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"I know these are dark times, but there’s always light. That’s what makes this state so special. That’s what it taught me. It taught me the most. There’s always light," President-elect Biden bid farewell to his adopted home state of Delaware yesterday, then headed to Washington for his inauguration today.

The Johns Hopkins University


Today, it's another edition of Midday on Mental Health.  Last April, just a few weeks into the COVID-19 pandemic, we talked about the concept of "psychological first aid" with Dr. George Everly, who literally wrote the book about ways people can cope with the psychological effects of traumatic events: think 9/11, or hurricanes.  Can those same techniques be employed in dealing with a prolonged crisis, such as the coronavirus pandemic? 


We’ve invited Dr. Everly back today to talk about how we can deal with the anxiety and stress that, for some, has accelerated as the pandemic has dragged on. 

Dr. Everly is an associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.  He also teaches international health at  the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.  He’s a columnist for Psychology Today and the author of more than 20 books, including The Johns Hopkins Guide to Psychological First Aid.

Professor George Everly joins us on Zoom…


Last week marked the end of an era in Maryland politics.  On Friday, Mike Miller -- who had recently retired from the Maryland General Assembly after serving there for nearly 50 years -- passed away at the age of 78 following a long battle with cancer. 

Miller, a Democrat, was elected to the House of Delegates in 1970, to the Senate in 1974, and in 1986, he ran unopposed to be the President of the Maryland Senate.  By the time he relinquished the gavel a year ago, he had served longer than any other senate president in the country.

Joining Tom today to share his reflections about Mike Miller’s legacy is Sen. Jim Rosapepe, a Democratic former colleague who represents the 21st District in Prince George’s and Anne Arundel counties…

Senator Rosapepe joins us on Zoom.

John Minchillo / AP Photo

A day before President-elect Biden takes office, we look at two aspects of our bruised democracy. We ask Washington College political scientist Melissa Deckman what the new president must do to restore public trust in elections.

Patrick Semansky/AP

Dante Barksdale, a leader of the violence-prevention program Safe Streets, was shot to death on Sunday in East Baltimore. Barksdale, who was also known as "Tater," dedicated the last decade of his life to mediating conflicts, doing critical neighborhood outreach, and reducing homicides in Baltimore.

Flickr/Creative Commons

January 18, 2021 is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, a federal holiday established by the US Congress in 1983 to honor the life and work of the slain civil rights leader and, in the words of this year's presidential proclamation, to "encourage all Americans to recommit themselves to Dr. King’s dream by engaging in acts of service to others, to their community, and to our Nation." 

Midday marks this year's MLK Day of Service by focusing on the work of three local individuals for whom every day is a day of service. 

Desiree Kelly

The late congressman Elijah Cummings would have turned 70 Monday. During the months before he died, while he dealt with painful health challenges and tough confrontations between Congress and President Trump, Cummings invested time in writing a memoir, weaving his personal story with accounts of some public battles.

From the humble chickpea to lavish saffron rice. Tony and Chef Cindy talk about their favorite types of beans and peas and some delicious preparations for grains and rice. 

If you are interested in exploring some heritage varieties to cook at home, you can check out Anson Mills for some great ideas.

Crown/Penguin Random House Publishers

(This program originally aired August 4, 2020)

When the novelist, journalist, playwright and activist James Baldwin died in 1987, his place in the panoply of great American writers was assured.   He is remembered as one of the most eloquent observers of the Black experience, and an insightful and compelling critic of racial inequality.  He was prolific and provocative, and one of the most important and invigorating public intellectuals of his time. 


Dr. Eddie S. Glaude, Jr. is one of the most important and invigorating public intellectuals of our time.  He is the chair of the Department of African American Studies at Princeton University, and a former president of the American Academy of Religion.  In addition to many scholarly books and articles, he enjoys a wide audience as a contributor to MSNBC, and for his essays in publications such as the New York TimesTime Magazine and the Huffington Post.

Mark Gunnery

Racial injustices ignited a wave of protests that swept the globe last year and inspired a generation of young people with a lot to say about what they want to make right with the world.

Stoop Storytelling Series

Here's a Stoop Story from Danista Hunte about coming home ... and giving back. You can hear her story and many others at stoopstorytelling.com, as well as the Stoop podcast.

Focus Features Films

It’s another edition of Midday at the Movies, our monthly conversation about films and filmmaking.  And Tom is joined once again on Zoom by our good friend Ann Hornaday – she’s a film critic for The Washington Post and the author of the wonderful movie-goers’ guide, Talking Pictures: How To Watch Movies.

Also with us again on Zoom is our friend Jed Dietz, the founding director of the Maryland Film Festival, and a leader in the restoration of its historic Parkway theater.

And listeners, we’d love to hear from you today as well. Tell us about the films YOU’VE been watching recently, either streamed or on the big screen.  Have any movies been especially helpful in getting you through these difficult times? 

Wikimedia Commons

Democrats and Republicans are starting the new session of the General Assembly expecting to find common ground on helping Marylanders slammed by the pandemic--like the kinds of subsidies and tax help Gov. Hogan wants them to enact.

