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AP Photo/Ragan Clark, File

(This program was originally broadcast on June 18, 2020)

Before he murdered George Floyd on Memorial Day in Minneapolis, former police officer Derek Chauvin had been the subject of 17 previous complaints of misconduct.  As streets around the world filled with protesters against police use of force and violence against people of color, further examples of the very kind of behavior that animated the demonstrations took place, including peaceful protesters being violently dispersed in front of the White House, and the shooting of Rayshard Brooks in Atlanta.  

The calls for changing the way police interact with the public range from complete abolition of police departments to reforms in training, more transparency, fewer barriers to prosecuting officers, and prohibiting certain aggressive techniques such as chokeholds...

Stoop Storytelling Series

Here is a Stoop Story from Rosemary Raun about what it takes for your voice to be heard. Check out more information about the Stoop Storytelling Series and listen to the Stoop podcast.

Asian Development Bank / Flickr Creative Commons

Photo by Heidi Ross

(This program was originally broadcast on September 30, 2019)

Tom’s guest today is the acclaimed writer Ann Patchett. She is the winner of the Pen Faulkner Award and the Orange Prize for fiction, and her work has been translated into more than 30 languages.

Patchett is the author of eight novels, the latest of which, The Dutch House, was just published last week.  As with some of her other immensely popular books -- novels such as Commonwealth, State of Wonder and Bel Canto -- in The Dutch House, Patchett writes with grace, authority and limitless compassion. Her characters navigate a complicated world with humility and fortitude, and she reveals their stories with a masterful touch, peppered with brilliant and straight-forward observations that elucidate that which is poignant and important about the human condition.

Ann Patchett joins Tom on the line from the studios of Spotland Productions in Nashville, Tennessee. 

(This conversation was first recorded September 20, 2019, so we couldn't take any calls, emails or tweets.)

Melissa Gerr

A century from now, what will people remember about life during COVID-19? Allison Tolman of the Maryland Historical Society talks about the new project, ‘Collecting In Quarantine.’ She says it’s important to collect stories ‘in the moment’ to capture the nuances of daily life. Plus, UMBC professor Rebecca Adelman tells why she launched the website ‘Coronavirus Lost and Found: A Pandemic Archive' -- a repository of pandemic experiences from around the world.

Links: Coronvirus Lost and Found, Collecting in Quarantine.

Joe Henson Photography

(This program was originally broadcast live on December 10, 2019)

The business of diversity is booming.  Corporations and cultural institutions spend hundreds of millions of dollars every year on diversity training, yet despite the ubiquity and expense of these efforts, overall racial, gender and ethnic diversity remains an aspiration rather than a reality. 

Today on Midday: what's been tried, what has succeeded and what's flopped in efforts to achieve more inclusion in American life.

Dr. Pamela Newkirk is a professor of journalism at New York University and author of Diversity, Inc.: The Failed Promise of a Billion-Dollar Business," named one of Time Magazine's "Must-Read Books" of 2019.

Dr. Newkirk joins Tom on the line from Argot Studios in New York City.

(This program was previously recorded, so we can't take your comments or questions.)

Phalinn Ooi / Flickr Creative Commons

It’s been a disruptive year for students. The school year dissolved into distance learning, then summer vacation, and now educators are bracing for a bigger than normal “summer slide” when classes resume.

photo by Crystal Wiley-Brown

(This program was originally broadcast on October 15, 2019)

Today, Tom’s guest for the hour is the award-winning novelist, literary scholar and artist, Charles Johnson

Dr. Johnson is best-known as the author of Middle Passagethe epic novel about the 1830s slave trade for which he won the National Book Award for Fiction in 1990. At the time, he was only the second African-American man to have won the honor, after Ralph Ellison. 

Johnson's other novels include Night HawksDr. King’s RefrigeratorDreamerand Faith and the Good Thing.

