Midday | WYPR


University of Nebraska Press

This program originally aired on June 5. 

Today, on this archive edition of Midday: Two days after the April 2015 uprising following the funeral of Freddie Gray, the Baltimore Orioles and Chicago White Sox played at Camden Yards in the only Major League Baseball game ever played without fans.

What did the game mean to a city reeling from the worst violence since the unrest following the killing of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr? And what was it like for the players and the press to be the ones on the inside looking out?

Kevin Cowherd’s latest book tells the story of that historic day. It’s called "When the Crowd Didn’t Roar: How Baseball's Strangest Game Ever Gave a Broken City Hope."

Mr. Cowherd will be reading from the book on Sept. 12 at 6:30 p.m. at the Light Street Branch of the Enoch Pratt Free Library.  Click here for more information. 

Photo by Heidi Sheppard/WYPR

Today, an archive edition of Midday, a show that we broadcast on Juneteenth, from the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of MD African American History and Culture in downtown Baltimore. Our topic was Reparations. 

Scholars, legislators and several Democratic presidential candidates have considered different ways to confront slavery’s legacy of socio-economic inequality. 

Last June, we talked about it in front of an audience at the Lewis Museum with Director Jackie Copeland, Professor Ray Winbush, columnist ER Shipp and Attorney Adjoa A. Aiyetoro.


What does America owe those who are descended from enslaved people?  Who would qualify, and what form might reparations take?  Who would decide?   Can America atone for the sin of slavery?

Our conversation was recorded earlier, so we can’t take your calls and comments.   

This program originally aired on Wednesday June 19th. 

VOA via Wikimedia Commons

Today on the News Wrap, we begin with a conversation about the ongoing protests in Hong Kong. Tom speaks with NPR international correspondent Anthony Kuhn in Hong Kong. 

Then, an update on the 2020 Iowa Democratic Caucuses with Clay Masters, lead political reporter for Iowa Public Radio and co-host of the Caucus Land podcast.

Plus, Baltimore Sun editorial writer Andrea K. McDaniels joins Tom to discuss the Urban League's decision not to assist the Baltimore Police Department with surveillance of drug activity in the Seton Hill neighborhood.

Courtesy of Creative Alliance

Today, Live in Studio A, Tom welcomes the Korean master percussionist Kim So Raand her husband and bandmate, Hyun Seung Hun.

An award-winning Korean traditional percussionist, composer, and ambassador of Honam Province Jeongeup folk music, Kim So Ra is one of the most skilled and prominent janggu (Korean double-headed drum) players in South Korea. Kim is known for her genre-bending performances that combine traditional rhythms with modern interpretative styles.

Midday Newsmaker: Dr. Khalilah Harris

Aug 15, 2019

Nearly 150 people of color who worked in the Obama Administration, signed an op-ed in the Washington Post asserting that President Trump’s racist comments provide “jet fuel” for anti-Trump activism. 

Dr. Khalilah Harris is one of those staffers, who co-wrote the op ed. She’s also a co-author of a new report from the Center for American Progress that outlines a new agenda for education policy. 

This conversation was livestreamed on WYPR's Facebook page. You can watch the video here.

photos for BSF by Will Kirk

It's Thursday, and Midday theater critic J. Wynn Rousuck joins Tom in the studio for another of her weekly reviews of the Maryland stage.  Today, her spotlight is on Baltimore Shakespeare Factory's new production of The Merry Wives of Windsorthe Bard's circa 1602 comedic romp about smart women, hapless men and communal joy.

Reputedly a play that Queen Elizabeth I ordered William Shakespeare to write so she could see her favorite dramatic character, Sir John Falstaff, fall in love, The Merry Wives of Windsor has Falstaff  (played for the BSF by David Forrer) arriving in Windsor flat broke and plotting to woo two wealthy married women, Mistress Alice Ford (Emily Classen) and Mistress Margaret Page (Bethany Mayo). The two wives learn of Falstaff's devious plans and scheme, hilariously, to thwart them.

The Merry Wives of Windsor, directed by BSF founder Tom Delise, continues through Sunday, August 18 at Baltimore Shakespeare Factory's Great Hall Theater in St. Mary's Community Center, at 3900 Roland Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21211, with an additional performance outdoors at Boordy Vineyards on August 23.  Tickets and info at BaltimoreShakespeareFactory.org.

