Midday | WYPR


McDaniel College

Today, it’s another installment of Midday on Higher Education, our series of conversations with the leaders of the region’s colleges and universities.  Tom's guest today is McDaniel College President Roger Casey, who announced recently that he’ll be stepping down next June after a decade at the helm of the 153 year-old institution. 

McDaniel is an independent, four year, co-educational college.  Dr. Casey is its 9th president.  He is one of the longest serving college presidents in the area, having begun his tenure at McDaniel in 2010.  McDaniel has campuses in Westminster, Maryland – about 40 miles northwest of Baltimore -- and in Budapest, Hungary. 

In addition to his leadership role at McDaniel, Dr. Casey has been active in both state and national academic affairs:  he’s currently the chair of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities. He is the immediate past-chair of the Maryland Independent College and University Association and sits on the Board of the American Council on Education.  

Last year, The Daily Record named Dr. Casey to its list of “Influential Marylanders.”  Roger Casey joins us today on Zoom.

The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts Inc. Artists Rights Society ARS New York

UPDATE: Just hours before a scheduled auction, the Baltimore Museum of Art’s Board of Trustees voted Wednesday to temporarily suspend the controversial sales of three major works from its collection, according to The Baltimore Sun. The text of a statement released by the Board is posted at the bottom of this page.

A few weeks ago on this program, host Tom Hall spoke with the director of the Baltimore Museum of Art, Christopher Bedford, about the museum’s plans to "deaccession," or sell, three major works in its collection to raise as much as $65 million dollars to fund the BMA’s diversity and equity programs.  The proceeds of the deaccessioning will be used to purchase art by women and people of color, and to give salary increases to museum staff, including the security guards and others who are currently making about $13.50 per hour.

The public auction of two of the works, paintings by Clyfford Still ("1957-G") and Brice Marden ("3"), was scheduled for this evening at Sotheby’s auction house in New York. Ever since it was announced earlier this month, the plan to remove these works from the BMA’s collection and sell them in the private art market has been vehemently opposed by many in the art world.  Yesterday, a professional organization that maintains guidelines about criteria that must be met for a museum to deaccession works from its collection sent an email indicating that the BMA, and other museums, are not adhering to those guidelines...

Flickr / Maria Eklind

  Yesterday, more than 161,000 Marylanders braved long lines and gloomy weather to cast their ballots on Day One of in-person early voting. 

WYPR reporter Emily Sullivan has an update. 

Plus, Midday on Ethics.  President Trump declared himself cured of the coronavirus after receiving an experimental antibody treatment under the FDA compassionate use program. 

But the president's treatment is vastly different than what most COVID patients receive.  

As the rate of new infections continues to rise worldwide, who will be in line for the Trump treatment and for a preventative vaccine?

Dr. Jeffrey Kahn of the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bio-Ethics joins Tom to discuss the ethics of compassionate use in the fight against the pandemic.  



It’s another in our series of Conversations with the Candidates. Today, a live debate between the Democratic and Republican candidates for Maryland’s 2nd Congressional District, which includes parts of Baltimore City as well as Baltimore, Anne Arundel, Harford and Howard Counties...

AP Photo/Julio Cortez

  Last night, President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden debated in Nashville. 

Mr. Trump interrupted Mr. Biden less, but he did not suspend his proclivity for a barrage of salient falsehoods and misleading statements.

The US has 8.4 million confirmed cases of Coronavirus.  More than 223 thousand Americans have perished because of the disease. 

Europe and the UK are experiencing a spike in cases as well. Governments across the continent have implemented new restrictions to combat the surge. 

Plus, we’ll hear about the Londoners protesting against police brutality in Nigeria.


Dr. Christina Greer is a political scientist on the faculty of Fordham University, and the author of Black Ethnics: Race, Immigration, and the Pursuit of the American Dream.

Frank Langfitt is NPR's London correspondent. He covers the UK and Ireland, as well as stories elsewhere in Europe.

