Midday | WYPR


Courtesy of Jesse Colvin for Congress

Today, another in our series of Conversations with the Candidates.

Jesse Colvin is running for Congress in Maryland’s sprawling 1st Congressional District.  In a crowded primary field last summer, he beat five other Democrats. 

Now, with the November 6 General Election less than a month away, Colvin faces incumbent Andy Harris in the only Maryland congressional district that leans Republican.  Harris, a Republican, is seeking his 5th term in the US Congress.

Colvin served four combat deployments in Afghanistan as an Army Ranger and intelligence officer.  He says that running for Congress is another call to serve.  This is his first run for elective office.

Jesse Colvin joins Tom in Studio A.

We live-streamed this conversation on Facebook.  To see that video, click here. 

Cover art courtesy Basic Books

The NFL is one of the most successful sports businesses in history.  With annual revenues hovering between $13 and $14 billion dollars, it is in many ways an unparalleled juggernaut.  But when the NFL’s first game was played in Akron, OH in 1920, it wasn’t nearly as popular as college football, and there were plenty of people who thought the five owners who formed the league were destined for failure. 

In his latest book, John Eisenberg chronicles the rivalry and the cooperation between those five owners -- Art Rooney, George Halas, Tim Mara, George Preston Marshall, and Bert Bell -- that set the stage for the NFL to grow to its present-day gargantuan proportions. 

Eisenberg is a columnist for BaltimoreRavens.com, and the author of nine books.  His latest is The League:  How Five Rivals Created the NFL and Launched a Sports Empire.  He'll be discussing his book tonight at 7:00pm at the Ivy Bookshop on Falls Road in North Baltimore. 

Now, John Eisenberg joins Tom in Studio A.

Image courtesy of Big Mouth Productions

The new documentary film Charm City paints an intimate portrait of life in Baltimore's Madison - East End neighborhood, one of the city's most distressed areas. The film offers a candid look at the neighborhood's residents, their relationship with the police and how they tackle day-to-day challenges.

Filmed over a three-year period, including the prelude and aftermath of Freddie Gray's death and the Baltimore Uprising, Charm City follows the stories of police officers, community leaders and city lawmakers as they grapple with violence and a crisis of confidence in law enforcement.

Today, Tom speaks with Marilyn Ness, the director and producer of Charm City. She is an Emmy, Peabody and DuPont Award winning filmmaker.

Images courtesy Columbia Global Reports

We begin today with a conversation about the rise of nationalism as a political movement.  Brazil is holding a run-off election at the end of the month following the near victory of Jair Bolsonaro, an admirer of some of Brazil’s past dictators.  Several countries in Europe have seen a far-right brand of nationalism ascendant in recent years, and of course, Donald Trump’s doctrine of “America First” and his rallying motto, "Make America Great Again" were key ingredients to his electoral victory in 2016.

Tom's guest is John Judis, who trains his gaze on the global rise of nationalism in his latest book.  John Judis is a former senior editor at the New Republic.  He is an Editor at Large at Talking Points Memo, and the author of seven books.  The new one is called The Nationalist Revival: Trade, Immigration, and the Revolt Against Globalization.

Photo courtesy Dr. Leana Wen

Dr. Leana Wen has been selected as the new president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America.  She assumes her new role on  November 12. For the first time in nearly 50 years, a physican will lead the century-old reproductive health services and education organization.

As a patient advocate and an emergency physician, Dr. Wen has led the Baltimore City Health Department since January 2015. She has devoted her career to expanding access to health care for low income communities, reducing health disparities, and finding innovative solutions to some of the most challenging public health problems today, from opioid abuse and teen pregnancy to the epidemic of gun violence.

DeRay Mckesson on the Case for Hope

Oct 8, 2018
Photo Credit Robert Adam Mayer

In his new book, the activist and organizer DeRay Mckesson writes that “Faith is the belief that certain outcomes will happen; and hope the belief that certain outcomes can happen.  He writes compellingly about faith, hope, and the work of social justice in this new era of civil rights activism, shaped by the Black Lives Matter Movement, and operating in a social media environment that has dramatically altered the capacity of organizers to direct protest in ways that only a few years ago were unimaginable. 

The book is called On the Other Side of Freedom: The Case for Hope, and is out now.   We livestreamed this conversation. To see the video, click here.    

Courtesy of John Waters

Tom's guest for the hour is John Waters. He’s a filmmaker, actor, and writer -- not necessarily in that order. Early in his career, Waters established himself as an enfant terrible who was affectionately dubbed the "King of Sleaze." His filmography spans 40 years and 16 films, some of which are cult classics, while others, like Hairspray, are revered as popular icons.

