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A dozen Russian intelligence officers have been indicted for tampering in the 2016 election. Plus, Maryland officials recently learned a Russian oligarch bought a software firm that holds a state contract for voter registration. How is Maryland ensuring the security of its elections in November?

We speak to Linda Lamone, administrator of the State Board of Elections, and deputy administrator Nikki Charlson. And Hopkins computer science professor and security expert Avi Rubin tells what he learned from serving as an elections judge.

Photo Courtesy Mildred Muhammad

On today's show, Tom speaks with Mildred Muhammad, the ex-wife of John Allen Muhammed, the DC sniper who along with an accomplice shot 13 people, killing ten of them at multiple locations throughout the Washington metropolitan area in October 2002.  

Mildred Muhammad has made it her life’s work to help people understand that John Muhammad's murderous rampage was in large part an expression of domestic violence; that he killed other people to disguise his primary intent: to kill his ex-wife.  Mildred  has become an advocate for victims of domestic violence.  She has written five books, the latest of which is called I’m Still Standing: Crawling Out of the Darkness Into the Light.  

Charles Townley Chapman

One hundred years ago an idea took off--literally--from the grassy airfield in College Park: could these new flying machines move mail between cities faster than trains? Congress okayed a test. Andrea Cochrane Tracey, director of the College Park Aviation Museum, reflects on how basic things were in 1918.

The first flights during sunny August went well. Cydney Shank Wentsel, the granddaughter of Robert Shank, an early pilot, tells us how wintry snow and fog raised the dangers, and pilots pushed for more control over when they’d fly.

For information about events surrounding the airmail anniversary at the College Park Aviation Museum, visit this link.

To view a documentary about Robert Shank, visit this link.

For a look at commemorative stamps for the airmail anniversary, visit this link.

Image courtesy Neon

It's another edition of Midday at the Movies, and our favorite movie mavens -- Jed Dietz, founding director of the Maryland Film Festival and Ann Hornaday, film critic for the Washington Post -- join Tom to spotlight film industry trends and some notable new releases.

One of the flicks they talk about today is the new documentary, Three Identical Strangers, by director Tim Wardle.  It tells the remarkable story of three identical triplets who were separated at birth but who find each other coincidentally as young men, and who then discover the dark truth of why they were separated.  

Jed and Ann offer very different takes on the latest Joaquin Phoenix vehicle, director Gus Van Sant's Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far on FootThe movie is based on the late cartoonist John Callahan's  titular 1990 memoir of his struggle with alcoholism, the quadraplegia that bound him to a wheelchair after a drunken car wreck, and his efforts to rebuild his shattered life.

And Tom asks Ann and Jed about the latest run of films that explore the Daddy-Daughter relationship, a theme that's been a mainstay of Hollywood movies for decades.

Tom Lauer

Midday theater critic J. Wynn Rousuck joins Tom in the studio every week with a review of the one of the region's many thespian productions,  and today she stops by to discuss Cockpit in Court's new production of Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean.

Set in an old-style five-and-dime variety store in the small west-Texas town of McCarthy, the play explores the reunion of the "Disciples of James Dean," a fan club obsessively devoted to the brief, stellar career of 1950s film star James Dean, who became a cultural icon after his death in a car crash at the age of 24.  The club members prize their special connection to the moody, handsome actor, recalling their roles as local extras in Dean's final movie, Giant (1956).

Written by Ed Graczyk in 1976, the play became a 1982 film directed by Robert Altman, and now, at Cockpit in Court, the twists and turns of the Disciples' lives again grace the stage, under the direction of Linda Chambers,  

As the Disciples pay tribute to the life of their teenage Hollywood idol , the group is rallied by their ringleader, Mona, (played as a teen by Sarah Jones, as an adult by Regina Rose) as they reminisce about their youth -- and stir up some long-buried passions.

Cockpit in Court's production of Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean continues through August 5th on the Essex Campus at the Community College of Baltimore County.

