October 8, 2007

010/08/2007 Maria Allwine

"Why is the Steiner Show having a candidate on?" You might say.  "The elections are over!  Dixon and Rawlings-Blake won!"  Ah, Baltimore.  Where the primary decides it all.  Or at least that's the accepted wisdom.  Maria Allwine would have it differently.  She's running as a Green Party candidate for President of the Baltimore City Council. People loved her at our debates (go here and scroll down to the bottom of the page to find the links to listen).  Her comments elicited lots of applause and cheering, especially when she talked about the War on Drugs and her anger at the treatment developers get and affordable housing.  A lot of people seemed to like what she was selling.  Is she going to surprise all of us in this election by doing better than expected?  Join us with your comments and questions for Ms. Allwine, today at One.


October 4, 2007

10/4/07 O’Malley on Gay Marriage… City Teachers’ Contract Impasse

Many thought Maryland would join the small list of states to allow gay marriage until the Court of Appeals made a decision upholding the ban two weeks ago.  Some have questioned whether Governor O'Malley has changed his position on the issue over time.  See this article in The Washington Blade, as one example. There's a clip from WJZ in October of 2004 in which, referring to gay marriage, O'Malley, then Mayor of Baltimore, says "I'm certainly not opposed to it."  Not necessarily wholehearted support, but maybe moreso than his statement following the court's decision, quoted here in The Washington Blade article mentioned above: "I look forward to reading the Court's full opinion, but as we move forward, those of us with the responsibility of passing and enforcing laws have an obligation to protect the rights of all individuals equally, without telling any faith how to define its sacraments,” O’Malley said in a statement following a request from the Blade for comment. “I respect the Court's decision." O'Malley addresses the controversy around his position on gay marriage at the beginning of our show today, and then one of the lead plaintiffs in the case that sought to legalize gay marriage in Maryland, Lisa Polyak, joins us to respond. Also, in the noon hour, you can hear about the ongoing dispute over teacher contract negotiations in Baltimore.  They've reached an impasse over the logistics of adding a mandatory collaborative planning period into teachers' schedules. We separately interviewed the two key players, Andres Alonso, CEO of BCPSS, and Marietta English, President of the Baltimore Teacher's Union.  More info from The Sun here. Teachers, parents, students, administrators, objective third parties, supporters and opponents of gay marriage, please, leave us your thoughts here. -Justin
October 4, 2007

10/4/07 California Prisons and Wesley Clark

from the New York Times.  Read the accompanying article here.

California is one of those places that sets trends.  Making restaurants smoke free...the fitness craze..."green living" and nutrition.  And if you think about it, they also show us what problems the rest of the country can expect.  Illegal immigration, water shortages, gang activity, a real estate market more and more people are getting priced out of....California began to struggle with these problems before anyone else.  With that in mind we were interested when we heard about a documentary that will air on the Discovery Channel on Sunday at 9pm called Breaking Point.  It is an investigation into the problems of overcrowding in California prisons.  Those prisons were built to house about 100,000 people.  Today they have more than 170,000 inmates.  Prisoners are being segregated by race and gang affiliation in an attempt to keep some kind of peace.  Inmates are sleeping on cots in hallways and gyms.  And it costs as much to house, clothe, and feed a prisoner each year as it does to send someone to Harvard. We'll talk with Ted Koppel who hosted and produced this documentary, and James Blue, an award w inning producer who worked on the documentary who just happens to live in Baltimore! and then....

"I'm coming for you, WYPR."

He's not seeking the Democratic nomination for President of the United States this time around, but he still has a LOT to say about leadership, citizenship, and politics in America.  Marc talks with retired General Wesley Clark about his new book A Time to Lead: For Duty, Honor and Country. -Jessica
October 3, 2007

10/3/07 Rob Gifford – China Road


Before Rob Gifford got his current job as NPR London Bureau Chief, he spent six years as NPR's Beijing correspondent.  While there, he made the 3,000 mile journey from east to west along China's Route 312.  Then he wrote a book about it, China Road.  Rob joins us via ISDN from London today to tell us all about his exotic roadtrip, his time in China, and to share some observations about China's present and future role as growing world superpower.

