WYPR Programs | WYPR

WYPR Programs

MGA Legislature / YouTube

Less than five weeks before the election deadline--some state and local politics this morning! WYPR state government and politics reporter Rachel Baye updates us on what proposed changes in police powers and prerogatives state senators started examining in hearings last week. You can view the hearings here.

State Lawmakers Take Up 15 Proposals To Reform Policing
Families Of Police Victims Push State Lawmakers For Change
Police And Its Critics Back Changes To Law Enforcement Officers' Bill of Rights

Then, Ian Round, who covers politics and accountability for Baltimore Brew, discusses the race for mayor of Baltimore, proposals that could shift power between the mayor and council, and a challenge to the District 12 council incumbent.

Muller Paz campaign event postponed after Eastside shooting
Robert Stokes latest campaign fundraising haul: $0.00

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.     


Columbia Global Reports

Tom's guest is journalist John Judis, an editor-at-large at Talking Points Memo and the author of many books.  He’s just out with the third in a trilogy of books he's written for Columbia University's Columbia Global Reports that examines three potent political movements that have shaped, and continue to shape, the world we live in: populism, nationalism and socialism. Judis' first book in the trilogy, The Populist Explosion, was published in 2016. He followed it with The Nationalist Revival in 2018.  And coinciding with another election cycle, the third book, published today, is called The Socialist Awakening: What’s Different Now About the Left.  

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. Original airdate 7/9/20.

Links: Coronavirus Lost and Found, and Collecting in Quarantine.

photo courtesy Mfume for Congress

Today, it’s another installment in our series of Conversations with the Candidates.  

Tom's guest is Congressman Kweisi Mfume, who represents Maryland’s 7th District .  Mfume won a special election in April to fill the vacancy left by the death of his long-time friend, Congressman Elijah Cummings.  He bested a large field of Democrats in a June’s primary and now, as he did last spring, Congressman Mfume is running against Republican nominee Kimberly Klacik.  He won their last race decisively. 

Congressman Mfume previously represented the 7th district  from 1987 to 1996, before leaving Congress to head up the NAACP.  The seat he vacated in 1996 was filled by Elijah Cummings. 

Rep. Mfume will turn 72 years old next month.  He is married to Dr. Tiffany McMillan, an Assistant Vice President at Morgan State University. They live in Southwest Baltimore.

Congressman Kweisi Mfume joins us on Zoom.

Listeners are welcome to join the conversation.  


Tom's guests now are two activists in the LGBTQ+ community who have organized a unique event to fund organizations that are helping their community to cope with COVID 19.  Jon Adler Kaplan is the development chair of the LGBTQ+ Fund at the Baltimore Community FoundationFranklin McNeil is the co-chair of the Fund.

Melissa Gerr

With many bus and train riders staying home during the pandemic, transit agencies across the country are being hit with huge losses in revenue and facing tough decisions. Councilman Ryan Dorsey, chair of the city council’s transportation committee, joins us to discuss the effects of the cuts in service put forth by the Maryland Transit Administration. Brian O’Malley, head of the Central Maryland Transportation Alliance, argues for alternative ways the state transportation department could shore up its losses. And Dr. Celeste Chavis, who teaches at the Urban Mobility and Equity Center at Morgan State University share her concerns about the long term.

To read more about MTA proposed cuts, visit this link. For Dr. Celeste Chavis's op ed, visit this link.

For information about MTA public comment meetings visit this link and scroll to the bottom. You may also send comments to: HearingComments@mta.maryland.gov

AP Photo

It’s the Midday Newswrap.  The late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg continues to make history.  She is lying in state at the Capitol at this hour, the first woman to be so honored. 

President Trump is expected to announce his nominee for Justice Ginsburg’s replacement tomorrow.

Last night, in Baltimore, and in cities around the country, protests continued expressing outrage over the police killing of Breonna Taylor in Louisville last March. 

And on Wednesday afternoon in the White House Briefing Room, in an astonishing statement, President Trump would not commit to a peaceful transfer of power after the election in November.  His comments, made in an exchange with Playboy Magazine reporter Brian Karem, have raised a political furor and stoked new fears that America's constitutionally guaranteed presidential transition process could be in for a rough ride this November.

Joining Tom via Zoom to discuss the controversy is Paula Reid, who covers the White House and the Justice Department for CBS News.

Flickr / Upaupa4me

As coronavirus metrics continue to improve in Maryland and growing numberrs of parents are heading back to workplaces, many are struggling to find child care. 

