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The Midday News Wrap 05.05.17

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It's the Midday News Wrap, our Friday review of the week's top local, national and international stories, with host Tom Hall joined by a rotating panel of esteemed journalists and political observers.

This week, Democrats actually broke into song (belting out a few choruses of the 1969 Steam hit, "Na Na Na Na Hey Hey Hey, Goodbye") on the floor of the House of Representatives, as the Republicans' seven-year-long campaign to repeal and replace Obamacare finally took a step towards fruition.  Given the dramatic reductions in health coverage written into the bill, many Democrats believed it was a vote that will come back to haunt the Republicans at election time.  

The House sent a revised version of its American Health Care Act to the Senate, where it is expected to be greeted with no small modicum of skepticism.  It’s uncertain prospects aside, President Trump hosted a celebration in the Rose Garden of the White House, calling it “a beautiful bill.”  It does not differ substantially from the bill that failed to muster enough support in March, but it does dramatically alter or eliminate several key provisions of Obamacare.

Congress also passed a $1.1 trillion continuing resolution to keep the government funded through the end of September.  The President  tweeted “Our country needs a good ‘shutdown’ in September to fix mess!” referring to the Senate rule that requires 60 votes on such matters.  No other President has ever used the word “good” to modify the word “shutdown.”

The U.S. economy showed signs of improvement.  Friday morning, the Labor Department released April jobs numbers which were up over the previous month.  The unemployment for white people and Asian Americans is at a ten-year low.  African Americans are stuck at rates that are twice that of whites.

On the international front, the President alternately puzzled and horrified observers with laudatory comments about Kim Jong Un of North Korea and Rodrigo Duterte of the Phillipines.  

Here at home, Mayor Catherine Pugh has been lauded for convincing a highly respected fourth circuit court Judge, Andre Davis, to leave the bench and become the city’s next Solicitor.  And the Baltimore Sun explored the Rent Court system in a multi-part investigative series.

One of the authors of that series, Jean Marbella, joins Tom this afternoon for the Midday News Wrap.   She has been a writer and editor at the Sun for 30 years.  She is currently on the Sun’s investigative and enterprise team.  She co-wrote the Rent Court series with the Sun’s Doug Donavan.   She has been a feature writer, a national correspondent, and a columnist, covering everything from city politics, to the Olympics and 9/11…

A. Adar Ayira joins Tom as well.  She’s a poet, an artist, and an anti-racism facilitator with Baltimore Racial Justice Action.  She’s also the Program Director at Associated Black Charities.

Joining Tom and the studio panel by phone from New York is Jonathan Lemire, formerly a reporter at the New York Daily News, and currently a White House reporter for the Associated Press.

And we take your calls, tweets and emails. 

Host, Midday (M-F 12:00-1:00)
Rob is Midday's senior producer.