Courtesy of Baltimore City Health Department

In the early days of the HIV/AIDS crisis in the 1980s, a diagnosis of HIV was a death sentence.  Now, infection with HIV -- the human immunodeficiency virus -- is a chronic, treatable condition.  Even more promising, medicines have been developed which can prevent the acquisition of HIV entirely.

Today on Midday, a conversation about the feasibility of ridding the world of AIDS in the next decade.  What strategies and treatments are working, and what still needs to be accomplished? 

Earlier this summer, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a report titled “Ending the HIV Epidemic: A Plan for America.” The plan focuses on a four pronged approach to ending the epidemic. Diagnose, Treat, Prevent and Respond.  Will it work?

Tom talks with a panel of local physicians and advocates involved in Baltimore's HIV prevention and treatment efforts...

AP Photo/Gregory Bull

From the attack 10 days ago by a gunman who targeted Hispanics at an El Paso Walmart, to migrant family separations and detentions at U.S. Customs and Border Patrol facilities, to the arrest of nearly 700 undocumented factory workers in a raid in Mississippi last week, and a policy announced just yesterday by the Trump Administration that will make getting a green card even harder for low-income, legal immigrants, it’s been a time of extraordinary turmoil in the immigrant community throughout the United States. 

Today on Midday, a conversation about the continuing crisis at the U.S. southern border and the human impact of increasingly restrictive US policies toward migrants.  Tom is joined in the studio by three guests with unique perspectives on immigration...

Courtesy of MICA

Today, another in our occasional series, Midday on Higher Education, in which we sit down with the presidents of colleges and universities throughout the state.

Among the nation’s largest metropolitan areas, greater Baltimore is the fourth most-educated region in America. Seventeen percent of area residents hold advanced or professional degrees. That’s substantially higher than the national average.

Tom’s guest today is Samuel Hoi, the president of the Maryland Institute College of Art, the oldest continuously degree-granting college of art in the United States.

Mr. Hoi took the reins at MICA in 2014. One of the country’s leading art schools, MICA teaches art and entrepreneurship. And as one of Baltimore’s anchor institutions, it has a unique capacity to contribute to our city’s creative economy.

We livestreamed this conversation on the WYPR Facebook page. Click here to watch the video.

AP Images / Matt Rourke

Today on the News Wrap, we examine how the internet is fanning the flames of political and racial discord in America.  Guest host Nathan Sterner speaks with writer Dale Beran about how the online message board 8-chan became a platform for far-right extremism.

Then, the latest news out of Baltimore County, including ongoing efforts to finance affordable housing projects.

And we look at a new series by the Baltimore Business Journal spotlighting  Baltimore's public transportation woes.  WYPR reporter John Lee and Baltimore Business Journal staff writer Melody Simmons join us. 

photo courtesy Artscentric

Midday theater critic J. Wynn Rousuck joins Tom on our Friday edition this week with a review of the new Artscentric production of Little Shop of Horrors, a re-imagining of the hit 1982 musical by Howard Ashman (book and lyrics) and Alan Menken (music), which spawned the 1986 hit movie starring Rick Moranis. Both the musical and film were based on the 1960 cult classic, The Little Shop of Horrorsby B-movie director Roger Corman.

Artscentric's production is on stage at The Motor House through Aug. 17th.

Photo Courtesy / Baltimore City Hall

Tom's guest is President of the Baltimore City Council, Brandon Scott.  He was elected President by his colleagues on the City Council in a unanimous vote last May, despite Mayor Jack Young’s preference for the Council’s Vice President, Sharon Green Middleton to assume the position she had held in an interim capacity during the weeks former Mayor Catherine Pugh pondered her political future. 

Last week, Mr. Scott weighed-in on where he sees Baltimore’s future.  He unveiled a detailed list of legislative and policy proposals that would result in significant changes in the way the city operates.

photo courtesy Emmy Favilla

Tom's guest today is Emmy Jo Favilla.  She's the senior manager of “brand voice” at BuzzFeed in New York (she'll explain what that job entails), and formerly its senior commerce editor.  For several years before that, she was BuzzFeed’s global copy chief.  As such, she created the BuzzFeed Style Guide, which, when it went public in 2014, was heralded by one reviewer as “the style guide for the internet.”  (Notice the lower-case "i" in "internet.") Favilla's years as a style guru led to her first book, published in 2017.  It’s called  A World Without “Whom”:  The Essential Guide to Language in the BuzzFeed Age. 