In 1998, Dr. Johnson received a MacArthur Fellowship, the so-called "genius grant."  In 2002, he received the Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters

Lydia Thompson (21st Century Fox) for National Geographic

Powerful painkillers can often dispatch acute pain, but using them for chronic, persistent pain carries the risk of addiction. Nearly two million Americans have a substance abuse disorder stemming from prescribed opioids. So scientists are researching ways to treat pain without drugs. We talk with journalist Yudhijit Bhattacharjee who wrote about them in National Geographic in "Scientists are Unraveling the Mysteries of Pain." And we talk with University of Maryland neurobiologist Dr. Luana Colloca featured in the article. She describes her research using virtual reality to manage chronic pain and her discoveries with the use of placebos. For more information on the National Geographic article, visit this link. For more information on Dr. Luana Colloca's research at the University of Maryland, visit this link.

Harper Collins Publishers

(This program was originally broadcast live on June 17, 2020)

Nationally, the United States ranks 26th in the world in voter turnout.

Given the pandemic, a battered economy, widespread civil unrest and all that is at stake in the upcoming presidential election, it remains to be seen whether more voters will embrace the power they yield at the ballot box in November.

Tom’s guest is Kim Wehle, a constitutional scholar who has written a primer on voting: how voting differs from state to state, what the structural barriers are to voting, and how those barriers can be overcome.

Wehle is a law professor at the University of Baltimore School of Law and a legal commentator for CBS News.

Her last book was called How to Read the Constitution and Why. Her new book is What You Need to Know About Voting and Why. 

Anne Ditmeyer / Flickr Creative Commons

"There’s an extraordinary need out there, by any measure. Within the first 24 hours of launching the program on Wednesday we had 1700 applications either in progress or already submitted.” Baltimore Housing Commissioner Michael Braverman describes a need that reflects the desperation of renters.

Photo by Jerome De Perlinghi

Today, conversations with two acclaimed authors.

Tom's first guest is Madison Smartt Bell, the author of a dozen novels, who is perhaps best known for his award-winning trilogy of books on the Haitian Revolution and its iconic leader, the 18th century general, Toussaint Louverture.   He’s also written several non-fiction books, including a biography of Louverture. Earlier this year, he published a literary biography of an iconic American author who was also a close friend.  Robert Stone is considered by many to be one of the most singular and influential novelists of the postwar era.  Stone passed away in 2015.  Madison Smartt Bell’s definitive, authorized exploration of his life and work is called Child of Light: A Biography of Robert Stone. Madison Smartt Bell joins Tom from his home here in Baltimore.

Stoop Storytelling Series

Here is a spooky summertime Stoop Story from Tom Jub about why 12-year-olds are probably too young to be camp counselors. Check out more Stoop stories and the Stoop podcast here.

Gerard Nova / Flickr

With all its full-service centers open again, the Y in Central Maryland is welcoming members back, after months of essential activity like meal distribution and childcare for frontline workers. President John Hoey describes how the Y has adapted gyms, camps, and preschools to keep patrons safe.

On this live episode, Tony and Cindy open up the phone lines to hear what you are most looking forward to as we roll in to the summer season.

Nikole Hannah-Jones

Tom's guest is the award-winning journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones, an investigative correspondent who covers race and social justice issues for the New York Times Magazine.  She won the 2020 Pulitzer Prize for Commentary for The 1619 Project, a multi-platform exploration of the history of enslaved people in America.  That series began last summer.  Last Sunday, Nikole Hannah-Jones wrote the cover story for the NY Times Magazine, a compelling essay about reparations for descendants of the enslaved, called What is Owed.  

Calls for reparations are not new.  Ta-Nehisi Coates made a Case for Reparations in a controversial Atlantic Magazine essay in 2014.  What is new is the multi-racial and multi-generational protests taking place in communities large and small across the country, and in fact, around the globe.  In  a recent poll, half the registered voters in the US said they support the Black Lives Matter movement.  Given the ubiquity and intensity of demonstrations for racial equality, is now the moment when the calls for reparations will finally lead to sustained action? 

Nikole Hannah-Jones joins us via Zoom.

image courtesy 40 Acres & A Mule Filmworks

It's the July edition of Midday at the Movies, and Tom is joined again by two of our favorite movie mavens -- Washington Post film critic Ann Hornaday and the Maryland Film Festival's founding director, Jed Dietz. 