While you're listening, you can go to Rob's site to see some pictures from China, like the one below, taken by Patrick Fraser.  Click here to go right to the pics.



October 3, 2007

9/3 Columnists/Reporters on Crime

Statistics show the murder rate in Baltimore could reach three hundred by the end of the year. Our metropolitan neighbor to the north, Philadelphia, has already passed that number. This fall, both cities are facing mayoral elecions where crime, specifically the rise in homicides, is one of the leading issues. Down south, in New Orleans, has returned to its pre-Katrina homicide rate. Once again, we'll discuss how these cities are dealing with the increase in crime, from the viewpoints of reporters and columnists in Baltimore, Philadelphia and New Orleans.                                                                                                                                      -Marcus Click on each journalist's name for a link to their writing: Gus Sentementes - Baltimore Sun Annette John-Hall - Philadelphia Inquirer Allen Johnson Jr. - New Orleans freelancer


October 1, 2007

10/01/07 Public Housing

somerset.jpgodonnel.jpglatrobe-homes.jpgcherry-hill.jpg   The varied face of public housing in Baltimore.. the above pictures are all from different public housing developments, or projects, in the city.  From top to bottom, we have Somerset Homes, O'Donnell Heights, Latrobe, and Cherry Hill. The Baltimore Housing Authority has been on the defensive lately, starting with an article in The Sun last week questioning their use of funds to demolish certain housing projects without plans to rebuild them, or replace the lost units of housing elsewhere.  That raised objections from a few people, including Congressman Cummings. Then, The Abell Foundation released a study yesterday, authored by Joan Jacobson, entitled "The Dismantling of Baltimore's Public Housing."  Maybe you can tell by the title, it offered some criticism.  Included in the report is a candid rebuttal by the Housing Authority, which is actually longer than the study itself. We're bringing together some of the key players today, with some different ideas of how to meet the challenge of providing housing for the poorest in our city.  If you have 2 cents to throw in, we'd be curious to hear it. -Justin
September 27, 2007

9/27 2007 Fall TV Season

dzurawik.jpg This week the networks are heralding the premieres of their new fall series. Listeners of a certain age might recall a time when there were only three networks and you anxiously awaited the new fall tv season. With cable stations and premium channels like HBO creating their own series, ABC, NBC and CBS no longer gain the lion's share of the telelvision viewing audience. Joining Marc this hour, for what is always a popular show, is Sun television critic David Zurawik; who also hosts WYPR's Media Matters Take on Television. He'll discuss the new fall series and have the latest information on returning favorites. Stay tuned.                                                                                                                                    -Marcus
September 27, 2007

9/27 Tavis Smiley

tavis.jpg Marc's guest this hour is Tavis Smiley who hosts signature national talk shows on both public television and radio. A former aide to the late Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley, Smiley made history in 2002 when he became the first African-American to host his own show on National Public Radio. Recognized by Time and Newsweek as one of America's most promising leaders, Tavis Smiley is in Baltimore to host an All-American Presidential Forum for PBS, tonight at Morgan State University. Tonight's forum will allow Republican Presidential candidates to address issues of concern for people of color. Tonight's debate, however, has not been without controversy. The leading contenders for the Republican nomination will not be in attendanc citing scheduling conflicts. After declining an invitation to debate on Univision, earlier this month, critics view this as evidence of the Republican party's lack of concern for minority issues. We'll talk about this issue and others with public radio and television host Tavis Smiley.                                                                                                                                   -Marcus
September 25, 2007

9/26 Ambition

Ambition is defined as an eager or strong desire to achieve something. However, it's a quality we applaud or abhor in people. Depending on your age, gender or socio-economic status, ambition can be a good or bad thing. According to one of our guests this hour, ambition is the inner drive that pushes someone to achieve and is essential to leadership. As history has shown us too much ambition can bring harm to others; not enough can result in a lonely existence and people not reaching their potential.                                                                                                                                     -Marcus
September 25, 2007

09/25/07 Cynthia Enloe

Today for the second half of the one o'clock hour we'll talk with Cynthia Enloe.


