The Marc Steiner Show

Forgotten Voices

Ai-jen Poo : Yes! Magazine Breakthrough 15 Honoree

April 4, 2012 – Segment 1

Dubbed “The Nannies’ Norma Rae” by The New York Times, Ai-jen Poo has worked for over a decade advocating for the rights of domestic workers with Domestic Workers United. Today, she joins us to discuss organizing with immigrants for labor rights.

You can read about Ai-jen in the Yes! Magazine Breakthrough 15.  She was chosen by Yes! as one of 15 heroes in their issue marking their 15th year in print.

Deepak Bhargava: Yes! Magazine Breakthrough 15 Honoree

April 4, 2012 – Segment 2

As the Executive Director for the Center for Community Change, Deepak Bhargava works to empower low-income people through community-building. Today, he joins us to discuss organizing for civil rights and economic justice.

You can read about Deepak in the Yes! Magazine Breakthrough 15.  He was chosen by Yes! as one of 15 heroes in their issue marking their 15th year in print.

Henry Red Cloud: Yes! Magazine Breakthrough 15 Honoree

April 2, 2012 – Segment 2

Henry Red Cloud has spent over a decade working to bring green technology and renewable energy to some of the poorest communities in the United States. Currently, he runs the Lakota Solar Enterprises on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota.

You can read about Henry in the Yes! Magazine Breakthrough 15.  He was chosen by Yes! as one of 15 heroes in their issue marking their 15th year in print.

Jason McLennan: Yes! Magazine Breakthrough 15 Honoree

March 8, 2012 – Segment 2

Join us for the next installment in our series of interviews with the Yes! Magazine Breakthrough 15.  In honor of their 15 years in print, Yes! selected 15 heroes whose work is helping to create a more just society.
Jason McLennan is an architect whose passion for “living buildings” bring eco-friendly construction to the next level.  He is chief executive of the Cascadia Green Building Council and of the International Living Future Institute.

Lily Yeh: Yes! Magazine Breakthrough 15 Honoree

January 19, 2012 – Segment 2

Join us for the next installment in our series of interviews with the Yes! Magazine Breakthrough 15.  In honor of their 15 years of publishing, Yes! selected 15 heroes whose work changes the way that we live.

Lily Yeh is the founder of Barefoot Artists.  She joined us to discuss the way that art, love, and a desire for beauty can transform broken and impoverished communities.  You can see her speak at the Bioneers conference here.

Dr. Howard Gardner

July 6, 2011 – Hour 2

Dr. Howard Gardner, Professor of Cognition and Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, is one of the world’s leading thinkers on education and intelligence.  He joins us to discuss his most recent book, Truth, Beauty and Goodness Reframed: Educating for the Virtues of the Twenty-First Century.

Eric Alterman Podcast

Eric Alterman is a writer, historian, college professor, and media critic.  He joins us here to discuss his latest book, Kabuki Democracy: The System vs Barack Obama.  To read more about and by Eric Alterman, click here.

David Swanson Podcast

David Swanson is a writer and progressive political activist.  His latest book is War is a Lie.

We recently interviewed David Swanson at Busboys and Poets in Washington, DC.  Here is our interview, along with the lively audience Q & A.

Lucia St. Clair Robson

Author Lucia St. Clair Robson joins us to discuss her new book Last Train From Cuernavaca, a novel set during the Mexican Revolution of 1910-1920.  Her other books include Ride the Wind, Shadow Patriots, and Ghost Warrior.

Witold Rybczynski

Witold Rybczynski is an architect, writer, professor, and urban thinker.  He joins us to discuss his vision for the future of America’s cities.

Click here for the June keynote in Urbanite Magazine, an edited text version of this interview.

Representative Chris Van Hollen talks healthcare

Continuing our series discussing the healthcare reform bill with Maryland’s Congressional Delegation, Marc sits down with Representative Chris Van Hollen, who is from Maryland’s 8th Congressional District, and who also serves as Chairman of Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. He talks about what’s in the bill, what its passage means for the 2010 midterm elections, and where we go from here.

Interview with Sheryll Cashin

For this month’s Keynote interview in Urbanite magazine, author and professor Sheryll Cashin talks with Marc about the diversity imperative and the civil rights movement of the 21st century.   

Sheryll Cashin is a product of the civil rights era; her mother was arrested during a sit-in while holding the 4-month-old Cashin in her arms, and her father founded an independent political party in 1968 when segregationist Alabama governor George Wallace was making a bid for the presidency. The Georgetown University law professor is also heralded for her memoir, The Agitator’s Daughter, and her book, The Failures of Integration: How Race and Class Are Undermining the American Dream.

For the print version of this interview, visit Urbanite‘s website.  

Update from Sundance

Maryland Film Festival Director Jed Dietz joins us from Park City, Utah to discuss the Sundance film festival.  To read more from Jed, click here for his blog.

Social Justice Advocate Medea Benjamin

Marc talks with Medea Benjamin, the cofounder of CODEPINK, a women-initiated movement to wage peace, and the founding director of Global Exchange, an international human rights organization. Medea is the co-editor of the 2005 book Stop the Next War Now: Effective Responses to Violence and Terrorism; in 2005, she was one of a thousand outstanding women nominated to receive a collective Nobel Peace Prize.

