Midday | WYPR


Monday-Friday from noon-1:00 pm, Tom Hall and his guests are talking about what’s on your mind, and what matters most to Marylanders:  the latest news, local and national politics, education and the environment, popular culture and the arts, sports and science, race and religion, movies and medicine.  We welcome your questions and comments. Email us at midday@wypr.org, tweet us: @MiddayWYPR, or call us at 410-662-8780.

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Meet the Midday team

Midday programs with Sheilah Kast as host ended on September 16, 2016

Archive prior to October 5, 2015

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Kik. Whisper. Yik Yak. Social media apps like these help teens and tweens connect in a digital world. Social media can broaden horizons, and help young people develop social skills. But the Internet has a darker side, especially for kids. The anonymity of the online experience allows easy access for sexual predators and cyberbullies. Plus, a frivolous social media post can live online … and damage future job and college prospects. How can parents stay informed about an ever-changing Internet landscape? How can they help their kids safely navigate that landscape? Adam Rosenberg and Drew Fidler of the Baltimore Child Abuse Center discuss the perils of the Internet for teens and tweens, and share tips for parents.

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Oregon, Washington, Vermont, and Montana all allow terminally ill patients to seek aid in dying. The practice will take effect in California in a few months. New Mexico’s highest court is expected to rule on the issue this year. Here in Maryland, “end of life” legislation is once again before the General Assembly.

Today, a look at both sides of the “right to die” debate. Some call it "death with dignity," others see it as "physician-assisted suicide." We’ll talk to Dr. Michael Strauss, a board-certified internist and volunteer with Compassion and Choices, a nonprofit that supports expanding end-of life choices, as well as forensic psychiatrist Dr. Annette Hanson, who opposes the bill. Should aid in dying be legal? What are the implications for the elderly and disabled?

How do you grab a jury’s attention? How do you deal with a witness’s prior inconsistent statements? Today, inside the mind of a lawyer. Veteran attorney Paul Mark Sandler has practiced law for four decades, trying scores of jury trials across the country. Named by Baltimore Magazine one of Maryland’s top ten lawyers of 2015, he has written several books on trial technique, including “The 12 Secrets of Persuasive Argument.” Paul Mark Sandler joins Midday today for a primer on the ins and outs of practicing law - from crafting an opening statement to conquering juror bias to closing with confidence.

Imagine you had to call into work every morning to find out if you were on the schedule. How would you arrange child-care? What if you were juggling a second job? Or what if you arrived at work only to find you weren’t needed? This is reality for many low-wage part-time employees. Maryland is one of at least ten states considering legislation to make scheduling more predictable. But employers say a one-size-fits-all mandate will place an unnecessary burden on businesses. Economics and labor-employment relations researcher Lonnie Golden joins us to discuss so-called just-in-time scheduling. We’ll also hear from Mike O’Halloran, Maryland State Director of the National Federation of Independent Business.

Today, we talk about what kind of jobs will drive the next economy. Alec Ross, a distinguished visiting fellow at Johns Hopkins, has written the book he wishes someone had put in his hands when he was growing up in West Virginia three decades ago. "Industries of the Future" draws on his four years of travels as Secretary of State Clinton’s Senior Advisor on Innovation, a half-million miles observing developments in 41 countries. Parts of it are breathlessly gee-whiz, look-what’s-just-around-the-corner, and parts of it tell a cautionary tale for middle-class workers in developed economies like the United States.


Should Maryland farms and waste water facilities be able to trade credits to offset nitrogen or phosphorus pollution? Supporters say it’s innovative, but skeptics say it’s nothing more than paying to pollute. Today on Midday, Nutrient Trading, lead in the environment, the incinerator in Curtis Bay, and sensible redevelopment along Baltimore’s waterfront are just a few of the many topics we’ll cover in a conversation with the Maryland Secretary of the Environment, Ben Grumbles.  

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Each year, more than six thousand Baltimore renters are evicted. Landlords can start eviction proceedings the day the rent is overdue, and landlords take about a hundred and fifty thousand tenants to court. Tenant advocates say the system favors landlords and creates a “frictionless” path toward eviction. Representatives of property owners argue the process is already slowed by the volume of cases, and that slowing it further would place an unfair burden on landlords. Jessica Lewis, of the Right to Housing Alliance, and Kathy Kelly Howard, of Maryland Multi-Housing Association, take us through the eviction process, from both points of view, and to debate the merits of reforms proposed in the General Assembly.