It's an instructive and often hilarious guide through the perils and pleasures of the modern English language.  We first dove into Emmy Favilla’s book when she was a guest on Midday last November.  And she joins Tom again today from Argot Studios in Manhattan.

Toni Morrison Society

Toni Morrison, one of the towering figures in American literature and revered narrator of the African American experience, died Monday (August 5) at the age of 88.  The author of 11 powerful novels, she was the first African American to win the Nobel Prize for Literature.  She also won the Pulitzer Prize, and in 2012, President Barack Obama awarded her America’s highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom. 

To begin this month's edition of Midday Culture Connections, Tom and series co-host Dr. Sheri Parks, Vice President of Strategic Initiatives at MICA, discuss Toni Morisson's unique contributions to literature, feminism and humanism.

This conversation was livestreamed on WYPR's Facebook page, and you can watch the video here.   The segment runs from 0:00 to 13:45 into the stream.

Kelly Bell Photography

In this month's edition of Midday Culture Connections, Tom talks with series co-host Dr. Sheri Parks, MICA's Vice President of Strategic Initiatives, about the image of Baltimore in the national media, and how that squares with the image its residents have of their city.  In recent days, political leaders and many people on social media have been busy defending Baltimore from verbal assaults by President Trump. But even the city's staunchest defenders acknowledge that Baltimore faces problems long in the making, and very slow in the solving.  We take listener questions and comments.

This conversation was livestreamed on WYPR's Facebook page, and you can watch the video here.   The segment begins at 16:16 into the stream.

Making Baltimore A Trauma-Responsive City

Aug 5, 2019
Courtesy of Baltimore Cease Fire

With so many of Baltimore's challenges in the news over the past week -- and as the number of homicides this year hits 200 -- we turn to some of the city's political leaders to explore new approaches to a future less riven by violence. City Councilmembers Kristerfer Burnett and Zeke Cohen join Tom to discuss the Baltimore City Trauma-Responsive Care Act.

The bill, introduced in late July by Councilman Cohen and 13 co-sponsors and up for a vote by the Health Committee later this  month, would create a task force to harness the resources of all relevant city agencies to better serve youth who've been traumatized by violence and dysfunction.   The measure would also establish systems for measuring which programs and practices are best at mitigating and preventing trauma to children and their families.

AP Images / Paul Sancya

Today on the Midday News Wrap, we recap the second round of Democratic presidential debates. At a CNN-televised event in Detroit, Michigan, on Tuesday and Wednesday, 20 Democratic contenders took the stage to make their case for the party's presidential nomination. 

Then, we discuss the continuing attacks by President Trump on the city of Baltimore and Rep. Elijah E. Cummings.  The president took his assault a step further at a rally in Cincinnati, Ohio, on Thursday, denigrating several U.S. "inner cities"  run by Democratic mayors.

Who were the stand-out candidates at the debate?  Which candidates will the Democrats choose to run against Trump?  What is the president's purpose in demeaning American cities and citizens? Will the call for oversight outlast the President's grab for the headlines?   On today's Midday News Wrap, Tom considers those questions with two distinguished guests:

NPR National Security editor Franco Ordonez joins us on the line from the NPR studios in Washington.

Julie Bykowicz  reports on money and politics for the Wall Street Journal, and she joins us in studio.

James Lewis Photograph Collection, MdHS.

A fascinating exhibition of portrait photographs selected from the archives of the Maryland Historical Society was recently assembled in a show called Reflections: A Brief History of Looking at Ourselves.”

The exhibition, which opened June 19th and runs through July 1, 2020, highlights themes of identity and place, and showcases portrait work from unsung and in some cases unidentified photographers -- as with the photograph featured to the left -- that are represented in the Historical Society's photo and prints collections. The photographs on exhibit encompass nearly the entire 180-year history of photography, from 1840s daguerreotypes to present-day digital photographs and “selfies.”

Teresa Castracane Photography

It's Thursday, and time for our weekly visit with theater critic J. Wynn Rousuck, who joins Tom with her review of Tiger Style!, now on stage at Olney Theatre Center in Olney, Maryland.