A 2021 Maryland General Assembly Preview, Pt. 2

Jan 13, 2021

Wednesday was the first day of the 2021 session of the Maryland General Assembly. Given the restrictions occasioned by the pandemic, this 90-day session -- the 442nd in Maryland's legislative history -- will be unlike any other.

In Part Two of Midday's preview of the session, Tom speaks with Senate President Bill Ferguson.

Sen. Ferguson, a Democrat, has represented District 46 (Baltimore City), since 2011. He was elected to the Senate Presidency on January 8, 2020.  Sen. Ferguson spoke with Tom on Tuesday afternoon, via Zoom. Midday is posting their conversation online today, while our live broadcast is pre-empted by NPR's House Impeachment coverage. 

A 2021 Maryland General Assembly Preview, Pt. 1

Jan 12, 2021
Maryland State Government

The 2021 Session of the MD General Assembly begins Wednesday. Speaker of the House, Adrienne Jones, who represents the 10th District, in Baltimore County, joined Midday to discuss the legislative agenda.

Tom recorded his conversation with Speaker Jones (via Zoom audio) on Monday, January 11, about a half hour before Gov. Larry Hogan held a press conference in which he announced that he will be introducing the RELIEF Act of 2021.  That's a billion-dollar stimulus and tax relief package for individuals and small businesses, which the Governor said he will be introducing as emergency legislation on Wednesday. 

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

A short, concise four-page article of impeachment of President Donald Trump, co-sponsored by more than 200 Democratic congressmen, may come to the floor of the House of Representatives as soon as tomorrow.  Yesterday, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi gave Vice President Mike Pence 24 hours to convene the cabinet and pursue removing Mr. Trump under the 25th Amendment.  Mr. Pence has long indicated antipathy to that idea.  If that route to removal is not possible, Pelosi has promised to pursue impeachment.  

Last week’s assault on the US Capitol by a mob incited by President Trump was for many a wake-up-call to the dangers of demagoguery.

Mr. Trump, whose four-year term in office has been one of the most divisive and chaotic in US history, is not the first American political leader who has sought to solidify his power by exploiting fears and prejudice and using brutish and inflammatory rhetoric to intimidate and silence his opponents.


When the American republic was only a couple decades old, and more people were held enslaved in Maryland than all but two other states, enslaved people could petition the courts for freedom--if they could show they were descended from a woman who had been free. Before slaveholders got the laws changed, hundreds of enslaved people in Prince George’s County won their independence. Researching this history for his book A Question of Freedom, The Families Who Challenged Slavery From the Nation's Founding to the Civil WarWilliam G. Thomas III talked to descendants of people enslaved by Jesuit priests in Prince George’s … and learned that his white forebears helped the Jesuits. This country needs a reckoning of slavery’s impact, Thomas says.

Thomas will speak about A Question of Freedom next month, on Feb. 15, at 6:30 p.m.-- at an event organized by the Prince George’s County Historical Society and the Marietta House Museum - visit this link for more information.

Baltimore City Health Dept

Welcome to another edition of Midday with Tish the Commish, our recurring series of live conversations with Dr. Letitia Dzirasa, the Commissioner of the Baltimore City Health Department and the city's chief public health advocate.

In today's program, Dr. Dzirasa provides an update on the pace and local availability of the COVID-19 vaccination program, and how the city is faring during Maryland's current upsurge in new cases, daily deaths and hospitalizations.   For more information on the coronavirus pandemic and when you can get the vaccine, visit the City's COVID-19 dashboard, linked here

Dr. Letitia Dzirasa joins us on Zoom.

Basic Books/Hachette Book Group

Now, a conversation about what makes us, us.  Or more specifically, what makes me, me and you, you.  With all that we share in common -- heads and shoulder, knees and toes, for example  -- what are the reasons that we are all unique individuals? 

Dr. David Linden is a neuroscientist and professor at Johns Hopkins University who started thinking about this when he signed up on an on-line dating website.

Dr. Linden is the author of several fascinating books.  The Accidental Mind explored how our brains evolved over time to make us capable of things like romantic love and belief in God.  

Michael Dwyer / AP Photo

When‌ ‌the‌ ‌General‌ ‌Assembly‌ ‌begins‌ ‌its‌ ‌new‌ ‌session‌ Wednesday,‌ ‌lawmakers‌ ‌will‌ ‌face‌ ‌a‌ ‌crucial‌ ‌question:‌ ‌how‌ ‌to‌ ‌protect‌‌ thousands‌ ‌of‌ ‌Maryland‌ ‌families‌ ‌on‌ ‌the‌ ‌brink‌ ‌of‌ ‌eviction?‌

This week Tony and Chef Cindy talk about food and wine goals for the new year. They share some recommendations including brushing up on your knife skills and getting familiar with sniffing out a corked bottled of wine. We take your calls and comments on what you hope to learn and accomplish in 2021.

The Office of Senator Chris van Hollen

Our Newsmaker guest today is Maryland's junior senator, Chris Van Hollen, who joins Tom Hall to discuss the extraordinary, historic and tragic events of the past week, and the way forward for members of Congress, for President-elect Joe Biden and for the country.  