Medea spoke to us from Haiti. She’ll be in Baltimore this Sunday, Jan 31, to give a lecture titled "From Afghanistan to Gaza: Working Toward a More Peaceful World," presented by the 8th annual Ric Pfeffer Lecture and Baltimore Tikkun. The lecture is 7-9 p.m. at 2640 St. Paul Street. (For more information about the lecture, call 410-466-7344 or email

Remembering Howard Zinn

Howard Zinn passed away yesterday at 87.  A historian, professor, activist, and writer, Zinn is best known for A People’s History of the United States.  Howard last appeard on The Marc Steiner Show on November 18, 2009.  Here is his interview from that day.

American Homicide

We speak with Randolph Roth, author of American Homicide.  He offers a historical perspective on violence in the United States, and an explanation of why the United States is today the most homicidal affluent nation in the world.

In the second part of the hour, two Baltimore activists who work to reduce violence in our community join us to continue the discussion with Roth.  Our guests are Dante Wilson, Founder of Reclaiming Our Children and Community Project, and Bishop Douglas Miles, Co-Chairman of BUILD.

Click here for a review of American Homicide written by Michael Corbin for January’s issue of Urbanite Magazine.

Aneesh Chopra: America’s Chief Technology Officer

Marc talks with Aneesh Chopra, the first Federal Chief Technology Officer of the United States (CTO), who previously served as the Secretary of Technology for Virginia. Marc and the CTO explore his ambitious goals for education, internet security and job creation.

Click the podcast player below to listen to our complete interview with Aneesh Chopra. For highlights from this interview and more, check out the Urbanite Magazine’s Feature, KEYNOTE: THE INTELLEGENCE OFFICER, in the January 2010 issue.

Running For Their Lives

It seems simple, but a non-profit organization called Back on My Feet is helping to promote self-sufficiency for the homeless by building a supportive community through an organized running program.  Its members, many of whom are not only homeless but have faced other challenges such as drug addiction and incarceration, have not only run marathons, but also regained control of their lives, securing jobs and housing and staying clean.

You can read more about Back on My Feet in the December issue of Urbanite Magazine.

We’re joined by two of Back on My Feet’s participants, Arnold Shipman and Michael Tate, University of Baltimore student Lauren Lake, who is Arnold’s running partner, and Back on My Feet Baltimore Program Director Jackie Truncelito.

Changing Attitudes Toward Consumerism?

We’re joined by Laurence Kotlikoff, Professor of Economics at Boston University and research associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research, and Elizabeth Haynes of Haynes and Company Consulting and former head of Strategic Planning at Urban Outfitters.

Kotlikoff and Haynes discuss the changing American mindset toward
consumerism.  Do the recent changes in our attitudes toward spending
represent a real sea change in our thinking, or if it’s simply a
fashionable market trend that will diminish as the economy improves?

Check out Rob Hiaasen’s article in Urbanite Magazine this month for more on this topic.

Annie Leonard: The Story of Stuff

When Annie Leonard created a short video illuminating the interconnected nature of environmental and social issues around the world, she never expected many people would see it.  Now that many millions have watched The Story of Stuff online, in classrooms, and beyond, what is Annie Leonard up to?

Click the podcast player below to listen to our complete interview with Annie Leonard.  For more on Annie Leonard and highlights from this interview, go to Urbanite Magazine’s feature in the December 2009 issue.

Alejandro and Ilyich Rivas

16-year-old Venezuelan conductor Ilyich Rivas is in Baltimore for a fellowship at The Peabody Institute.  In this podcast, we talk with him and his father Alejandro, also a conductor, about his musical training, plans for the future, and other interests, as well.  Read more about Ilyich and Alejandro in the November issue of Urbanite Magazine.

Keynote: The Father Figure

Here’s the podcast of the full interview with Joe Jones, founder of the Center for Urban Families, featured in the November issue of Urbanite Magazine.  Click below to listen to the podcast, and click here for the Urbanite feature.

The Best Halloween Story?

With Halloween fast approaching, writer and English professor Andrew Reiner joins us to discuss two of the masters of American spooky American literature, Washington Irving and Edgar Allan Poe.  While Poe often commands more of our attention today, especially here in Baltimore, Reiner urges us to spend more time with Irving, who’s best remember for Sleepy Hollow and Rip Van Winkle.

Listen to the podcast of the interview now, and click here to read the accompanying essay by Andrew Reiner in this month’s issue of Urbanite Magazine.

Pregnancy Centers and Adoption

Kathryn Joyce, author of Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement, talks with us about her article Shotgun Adoption in Nation magazine.  As Baltimore City Council considers a bill that would mandate that crisis pregnancy centers post a sign in their waiting areas stating that they do not provide or refer for abortions and birth control, Kathryn shares some background and provides a larger context for us.

Joseph Bruchac: Abenaki Indian Author

Author and storyteller Joseph Bruchac joins us to reflect on Columbus Day, from his perspective as someone with both Abenaki Indian and European heritage.  Joseph discusses his own life and work, as well.  He’s authored over 70 books, and in addition to writing, he has worked extensively as a musician and in education.  Check out his website to read more, while you listen to this podcast.

James Ellroy on his new novel Blood’s A Rover

Author James Ellroy (L.A. Confidential, The Black Dahlia, American Tabloid) is known for interweaving historical figures into novels that offer detailed looks at the world of American crime. The final novel in his “Underworld USA Trilogy,” Blood’s a Rover, came out at the beginning of September. It’s set in the years 1968 to 1972 and features Howard Hughes, J. Edgar Hoover, the mob, the Klan, voodoo, and much, much more. Ellroy sat down with Marc to discuss the work, how he creates such detailed portraits of past years while living in the modern world, and where he gets his inspiration.