She is in town today to give the 1st annual Korenman lecture at UMBC, today at 4:30 pm. Go here for more information! I don't know how one gets to become known as "an international feminist treasure," but I imagine it involves being pretty smart and interesting.  She is the author of Bananas, Beaches and Bases: Making Feminist Sense of International Politics, Maneuvers, The International Politics of Militarizing Women's Lives, and, The Curious Feminist: Searching for Women in a New Age of Empire She writes and teaches about the interplay of women's politics in the international arena. One example she focuses on is the implications for women that exist in the War in Iraq. What does it mean for feminism? What does it mean for the welfare of women in the Middle East? Join us!


September 25, 2007

09/25/07 Banned Books


I'll be honest. I originally decided to do a segment on Banned Books Week because I was fishing around for a last minute show idea. I thought, "Oh, this will be interesting. We can talk about all the great classics that were once banned!" Basically, I equated the practice of banning books with history. As in, that doesn't happen anymore. Oh boy, was I wrong. Do you know the federal government is banning some books in prisons? Or that books about gay penguins are being challenged in libraries across the country? I remember a series of books I loved when I was a preteen. It was a series about a girl named Alice and her two best friends by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor. I loved this series. The main character was wondering all the same things I was, feeling all the same things I did, was perplexed by everything I was perplexed by. It felt like having a friend. It made me feel less alone, and safe. I was looking at the list of the 10 most challenged books of 2006, and the Alice series is STILL on it! The books started being written in the 80's! Now on the other hand, I was in a bookstore last week and I went into the young adult section and I have to admit, I was pretty horrified. Some of the titles and covers were shockingly grownup and seemed to encourage girls to subscribe to a mindset where pretty, popular, sexy, and sophisticated is all that matters. I grabbed one of the books from the Gossip Girl series and leafed through it. Scotch, sex, smoking. All of these things were discussed casually or actually occurred in the first 10 pages of this book. I certainly don't think I would want my (nonexistent) daughter reading this book. But I guess I feel like that is a choice I as a parent should make. Not the government. What do you think? Did you realize we lived in a world where Toni Morrison still has two books on the most challenged list?


September 25, 2007

09/25/07 Gay Marriage

While there are always vociferous and vicious attacks against any gay rights legislation from some fundamentalist religious quarters, I think most Americans and most Marylanders are perplexed and don’t know what we should do.  Many, if not most, heterosexuals in our nation grew up in Christian, Muslim or Jewish homes where marriage was between a man and woman.  Where homosexuality was over there somewhere...someone who was a little "light in the loafers"...some form of aberration, or a way of avoiding the draft. I think many just have difficulty thinking about sex between two men or two women together.  The idea of same sex marriage is just too foreign for most people. Do you think that is true?  Now, maybe we should just take religion out of civil ceremonies for marriage.  I mean if Valerie and I were to marry at City Hall, it would not be called a civil union, but being married through a civil ceremony.  So, the idea of civil unions, I think, is just a strategy to make same sex marriage more palatable for the rest of us. What do you think it would do to the fabric of society if gays and lesbians were allowed to be married in civil ceremonies?  You can’t force a religion to perform marriages that they deem inappropriate, that violates their tenants. Many churches, synagogues, mosques, and temples will not perform marriages between people of different faiths; others may not even perform marriages that cross racial or ethnic lines or when someone is divorced. It is their right. If our state and nation allowed same sex marriage, no one could force a religious group to marry them or sanction them.  Of course, there are a minority of religious institutions that would marry gays and lesbians.  That is their right, also. Gays and lesbians are our neighbors, our co-workers, our brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, best friends, acquaintances and cousins.  They have children of their own, or through surrogates and adoption.  They serve in the military and in all branches of public services.  They defend us in court, serve our dinner, perform surgeries on our bodies, build our homes and are part of every facet of life. Is their right to marry not a human right? A civil right? What would happen to us as a nation if they had the right to a civil marriage with all its protections?  What has happened in Quebec, Vermont, Massachusetts, Hawaii, Holland, Spain and South Africa where same sex couples are allowed to marry? What are your thoughts? Join us at Noon today, and here.