As demonstrations for police reform and racial justice continue across the country, Ann and Jed discuss the ripple effects the national dialogue on race is having on film culture, from HBO's decision to add "context" to Gone with the Wind --  the classic (and racist) 1939 film about the Civil War-era South --  to director Spike Lee's latest joint, Da 5 Bloods, a film now streaming on NETFLIX that recaps the arc of the 1960s civil rights awakening as it follows four Black Vietnam War vets who return to Nam to recover the remains of a lost soldier. 

As COVID-19 continues to threaten the nation and keep most movie theaters dark, Ann and Jed note the success of recent virtual film festivals and the return of drive-in movies. They also spotlight some other summer streamers, including Shirleya tour-de-force performance by Elizabeth Moss, in a dark, quirky portrayal of horror-genre writer Shirley Jackson, now streaming on Hulu and Amazon Prime; and the Friday, July 3 streaming debut of Hamilton, a film of the multi-award-winning 2016 Broadway stage production, featuring the show's creator, Lin-Manuel Miranda, in the title role.  Hamilton will stream exclusively to paid subscribers on the Disney Plus channel.

Martin Falbisoner/wikimedia.org

People aren’t working as much or buying as many things--which hurts not only their individual economic lives, but the state’s revenues also. The state board with the job of balancing the budget has started reducing spending. We speak with the only member of the board who voted ‘’no”-- State Treasurer Nancy Kopp -- about why she thinks it’s worth taking another month before locking in budget cuts. Plus Sen. Guy Guzzone and Del. Maggie McIntosh, the chairs of two important legislative committees, explain how they’ll approach rewriting next year’s budget.

Here's how The Baltimore Sun and the news site Maryland Matters covered the vote by the Board of Public Works.

Harper Collins

In 2016, when Mike Pence accepted the Republican nomination for vice president, he introduced himself to the national electorate as a “Christian, a conservative and a Republican, in that order.” 

Mike Pence and President Donald Trump appear to be polar opposites.  Why does Pence serve and defend a man so distant from the moral ideals that Pence himself has so long espoused?  According to a probing biography published last fall, Pence chose to do so because “in the end, ambition and the hunger for power outweighed anything else.”

Today on Midday, a conversation about one of the most enigmatic figures in American politics. Biographer and veteran political reporter Tom LoBianco joins Tom via Zoom to talk about his book, Piety and Power: Mike Pence and the Taking of the White House.

Victoria Pickering / Flickr Creative Commons

The Supreme Court recently blocked President Trump’s attempt to end DACA--a program that protects some immigrants who arrived in the US as children from deportation.


HBO and NBC are going national with their newest streaming services. Netflix, Amazon and others are jumping on the Black Lives Matter bandwagon; and Issa Rae and Dave Chappelle are back.  New standouts like Yvonne Orji are making a splash, and the show with a lot of buzz, HBO’s I May Destroy You, raises important questions about victims and victimization. 

Tom's guests for today's edition of Tube Talk are Maureen Harvie, senior producer for WYPR’s On the Record with host Shelia Kast; Jamyla Krempel, screenwriter and WYPR digital producer, and Bridget Armstrong, producer for Land of The Giants: The Netflix Effect, a podcast from Vox Media.

Melissa Gerr

Almost everyone can agree that cleaner air and water is good for the planet. But what if you’re being left out of the discussions that determine priorities, processes and goals? Fred Tutman, Patuxent Riverkeeper, has been working to grow the participation of Black and Brown communities in the environmental groups that serve them. He describes making some headway, but says he knows there’s a long way to go. Plus, we talk with Jenn Aiosa, executive director of Blue Water Baltimore, for a look back at ten years of environmental outreach, education and watershed restoration!

For information about Blue Water Baltimore's Tenth Anniversary events happening June 30, 2020 visit this link.


While the COVID-19 data for Maryland are good in comparison with many other states, more than 3,000 people have died, and the pandemic is still having a profound impact on the lives and livelihoods of Marylanders.  Even as Governor Hogan’s Stage Two re-opening plan allows businesses to resume limited operations, one of the pillars of the state’s economy – child care services for working parents – is in crisis. 