Photo courtesy of candidate website

Today we welcome Deray Mckessoncontinuing our conversations with Baltimore’s 2016 mayoral candidates. The Black Lives Matter activist and former school administrator entered the Democratic primary minutes before the filing deadline. We’ll discuss the changes in policing and education Mckesson is calling for, and take your questions.

But first: Controversy at a Catholic university in western Maryland. Mount St. Mary’s student newspaper recently revealed a  plan to improve retention rates by weeding out struggling freshmen. Two faculty members critical of the plan were fired...and then reinstated. The faculty is calling for the president’s resignation. Scott Jaschik, founder of Inside Higher Ed, brings us the latest.

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How do eating disorders affect the brain? What role do genetics play in determining who is at risk? Dr. Harry Brandt, co-director of the Center for Eating Disorders at Sheppard Pratt, takes us inside the mind of a patient. We’ll find out what parts of the brain are involved in how we feel about food and how we perceive our bodies.

Right now, nearly 4,000 Marylanders are waiting for an organ donation. Some will die waiting. Who should be first in line? What obligation do family members have to become living donors? Should it be legal to buy an organ? How can we be certain donors are giving their organs for the right reasons?

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If you had no bank account, how would you deposit your paycheck? If you had no credit history, how would you rent an apartment or buy a car? The agency that insures banks, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) says about 40 percent of Baltimore households are unbanked or underbanked. That means they use check-cashing outlets, money orders, and payday or auto title loans, instead of formal banking services. These alternative services can come with high fees and a reputation for predatory practices.

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A sea change is coming to the Baltimore City Council: Nearly half the members are not seeking reelection this year. Three of the 15 are retiring, two are vacating their seats to run for mayor, and another is pursuing a judgeship. Luke Broadwater of The Baltimore Sun and WYPR news analyst Fraser Smith join us to discuss the implications.

NPR’s treasured host Diane Rehm is at a crossroads. Late this year, after the election, she plans to stop hosting the interview show she has led for nearly four decades. She doesn’t say she’s retiring, because she intends to stay active in many ways – especially advocating for state legislation to allow doctors to prescribe life-ending medication to mentally competent adults who are terminally ill.

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Baltimore City’s Police Department fielded 799 citizen complaints against police officers last year. Most were dismissed, and the civilian and the officer never met face-to-face. Soon they’ll have that chance. The city is launching a voluntary mediation program.

In his second State of the State address yesterday, Governor Hogan struck a tone of bipartisanship. But Democratic leaders say the governor’s rhetoric doesn’t match his budget. WYPR reporter Rachel Baye joins us to recap what we’ve seen so far in the 2016 assembly. Plus, are one man’s burdensome regulations, a woman’s inalienable protections?

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Maryland’s Eastern Shore has a lot of chickens...and enough chicken manure to fill M&T Bank Stadium twice every year. That manure is a major Chesapeake Bay pollutant. Last summer Governor Hogan enacted a regulation that restricts how much chicken litter farmers can spread on fields. Now advocates are supporting legislation that would place the burden of disposing of that extra manure on poultry companies, taking farmers and taxpayers out of the equation.

Aggression, insomnia, headaches, and even seizures. A traumatic brain injury can have life-altering consequences for individuals and their families. Today we’ll hear from Dr. Sandeep Vaishnavi, a neuropsychiatrist at Duke University Medical Center and the co-author of "The Traumatized Brain: A Family Guide to Understanding Mood, Memory, and Behavior after Brain Injury," published by John Hopkins University Press. We'll met Tom and Mary Longest, a husband and wife who struggled to adjust to their "new normal" after an accident. And we speak to Dr.

Eduardo Perez / U.S. Customs and Border Protection

A flood, a surge, an influx. In 2014, headline writers struggled to convey the massive number of Central American children crossing the border into the United States. Those headlines have faded, but the kids are still coming. In fact, we are likely on the cusp of a new, equally large wave of unaccompanied minors from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. As in the previous surge, many of these children are coming to Maryland.


When budgets are tight, rec centers and pools often suffer, but that could change in Baltimore City. On Tuesday, the City Council voted to approve legislation that would lock in city funds for youth initiatives. We hear from Baltimore City Council President Jack Young, who sponsored the bill.

Then we’ll talk snow. Are you still waiting for the plows? Did you walk in the street to get to work? Call us.

Plus: despite the snow, dozens of bicyclists will hit the streets tonight. Baltimore Bike Party co-founder Kim Lillig explains.

Then: Daily Record editor Danny Jacobs and Baltimore Business Journal associate editor Jon Munshaw join us with the week’s top stories.