NOTE: There is some graphic language and content in this interview.

Learning the Hard Way with Michael Corbin

We talk with Michael Corbin, who teaches writing to prisoners in Baltimore. His article "Learning the Hard Way" is available in this month’s Urbanite.

Marc interviews Naomi Klein

Author and journalist Naomi Klein (No Logo, The Shock Doctrine) joined Marc for an interview about her recent piece in Harper’s Magazine.  Entitled “Minority Death Match: Jews, Blacks and the ‘Post-Racial’ Presidency,” the article reexamines the 2001 World Conference Against Racism, which took place in Durban, South Africa.  The legacy of the conference has been largely obscured by the walkout of the United States and Israel because of language in a draft resoluion that they saw as anti-Israel.  Klein argues that the real message of the conference was an important renunciation of the racism that is entrenched in our economic system. 

You can read the 2001 Durban Declaration here.

For information on the writers and activists mentioned at the end of the interview, see below.

Roger Wareham, human rights attorney and an organizer of the 2001 World Conference Against Racism
John A. Powell, Executive Director of the Kerwin Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity at Ohio State University
Juan Santos, Latino activist and author.  Read his essay, "Barack Obama and the ‘End’ of Racism."

Author James McBride on Song Yet Sung

Author James McBride (The Color of Water, Miracle at St. Anna) sat down with Marc to discuss his new novel, Song Yet Sung.  Set on the Eastern Shore of Maryland and following a fugitive slave with visions of the future, a waterman and slave catcher, a mysterious hermit, a murderous slave stealer, and many others, the book examines the complicated relationships forged by the slave trade.

Song Yet Sung is this year’s “One Maryland, One Book,” sponsored by the Maryland Humanities Council.  You can see James McBride speak at the Baltimore Book Festival at noon on Sunday, September 27th, or during a week long tour of the state in October.

Leonard Bernstein’s Mass at the BSO

In 1971, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis asked Leonard Bernstein to compose a new work to celebrate the opening of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington DC.  The piece he wrote, Mass, requires hundreds of performers and spans genres from traditional symphonic music to blues to rock and roll.  Last autumn Baltimore Symphony Orchestra music director Marin Alsop led the BSO, the Morgan State University Choir, and the Peabody Children’s Chorus as they teamed up to perform the piece.  Alsop and Dr. Eric Conway, Director of the Morgan Choir, joined Marc in the studio to discuss the piece and the new CD of the performance.

Eat Your Lawn

Ever dreamed of tearing up your lawn and growing some plants you can eat?  We’re joined by Scott Carlson, who did just that outside of his Rodgers Forge rowhouse, and Jon Traunfeld, the director of the Home and Garden Information Center at University of Maryland.  While you’re listening to our podcast, take a look at Scott’s article on this topic in Urbanite Magazine’s July issue.

Druid Hill Park Players

Take a trip with us to Druid Hill Park, where a group called the Druid Hill Park Players formed around the basketball courts, offering mentoring to younger players and providing informal oversight of the courts and the park.  We’ll talk with Orrin Webb, CEO and founder of the Park Players, and Michael Marks, Co-founder and Director of the Park Players.

Read more about Orrin Webb and the Druid Hill Park Players in Urbanite Magazine this month.

John Pipkin: Author of Woodsburner

Author John Pipkin grew up in Baltimore.  He recently had his first novel published, a work of historical fiction using Henry David Thoreau as the main character called Woodsburner.  The book uses a little-known incident in which Thoreau accidentally started a forest fire as its jumping off point.

Talking About Sex with Deborah Roffman

Deborah Roffman has been teaching sex education at The Park School in Baltimore for about 35 years.  She’s reached an audience outside of the classroom, as well, with her two books, Sex and Sensibility: The Thinking Parent’s Guide to Talking About Sex and But How Did I Get In There In the First Place?  Listen to this podcast to hear her thoughts on how our sexual culture has changed, approaches parents take, or might take, in talking with their kids about sex, and more.

To see Marc’s interview with Deborah in the July issue of Urbanite magazine, click here.

Philipp Meyer: Author of American Rust


It just so happens that Philipp Meyer grew up in Hampden, the same neighborhood in Baltimore where our offices and studios are.  He stopped by for an interview while he was in town on the book tour for his first novel, American Rust.  It’s a story set in a small, former steel town in western Pennsylvania, that explores how people’s lives change when stable, middle-class jobs disappear from the place they call home.  Listen to the interview here.

Reconstruction & The First Black Congressmen


Philip Dray is an award winning author who is responsible for novels such as Stealing God’s Thunder and At the Hands of Persons Unknown, which won the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award and the Southern Book Critics Circle Award.  Dray was also a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.

His new novel, Capitol Men: The Epic Story of Reconstruction Through the Lives of the First Black Congressmen, shines a new light on the post-Civil War era of US history, focusing on the first black members of Congress, important historical figures who are frequently overlooked.

Gwen Ifill

Gwen Ifill is a political analyst, newscaster, jounalist, and author, well known for moderating the past two Vice Presidential Debates.  She joins us to discuss her new book The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama.