September 24, 2007

9/24/07 Jena 6, and Edwidge Danticat

Today at Noon we discussed what is going on in Jena, Louisiana, and what it means for the entire country, and for race relations.  How will this particular event go down in history?  Can Jena be redeemed? And then... How do you get to be known as "legendary" while still in your 30's?  I don't know, but I guess Edwidge Danticat does, because she has accomplished this.  She joined us to discuss her new book, a memoir.  It begins on a day in September of 2004 when she learned that her father was dying and that she was pregnant.  From there it moves to her childhood, and her emigration to the U.S.  Hope you enjoyed it!


For more info about Jena 6, click on the names below to go to a couple of other blogs that were mentioned during the show today:

Friends of Justice (Alan Bean)

Southern Poverty Law Center


September 20, 2007

9/20/07 Robert D. Kaplan


Whether or not you agree with Robert Kaplan's politcal opinions and worldview, which are undoubtedly controversial, a couple points are hard to argue.

He's highly influential, not only through his prolific writing, which includes a dozen books and twenty years worth of features and op-eds in everything from the NY Times to The Washington Post to military journals to The Atlantic Monthly, where he serves as correspondent, but also through the role he has played as advisor to the US government and military.

He's a great writer, always conveying a wealth of information in a way that is both literary in style and readable.  He does a great job of combining on-the-ground reporting, history, politics, travel writing, and literary references with his own forward-thinking analysis.

That said, you can decide for yourself what you think of Kaplan's opinions.  Click here for an archive of his articles for The Atlantic Monthly.  His most recent book is Hog Pilots, Blue Water Grunts.  I would strongly recommend one of his earlier books, Balkan Ghosts, an in depth look at the tumultuous Balkans.

Leave your comments here to let us know what you think of today's interview and any of Kaplan's writing that you may have read.


September 20, 2007

09/20/07 Civility

Okay, Puppy Day is over.  Sigh.  But today at Noon we've got some really interesting stuff for you. 


Sometimes I will be standing in line at a store here in Baltimore and am just inwardly cringing at the rude behavior of the person in front of me--the way they order the clerk around, demand stuff without saying please, and don't bother to say thank you.  It drives me nuts.  I was raised differently.  When I was a server in a restaurant this used to really bother me as well, when people at my tables would just totally dispense with civility and be rude to me.  Do you ever bemoan the loss of politeness and manners in today's world?  Do you think it has a real effect on our ethics and quality of living?  Has our loss of civility harmed our social fabric?  Or am I just being a fuddy-duddy and I need to get with the new, casual way of life? We'll be discussing all this and more today with Dr. P.M. Forni.  Ten years ago, he co-founded the Johns Hopkins Civility Project, where they study and assess the effects of civility-or the lack of civility-on modern life. Join us with your thoughts, comments, and horror stories of rude people! Poll: Is American society less civil now than it was in the past?


September 19, 2007

9/19/07 Health Care Reform


Before we get to the cute puppies at 1pm, we'll be taking a look at health care reform.  You can never have enough pictures of cute puppies, though.  If anyone would like to share any of their own, please feel free.  Actually, I should post some pictures of the new kitten in my house that's about 7 weeks old, talk about cute.  Check in soon for those. I know everyone has a lot to say about health care reform, not to mention a lot of questions.  Today, we'll be discussing different ideas for reform, the possibility of a single payer system, what the presidential candidates are talking about, and much more.  So, call or write in with your own thoughts, ok?  Thanks. -Justin
September 19, 2007