Photo by Matthew Murphy

Midday theater critic J. Wynn  Rousuck joins Tom again today with updates on the nation's pandemic-era theater community, leading off with the 74th Annual Tony Award nominations announced Oct. 15th. Judy talks about some of the major contenders for theater's most prestigious honor, including the musical Jagged Little Pill, which garnered the most Tony nominations this season -- 15 - including Best Musical; and  Slave Play, which was nominated for 12 Tony Awards, including Best Play -- a record-breaking number for a non-musical.  The awards will be presented in a virtual ceremony later this year.

And as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to keep the nation's theaters dark, Judy spotlights some of the continuing efforts by local and national companies to present inspiring performances in filmed and live online streaming productions...

Flick / Owen Byrne

For the thousands of inmates released from prison every year, the transition out of jail and into society is often a transition to homelessness and unemployment.

Ex-offender status presents perpetual obstacles for returning-citizens, who often lack access to critical resources and opportunities.

A new organization called Return Home Baltimore is trying to make it all easier.  It has created a website that provides access to information and critical resources. 

Penguin Random House

There are less than two weeks to go before voting ends, and as we enter this critical stretch in the presidential race, the political and cultural divisions in our country appear more pronounced than they have ever been in modern times.  And the differences between the Republican and Democratic parties are also more pronounced, when viewed over the past four decades. 

In his new book, We Should Have Seen It Coming: From Reagan to Trump -- A Front-Row Seat to a Political Revolution, veteran journalist Gerald Seib, the executive Washington Editor of The Wall Street Journalobserves that for 20 of the 36 years after Ronald Reagan was elected, “someone pledging loyalty to his precepts occupied the Oval Office.” 

In Reagan’s first term, Republicans controlled 14 state legislatures.  By the Clinton years, that number had increased to 25.  By the time Donald Trump was inaugurated, it had grown to 30. 

But Trump’s brand of conservatism bears little resemblance to Reagan’s...

Flickr / Elvert Barnes

Across the country, ridership on public transit has declined precipitously.

To adjust to the new financial realities, the MTA says it needs to trim $98 million dollars from its budget. The cuts it suggested to Baltimore’s bus system were met with fierce opposition, and the MTA backed-off the plan. 

Tom speaks to Kevin Quinn, the MTA Administrator, about what changes riders can expect, and plans to keep them and operators safe. 

Plus, Samuel Jordan, the President of the Baltimore Transit Equity Coalition discusses efforts to create a regional transit authority, to develop a more fair and equitable transit system.

photo by Rob Sivak/WYPR

Today, we’re going to talk about voting: how to do it safely and correctly, and efforts to assure that the results are accurate and that the election is conducted fairly.    

The 2020 election ends two weeks from tomorrow.  More than 28 million people around the country - about 20% of eligible voters - have already cast their ballots, either in person at early-voting centers, by mail, or by depositing them in official drop boxes.  Democrats have outvoted Republicans by a 2-1 margin in early voting, so far. 

For Maryland voters, tomorrow  (Tuesday, Oct. 20) is the deadline to request a mail-in ballot online for the November election.  Tom's first guest today is Nikki Charlson.  She’s the Deputy Administrator at the Maryland State Board of Elections.  She joins us on Zoom to explain what Maryland voters need to know about mail-in balloting, early in-person voting and election-day balloting...

AP Photo / Carolyn Kaster

Last night, Donald Trump responded to his Miami Town Hall questions with his trademark belligerence and bluster. 

Joe Biden's Town Hall was a much calmer affair.  Answeeing questions from voters in Philadelphia, he promised to restore stability and reaffirm America's leadership on the world stage. 

PBS News Hour correspondent Lisa Dejardin joins Tom with a recap of the dueling broadcasts.            


Cambridge University Press

You don't have to spend a lot of time on the Internet to know that these days, practically every move we make online is watched and recorded by marketers, security firms, scammers and a growing cast of unseen tech agents.  People say they are worried about their privacy, but given how much personal data we routinely share on social media and online shopping sites, are we worried enough?  In a sobering new book, MICA philosophy professor Firmin DeBrabander makes it clear that the tech companies have no problem whatsoever in learning a lot about each of us, and that their power to do so poses a serious threat to our democracy. 