Composer Nkeiru Okoye


Dr. Nkeiru Okoye is a world renowned classical composer whose works appeal to widely diverse audiences.  Her music draws upon the influences of contemporary classical, African-American, popular music, and West African music to produce award winning compositions which have been performed on four continents. Dr. Okoye holds a B.A. in music theory and composition at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in theory and composition theory at Rutgers University. 

Her most recent work, Songs of Harriet Tubman, will be performed at Shriver Hall, Johns Hopkins University Homewood Campus, Baltimore, Maryland, on Sunday, March 1, 2009. For more info, visit


Jewish Partisan Resistance in Lithuania

In Until Our Last Breath, Michael Bart tells the story of his parents, Lithuanian Jews who joined the Resistance and fought against the Nazis during WWII.  He joined us in the studio on a recent visit to Baltimore.

Zohara Hieronimus on the seven female prophets of Israel

Kabbalistic Teachings of the Female Prophet: The Seven Holy Women of Ancient Israel is the new book
from local author and broadcaster Zohara Meyerhoff Hieronimus. Zoh’s
new book draws the connections between the seven female prophets who are Sarah, Miriam, Devorah, Chanah, AvIgail, ChUldah, and Ester—and the seven lower sefirat on the Kabbalistic tree of life, the days of the week, the human body, Jewish rituals and holidays, and the seven species of Israel, which are wheat, barley, grapes, date or date honey, figs, pomegranate and olives. In her
book, she argues that an integration of all of these elements “shows us a way of living and acting in the world in any given situation in a way most harmoniums to the root nature of the creator in whose image we are made.”



The Kabbalistic Tree of Life

Congresswoman Donna Edwards votes NO on the bailout plan

On Monday, September 29th Congresswoman Donna Edwards was one of three Maryland representatives to vote against the economic bailout plan.  She joined Marc by phone from Washington to explain why she voted against the bill, and what steps she thinks Congress will take next.

Congressman Ruppersberger On The Bailout Plan

Maryland Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger took a few minutes to join us yesterday to discuss the negotiations on Capitol Hill taking place over the Wall Street bailout plan.  Click below to hear what he had to say.
Running time is 8:06.

Nancy Pelosi

Speaker Nancy Pelosi


Nancy Pelosi will be in Baltimore tonight, discussing her new book Know Your Power at 7pm in the Main Hall at the Enoch Pratt Library.

Here’s a podcast of an interview with her today, in which she discusses not only her book, but also the Wall Street bailout being debated in Congress, and her thoughts on the effect race will have in the upcoming presidential election.

Running time is 17 minutes.

The Constitution Day Symposium, pt. 2: Q&A

Constitution Day: September 17, 2008

photo credit: Jim Burger Photography


MICA, ACLU of Maryland Present Constitution Day Event Focusing on Voting Rights, Electoral Reform

Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) and the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland (ACLU-MD) commemorated Constitution Day with Whose Democracy Is This Anyway? Voting Rights and Electoral Reform in 2008. The free symposium took place on Wednesday, September 17 at 7 p.m. in Falvey Hall, Brown Center. It featured The Rev. Jesse Jackson, founder and president of the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition; investigative reporter Greg Palast, author of Armed Madhouse and The Best Democracy Money Can Buy; and Jonathan Simon, co-founder of the Election Defense Alliance.

Marc Steiner, the executive director of the Center for Emerging Media, moderated the panel discussion.

Officially established in 2004, Constitution Day recognizes the ratification of the U.S. Constitution. The annual event continues MICA’s tradition of leadership in raising and exploring important issues surrounding the document that provides the framework for the organization of the U.S. government.

For more information on the Rev. Jesse Jackson:

For more information on Greg Palast: and

For more information on Jonathan D. Simon:


The symposium is downloadable in two parts. Part 2 contains the audience Q&A session.

The Consitution Day Symposium, pt. 1: Panelists

Constitution Day: September 17, 2008

photo credit: Jim Burger Photography


MICA, ACLU of Maryland Present Constitution Day Event Focusing on Voting Rights, Electoral Reform

Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) and the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland (ACLU-MD) commemorated Constitution Day with Whose Democracy Is This Anyway? Voting Rights and Electoral Reform in 2008. The free symposium took place on Wednesday, September 17 at 7 p.m. in Falvey Hall, Brown Center. It featured The Rev. Jesse Jackson, founder and president of the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition; investigative reporter Greg Palast, author of Armed Madhouse and The Best Democracy Money Can Buy; and Jonathan Simon, co-founder of the Election Defense Alliance.

Marc Steiner, the executive director of the Center for Emerging Media, moderated the panel discussion.

Officially established in 2004, Constitution Day recognizes the ratification of the U.S. Constitution. The annual event continues MICA’s tradition of leadership in raising and exploring important issues surrounding the document that provides the framework for the organization of the U.S. government.

For more information on the Rev. Jesse Jackson:

For more information on Greg Palast: and

For more information on Jonathan D. Simon:


The symposium is downloadable in two parts. Part 1 contains the panelist discussion.

Marc interviews Tom Schaller and Bob Moser

Marc interviews Tom Schaller and Bob Moser in Denver during the DNC.  Tom Schaller writes for Salon and is the author of Whistling Past Dixie.  Bob Moser is a contributing writer to The Nation and the author of Blue Dixie: Awakening the South’s Democratic Majority.  They discuss different views on Democratic politics in the south, and more.  Running time is 23:14.