9/19/07 Blackwater USA

On Sunday, there was a shootout in Iraq.  No big deal, right?  Happens all time?  But this one was different, because it wasn't between insurgents and coalition troops, or between different Iraqi groups.  The shootout was between guards who worked for the private military company Blackwater USA and and Iraqi civilians.  Anywhere from 8-20 Iraqi's were left dead, depending on your source.  The circumstances surrounding the shootout are in question but Iraq has revoked Blackwater's license and their right to operate in Iraq.   I find this whole issue interesting because it brings up the issue of sovereignty and who exactly has the power in Iraq--the Iraqi's or the Americans.  Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has said he wants Blackwater gone, but the U.S. is advocating a wait-and-see approach to this. Join us as we speak with Naomi Klein, who is an expert on disaster capitalism and the author of The Shock Doctrine, about this issue. 


September 19, 2007

9/19/07 PUPPIES!



It's been  a somewhat stressful morning around here.  Can I tell you how excited I am by the fact that at one o'clock, representatives from Baltimore Area and Rescue Shelter (BARCS)are going to bring a doggie in?   I am also excited about the work BARCS is doing to expand their offerings for really sick animals.  They don't just get in normal abandoned puppies, kittens, dogs and cats.  They get in animals with severe physical problems.  And I think anyone who owns a pet knows how amazingly expensive serious veterinary care is.  So BARCS has started a fund to take care of these animals.  It was inspired by Franky, who was only four months old when his owner threw him out of a second story window and then put him in a trashcan.  BARCS saved Franky's life, and it wants to save the lives of more animals, so it started this special fund. Want to bring a special pet into your life?  Click here to view the animals BARCS has for adoption! We'll hear about all this and more.  Join us!


September 18, 2007

9/18/07 Rumi Turns 800!


September 30, 2007 will mark the 800th anniversary of the great Sufi mystic poet Rumi.  A number like 800 deserves more than one day of celebration, so we'll be starting ours at 1pm today with Coleman Barks, who has done the finest English-language Rumi translations that I have read. If you already are familiar with Rumi's tremendous body of work, I don't need to write anything else here.  If not, I hope you'll have a chance to hear today's show.  There's plenty of Rumi's writing, as well as information about him online, as well.  Click here for one good place to start. -Justin
September 17, 2007

9/17/07 Iraq Correspondents Panel



Reporting from Iraq, not everyone's idea of a choice job.  Despite the obvious risks, some people wouldn't have it any other way.  One of our guests this hour, The Washington Post's Baghdad Bureau Chief Sudarsan Raghavan, has been on with us a couple times before.  Last time, his hearing was damaged from a bomb blast in the Green Zone that he was caught in the middle of.  I remember him talking about whether he considered leaving Iraq after that, and it sounded like he really felt compelled to stay.  Check out his articles here.

Two other reporters are joining us for the first time today, Gordon Lubold from the Christian Science Monitor and Tina Susman from the LA Times.  Just click on their names to see what they've been writing.

Hopefully, we'll have an hour today that goes beyond all of the political rhetoric on Iraq  last week, from Petraeus and Crocker's testimony to Bush's speech, and helps us gain an understanding of what is really going on there.


September 17, 2007

9/17 Beethoven

beethoven.jpg This year te Baltimore Symphony Orchestra plans to perform the symphonies of Beethoven. With the exception of Mozart, there is probably no other classical composer as popular as Beethoven. From Schroeder's adoration of the composer in the Peanut's comics to the animated sequence set to the Pastoral Symphony in Disney's Fantasia, Beethoven remains at the forefront of the classical music canon. This hour Marc takes an in depth look at Beethoven. He'll discuss the man and his music with Maestra Marin Alsop Music Director of the BSO. Also taking part in the discussion are John Gingerich, who's on the faculty of the Peabody Conservatory of Music and Bill Meredith, Director of the Ira F. Brilliant Center for Beethoven Studies.                                                                                                                                        -Marcus
September 13, 2007

9/13/07 Woman on the Rag

When a one-woman show is named "Woman on the Rag" you know that the creator and performer will be a very different guest from our usual authors, politicos, and journalists.  And you won't be disappointed!  Susan Mele, along with director Gene Fouche (who runs the Maryland Ensemble Theatre),  joins us to discuss her upcoming opening at the Theater Project.  Woman on the Rag will be opening this weekend and runs through next weekend.  Go here for more information, and here to read Susan's blog for Trek bikes.
September 13, 2007

9/13/07 David Friedman

At one point in time, this was the most famous face in the world.  I bet most people today, at least the ones under 50, couldn't guess who it is.  It's Charles Lindbergh, who rose to fame in 1927 for being the first person to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. He achieved instant international recognition.