The capacity to track what we buy, where we go, and who we align with socially and politically is astounding, and troubling. The scope of the information that tech entities have acquired about us, and the profits that are made by harvesting and manipulating that information, are huge, and the possibility of abuse and malfeasance is ever-present...


Tom's next guest is the urban planner, builder and architectural historian, Charles Duff.  As the president of Jubilee Baltimore since 1987, Mr. Duff has helped to revive dozens of Baltimore neighborhoods and is an expert on the city's architectural evolution. He’s written a book about how the homes in Baltimore and cities in other parts of the world came to look as they do.

The book is called The North Atlantic Cities. Among its many revelations, we learn that the row house, long a ubiquitous mainstay of the Baltimore cityscape, was invented in Amsterdam in the era of the great Renaissance painters Vermeer and Rembrandt.

How did row houses get from there to here, and why are they also a staple in cities like London and Washington, but less common in places like Paris or Minneapolis?  


Today, it’s Midday on Politics with Dr. Mileah Kromer, the director of the Sarah T. Hughes Field Politics Center at Goucher College, and political consultant Sophia Silbergeld, a partner at Adeo Advocacy, a public relations and communications firm.

Three new Goucher College polls were released by the Hughes Center over the past few days, in which Marylanders were asked about a wide range of issues: the presidential race, police reform and the Black Lives Matter movement, and Governor Larry Hogan’s management  of the COVID-19 pandemic.  

AP Photo/John Locher



Thirteen men with links to far-right militias have been charged in a plot to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer. Far-right militias have also been active in Virginia, Oregon, and Wisconsin. 

The FBI and the Department of Homeland Security have identified far-right and racially motivated paramilitary-style groups as among the most significant national security threats facing our country.  

What is feeding the rise of vigilantism? And how effective are our local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies at combating the growing threat of far-right paramilitary violence?  


Michael German is a former FBI special agent specializing in domestic terrorism, and a fellow with the Brennan Center for Justice's Liberty & National Security Program.

Rashawn Ray is a Fellow at the Brookings Institution and the Executive Director of the Lab for Applied Social Science Research at the University of MD College Park.

Flickr / Daniel Lobo

Seven months ago today, two police officers broke down the door of the Louisville, KY apartment of Breonna Taylor in a botched drug raid in which Ms. Taylor was shot to death.  Last month, Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron announced that a grand jury had decided not to indict those officers with a crime.  Was this decision solely in the hands of the grand jury?  What was Attorney General Cameron’s role?

Tom’s guest is Gregg Bernstein, the former Baltimore City State’s Attorney, who is now a partner with the Zuckerman Spaeder law firm.

The Washington Post

The 25th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was passed by the US Congress, ratified by 38 states, and enacted in 1967, to prepare for a situation in which a sitting U.S. president is no longer capable of performing his or her duties.  It is divided into four sections.  The last section begins: “Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President...”

Wikimedia/Creative Commons

Today is the second Monday in October.  Since the 1930s, the day has been recognized as a federal holiday commemorating the first arrival of Christopher Columbus and crew to the Americas in 1492.  Last week, the Baltimore City Council passed a bill to rename Columbus Day, Indigenous Peoples Day.   Mayor Jack Young has yet to sign the bill into law. 

If the mayor signs the bill or allows it to become law without his signature, Baltimore will join more than 130 cities and counties across nearly 35 states in creating an alternative to celebrating the life of Columbus, an explorer that Native Americans have long viewed as a brutal colonizer...

Dr. Leana Wen

The Maryland State Department of Health reports today that 10 people died of COVID-19-related illness yesterday, the highest death toll in the last couple of weeks.  More than 3,800 people have died in our state since the pandemic began in March. More than 130,000 Marylanders have been infected with the virus.