Ted Venetoulis and Tommy D’Alessandro at the DNC

Marc interviews Ted Venetoulis, former Baltimore County Executive, and Tommy D’Alessandro, the former Mayor of Baltimore, in Denver during the DNC.

Gay Republican Trading Cards

Marc interviews the creators of a deck of Gay Republican trading cards during the DNC.  Check out the cards at

Former Republican Governor of Maryland Robert Ehrlich

Click the podcast player below to hear former Republican Governor of Maryland Robert Ehrlich’s thoughts on the upcoming elections, including McCain’s choice of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate, Obama’s current lead in the polls, and more.  Marc and Governor Ehrlich also discuss the Congressional race in Maryland’s first district, where Ehrlich has supported Andy Harris, who beat the incumbent Congressman Wayne Gilchrest in the Republican primary.  Andy Harris is running against Democrat Andy Kratovil in the district that has been one of two in Maryland with a sitting Republican Congressman, while the other six districts are all held by the Democrats.

Maryland Dem Leaders at the DNC

Click below to hear Marc Steiner interviewing Mike Cryor, the Chairman of the Maryland Democratic Party, and Quincey Gamble, the MD Dems’ Executive Director.  It was recorded on the convention floor during the DNC.  Running time is 3:53.

Elijah Cummings at the DNC

Marc sat down with Maryland Congressman Elijah Cummings during the DNC and recorded this interview.  Hear what Cummings has to say about Obama, and more.  Running time is 16 minutes.  Click the podcast player below to listen, or use the mp3 link below to download.

Ron Kovic Also Speaks!

The surprises keep coming.  Ron Kovic, a US Marine who was shot and paralyzed in Vietnam in 1968, then went on to become an anti-war leader, and author of the memoir Born on the Fourth of July, rolled in for a quick, unscheduled speech.  Listen to it here:

Jesse Jackson Speaks!

So, out here in Denver this week, in the middle of everything else we’re doing, I’ve been recording a series of panels hosted by The Nation magazine for podcasts on their site.  Today there was a surprise guest right before the panel, Jesse Jackson.  That’s the Reverend Jesse Jackson, or Jesse Jackson, Sr., not to be confused with his son the Congressman.  From what I’ve heard at this point, he hasn’t been too visible during the DNC yet this week, and today’s the last day.  Word is he flew in from DC this morning. Guess he wasn’t invited to speak at the convention, after his unfortunate off-camera remarks became headlines in July.

Wondering what he had to say here today?  I’ll spare you some suspense; he’s supporting Obama!  To find out more, you’ll have to listen.  Click below:

Luring Hollywood: Debating Film Tax Credits

A look at the practice of using tax credits to lure film industries to locate their productions in Maryland.

Federal Hillywood?

Remember when we found out that the movie of the musical version of the film Hairspray wouldn’t be filled in Baltimore, but rather in Toronto, Canada? Many people were outraged. And the film Annapolis–that was shot in Philadelphia.

Some industry experts, like Jack Gerbes of the Maryland Film Office, argue that there is a substantial return on the
investment in the industry with incentives. Proponents of incentives say we could be more aggressive in the tax credits we offer to film productions, including rebates and sales tax exemptions. They point to the hundreds of millions of dollars these productions spend with local vendors and employing Maryland residents as the benefits of having them here.

But other people, like Sheldon Laskin, an adjunct professor of state and local tax in the Graduate Tax Program at the University of Baltimore Law School, believe that film tax credits are not the best policy. He says that it is a mistake to invest in a production that will be here for only a finite amount of time and will not offer long-term economic benefit.

Jack Gerbes and Sheldon Laskin sat down with Marc Steiner to argue view on this issue. Please note the correction appended to the end of the podcast.

Further reading:


Senator Ben Cardin on MD State Spying

Click on the podcast player below to listen to Marc Steiner’s interview with Senator Ben Cardin about the Maryland State Police spying on peaceful activist organizations.

Sonya Clark: Hair, Art, and Identity

 An interview with textile artist Sonya Clark, whose exhibit at the Walters Art Museum shows sculptures made of human hair.

Do you run your hands happily through your lover’s hair, but cringe when you find one of their hairs on your pillow or in a dish they have prepared for you? Do you spend hundreds of dollars on fancy salons and designer gels and shampoos to achieve that "just rolled out of bed" look? Do you agonize over hair that is thinning as it you older? Is your hair more important to you than you might like to admit?

These are just a few of the tensions that textile artist Sonya Clark’s work is evocative of. Her new exhibit at the Walters Art Museum, "Loose Stands, Tight Knots" is full of pieces she made using her own hair and in some cases, the hair of others. As a black woman, she is well aware of the complicated and fascinating role that hair plays in the African American community. She’s also using her work to reflect on the history of her parents and grandparents, who were also craftspeople.

Sonya sat down with Marc Steiner for an interview about the role hair has played in her life, why she chooses to use it as her medium, and what her art says about human experience.

Below are some pictures of Sonya Clark’s work that are currently being exhibited at the Walters Art Museum. The exhibit will be open until September 21st. Enjoy the podcast and the exhibit!

Links for further learning:

Julia Butterfly Hill: The Girl Who Lived in a Tree

"You want to interview the woman who lived in a tree?" I asked Marc when he told me Julia Butterfly Hill would be in Baltimore and available to talk with us. I admit I was skeptical. Of course I knew Julia’s story. From December 1997 to December 1999 she lived in a California Redwood Tree named Luna to keep loggers from cutting the tree down. Some people called her a crazy hippie, some people said she was an inspiration, while others believed she was breaking the law and should be prosecuted. But that happened ten years ago-why talk to Julia now?