Tiger Style! is playwright Mike Lew's response, in part, to the criticisms of Chinese-American author Amy Chua's Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, a 2011 bestseller which argued that a strict Chinese style of parenting is superior to Western methods. Lew's play, first performed in Boston in 2016, satirizes the rampant stereotypes of Asian-American culture, and examines the timely issues of identity and immigration.

Directed by Natasu Onada PowerTiger Style! features Regina Aquino  as Jennifer Chen, Sean Sekino as Albert Chen, and Michael Glenn, Kurt Kwan, and Eileen Rivera in multiple roles.

Tiger Style!  continues at the Olney Theatre Center through August 18.  For ticket  info, click here.

Midday at the Movies: Messy Masterpieces

Aug 1, 2019
Sony Pictures Entertainment

Quentin Tarantino’s ninth and latest film, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, is being lauded by some reviewers as fearless filmmaking, and dismissed by others as artistic self-indulgence.  What did you think?

On the August edition of Midday at the MoviesAnn HornadayWashington Post film critic and author of Talking Pictures: How to Watch Movies, and Maryland Film Festival founder Jed Dietz join Tom to answer the question Ann Hornaday poses in a recent column: on this 40th anniversary of Francis Ford Coppola's groundbreaking Vietnam War epic, Apocalypse Now, should we be grateful for auteur directors' messy masterpieces?   They also talk about some hot recent releases, including Walt Disney's CGI remake of Lion KingLulu Wang's The Farewell and Danny Boyle's Yesterday.   They start off, however, comparing notes about the role that production, style, and format played in this week's CNN-televised Democratic presidential debates. 

Photo Courtesy AP/ Paul Sancya

Ten Democrats took the stage last night for the first of two CNN-televised presidential debates this week in Detroit, Michigan -- a state that Donald Trump won by fewer than 11,000 votes in 2016.  Former Maryland governor and 2016 presidential candidate Martin O’Malley knows what it’s like to be on that debate stage.  He joins Tom with analysis.

Marissa O'Guinn Dahl

Today, it's another edition of Midday in the Neighborhood, a series in which we’ve set out to spotlight the remarkable tapestry of communities that make up the city of Baltimore.   Today, Tom is joined in Studio A by representatives of Ednor Gardens-Lakeside, located in northeast Baltimore off 33rd Street; and Coldspring Newtown, on the west side of town, south of Cylburn Arboretum.  

LaWanda Edwards is an active member of the Coldspring Newtown Community Association. 

Joseph Kane is Vice President of the Ednor Gardens-Lakeside Civic Association. 

Today's program was live-streamed on WYPR's Facebook page. You can watch that video here.

Cover Art Courtesy Harper Collins

When it was ratified in September of 1787, the U.S. Constitution stood alone as a beacon of freedom from tyranny and an unparalleled attempt to create a republic controlled by the people. 

On today's Midday, CBS News legal analyst and University of Baltimore Law Professor Kim Wehle talks about her new book, How to Read the Constitution and Why

Her book is a how-to guide for reading and understanding the Constitution.  It's also a timely primer on why certain political norms are required for the Constitution to remain that beacon of freedom for America and the world. 

Photo courtesy TopShelf Productions

Before Tom welcomes today's guest, he shares a few thoughts about President Trump's decision this past weekend to single out Baltimore and Representative Elijah Cummings -- the Democratic Chair of the House Oversight Committee -- with  a series of scornful and racist Tweets. We've included the full text of Tom's comments at the bottom of this post. 

As Tom notes in his commentary, "one of the things we can do to understand and address the problem of racial intolerance is to make an effort to understand history."  Tom's guest today has made an important contribution to that history.

The Japanese American actor and activist George Takei has pursued a career that spans 60 years, including his iconic role as "Hikaru Sulu" in the Star Trek television series and the hit movie sequels.  He has also become an influential and powerful voice for social justice, marriage equality and LGBTQ rights. 

Earlier this month, Mr. Takei published an illustrated memoir recounting how he and his family were incarcerated by the U.S. government in internment camps during the Second World War.  Mr. Takei, his parents, and his two younger siblings were among 120,000 people of Japanese descent who were imprisoned during the war, and his memoir deftly illuminates the effect of the stress and hardship of that experience. 

Mr. Takei's new book is They Called Us Enemy,  written with Justin Eisinger and Steven Scott.  The art is by Harmony Becker, with letters by George Lazcano

George Takei joins us from the studios of NPR West in Culver City, California.


AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

On Wednesday, Robert Mueller testified for nearly seven hours in separate hearings before the Democrat-led House Judiciary and Intelligence committees, about his 448-page, two-volume Report on the Investigation Into Russian Interference in the 2016 Presidential  Election.  It was Mueller's 90th appearance before Congress during a career in public service that spans more than three decades. 

The 74 year-old former FBI Director and former Special Counsel declined to directly answer his congressional interrogators nearly 200 times, responded to most questions tersely and at times haltingly, and refused to read aloud portions of the report he had submitted to the Attorney General in March.  But now that the dust from Robert Mueller's long-awaited appearance before Congress is beginning to settle, we're faced with a cascade of  questions...

Photo by Michael Stavrinos

Today, Live in Studio A, Tom welcomes the talented Baltimore-borne-and-raised entertainer and cabaret singer Mariah Bonner, and pianist Marcus Dagan, for a sampling of great songs to take us into the weekend.

They'll be appearing tonight at Germano’s Piattini in Little Italy here in Baltimore.  Dinner at 6:00.  Jackson Lundy does a set at 7:00.  Mariah and Marcus begin their set at 7:30.   For more information, click here.

This segment was Livestreamed on WYPR's Facebook page; you can watch the video here.

Emily Stubb

Food deserts. In cities and rural areas across America, millions of people live without easy access to supermarkets, or fresh, healthful foods. In parts of Baltimore’s West Side, that's true for nearly 64% of residents.

Emily Stubb’s new film, "deserted," explores food deserts here in Baltimore. Harlem Park activist Anthony Francis is featured in the documentary. They both join Tom on today's Midday.  Click here to see the film's trailer.

We livestreamed this conversation on the WYPR Facebook page.  Click here to see that video. 

Photo by Brandon W. Vernon

It's Thursday, and theater critic J. Wynn Rousuck is back with another of her weekly reviews of the Maryland regional stage. Today, she joins Tom to spotlight Chesapeake Shakespeare Company's new production of the Bard's Love's Labour's Lost, staged outdoors  "In the Ruins" at the Patapsco Female Institute (PFI) Historic Park in Ellicott City.

In this pun-filled romantic comedy penned by William Shakespeare in the mid-1590s, King Ferdinand of Navarre (played by Jonathan Jacobs) and three courtiers -- Berowne (Jose Guzman), Longaville (J.C. Payne), and Dumanin (Alexander Kafarakis) -- agree to avoid the distractions of women for three years while they study and pray. Their high-minded plans are derailed when the beautiful Princess of France (played by Lauren Davis) and her three ladies -- Rosaline (Elana Michelle), Maria (Micaela Mannix), and Katherine (Hilary Morrow) -- arrive on a diplomatic mission, and the men soon become love-struck fools.  For their part, the women conspire to confound the men's amorous ambitions, but the play ends as the death of the Princess's father puts all the romancing on hold for a year.

Directed by Erin Bone Steele, the Chesapeake Shakespeare Company production of Love's Labour's Lost continues at the PFI Historic Park in Ellicott City through Sunday, July 28th.  For more information, click here.

ASSOCIATED PRESS / J. Scott Applewhite

Today on Midday, Tom and his guests discuss President Trump's controversial tweets targeting four minority Congresswomen and his subsequent comments about them. And they consider some of Mr. Trump's previous actions and policies, both as President and in his private career, that have defined him in many people's minds as a racist.  What do you think of the way the President’s view of people of color has been characterized in the media?

Baltimore Police Dept.

Today, Tom's guest in Studio A is the newish police commissioner of Baltimore City, Michael Harrison.  He was appointed by then-Mayor Catherine Pugh in January, approved by the City Council a few weeks later, and sworn into office in March. 

Last Thursday, flanked by Mayor Jack Young and other city officials, Commissioner Harrison unveiled his new plan to address the crime problem that has afflicted Baltimore in particularly acute ways since the riots and unrest that followed the death of Freddie Gray in 2015.

The plan addresses response times by police, where and how they are deployed throughout the city, technology needs and how police can build cases that hold-up in court for people accused of serious crimes, while exploring alternatives to jail for those who commit lesser offenses. 

This conversation was livestreamed on the WYPR Facebook page.  You can watch that video here.