Ivy Bookshop

We think of species taking a long time to adapt to changes in their surroundings. Not necessarily, says evolutionary biologist and ecologist Menno Schilthuizen. In his latest book, "Darwin Comes to Town: How the Urban Jungle Drives Evolution," he asserts we don’t have to look far for evidence: Schilthuizen says plants and animals can adapt quickly to survive. Things like mating preferences and diets are in flux when it comes to city living.

Baltimore Sun

Today, a conversation about the consequences of a Supreme Court ruling last May that struck down a 1992 federal law that disallowed most states from being in the business of organized betting on sports.  This opens the door for states to pass sports gambling legislation

Five states had already passed laws allowing sports gambling in anticipation of the Supreme Court ruling.  A little later in the program, we’ll talk about the possibilities of that happening in MD.  But first, a conversation with a person whose perspective on this issue is unique. 

Tom McMillan was a basketball star at the University of MD in the 1970s, who played in the NBA for 12 years.  After his pro basketball career, he went on to represent MD’s fourth district in the US Congress.  Today, he is the President and CEO of LEAD1, an association of Athletic Directors at the most prominent NCAA Division One Schools. Tom McMillan joins us on the line from Washington, DC.   

Jeff Barker covers the business of sports and the casino gambling industry, among other beats, for the Baltimore Sun.  He joins us from the studios of NPR in Washington DC.

And, joining us on the line from Boston, Daniel Barbarisi, a journalist and author of book Dueling With Kings: High Stakes, Killer Sharks, and the Get-Rich Promise of Daily Fantasy Sports.   Daniel is a former reporter for the Wall Street Journal.  He’s a Senior Editor at the sports website, The Athletic.

National Federation of the Blind

Thousands of blind people travel and commute every day. But they can face challenges, barriers--even discrimination--along the way. Stacey Cervenka, who is blind, tells us about her plans for a Blind Traveler’s Network, a website to provide tips and recommendations for accessible vacation travel. She's a winner of the 2018 Holman Prize for Blind Ambition.

And we meet Mark Riccobono, president of the National Federation of the Blind. He discusses advocacy for equal treatment and access for blind and visually impaired people, and notes that people's perceptions of what it's like to be blind is often the toughest thing to overcome.

Today, a special edition of Midday, live from historic Sumner Hall, in Chestertown, on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.  Sumner Hall was built in 1908.  It served as the meeting place for the Charles Sumner Post #25, a Grand Army of the Republic post founded by African American Union Veterans of the Civil War.   For decades, Sumner Hall was the social and cultural hub of Chestertown’s African American community.  

The theme of our show today is “Embracing Change in a Historic Community,” and over the course of the next hour, Tom and his guests will focus on three examples of that change -- in health care, public education, and race relations -- and its impact on the people of Chestertown and Kent County.

Elvert Barnes / Flickr

A city task force is proposing an overhaul in how Baltimore handles citizen complaints of misconduct by police officers. The consent decree between Baltimore and the US Department of Justice tasked the Community Oversight Task Force with studying ways to hold police accountable. In its 74-page report, the task force urges disbanding the current Civilian Review Board and creating two new oversight panels. We hear from task force member Catalina Bryd and chair Ray Kelly.

all photos by Wendel Patrick

There’s a room hidden behind a curtain at the Shrine of the Black Madonna Cultural Center and Bookstore that houses shackles and hand-written slave documents.  Down the block is the historical home of Joel Chandler Harris, who gained fame and fortune as the publisher of the tales of Uncle Remus.  Across the street is a funeral director with a bridge named in his honor and a fleet of custom limousines.  We visit these sites and talk with residents new and old in an Atlanta neighborhood that’s been around longer than Atlanta itself.

It’s Midday on PoliticsThe general election is November 6th, which is 14 weeks from tomorrow. Today, we continue our series of Conversations with the Candidates.  