John Waters is also the author of eight books, including Role Models, a collection of essays of people who have shaped his life in important ways; Carsick, his journal of a hitchhiking trip from Baltimore to San Francisco; and Make Trouble, adopted from a speech he delivered at the Rhode Island School of Design.

What is perhaps less well known by the general public  is that John Waters is also a prolific and insightful visual artist. On Sunday, the Baltimore Museum of Art will open a major retrospective of John’s work, in a show that includes 160 examples of art that show Waters to be a trenchant observer and analyst of popular culture. The show is called Indecent Exposure.  John and BMA curator Kristen Hileman will have a public conversation about the exhibition on the first of November.  And on Friday night, Nov. 9, the BMA will screen 18 hours of John Waters movies. There will be prizes for folks who complete the entire Waters film marathon.

Baltimore is also one of the stops on the John Waters Christmas tour this season. You can catch “A John Waters Christmas” at the Baltimore Soundstage on Dec. 19.

We livestreamed this conversation.  To see the video, click here. 


It's another edition of Midday at the Movies, our monthly look at new films and new trends in filmmaking, with our movie maven regulars:  Washington Post film critic Ann Hornaday, and the Maryland Film Festival's founding -- and soon-to-retire -- director, Jed Dietz.

Jed and Ann, long-time partners on these monthly Midday get-togethers, spend a few minutes considering the important and enduring changes that have come to the Baltimore film scene since Jed launched the MD Film Festival twenty years ago. One of those changes is the successful restoration of the SNF Parkway, one of the city's oldest movie houses, which now plays a vibrant role on the first-run and art-house film circuits.  The annual Maryland Film Festival, Ann notes, has also energized local filmmaking, and given moviemakers from around the world an important new venue for showcasing their work.

Photography by Bill Geenen

It's time for another weekly visit with our peripatetic theater critic, J. Wynn Rousuck, who joins Tom today with reviews of not one but two theater-season openers here in Baltimore.

The first is the new production at Baltimore's Center Stage of Tennessee Williams' sultry American classic, Cat on a Hot Tin RoofThis searing drama about multi-generational family ties and unsustainable deceptions unfolds over the course of a sweltering summer night, in the mansion house of a sprawling Mississippi Delta plantation.  Tony and Obie Awards laureate Judith Ivey directs the strong cast, led by actors David Schramm as Big Daddy, Andrew Pastides as Brick, and Stephanie Gibson as Maggie.

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof continues at Center Stage through Sunday, October 14.

photo courtesy time.com

It’s anybody’s guess whether or not President Trump's nominee for the Supreme Court, DC Circuit Court Judge Brett Kavanaugh, will replace retired Justice Anthony Kennedy on the High Court.  The FBI is reported to be finishing up its supplemental background check on Mr. Kavanaugh, looking into multiple allegations of past sexual assault and misconduct made in recent weeks against the nominee.

Former college classmates and current friends of the Judge have weighed in on his fitness for the Supreme Court, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has promised a vote this week. 

Today on Midday, perspectives on the Kavanaugh nomination from Cleta Mitchell, a former counsel to the National Republican Senatorial and Congressional Committees;  Ian Samuel, associate professor at Indiana University's Maurer School of Law and co-host of First Mondays, the weekly podcast about the Supreme Court; and Thiru Vignarajah, a former federal prosecutor, former Deputy Attorney General of Maryland and currently a litigator with DLA Piper in Baltimore.

The Kavanaugh confirmation process and the future of the Supreme Court, today on Midday.

On today’s Midday Culture Connection with Dr. Sheri Parks: a conversation about sexual assault in education.   When Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and Judge Brett Kavanaugh testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee last week, not only was it another pivot point in the #MeToo Movement, it also afforded a window into a culture of drinking and bad conduct among privileged young people in the 1980s.   Was that culture of privilege and excess substantially different from the 1970s or 1960s?  Did the culture change in the next millennium at elite private high schools and the nation’s most exclusive colleges and universities? 

Photo Credit Enoch Pratt Library

This week, two important gatherings are taking place in Baltimore that will explore ways to increase investment in small businesses and other ventures that will help the city grow its economy.  Today, tomorrow and Wednesday, the Johns Hopkins 21st Century Cities Initiative, in conjunction with the Federal Reserve of Philadelphia, will host a conference called Investing in Opportunity.  And later this week, the first Baltimore Homecoming will launch.  It’s an effort to identify prominent people with Baltimore roots, bring them back home for a few days, and acquaint them with companies and causes they may find appealing.