Julia in Luna

I’m happy to admit I was wrong, wrong, wrong. This was one of the most fascinating interviews I have ever had the pleasure of being involved with. In a studio at WEAA on the Morgan State University campus, Julia told the amazing tale of her 738 days living in Luna. She shared with us the poetry and artwork that is currently on display at Baltimore’s own American Visionary Arts Museum as part of the All Faiths Beautiful exhibit. These are drawings and writings she made while living in Luna and they are evidence of the wide array of emotions she went through while she lived in Luna–from fear for her life to a sense of deep joy and oneness with the universe. They are made on scraps of paper and cardboard that she had in the tree with her.


Please enjoy the interview and take the time to visit the AVAM and see Julia’s artwork.  The running time is 56:30.


Learn More:

Some images from Julia’s exhibition at the AVAM.


The Coates: A Father and Son Discuss the Road to Manhood


Ta-Nehisi Coates is an author whose new book is called The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons, and an Unlikely Road to Manhood.  Paul Coates is the father mentioned in the title.  He’s the founder of Black Classics Press.  They joined us to discuss the complexities of coming of age and raising a family in black, urban America.  Their real-life story takes place in Baltimore, but could translate easily to many cities around the United States.

Ta-Nehisi has written for numerous publications including The Village Voice, Time, The Nation, NY Times Magazine, The Atlantic, and O.  I would recommend his blog as a great place to check out some of his writing.  Also, click here for a recent interview Ta-Nehisi did with us focusing largely on the ’08 presidential campaigns.

The running time of this podcast is 49 minutes.  The transcript is available below.

WEAA Town Meeting with Andres Alonso – 2nd Hour

Here’s the 2nd hour of Marc Steiner’s interview with Andres Alonso on WEAA from May 19, 2008.

WEAA Town Meeting with Andres Alonso

On Monday, May 19th from 6-8pm we made our first broadcast on WEAA, 88.9FM. It was a live interview with Andres Alonso, the CEO of Baltimore’s Public School System. The phone lines stayed full, and we took as many calls from listeners as we could over the course of two hours.

Listen to the first hour by clicking the player below, or by downloading the mp3 further down the page. Click here to go to the 2nd hour.


Juvenile Justice: Conversation with Secretary Donald Devore

In this podcast, Marc talks with Donald Devore, Secretary of Maryland’s Department of Juvenile Services, about the work he’s done in his first fourteen months on the job, and the work that still lies ahead for him and his department. 

Note that one person’s name has been beeped out to protect his identity, as he was a minor.  Enjoy and let us know what you think.  Running time 41:41.

Juvenile Justice: Conversation with Ray Cook and Timmy

In this podcast, Marc talks with community activists Timmy and Ray Cook about reforming the Juvenile Justice system.

Ray Cook

Ray Cook is an ex-felon who has dedicated his life to helping save young people. After appearing on The Marc Steiner Show and meeting Secretary Donald Devore, he was offered a job at Department of Juvenile Services down at "Baby Booking." Just a few months ago, he quit in frustration, no longer willing to bang his head against an entrenched bureaucracy.

Ray is back in the streets now, working with the youth in Cherry Hill.  He uses unorthodox methods to help young men and women see a better life for themselves.  He talked with Marc about his experience at DJS and how he thinks the system needs to change.

Joining Ray in the conversation was his mentee Timmy, a young man who spent time in DJS.  He had a lot to say about the system and how he believes it is failing young men in Baltimore.

Enjoy and let us know what you think.  Running Time 41 minutes.


Juvenile Justice: Officials and Activists Discuss Solutions

Welcome to two podcasts on the issue of Juvenile Justice.

When the Baltimore Sun reported that teachers at Baltimore City Juvenile Justice Center had approached Governor O’Malley in March complaining that the Center was out of control, reform advocates weren’t especially surprised. The Center, which houses teenage boys charged with theft, drug dealing, and assault, has been troubled since it opened in October 2003. From Justice Department investigations to chronic understaffing, the Center has never become what it was meant to be, a start at reforming the system.

This week Marc sat down with Secretary of Juvenile Services Donald Devore to find out his plans for turning the system around. He also spoke with Ray Cook, a community activist who started working at DJS after meeting Secretary Devore on our show-but who quit in frustration just a few months ago.

Please click on the links below to access the interviews and see our blog for more on juvenile justice and a chance to comment.

The Visitor: A Talk with Writer/Director Thomas McCarthy

Welcome to a conversation with Thomas McCarthy, the writer and director of a new film called The Visitor.

Tarek teaching Walter the drum

This movie is the tale of a middle-aged college professor, Walter Vale, who comes home to his  New York City apartment after an extended abscense.  He is surprised to find a Syrian man named Tarek  and a Senegalese woman named Zainab living in his apartment.  They are surprised to see him as well, because they believed they had legally sublet the place.  After an exciting introduction, Walter takes pity on the now-homeless couple and invites them to stay in his apartment-thus beginning a relationship with the warm drum-player Tarek and the prickly but beautiful jewelry designer Zainab.  Tarek begins to give Walter drum lessons, which offers Walter a sense of passion that had been missing from his life.  One day, while coming home from a drum circle, Tarek is arrested in the subway.  When Walter arrives at the apartment and tells Zainab, he learns that she and Tarek are undocumented immigrants, and that Tarek’s arrest could mean deportation.