Tom's guest is Richmond Davis, the Republican nominee for election to the U.S. House of Representatives from Maryland’s 7th District.  He is running against the incumbent, Rep. Elijah Cummings, a Democrat, who has served in Congress since 1996. 

Richmond Davis is a lawyer in private practice in Columbia, admitted to the bar in both Maryland and the District of Columbia. He is a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys. He has an undergraduate degree in Government and Politics from the University of Maryland and a JD from the Georgetown University Law Center. This is his first run for public office.

Our Conversations with the Candidates series continues now with Liz Matory, the Republican candidate for Congress in the 2nd District.  She’s facing the incumbent Democrat, Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger, who's held the seat since 2003.   

Matory is a Silver Spring-based entrepreneur and business consultant. She’s a former field worker for the Maryland Democratic Party.  She quit the Dems in 2014, and this past June won the Republican primary in the 2nd District.  

This is Liz Matory’s second run for the US Congress. She lost a primary bid to run in the 8th District two years ago. And in 2014, running as a Democrat, she ran unsuccessfully for a seat in the Maryland House of Delegates.  She’s the co-author of the 2016 political memoir, Born Again Republican.

Like all our Conversation with the Candidates, this interview was live-streamed on WYPR's Facebook page, and you can find the video here.

A few months after the September 11th attacks, Anthony Moll did what a lot of teenagers did: raised his hand and took an oath to the U.S. army. For a working-class kid in a stagnant city, the army meant escape. For a bisexual man with pink hair, the army at that time also meant “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” His new memoir is titled, "Out of Step".

Anthony Moll will speak about "Out of Step," as part of the Writers LIVE series, tomorrow night, 6:30 pm, at the Enoch Pratt Free Library. More detail here.

AP Photo/Mark Lennihan

On today’s News Wrap:  Tronc, Inc., the controversial Chicago based media company that owns several newspapers around the country including the Baltimore Sun and The Daily News, is once again making headlines.  This week Tronc made dramatic cuts to the news room at The NY Daily News, laying off over 90 employees.  Politico media reporter, Jason Schwartz is on the line from Arlington, Va. to discuss the implications of those cuts on local journalism in New York City and around the country. 

Later on in the program, AP White House reporter, Darlene Superville speaks with us about some of the big stories in a week that has seen yet another tsunami of headlines from the White House, and various investigations about the Trump administration that are on-going. 

Photo Courtesy Kimberly Reed

Tom's guest is director Kimberly Reed, whose new documentary, Dark Money, chronicles the insidious effects of political donors, both corporate and individual, who go to great lengths to keep their identities hidden. As the documentary shows, the corrosive impact of this well-financed political advocacy is on full display in state houses across the country, in the halls of Congress, in the courts, and in the executive branch of government. 

The documentary is showing at a number of theaters in the region. In Baltimore, it begins a run Friday night at the Parkway.

Melissa Gerr

It was 289 years ago that the Maryland General Assembly issued Baltimore a town charter -- actually, voted out on July 30, 1729 … but Charm City is celebrating tonight with a party put on by Live Baltimore.

The little settlement on the Patapsco was named for Cecil Calvert, second Baron Baltimore, first proprietor of the Maryland colony. Calvert never visited his colony. But even if he had, it’s safe to say neither he nor any of the succeeding Barons Baltimore would recognize what the city has become. What hopes do those who live here now hold for Baltimore? We asked nearly two dozen denizens -- From Mayor Catherine Pugh ... to film director and author John Waters -- to make a wish and tell us what they most desire for Charm City, on the threshold of its 289th year.

Jesus Perez tells his Stoop story about adjusting to life in Baltimore after his family left Mexico and fighting for immigrant’s rights in the United States. You can hear his story and others at stoopstorytelling.com.