On today’s show, Tom speaks with Mary Miller.  She was for many years a senior executive with T Rowe Price, before a five year stint at the US Treasury during the Obama Administration, where she served as the Acting Deputy Treasury Secretary and the Under Secretary for Domestic Finance.   She’s now a Senior Fellow at Johns Hopkins University in the 21st Century Cities Initiative, and she serves on the Host Committee of Baltimore Homecoming. 

Later in the program, Tom is joined by the architects behind Baltimore Homecoming, Co-Founders, Nate Loewentheil, who is also serves as  President of the non-profit organization, and Treasurer, J.M. Schapiro.        

Photo Courtesy Dr. Carol Anderson

When Democratic Senator Doug Jones won his election in Alabama against Roy Moore last year, many credited his victory to the large turnout among African American voters. Yet more than 100,000 Alabama voters can’t vote because they don’t have the ID required by the state. In fact, Alabama is one of the most difficult places to vote in all the land.  Most of the people who are affected by strict voting regulations, in Alabama and elsewhere, are people of color.

Today, a conversation about voting.  In a lot of places, and for a lot of people, registering to vote and the act of voting itself is hard.  While there is consensus that Democracy is best served when most people are engaged in the Democratic process, there is much less agreement about how voting should be made both uncorrupted and easy for individual voters.

Tom’s guest is Dr. Carol Anderson, the Charles Howard Chandler Professor of African American Studies at Emory University, author of, White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide.  Now she has turned her scholarly gaze to the often unspoken truths around voting. Her latest offering is called One Person, No Vote: How Voter Suppression is Destroying Our Democracy.  

Photo courtesy Fox News Channel

Today: President Trump’s record on race.  In Kenansville, North Carolina, in September of 2016, Mr. Trump declared that black communities in the United States today are "absolutely in the worst shape that they've ever been in before."

Putting aside the president’s apparent ignorance of slavery and Jim Crow, Trump’s basic pitch to African American voters came down to a phrase that Juan Williams of Fox News appropriates in the title of his new book, "What the Hell Do You Have to Lose?": Trump’s War on Civil Rights. 

Williams -- a former NPR and Washington Post correspondent who now writes a column for The Hill and co-hosts the Fox News Channel's roundtable debate show, The Five -- examines Mr. Trump’s racial belligerence, from his response to the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, VA, to his contention that undocumented immigrants and other ineligible people voted by the millions in the 2016 election. 

Juan Williams joins us for the hour from the studios of NPR affiliate WABE in Atlanta, Georgia. 

Today we continue our series of Conversations with the Candidates with three people who will be on the ballot in November -- who are neither Democrats nor Republicans.

The Democracy Fund Voter Study Group reports that for the first time in the last 25 years, 2/3 of Americans see the need for a third party. This support for alternatives to Democrats and Republicans grows out of dissatisfaction with what many see as a dysfunctional two party system, but as to which third party that should be, or if there should be more than one, there is much less consensus. Today, we’ll talk to an Independent, a Libertarian and a member of the Green Party about the reasons behind their candidacies, and their views on the future of third parties moving forward.

Photo Courtesy John Shields

It's time now for What Ya' Got Cookin', where we talk about recipes, food trends, traditions and good eats. 

Today, Toms speaks with chef John Shields. He is an author and owner of Gertrude’s Restaurant at the Baltimore Museum of Art. He’s also the host of Coastal Cooking and Chesapeake Bay Cooking on MD Public Television and PBS, and he’s got a new book: 

The New Chesapeake Kitchen.

 A Baltimore native, John Shields' latest epicurean manuscript, pays reverence to the culinary traditions of the past, and shares how those traditions have influenced a new generation, of watermen, farmers, artisans and environmentalist. 

Photo Courtesy Flickr

Today, in the blizzard of news over the last couple of weeks, including new revelations last night, about Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, and reports that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein will  resign in anticipation of his being fired by the President, we thought it a good idea to take stock of where things stand in the Mueller probe.

Tom guest is New York Times reporter Scott Shane.  He was part of teams at the Times that won Pulitzer Prizes in 2017 and 2018 for their Russia coverage.  He is also the author of Objective Troy: A Terrorist, a President and the Rise of the Drone.

Scott Shane joins us on the telephone from the Washington, DC bureau of The New York Times.  

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.

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. 

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.

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. 

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.

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.  

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.   

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.

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. 

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.