Fighting Blight

Jan 28, 2016
Rachel Baye / WYPR

Three weeks ago, Governor Hogan announced a massive effort to eliminate blight in Baltimore – hundreds of millions of dollars to demolish vacant homes across the city and replace them with green space, affordable housing, and businesses. Tearing down 4,000 vacants over four years would make a big dent in the city’s estimated figure of 16,000 vacant buildings. But critics question whether the funds will materialize, and if they do – who will get the jobs, what will the work do to the environment, and who will be able to afford the new homes?

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Theft, breaking and entering, trespassing. These are common crimes that bring youth into contact with the juvenile justice system, contact that can lead to a criminal record, detention, and a high risk of recidivism. Today, a look at an alternative: teen court, which brings young people before a jury of their peers. Can teen court interrupt the school to prison pipeline? We speak to Leslie Wright, Director of City Programs for the Citizenship Law Related Education Program, which oversees teen courts in Maryland.

As Baltimore digs out from a record-setting blizzard, former Baltimore Sun reporter and celebrated local author Rafael Alvarez remembers another storm: the 22-inch blizzard of 1996, when Alvarez fought against the elements to wish his daughter a happy birthday. Alvarez reads an excerpt from his new book, "Crabtown, USA," a nonfiction anthology about life in Baltimore. The book is available at The Ivy Bookshop.

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Days after Maryland’s record-breaking blizzard, many roads remain covered with snow or ice patches. Former Secret Service driving instructor Chip Sheehan brings us tips for driving on icy roads; he’s trained the President’s drivers going back to Ronald Reagan, and now runs his own driving school. Later in the hour, University of Baltimore law professor Garrett Epps brings us up-to-date on cases before the U.S. Supreme Court.

  Overdoses on heroin and prescription painkillers are epidemic in the U.S., and in Maryland. In the first half of 2015, more than 500 Marylanders died of heroin and pain-pill overdoses. Part of the state’s response is a new policy that lets pharmacists dispense - without a prescription – naloxone, a drug that counteracts the effects of an opioid overdose. Since October Baltimore has issued 1,600 doses of the antidote, and trained 7,000 residents to administer it.

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Should felons on probation or parole have the right to vote? Democrats in the House of Delegates voted to override a veto of a bill that would give them that right, but the Senate has postponed its vote until early February. Delegate Brett Wilson, who represents District 2B in Washington County, voted to sustain the veto. We talk with him, as well as Perry Hopkins, a community organizer and ex-felon who works for Communities United. He hopes to vote for the first time this year.

Young and Homeless

Jan 21, 2016
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We look at the findings of the first-ever census of homeless youth in Baltimore and across the state. More than eight hundred young people surveyed reported that they were either homeless right now or living in unstable housing conditions. First we're joined by Ryan Shanahan, project manager for two projects aimed at preventing and ending youth homelessness: Youth REACH MD and Thrive at 25. Both are out of The Institute for Innovation & Implementation at the University of Maryland School of Social Work.

Police Commissioner Kevin Davis Talks Police Reform

Jan 20, 2016
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A lot of focus right now on police reforms: body cameras, a new leadership team for Baltimore police, more of a chance for the public to see the evidence against officers accused of misconduct. Are these reforms enough to build public trust in the police in the wake of Freddie Gray’s death?

  What responsibility do white people have to rectify America’s legacy of slavery? What does the Gospel charge Christians to do to address racial discrimination today? Activist Jim Wallis, author of America's Original Sin says white Christians need to act more Christian than white.

Up front: Andre Robinson, Executive Director of the Mount Royal Community Development Corporation, and MRCDC co-founder Richard May join us to tell us more about 'Innovation Village,' a coalition of city leaders and community activists who aim to bolster the economy in West Baltimore. 

A Look at Black America in 2016

Jan 18, 2016

  In 1967, six months before his untimely death, Dr. Martin Luther King warned of three evils that would threaten our democracy: Racism, Poverty and Militarism.

What progress have Americans made in the past five decades to thwart these evils? And have two terms with the United State’s first ever black President set us forward or backward?

Fern Shen/Baltimore Brew

What is the right balance among history, art, and 21-century awareness? A Baltimore City task force this week made preliminary recommendations to remove two Confederate monuments. We’ll speak to a Elissa Blount Moorehead, a member of the commission, and Jay Barringer from the Maryland Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans about what should be done about the monuments. 

Plus, this week Maryland was ranked dead last among states in how its consumers manage their credit; Nina Heck from the nonprofit ‘Guidewell Financial Solutions’ shares tips on tackling debt. We’ll also talk about news headlines from the Baltimore Business Journal, how colleges in Maryland are approaching consent and sexual assault on campus and how Baltimore's Creative Alliance and local musicians remember David Bowie.