Now I am willing to bet that NO ONE can identify the man in this picture, though his contribution to mankind was just as important (maybe even more so, if you've ever had or ever expect to have surgery).  It's Nobel Prize winner Dr. Alexis Carrel. And what does famous aviator Charles Lindbergh and scientist Dr. Alexis Carrel have in common?  Find out today at One o'clock, when we speak with David Friedman, author of The Immortalists: Charles Lindbergh, Dr. Alexis Carrel, and their Daring Quest to Live Forever.


September 13, 2007

9/13 Geoffrey C. Ward and The War


It was known as the Good War and gave birth to what became known as the greatest generation. Of course we're talking about WWII.  The American involvement in WWII is chronicled in Ken Burns' latest documentary, The War which will debut on PBS September 23rd. Joining Marc this hour is historian, biographer and winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award Geoffrey C. Ward. Ward wrote the narrative and companion book The War: An Intimate History, 1941-1945 for the Ken Burns documentary which some are calling his best work.                                                                                                                                         -Marcus
September 12, 2007

9/12 City Election Primary Wrap-up

 The results are in. Mayor Sheila Dixon handily won the Democratic nomination in yesterday’s primary and is on her way to becoming Baltimore’s first elected female mayor. In the closely watched race for City Council President, incumbent Stephanie Rawlings-Blake won also. Aside from the incumbents in the top spots winning the nomination the real story of yesterday’s primary election was the low voter turnout. Election officials reported one of the lowest voter turnouts for a mayoral election in years. With a soaring crime rate and the ongoing issues of schools and development why was there such a lackluster turnout? Marc talked with a panel of reporters including John Fritze of the Sun, Sean Yoes of the Afro-American and Columnist Antero Pietella this hour to discuss yesterday’s primary and what the results mean for the future of Baltimore.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        -Marcus
September 12, 2007

9/12/07 Bo Lozoff


I was trying to figure out how to describe our guest for 1pm today, which isn't easy.  It seems like he has a lot of pursuits going on, with a common underlying motivation, but not anything that fits into the usual categories.  Then I found a mention on this website of an award he won that seems to sum it all up: The Temple Award for Creative Altruism.  You can learn more about the award and the institute behind it here.  It was the phrase "creative altruism" that struck me, though.  That seems to be the common thread in his works, whether doing prisoner outreach, writing books and music, starting the first biodiesel processing nonprofit in his home state of North Carolina, and more, which we'll hear about today. -Justin
September 11, 2007

9/11/07 Petraeus and Crocker



First of all, is it just me, or does "General Petraeus" sound like a character from The Aeneid or some other Greek war epic?  It's a strange contrast with "Ambassador Crocker."

Secondly, the attention seems to really be focused on him, as opposed to Ambassador Crocker.  Maybe Crocker feels slighted, or maybe he's happy to avoid the harsh glare of the spotlight.  Either way, here are a couple takes on our willingness to trust military opinion on the war moreso than political opinion: one from the NY Times yesterday and one from The Center for Media and Democracy.

Here is the transcript of Petraeus' testimony yesterday and here is the transcript of Crocker's testimony yesterday.

Today is Patriot Day, a national holiday.  Wikipedia has an interesting article on it here.  Yes, there are greeting cards available, even e-cards.


September 11, 2007

09/11/08 disappear fear and Lea Jones

Today during our second hour we bring you some great music!