Yesterday, incoming Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said they supported efforts to remove President Trump from office under the 25th Amendment.  Maryland’s Republican Governor, Larry Hogan, offered his support for those efforts as well.

Two cabinet secretaries, an ambassador, and several White House staffers are among those who have resigned after the President incited an insurrection at the Capitol on Wednesday.

Courtesy Netflix

Midday theater critic J.Wynn Rousuck joins us again today with her reviews of two new films produced and now streaming on Netflix, that spotlight the extraordinary work of the late, two-time Pulitizer Prize-winning playwright August Wilson. 

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom is one of 10 plays August Wilson wrote chronicling the African-American experience in each decade of the 20th Century.  The 1984 work centers on a group of Black musicians in 1920s Chicago who are playing a recording session with the legendary blues singer, Ma Rainey, as they also confront the racial prejudice and economic challenges of their day.  The new Netflix film adaptation, directed by George C. Wolfe, stars Viola Davis and the late Chadwick Boseman, in his last role before he succumbed last year to cancer. 

Baltimore Heritage/screen shot

Last March Baltimore Heritage put its crowd-pleasing, illuminating walking tours on hold. Since then the small but mighty staff has been churning out ‘Five Minute Histories’ that are reaching thousands of viewers.

Stoop Storytelling Series

Welcome back to On the Record. I’m SK. Here’s a Stoop Story from Jenna Shaw about what she learned from dancing with her dad. You can hear her story and many others at stoopstorytelling.com, as well as the Stoop podcast.

AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

Yesterday at this hour, the self-proclaimed “law and order” President, Donald Trump incited an insurrection in a 90-minute diatribe delivered just a few blocks from the U.S. Capitol, and within minutes of his concluding his remarks, at Trump’s suggestion, his supporters marched to the Capital, stormed the building, and disrupted the constitutionally mandated duty of Congress to certify the votes in the Electoral College.  

Violence, which before yesterday could hardly have been imagined taking place in the country’s most majestic and symbolic place, coursed through the building and the surrounding grounds.  Four people died, and it took Capitol Police and more than 1,000 members of the National Guard several hours to restore security to the building.  Last night, legislators returned to their chambers, and early this morning, Congress certified the results of the election that Mr. Trump still disputes.  

Dr. Leana Wen

Today, another edition of the Midday Healthwatch, our monthly conversation with Dr. Leana WenShe is an emergency physician and former Baltimore City Health Commissioner who teaches at the George Washington University School of Public Health. She’s also a columnist for The Washington Post and a medical analyst for CNN.  Dr. Wen joins Tom today to discuss the continuing COVID-19 catastrophe, the growing concerns over the pace and efficiency of the COVID-19 vaccination program, and what we know about the two new strains of  the COVID virus that have been infecting people in Europe and here in the United States. 

And as always, we welcome your questions and comments.

Dr. Leana Wen joins us on Skype.

For a useful guide to how COVID-19 vaccines are being locally administered, and when and where you can get your shot, read this Washington Post article by reporter Julie Zauzmer, here

AP Photo/Julio Cortez

President Trump, still objecting to the election, said Thursday there will be a peaceful transfer of power in two weeks. But the scars of the riot he incited at the U.S. Capitol Wednesday will not fade easily.

AP Photo/Julio Cortez

In Washington today, a joint session of Congress was convened in the US Capitol to certify the count of the 50 state electoral college electors, and officially declare Democrat Joe Biden the President-elect. Nearby, supporters of President Trump gathered on the National Mall to hear speakers, including the President himself, assert the fantasy that Trump won the Presidential election.  Later, after large crowds of pro-Trump demonstrators, most unmasked, massed on the steps of the Capitol, a mob began breaching its public entrance, threatening the security of the building and the lawmakers within. The National Guard, which was deployed at the request of DC Mayor Muriel Bowser, was reportedly unarmed.

Inside the Capitol, the first few minutes of the normally pro forma process of counting the electoral college votes were marked by objections from a minority of Senate Republicans who argue, without evidence, that the November elections were fraudulent.  But the proceedings were interrupted when the Capitol building was stormed by the pro-Trump mob. Security forces put the building on lockdown, used tear gas to clear the rioters out of the building and evacuated lawmakers to safer quarters.  The unprecedented situation continues to unfold.

AP Photo by Carolyn Kaster

Yesterday, the weather in Georgia was sunny and mild.  The tenor of the four campaigners who were locked in battles for Georgia's two Senate seats was anything but sunny and mild.  The campaigns set records for spending and turnout for special elections.

As we speak, the dust is beginning to settle in Georgia.

The Rev. Raphael Warnock, a former pastor of Douglas Memorial Community Church here in Baltimore and the current pastor of the Rev. Martin Luther King’s Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, is projected to be the first Black Senator ever elected in Georgia, and the first Democrat elected to the Senate from Georgia in 20 years.

In the race that pitted Democrat Jon Ossoff against Republican incumbent David Perdue, Mr. Ossoff held a lead at broadcast time, but the AP and other news media outlets still considered the vote tallies too close to call. [By 4:30pm on Wednesday, however, NBC News and AP had called the race for Jon Osoff.]