State-wide there are more than 8,000 child care programs licensed to care for over 213,000 children. A little under half of them have been closed since late March.  The rest have been authorized by the state to care for the children of essential first-responders. 

According to a survey by the non-profit Maryland Family Networkjust over half of all child care programs in the state say they may be forced to permanently close if families continue keeping their children home as a result of the pandemic.  Two thirds of the state’s child care service providers reported significant financial losses due to the closures and reduced attendance...

chimimexx / Flickr Creative Commons

Pregnancy during the coronavirus pandemic is uniquely stressful. Dr. Raegan McDonald-Mosley, chief medical officer of Planned Parenthood Maryland, describes precautions expectant mothers should take, and how the shift to tele-health is working. And new mom Shanteé Felix talks about giving birth just as Maryland shut down and how the virus has shifted her expectations.

 It’s the Midday Healthwatch, with Dr. Leana Wen.  

29 states around the country are seeing a spike in the number of new cases of COVID 19.  The CDC has revised its risk assessment for the disease to reflect the fact that more young people are being infected.  Are the numbers headed in the wrong direction because the US is re-opening too soon?

Dr. Leana Wen is a visiting professor of health policy and management at the Milken Institute School of Public Health at George Washington University, a distinguished fellow at the Mullan Institute for Health Workforce Equity and a contributing columnist for The Washington Post. She is the former Health Commissioner of Baltimore City.  

Public health information about the coronavirus can evolve quickly. Two programs in Baltimore City ensure underserved and high-risk populations get their questions answered, and get access to resources when they most need them. We hear from Dr. Panagis Galiatsatos, who co-founded Medicine for the Greater Good, a non-profit that promotes health and wellness beyond hospital walls. And Reverend William Johnson is Community Chaplain at the Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center. He’s also pastor of Sharon Baptist Church in West Baltimore.

To participate in the COVID-19 Community Calls, dial 888-651-5908 and enter participant code 3569812.

Madison Hall

Here's a story from Madison Hall, a recent senior at Bard High School Early College, about trials, tribulations and cancellations -- what it’s like to graduate during a pandemic.

The story was produced by Radio Rookies, WYNC's youth media program, and is part of a collaboration between Radio Rookies and Y-R Media called 18-to-29 Now: Young America Speaks Up.

Wikimedia Commons

Zora Neale Hurston was more than a novelist and bright voice of the Harlem Renaissance--she was also an anthropologist and folklorist. She made a name for herself in New York and the Caribbean--and also spent formative years in Baltimore.

AP Photo/Elise Amendola

Six out of ten people who have died from Covid-19 in Maryland lived or worked in a nursing home, assisted-living facility or group home. Scott Dance, The Baltimore Sun’s reporter on the story, reviews how the state has tried to control the pandemic and the implications going forward. Then, how are some nursing homes using the information in patients’ medical charts to gain an edge on the virus? Scott Rifkin runs Real Time Medical Systems in Linthicum, that mines the data.

Photo by Monica Simoes

The region's theaters remain dark as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to prevent traditional indoor public stagings. But as we've reported previously here on Midday, the shows must - and do - go on, through a rich variety of live-streamed and pre-recorded streaming productions.

Midday theater critic J. Wynn Rousuck joins Tom today to tell us about some upcoming and continuing virtual theater events. Notable among them is the first-ever live streaming at 7 p.m. this Sunday (June 28) of the recorded 2013 production of The Night Larry Kramer Kissed Me, by Obie Award-winning actor and playwright David Drake, with The Provincetown TheaterThe show, directed by Tony nominee Robert La Fosse, weaves threads of the LGBTQ coming-out experience with the story of veteran AIDS activist and playwright Larry Kramer (who passed away just three weeks ago). It features an all-star cast, including Mr. Drake, Tony Award-winners BD Wong (M. Butterfly) and Andre de Shields (Hadestown, Ain’t Misbehavin’), plus 3-time Tony nominee Robin de Jesus (In the Heights, Boys in the Band), and Tony-nominated star Rory O’Malley (Book of Mormon).