First, we're going to be joined by SONiA Rutstein and Laura Cerulli of disappear fear.  Their new CD, t a n g o, is a collection of thirteen songs in Spanish, Hebrew, Arabic and English on the themes of Love, Peace, and Equality.  This C.D. is a world of lush string arrangements, beautiful harmonies, and a view of the world that is most definitly unique.

And then...our friend Lea Jones is back.  In 1992 in a trailer on a dead end road in Washington State, he recorded 10 songs that were meant to serve as the soundtrack for Marc Waszkiewicz's documentary film Vietnam: An Inner View.  The documentary was never made; but the C.D. is finally being released to mark the 25th anniversary of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.  It's called Selector Switch On (Rock and Roll).  Lea is in studio and will be playing some tunes; Marc will be by phone from Washington state.  It will be a great hour so please join us! 


September 10, 2007

9/10/07 The next Mayor of Baltimore is…

...we'll find out tomorrow.  In the meantime, it's time to figure out who to vote for.  If you haven't done your homework, yet, and are wondering what the mayoral candidates have to say, you can hear four of them for half an hour each on today's show: Andrey Bundley, Jill Carter, Sheila Dixon, and Keiffer Mitchell. If you're looking to really go in depth, check out the new, ever-expanding page of election coverage we've been putting together on -Justin
September 6, 2007

9/6 City Council President Candidates

blake-3.jpgharris1.jpg With the primary less than a week away some observers are looking past the mayoral primary and view the City Council President as the political race to watch in the city.  Last week Marc sat down for brief one on one interviews with three of the Democratic candidates for city council president. Marc spoke with current City Council President Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Councilman Ken Harris and Community Activist Michael Sarbanes. The candidates discussed why they’re running, their commitment to making Baltimore a safer city and their vision for Baltimore’s future.                                                                                                                                        Which candidate do you like?  Who do you think will make the biggest changes in the city?  What don't you like? Poll: Who would you like to see be Baltimore City Council President?                                                                                                                                 -  Marcus
September 6, 2007

9/6 Governor Martin O’Malley


A looming state deficit, taxes, development and the ongoing debate over slots, these are some of the state issues facing Marylanders this year. We’re going to address these issues and more when Governor Martin O’Malley joins us in the studio. This is the Governor O’Malley’s second appearance on the program since being elected to the office in 2006.  Nine months into his first term, Governor O’Malley is mulling the possibility of a special General Assembly session in attempt to solve Maryland’s budget problems. A recent Sun article stated Governor O’Malley plans to unveil a plan, to solve the state’s budget problems, within the next few weeks.                                                                                                                                What are your questions and concerns for the Governor? Poll: Do you approve or disapprove of the job Martin O'Malley has done as governor so far?   -Marcus 
September 5, 2007

9/5/07 Forward-Thinking… and Nancy Grasmick

I'll leave it up to you to make a connection between the two topics of our show today. The new school year is underway, and we continue our educational coverage at 1pm with Nancy Grasmick, the State Superintendent of Schools.  For Maryland, of course. But first at noon, we have a more, perhaps, abstract hour of thought.  It started with Bob Herbert's editorial in last Saturday's NY Times called "Anxious About Tomorrow."  It got us thinking about the huge changes in US society, ranging anywhere from health care, to technology, to education, to our whole polical system and economy... everything, basically.  Are our current politcal and social institutions fit to adapt to these changes? We'll be trying to get the bottom of these and other small questions in an hour today. -Justin
September 1, 2007

9/4 Um… Slips, Stumbles and Verbal Blunders

um_thumb.jpgmichael_author_small.jpg The next time you listen to or watch an interview see if you notice how many times the person being interviewed says um…like… or you know... In this modern age of You Tube, 24-hour news and paparazzi even the most polished public speaker is bound to be caught making a verbal gaffe.  

Overuse of too many “uhs…” or “ums…” can result in someone being seen as a poor speaker or unintelligent. According to our guest this hour language expert Michael Erard verbal gaffes say a lot about who we are. In his new book UM…Slips, Stumbles and Verbal Blunders, and What They Mean  Michael Erard offers an in-depth study of everyday speech, Freudian slips and our fascination with language mix-ups.