Tom talks with Anita Hilson, Executive Director of the non-profit child care provider Open Door, about the challenges area parents are facing in accessing safe and affordable childcare amid the continuing pandemic.  

You can find more information about Baltimore County’s Child Care Scholarship (CCS) Program on the Baltimore County Government website.

Singel Carrot Theatre

Midday theater critic J. Wynn Rousuck joins Tom today with a review of new works by two established theater companies who've taken novel approaches to their pandemic-proscribed craft. 

In Single Carrot Theatre's "Keep Off the Grass: [a guide to something]" the itinerant company has found a way to do a real-live theater production without violating COVID-19 public health restrictions. Single Carrot describes the piece, devised by the ensemble and co-directed by Alix Fenhagen and B. Kleymeyer, as "an outdoor, walking audio play [that] weaves original folktales with visual performances (at a distance) to delve into the ethical questions that we grapple with..."

Playwright Lola Pierson, with Acme Corporation, an innovative Baltimore theater company, has written and produced an unusual piece called The Institute for Counterfeit Memory: A play in a box. Each ticketed audience member receives a small box to open at home. The box contains various items, including a tiny mp3 player with audio files and earbuds, a music box, a mirror, some printed cards, a candle jar to illuminate a photographic slide, and other objects which are meant to be used according to the audio instructions.  The interaction provides the user with a unique and moving narrative experience...

City Lights Books


We begin today with a news update from Louisville, Kentucky.  Yesterday afternoon, Daniel Cameron, the Attorney General of Kentucky, and a judge, announced that a grand jury had decided NOT to indict two of the police officers who killed 26 year-old Breonna Taylor last March. News of the grand jury decision sparked loud protests in Louisville, and many other cities across the nation.  Two Louisville police officer were reported to have been injured by gunfire Wednesday night, and the city remains under a 9pm-6:30am curfew.  For a live update on the situation, we’re joined by Jared Bennett. He is a reporter with Louisville Public Media’s WFPL (89.3 FM) and the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting. Bennett joins us on the phone from Louisville.


Then, Tom spends the rest of the hour remembering Julian Bond, a civil rights icon and an influential and compelling voice for equality and justice.  He had a long career as an activist, a legislator, and a teacher.  Bond was a prolific writer and speaker, and it is striking to read his work from the 1960s on, and realize that, as with the case of Breonna Taylor, so many of the issues Julian Bond organized around for more than 50 years remain unresolved today...

Devin Allen

Trumpeter Brandon Woody is a young artist with big dreams, and the work ethic to achieve them. We hear about his band, UPENDO, as well as how performing has changed during the pandemic.

Listen to the song, "We, Ota Benga." You can catch Upendo this Saturday at R House in Baltimore. Ticket information here.

Flickr / Park City

It’s been six months since restaurants in Maryland were forced to shut down because of the coronavirus. The cessation of in-person dining lasted through most of the spring.  Some restrictions were eased at the end of May. As of last week, restaurants are allowed to have 75% capacity in their dining rooms. 

But despite their best efforts, much damage has been done.  Thousands of restaurants have permanently closed their doors, leaving millions of restaurant workers unemployed.   As the industry focuses on recovery, what will the future of dining-out look like?  

Tom’s guest is Chef and author John Shields. He is the proprietor, along with John Gilligan, of Gertrude’s Chesapeake Kitchen at the Baltimore Museum of Art.     


AP Photo by Susan Walsh

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who passed away from cancer last Friday, is lying in repose at the Supreme Court at this hour.  On Friday, Justice Ginsburg will lie in state at the Capitol.  She will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery next Tuesday, the day after Yom Kippur.

And on Saturday, President Trump will announce his nomination for her replacement on the court.  It does appear now that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has enough votes among Republicans to move that nomination forward, over the objections of Democrats who say that, in accordance with public opinion polls and given the proximity of the election, the choice should be made by whoever wins in November...

Tom’s guest is Dr. Maya Rockeymoore Cummings.  She’s a political consultant and the widow of the late Rep. Elijah Cummings, who served in Congress for two and a half decades, and who called Maya his soul mate, in his words, “for 11 years of marriage and an eternity of connection.”   

In the final year of his life, before he passed away last October, Elijah Cummings worked on a memoir with the writer James Dale. It’s called We’re Better Than This: My Fight for the Future of Our Democracy.


AP Photo by Cliff Owen

The battle lines are being drawn around the timing of a Senate vote to confirm a nominee for the Supreme Court to replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who passed away from cancer last Friday.  The iconic jurist will lie in repose at the Supreme Court tomorrow and Thursday.  On Friday, Justice Ginsburg will lie in state at the Capitol.  She will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery next Tuesday, the day after Yom Kippur.