Johns Hopkins University

It’s another edition of Midday on Ethics, in which we explore some ethical questions pulled straight from the headlines. Guiding us in that exploration is Dr. Jeffrey Kahn, the Director of the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics. He joins Tom in Studio A from time to time to help us examine how ethicists are framing these very complex questions.

We begin with the story of Jahi McMath, a 13-year -old girl in California who was declared dead in late 2013, after a routine surgery went wrong. Then, last month, 4½ years later, she was declared dead, again, in New Jersey. It’s a tragic story that raises issues about end of life that has pitted the medical profession against people with deeply held religious beliefs. Just like there is no consensus on when life begins; there is also a lack of agreement about when life ends. How do we define death? And who gets to define it?

Spotlighters Theatre/Shealyn Jae Photography

Midday theater critic J. Wynn Rousuck joins us each week with her review of one of the region's many theatrical productions. Today, she spotlights Judy and the Generalthe new musical comedy on stage at Spotlighters Theatre in Baltimore.

Judy and the General is playwright Rosemary Frisino Toohey's funny, feminist take on the biblical character Judith, and her 1st-century confrontation with the powerful Assyrian general, Holofernes. 

The play (whose book, music and lyrics are all by Ms. Toohey) draws from The Book of Judith, a so-called deuterocanonical book that's included in the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Christian versions of the Old Testament Bible, but excluded from Jewish texts and assigned by Protestants to the Apocrypha.

Ivy Bookshop

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 her 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.

photo courtesy Better Homes and Gardens

Today, Midday goes Back to the Garden!   Two of our favorite green thumbs join Tom in Studio A again to talk about what to grow and how to grow it, and to answer your questions about gardening.

Carrie Engel is the Greenhouse Manager and a plant specialist for most of the past 50 years at Valley View Farms in Cockeysville, Maryland, where today she’s responsible for the well-being of the family-owned company’s large inventory of herbaceous plants, including annuals, tropicals and vegetables...

Denzel Mitchell is an urban farming pioneer in Baltimore.  The former owner of Five Seeds Farm, Mitchell signed on this past Spring as farm manager at Strength to Love 2 Farm, a 1-½ acre workforce training farm in Sandtown-Winchester for returning ex-offenders, and a Baltimore food resource with produce outlets around the city.  The farm is run by the faith-inspired non-profit development group called Intersection for Change…and it’s a member of the Farm Alliance of Baltimore, a network of producers that’s working to increase the viability of urban farming and improve access to city-grown foods.

Phillip Capper / Flickr via Creative Commons

More than seven thousand languages are spoken around the globe, and researchers have picked up on a curious fact: as you move from the Earth’s poles toward the equator, you hear more languages. Why do humans speak so many languages? And why so many more in the tropics? Do languages diversify the way animal species do?

Dr. Michael Gavin, an ecologist in Colorado State University’s Department of Human Dimensions of Natural Resources, is looking for answers on islands in the South Pacific.

This program originally aired August 15, 2017.

Photo by Ron Aira, Creative Services GMU

(A Midday re-broadcast: originally aired June 19, 2018)

Tom’s guest is General Michael Hayden.  In more than 40 years in the Air Force and the Intelligence Community, the retired four-star general served as Director of the National Security Agency from 1999-2005, during the George W. Bush Administration.  He also served for about a year as the Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence, and in 2006, he became the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, until President Obama appointed Leon Panetta to that position in 2009.  

The thesis of General Hayden’s latest book is disconcerting and frightening.  Given President Trump’s proclivity to lie about what he knows to be true, and the danger that there are things he should know to be true, but doesn’t, Michael Hayden paints a picture of an intelligence community at risk, whose efficacy is directly affected by the President’s refusal to acknowledge facts, and his harsh and undisciplined rhetoric. 