The coronavirus pandemic continues to dominate the national conversation as well. Since President Trump’s treatment for his COVID-19 infection at the Walter Reed Military Medical Center last weekend and his return to the White House Monday, dozens of the president’s staffers, as well as political and military leaders who had recent close contact with the president, have tested positive for the virus. And there has been growing concern among public health officials over Mr. Trump’s tweets and video messages in the past few days about his self-proclaimed “recovery” from COVID-19, aided by powerful therapeutic drugs which he has falsely described as a “cure”...

Photo Courtesy / Brandonforbaltimore.com

Brandon Scott was elected President of the City Council by his fellow council members last year when then Council President Jack Young became Mayor after Catherine Pugh’s fall from grace.  

He was first elected to the Council in 2011 to represent the 2nd District. Before that, he worked in the office of then Council President Stephanie Rawlings Blake as her representative in Northeast Baltimore.  

In 2018, Jim Shea picked Mr. Scott as his running mate in their unsuccessful campaign in the Democratic gubernatorial primary. 

In last June's primary election, Council President Scott fended off a crowded field of challengers, including former mayor Shelia Dixon, to win his party’s mayoral nomination.

Brandon Scott is 36 years old.  He grew up in Park Heights, where his parents and family still live.  He lives in the Frankford neighborhood in North East Baltimore.

The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts Inc. Artists Rights Society ARS New York

Tom's first guest today is Baltimore Museum of Art Director Christopher Bedford.  He joins us to discuss the BMA's plan to sell three of the paintings in its collection to raise money for several initiatives.  The paintings, Andy Warhol's The Last Supper, Clyfford Still's 1957-G and Brice Marden's 3, might collectively command as much as $65 million dollars when they go to auction.

(You can view digital images of the three works in the slide show, above.)

The BMA is one of eight museums across the country planning to sell some of the work in their collection this fall, but the BMA sale is far and away the largest, and perhaps the most controversial...

Nick Mosby/Photo by Carde

Today, another in our series of Conversation with the Candidates.  Tom's guest is Maryland Delegate Nick Mosby, the Democratic nominee for Baltimore City Council President.

Delegate Mosby has represented Baltimore’s 40th District in the Maryland House of Delegates since 2017. Previously, he served for five years as a member of the Baltimore City Council. 

In June, Delegate Mosby beat a crowded field of challengers in a primary that included City Council members Shannon Sneed and Leon Pinkett III.  His opponent in the general election next month is Republican Jovani Patterson.

Nick Mosby is 41 years old.  He and his wife, Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby, live in Reservoir Hill with their two young daughters.   Delegate Nick Mosby joins Tom on the line from his home. 

Seawall Development

Today on Midday, we turn our attention to some significant development projects here in Baltimore.  We begin with Lexington Market.  It opened in 1782.  It’s the oldest continuously-running market in America. It has survived the Civil War, the Great Depression, and a six-alarm fire in 1949 that devastated its main buildings. 

Its storied history notwithstanding, Lexington Market is badly in need of a makeover.  That makeover is now underway: a $40 million dollar re-imagining of the market that is slated to be finished by 2022.  The first of two rounds of vendor applications to be part of the next chapter of the market has just been completed.

Some have voiced concerns about gentrification, fearing that African American and immigrant communities will be priced out of the new space. But officials with Seawall Development, the firm that's overseeing the project, promise affordability and diversity.

US Supreme Court

It’s been 17 days since Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg succumbed to cancer at the age of 87. Ginsburg was a heroic figure for millions of Americans: as the Notorious RBG, she was an icon of liberal grace, resilience and reason.   A week after Ginsburg’s death, President Trump announced his pick for her replacement – conservative Judge Amy Coney Barrett, whom Trump named to the 7th Circuit court three years ago.