And on Saturday, President Trump will announce his nomination for her replacement on the court.  It does appear now that there is enough support among Republicans to move that nomination forward.

Tomorrow on Midday, I’ll speak with Andrew Grossman, an adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute.  He’ll argue that the Senate should move ahead with the confirmation of President Trump’s nominee to the High Court and not wait until after the November 3rd general election.  Today, we hear from a legal scholar who argues that the Senate should wait until after the election, which is just 42 days away.

Ronald Weich is the Dean of the School of Law at the University of Baltimore.  He’s held that post since 2012.  Before that, he served as an assistant attorney general in the Justice Department during the Obama Administration.  Dean Weich joins Tom on Zoom to discuss his view, which he articulated in a weekend OpEd piece in the Baltimore Sun, that the Ginsburg vacancy on the Court should be the next president's to fill.

Episcopal Diocese of Maryland

The Maryland Episcopal diocese has made a powerful statement: delegates to the diocesean convention this month voted decisively to commit one million dollars in reparations -- funds that will go toward strengthening and expanding programs in African American communities in Baltimore and beyond. The Rt. Rev. Eugene Taylor Sutton, Bishop of the Maryland Episcopal diocese, talks with us about forgiveness and reconciliation and the work this generation must do to dismantle structural racism and correct wrongs of the past.

US Senate Collections

Today on Midday on Politics, we assess the state of Senate races around the country, in light of the death on Friday of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.  How will her passing and the fight over her successor affect the composition of the United States Senate, and the 2020 presidential election?  

Twenty-one Republican incumbent senators are on the ballot.  There are three open seats currently held by Republicans.  Eleven Democratic incumbents face re-election.  There’s one open seat currently held by a Democrat, in New Mexico. 

If Democrats win three or four seats currently held by the GOP, they will take control of the upper chamber.  Two Democrats, Doug Jones of Alabama and Gary Peters of Michigan are considered vulnerable, and if they lose, the magic number for Democrats is possibly higher.

Some polls suggest that Republicans in North Carolina, South Carolina, Colorado, Montana, Iowa, and elsewhere could be displaced come November. 

Tom's two guests today help us take a closer look at these battleground contests for Senate control, and examine how the outcomes may be influenced by the epic Senate battle ahead over the new vacancy on the Supreme Court. 

Brian Gratwicke / Flickr Creative Commons

Restoring a meadow habitat, protecting vernal pools, searching for the Eastern Hellbender--the Susquehannock Wildlife Society spans 20 acres in Harford County.

Rice is an ancient and global foundation food of many cultures and culinary styles. This week Tony and Chef Cindy take your calls and emails about what role this fundamental grain plays in your kitchen.

Whose Baltimore do we see on TV and in film?  In her new book, historian Dr. Mary Rizzo examines how our city’s long-standing racial and economic divide has influenced the art that comes from here, and how public policy shapes the way artists choose to depict Baltimore in their work.  It’s called Come and Be Shocked: Baltimore Beyond John Waters And The Wire.

Mary Rizzo will be part of the Enoch Pratt Library’s Writer’s Live Series next Tuesday. You can find more information on the Enoch Pratt Library website.  

Dr. Mary Rizzo, is a cultural historian at Rutgers University, who has a special interest in how cities are represented in media and the arts.   

Jerry Seib

It’s the Midday Newswrap, our review of the week's top news developments.  On Tuesday night, President Trump left the safe cocoon of Fox News and submitted to a nationally broadcast Town Hall meeting on ABC television. At Constitution Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, an audience of undecided voters and host George Stephanopoulos challenged the President, who often contradicted his own previous statements on a number of issues.  At a press conference Wednesday afternoon, the President directly contradicted the Senate testimony of Robert Redfield, the head of the CDC, about the prospects for a vaccine. 

Last night, CNN hosted a drive-in Town Hall with the Democratic presidential nominee, former Vice President Joe Biden, at a minor league baseball field in Scranton, PA.  Polls show Biden still in the lead, but the race is tightening. 

Tom's guest for the Newswrap today is Jerry Seib.  He’s the Executive Washington Editor and columnist for the Wall Street Journaland the author of We Should Have Seen it Coming: From Reagan to Trump-A Front Row Seat to a Political Revolution.

Jerry Seib joins Tom on Zoom.

The word ‘Zoom’ takes on a whole new meaning in 2020. It’s no longer just a reference to speed … though it has accelerated the ease with which people connect, whether across town or around the globe. Cellist Amit Peled felt that boosted connection in his newly launched online cello academy--his response to being cut off from students by the pandemic’s lockdowns. Plus, his student from Abu Dhabi, Elham Al Marzooqi, the first and only female cellist in United Arab Emirates, shares her experience.

