oceans. Scientists have found numerous ill effects from these chemicals, including the feminization of fish. Environmental engineer Lee Blaney, associate professor at UMBC, joins us to talk about his research in local waterways.

Read about Blaney's research here.

Photos by Shealyn Jae

It's time for another visit from our well-traveled theater critic, J. Wynn Rousuck, who joins us each week with  a review of one of the region's many theaterical offerings.  Today, she's spotlighting the Chesapeake Shakespeare Company's new production of the Bard's romantic farce, A Midsummer Night's Dream, being performed on the outdoor stage at the PFI Historic Park in Ellicott City.

A Midsummer Night's Dream was written by William Shakespeare in 1595-96. The play portrays the madcap events surrounding the marriage of Theseus, the Duke of Athens, to Hippolyta, the former queen of the Amazons. These include the interconnected adventures of four young Athenian lovers and a group of six amateur actors who are manipulated by the Fairies who inhabit the forest in which the play is mostly set.

One of Shakespeare's funniest and most popular works for the stage -- and performed by theater companies around the world -- AMSND is directed for the Chesapeake Shakespeare Company by Gerrad Alex Taylor.   He guides a 19-member cast that features guest actor Michael Toperzer as Theseus/Oberon, CSC member Elana Michelle as Hippolyta/Titania, and Imani Turner as Puck.

The Chesapeake Shakespeare Company's production of A Midsummer Night's Dream continues at the PFI Historic Park in Ellicott City, Maryland, through Sunday, July 29.  For ticket info and directions, click here.

On this holiday in which we celebrate independence and the courage of our revolutionary heroes, a word about a different kind of revolutionary, and her exercise of the free speech and religious practice the founders fought for.

Elizabeth McAlister has lived at Jonah House, on the West Side of Baltimore, for most of the last 50 years. She and her husband, the anti-war activist Philip Berrigan, founded Jonah House as part of a network of Catholic Worker Houses across the country. Philip was one of the Catonsville Nine, who burned draft records in 1968, setting-off a series of similar actions across the country. He died in 2002, but McAlister has continued to protest against violence and war, in particular, nuclear weapons.

In April, on the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s assassination, McAlister and six others cut through a fence and entered the King’s Bay Naval Submarine Base in Camden County, GA, which is home to a fleet of Trident Submarines, which carry nuclear war heads.

The group’s purpose was to commit what they call a Ploughshares Action, based on a phrase from Isaiah in the Bible:

“They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore.”

The first Ploughshares Action took place in 1980. Since then, more than 100 similar protests have occurred in the United States and around the world.  

Shan Wallace/ @sisterswithstories Instagram

On today's Life in the Balance, we focus on Black women: their experiences, their concerns, and their contributions to our country and to Baltimore.

Black women have faced racial and gender discrimination, violence, and economic and political disenfranchisement for hundreds of years. 

But, like the generations of women that have come before them, Black women are continuing to rise above the challenges. Here in Baltimore, a majority-minority city – when we talk about issues facing the City and its residents, how often do we hear discussions that center around Black women?

Guest host Jamyla Krempel and four local activists and educators add to the conversation in this episode. 

 

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