Kara Mae Harris

There’s much more to Maryland cuisine than crabcakes and Old Bay. Have you tasted Peanut Pickle Sandwiches and Baltimore Caramels? Or sipped tomato Wine? Kara Mae Harris has. The Food enthusiast and recipe sleuth is painstakingly preserving Maryland’s culinary heritage across dozens of decades ... one recipe at a time. Harris tests favorites and reports back on her blog, ‘Old Line Plate.’ She’s also created a searchable database of more than 30-thousand recipes and has made some surprising discoveries.

Meals Abroad

Jul 23, 2018
@chefwolf/Instagram

It’s vacation season and Foreman and Wolf goes live to hear listener stories of the best meals you’ve had while traveling. From an email about fried crickets to a phone call that sends Tony and Chef Cindy into a battle over the right way to make a tomato sauce, it’s your questions and comments on Foreman and Wolf on Food and Wine.

It’s July, it’s hot, and even with all the recent rain, we’re thirsty.  But for an increasing number of Baltimore households, water -- we’re talking plain old water from the faucet -- is becoming unaffordable. On July 1st, water rates in Baltimore City rose almost 10%, the third big jump in as many years.  In fact, since 2010, the typical Baltimore household’s water and sewer bill has more than doubled. And by 2022, the typical bill is expected to more than triple.  

Some say the steep increases are necessary, because the city MUST invest in expensive infrastructure projects to provide this essential public service.  But an alarming number of families are at risk for losing their homes because they can no longer afford to pay their water bills.

Midday: The Afro Check-In 7.23.18

Jul 23, 2018
Photo by Jay Reed, Baltimore Sun

Kamau High, managing editor of The Afro, joins us for another of our bi-monthly Check-Ins to talk about some of the stories being reported by The Afro's newsroom this week:

A report on a grieving community's preparations for the funeral of Taylor Hayes, the child who was shot July 5 in the rear seat of her mother’s car, and who died July 19.  The police are still searching for suspects in her killing, and few witnesses have come forward so far. 

A profile of soon-to-be-former Democratic State Senator Nathaniel McFadden, who's represented the 45th District -- and also chaired Baltimore's senate delegation in Annapolis -- since he first won office in 1995.  McFadden, a champion of East Baltimore development efforts, lost his seat to Del. Cory McCray in the June 26th Democratic primary. 

And the sentencing of former state senator Nathaniel Oaks to 3-1/2 years in federal prison for accepting $15,000 in bribes and obstructing justice.  Despite his fall from grace, The Afro reports that Oaks' supporters say they have forgiven him and are "ready to join him for the next chapter in his life." 

2MADEIRA / Flickr via Creative Commons

Former U.S.A. gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar abused hundreds of athletes, and competitors in other sports are raising alarms about more abuse at the hands of coaches, as well as cover-ups of inappropriate or illegal behavior.

We speak with filmmaker Jill Yesko about her forthcoming web-series on abuse in Olympic athletics, "Broken Trust".

And we hear from Eva Rodansky, a speedskater who represented the US on the national circuit. She describes the difficulty of pressing officials to investigate claims. Then, Olympic swimmer Nancy Hogshead Makar, now a lawyer and CEO of Champion Women, details new reforms aimed at protecting athletes.

More information on exposing abuse in Olympic athletics below:
Nancy Hogshead-Makar: #MeToo shows need for tighter rules in club and Olympic sports 
E
x-U.S. athlete tells Speed Skating Canada of head coach's alleged sexual relationships with skaters
Explosive Report Says USA Swimming Covered Up Hundreds Of Sexual Abuse Cases
4 Accusers Sue Taekwondo Champion Brothers For Alleged Sexual Abuse
U.S. Center for SafeSport

Baltimore Department of Planning

Average citizens--the very people affected by city zoning and development decisions --are often in the dark about how to take part in the discussions that shape their neighborhoods. To help residents have a voice at the table, The Department of Planning is launching the Baltimore Planning Academy. We talk with Stephanie Smith, Assistant Director for ‘Equity, Engagement and Communications … and City Planner Martin French to learn why informed engagement is important.

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