Marc caught up with director and writer Thomas McCarthy, who all Wire fans know as the slimy reporter Scott Templeton.  When he isn’t acting, Thomas is writing amazing movies like his first work, The Station Agent, and this more recent accomplishment, The Visitor.  Marc chatted with Thomas about the creative process of writing and directing, how he cast this multicultural cast, and his thoughts on how movies can speak on sensitive political issues like immigration.

Enjoy, and let us know what you think.  Running time is 31 minutes.


Ta-Nehisi Coates: A Fresh Look at the Democratic Primary


Ta-Nehisi Coates is a writer who also happens to be a native son. He was born and raised in Baltimore and is the son of Paul Coates, creator of Black Classic Press and one of the leaders of the Black Panther movement in Baltimore in the late ’60s and early ’70s. But his lineage is not why Marc invited him for an interview. It was his article in The Nation magazine, in which he argued that, despite all the punditry about how Barack Obama represents post-racial politics, he is actually "the blackest man to take the public stage ever."  In another part of the article, Coates says, "If elected, surely Obama will be the first President to greet foreign dignitaries with a pound. "

How could we pass up a chance to explore that idea?  Marc and Te-Nehisi also talked about Bill Cosby (a subject Ta-Nehisi wrote about in a recent issue of The Atlantic), Al Sharpton, Hillary Clinton, and much more.

Running time is 34 minutes. Enjoy, and let us know what you think.  Don’t forget to check out Ta-Nehisi’s blog and his recently released book The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons, and an Unlikely Road to Manhood.

“The Wire” Panel Discussion at Baltimore Museum of Industry

Here’s a podcast of a panel discussion between four people who played integral, yet completely different, roles in creating the world of The Wire.  Listen to writer Bill Zorzi, executive producer Nina Noble, actor Chad Coleman, who played "Cutty," the gangster turned boxing coach/youth mentor/ladies’ man, and Clark Johnson.  Clark played the city editor Gus in the last season, and directed a few episodes of The Wire, including the pilot and the finale.  The conversation, hosted by Marc Steiner, took place in front of a few hundred people at the Baltimore Museum of Industry on April 30, 2008 at the opening of their new exhibit "Local Scenes on the Silver Screen: featuring The Wire."

Don’t have time to listen to the podcast right now?  Click here to read the transcript.

BMI panel

From Left: Bill Zorzi, Chad Coleman, Marc Steiner, Nina Noble, and Clark Johnson.  Photo credit: mojo40Design of Precise Management Company.

School Violence: Teacher’s Roundtable

No one would ever claim that a Baltimore City Public School teacher has an easy job, but the attack on art teacher Jolita Berryhas made everyone realize just how dangerous a teacher’s job can be. Teachers are beginning to speak up loud and clear about the dangers they face in the classroom and are complaining that they do not receive the support they need from their principals and union representatives.

How bad is the problem? What do teachers need to feel safe? Marc Steiner sat down with two current BCPSS teachers as well as a former teacher who left the system after being attacked twice in her classroom. Joining him was Ebon Soul, a history teacher at Carver Vocational-Technical High School, Julia Gumminger, a former art teacher at Waverly Middle School, and Bob Keal, an ESL teacher at an elementary/middle school in Baltimore City.


 Marc Steiner talks with teachers at WEAA.

Ebon Soul, history teacher at Carver Vocational Technical High School.

Julia Gumminger, former art teacher at Waverly Middle.


Running time is 43 minutes. Video coming soon. Enjoy!

Thanks to our friends at WEAA for helping us out with this podcast.




Iraq: The Real Cost of the War

What is the real cost of the Iraq War? According to the Bush administration, the tab so far totals over $500 billion dollars-10 times the $50 billion originally estimated.

Nobel Prize winner and former Chief Economist and Senior Vice-President of the World Bank Joseph Stiglitz says that number is outrageous-not because it’s so high, but because it’s so low. In a new book written with Linda Bilmes, he says the true cost of the war is going to be closer to three trillion dollars. He alleges that the Bush administration is playing with the numbers by only counting upfront costs-and not including other costs, such as health care for veterans and increased recruitment costs. He also confronts the idea that this war could actually provide a much needed stimulus for the American economy.

Joseph Stiglitz joined Marc Steiner by phone to explain how he came up with the three trillion dollar amount, and what he thinks needs to be done to ensure America’s financial security.

Running time is 34:12.

Body of War

Tomas Young is a young veteran who was paralyzed in Iraq in April 2004. His life and his mission to end the war is chronicled in the new documentary, Body of War, by filmmakers Ellen Spiro and Phil Donahue. It is also the story of his mother, Cathy, as she sends yet another son, Nathan, off to a war that has already sent one son home disabled. It is the story of his wife, Brie, who finds herself serving as Tomas’s nurse, a role that puts stress on their new marriage. And it is the story of Senator Robert Byrd, the senator from West Virginia who was 85 when he led the charge against war, an attempt that ended in ultimate defeat. Ultimately, it is the story of how a nation went to war, and the terrible consequences this nation now faces.

The film is being shown now at festivals and independent theaters across the country. Marc Steiner sat down with Tomas Young and filmmakers Ellen Spiro and Phil Donahue to talk with them about the film and the message they hope it sends.