Amit Peled performs the Bach Suites via livestream at An Die Musik this Sunday, Sept. 20 at 3pm.

For information about the Online Cello Academy, visit this link.

Stoop Storytelling Series

Here's a Stoop Story from Beth Frederick about practicing tolerance and experiencing grace. You can hear her story and many others at Stoopstorytelling.com, as well as the Stoop podcast.

Robert B. Reich

Tom's guest today is Robert B. Reich.  He’s a busy and distinguished guy.  He served in three administrations, including as Labor Secretary during Bill Clinton’s presidency.  He’s a professor of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley, a columnist for Newsweek and The Guardian, an award-winning filmmaker, the founder of the non-profit educational enterprise called Inequality Media, and a frequent presence on television and in the blogosphere. 

He’s also the author of 18 books, the latest of which is called The System: Who Rigged It, How We Fix ItIt's a kind of open letter to Jamie Dimon, the CEO of the largest bank on Wall Street, JP Morgan Chase.  Dimon is also the Chair of the Business Roundtable, a group of nearly 200 of the nation’s most powerful and influential CEOs.  Mr. Dimon and his fellow bankers were largely responsible for the economic catastrophe that gripped the US and the world in 2008, in which the total net worth of American households dropped by $11 trillion dollars...  

Mark Teske, University of Maryland School of Medicine

The entire world awaits a COVID-19 vaccine. The Trump administration is pushing “Operation Warp Speed” in an effort to find one fast. Dr. Wilbur Chen, of the University of Maryland Center for Vaccine Development and Global Health, is conducting trials and explains the process. Plus, we hear why it’s imperative that African American and Latinx communities be involved in testing a vaccine. George Escobar of CASA’s Department of Health and Human Services works with doctors to ensure participation of the CASA community.

To participate in COVID-19 vaccine trials, visit this link.

View the NYT Coronavirus Vaccine Tracker here.

MK Asante is the author of the critically acclaimed 2013 memoir, Buck, which traces his rise from North Philly hustler to distinguished professor. 

Six years on, he remains on the cutting edge of how people are telling the story of the Black experience in America. In his latest endeavor as the host and executive producer of two Snapchat original series: While Black and Free Tuition Asante harnesses social media to create a forum for Black youth to discuss the issues of their day including, police brutality, politics, and education.

MK Asante joins Tom for the hour on Zoom, from his home in Baltimore.

Baltimore City Public Schools

School is back in session! As distance learning continues across Maryland, Baltimore City Schools CEO Dr. Sonja Santelises joins us for an update. What’s the plan for reopening? How are city schools bridging the digital divide?

If you have technology or academic questions, you can reach City School’s Online Learning Support Line at 443-984-2001, from 10a-3p for assistance. 

Wallace for Mayor Campaign

There are 49 days to go until the November 3rd elections. Among the many contests voters will be deciding will be the race for Baltimore mayor.  In addition to Brandon Scott, the Democratic nominee, and Shannon Wright, the Republican, voters will also have a Working Class Party candidate, David Harding, and a former Republican who is running as an independent, Baltimore businessman Bob Wallace.  The 63-year old Cherry Hill native, who founded and runs three local companies, says he wants to become Baltimore's "mayor-preneur," and to give Baltimoreans a real choice in leadership after a half-century of Democrat control of City Hall.

Today, Bob Wallace joins Tom for the hour on Zoom to discuss his independent mayoral campaign, in another of our continuing series of Conversations with the Candidates.  We also welcome calls, emails and tweets from listeners with comments and questions for Mr. Wallace.

F Delventhal / Flickr Creative Commons

You can learn about the history of slavery in Maryland from books, or you can experience by visiting--virtually or in person--the places where enslaved people lived, worshipped, were sold, and sought freedom.

Dennis Doster oversees the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission’s ‘Black History Program.’ To fully understand the Underground Railroad, he says, look further back, to the War of 1812 and the American Revolution.

You can watch Dennis Doster speaking at the recent Preservation Maryland event on the Underground Railroad here.

Plus, campfire conversations and archeological digs. We preview this weekend's event, “Echoes of the Enslaved," with Joseph McGill, founder of The Slave Dwelling Project, and archeologist Stephanie Sperling. This is a virtual event to discuss the lives of the Native Americans and enslaved Africans who once lived in the area. Click here for Friday's event. Click here for Saturday's event.