Judge Barrett will be questioned by the Senate Judiciary Committee during four days of hearings set to begin next Monday, with a full Senate vote on her confirmation possible before the end of October, although that timetable could be upset by the Coronavirus.  Two Republican senators on the Judiciary Committee, Mike Lee of Utah and Thom Tillis of North Carolina, have tested positive for the virus.  Both attended the event at the White House in which Judge Barrett was introduced as Mr. Trump’s nominee.  At least four other people who attended that event have also tested positive...

Photo Courtesy / Shannon Wright

Pastor Shannon Wright is a non-profit executive and host of the radio program and podcast called "Wright Way with Shannon & Mike in the Morning." 

Pastor Wright was born in New York. She’s a second-generation American of West Indian descent. She is a former Vice President of the Yonkers NAACP; she also served on the New Jersey NAACP state board of directors. 

In 2016 she was the Republican nominee in the race for City Council President. She lost in the general election to now incumbent Mayor "Jack" Young.   

Pastor Wright is 53 years old.  She lives in Parkville.  

Rep. John Sarbanes

Today on Midday, it’s another in our series of Conversations with the Candidates.  Tom's guest is Democratic Congressman John Sarbanes, who is seeking election to an eighth term representing Maryland's 3rd Congressional district, which includes parts of Baltimore City, as well as portions of Baltimore, Howard, Anne Arundel and Montgomery Counties. 

Congressman Sarbanes currently serves on the House Oversight and Reform Committee  as well as the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. Since 2017, he’s chaired the Democracy Reform Task Force, a group of House lawmakers focused on minimizing the influence of special interests and ensuring fair elections.

Congressman Sarbanes is 58 years old.  He and his wife live in Towson. 

Atria/One Signal Publishers/Simon and Schuster

Reaction to the chaotic Presidential debate on Tuesday night has fallen along party lines to some extent, but as NPR’s Mara Liasson noted when she was with me on Midday yesterday, some leading Republicans have criticized the President for not condemning white supremacy and for his impolite and crass behavior. 

Chris Wallace, the debate moderator, came under criticism for his inability to enforce the rules of the debate that had been agreed to by both campaigns.  Wallace, the host of Fox News Sundayis a highly respected journalist.  But as CNN’s Brian Stelter reports in his latest book, Wallace’s affiliation with Fox News has caused him more than a little discomfort because his network also carries opinion shows with Fox stars Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, Jeanine Pirro and Laura Ingraham, all of whom have made their reputation, and a lot of money, as cheerleaders for Donald Trump.  

AP Photo / Patrick Semansky

Last night’s Presidential Debate derailed into an unintelligible mess of cross-talk, insults, and misinformation within minutes. Voters were reminded that as long as Donald Trump is part of the political conversation, that conversation will be caustic, rude, and wildly unfocused.

NPR national political correspondent Mara Liasson joins Tom to analyze last night's confrontation and what we might expect when the two candidates meet again. 

Photo Courtesy / Jovani Patterson

My guest is the Republican candidate for Baltimore City Council President, Jovani Patterson. He is a cybersecurity engineer and first-time candidate for elected office.  

 Mr. Patterson was born in the Park Heights neighborhood of Baltimore and raised in South Carolina. He later returned to Maryland and attended Capitol College in Laurel.  

Jovani Patterson has worked in IT and Cybersecurity for more than 20 years. He is also a musician who spent two years playing the drums with the Morgan State University Choir.  

 He is 34 years old. He and his wife live with their two children in Mt. Holly. 



Photo Courtesy / Wyatt Oroke

Tom’s guest is Wyatt Oroke, an English teacher at City Springs Elementary and Middle School in East Baltimore, and City School's 2020 Teacher of the Year.   

In addition to teaching English at City Springs, Mr. Oroke coaches boys basketball and girls volleyball and is active as a faculty leader.

Oroke is the recipient of several state and national awards for his teaching, including honors from Johns Hopkins University and the Maryland State Senate. 

As the Baltimore City Teacher of the Year, Mr. Oroke will now advance to the 2020 Maryland State Teacher of the Year competition.  He is one of 7 finalists in that competition.  The Maryland State Department of Education will announce the winner next week.