Body of War Interviews

School Violence: Students Speak Out

Yesterday, we visited the offices of the Baltimore Algebra Project. This is a place where students from all over Baltimore are paid to mentor and tutor one another. There is also an advocacy component. Members of the Algebra Project have been detained by police in Annapolis while protesting at the State House and have attempted to place Nancy Grasmick, Maryland Superintendent of Education, under
citizen’s arrest. Marc talked with three students, Stephanie and Ralikh from Baltimore Polytechnic Institute and Greg from Heritage High, to find out what they think should be done to stem violence in school.

Ralikh, Stephanie, and Greg (in the hat)


Running time is 47:10.

School Violence: Dr. Andres Alonso

The question of whether or not enough is being done to keep students and teachers safe in Baltimore City Public Schools is being asked a lot lately, ever since art teacher Jolita Berry was attacked by a student in the classroom, and students later uploaded videos of the beating to video sharing websites.

We sat down with Baltimore City Public Schools CEO Dr. Andres Alonso to find out what his plans for reducing school violence are.

Running time is 51 minutes. Let us know what you think!



Andres Alonso with Marc Steiner in his North Avenue office

Video: Andrei Codrescu

This is a video of part of Andrei and Marc’s conversation, as the topic turned to communism. It contains footage that is not included in the podcast!

Andrei Codrescu

Andrei Codrescu left Romania as a teenager, made his way to the United States via Italy, and after spending time in many parts of the country including Detroit and New York City, eventually settled in New Orleans. He teaches English at LSU in Baton Rouge and has been providing commentary for NPR’s All Things Considered since 1983. In “After the Deluge: A Letter to America” he writes, “…it’s okay to be alive and you don’t have to work like a dog without any joy in this lifetime.” Still, he must work pretty hard because he’s published a huge stack of poetry, fiction, and essays over the last four decades.

Andrew Codrescu
Andrei Codrescu
Andrei Codrescu
Andrei Codrescu
Andrei Codrescu and Marc Steiner
Andrei Codrescu and Marc Steiner

Click here to go to Andrei’s website and click here for an archive of his stories from All Things Considered.

Use the flash player below to listen to to a podcast of Marc Steiner’s interview with Andrei Codrescu last Friday. Running time is 49:13. Topics sprawl from Andre’s writing, to New Orleans, chess, mysticism, the Holocaust, and more.

Iraqi American Viewpoint: An Interview with Adil Shamoo

Imagine you are a person who left your native country because you didn’t want to live under its government. Imagine several decades later, your adopted country chooses to invade your native country and topple the same regime you left under.

Iraqi Americans Celebrate
Iraqi Americans in Michigan celebrate
execution of Saddam Hussein. Not all Iraqi Americans were so
happy. Photo Credit: Associated Press

What do you do?

Do you celebrate, thrilled that the regime you disliked is now gone?

Or do you mourn as you watch your country, which despite the dictatorship was a vibrant safe place, turn into a place you can barely recognize?

Such is the circumstance of many Iraqi Americans. Most of the
Iraqi’s living in the United States disliked Saddam Hussein. But that doesn’t mean they were happy to see U.S. tanks roll into Baghdad to topple his government.

The fifth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq is upon us. Over the
next couple of weeks, we’re bringing you interviews with scholars,
veterans, peace activists, and more. Today, we are bringing you an
interview with Dr. Adil Shamoo. Dr. Shamoo grew up in Iraq, in the
Chaldean christian community. He came to the United States in the
1960’s, and he a professor of bioethics at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

Running time is 25:30. The music heard at the beginning
and end of this interview is “Second Baghdad” by the Iraqi musician Rahim Alhaj.

Most recent articles written by Dr. Adil Shamoo

Other links of interest

Child Brides, Stolen Lives: The Problem of Child Marriage

Female genital mutilation. Sex slaves. Human trafficking.

These are the topics that journalist Maria Hinojosa thought of when she was deciding which global women’s issue to focus on for a special episode of NOW, the acclaimed PBS program. But a phone call to a source set her straight. The biggest issue facing women globally is not genital mutilation, or slavery. It is the millions of women that are forced to marry as children. 51 million girls under the age of 18 are married. According to a report by the International Center for Research on Women, that number will rise to 100 million by the end of this decade. Marc and Maria sat down and talked about her documentary Child Brides; Stolen Lives which premiered on PBS in 2007.

Afgan Bride

Sunam is only 3 years old. She is dressed up in her bridal
outfit as she prepares to marry her 7 year old cousin.

Photo Credit: Farzana Wahidy/AP.

Want to watch the documentary? Visit the website of Now on PBS.

Under the cut…resources and pictures!

Here are a couple of the girls you will meet in this documentary and interview


Habi lives in Niger. She will tell the story of how she came to be incontinent as a result of being married as a child.


Mamta was only 7 when she was married to a man she had never met. She is afraid of her husband.

Other resources

Several months ago, the New York Times Magazine published a stunning series of pictures of child brides in Afghanistan with their husbands. Here is a link to that article and slideshow. One photo is above. Ghulam Haider, 11, is to be married to Faiz Mohammed, 40. She had hoped to be a teacher but was forced to quit her
classes when she became engaged. Photo Credit: Stephanie Sinclair for the New York Times

The International Center for Research on Women has a wealth of information about child marriages. Visit their online exhibit Too Young To Wed: Child Marriage in their Own Words.

Let us know what you think of the interview.

Program length is 39: 21.