 Join us for a discussion that will have you looking at language in a whole new way                                          Do you have a great and embarassing story of a verbal blunder you've made?  If so, share it with us!                                                                             -Marcus
September 1, 2007

9/4 Frederick Bealefeld III

bealefeld2.jpg In July, Mayor Sheila Dixon fired Police Commissioner Leonard Hamm and replaced him, at least temporarily, with Frederick H. Bealefeld III who has stated he would like the job full-time.

As the Sun recently reported, Bealefeld has emerged as one of the top two contenders for the position of Baltimore’s top cop. Viewed as a street-savvy hands-on cop, Bealefeld, who comes from a family of police officers, has steadily climbed the ranks through the police department to his current position.

                                                                                                                                          -Marcus Poll: Should Fred Bealefeld be the permanent police commissioner?
August 31, 2007

9/3/07 Labor Day

Happy Labor Day folks! We're celebrating by taking the day off and putting on a couple choice interviews that you might have missed earlier this summer. At noon, we have an in-depth look at the history of the Pentagon.  The interview is with Steve Vogel, a reporter at The Washington Post and author of a book fittingly called The Pentagon: A History.  It actually has a longer, second subtitle as well: The Untold Story of the Wartime Race to Build The Pentagon - And to Restore It Sixty Years Later. At one, we have a guest who should need little introduction, Michael Chabon.  Here him talk about his novels, including The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay and his most recent book, The Yiddish Policemen's Union, as well as his enthusiasm for Barack Obama and plenty more. Also, keep an eye on our website this week for the premier of a new section featuring behind the scenes videos of the campaigns leading up to the Baltimore Primary Elections, and our coverage of them.  We're all thrilled to see the dialogue taking place here after the mayoral debate on Tuesday.. hope to see more as the election draws near. -Justin
August 30, 2007

8/30/07 The Digital Divide

Interesting story of how this show came to be.. I keep a list of ideas for possible future shows.  Marc had an idea last fall about "expanding/democraticizing internet access."  Months passed, and nothing came of it.  Then, earlier this summer, a friend of a friend named Pete showed up to play basketball at my house one evening.  He was telling me about his job as a research associate for a non-profit in DC that works to improve internet accessibility in the US.  I was telling him about my job here, and then realized he was the perfect person to talk to about this show idea from long ago. Fast forward, Pete hooked me up with a ton of information and other people to talk to in planning a show about the digital divide, and why it matters that people have fast and affordable internet access.  It's crazy to look at how quickly a lot of other countries have progressed in this area, while the US has been dropping further and further behind.  The internet was invented here, but while other countries have treated as a neccessary part of infrastructure that government should ensure is developed, we have treated it like a luxury commodity, allowing the big telecommunications companies to make huge profits but not ensuring that our population is best served. Time for the show.. hope you enjoy it, and I look forward to hearing what you have to say afterwards. -Justin
August 30, 2007

08/30/07 Public Safety

Join us today at one o'clock when we will be talking to the Presidents of Baltimore City Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge 3, Baltimore City Firefighters Local 734,  Baltimore City Fire Officers Association Local 964,  and Baltimore City Sheriff's Office Lodge 22.  They've formed a public safety alliance and have information for the public about how to be safe...and there is lot's of policy issues to discuss, from the turmoil in the fire department after the death of a young recruit last February, and the uncertainty in the Police Department as an interim commissioner takes the lead (with others circling) and an election takes place.  Join us with your comments and questions today.


August 29, 2007

08/29/07 Mayoral Forum

I complained here about the lackluster spirit surrounding the mayoral debate and how disappointed I was in it.  I had been looking forward to the excitement surrounding the elections since the Senate and Congressional races wrapped up.  I love elections; I think they are so much fun.  All the civic enthusiasm, watching people get excited and angry--it's fun for me.  I'm a dork, I guess.  I had been disappointed with how ho-hum it was all shaping up to be. But last night restored my faith!  We held our mayoral forum at the Enoch Pratt Free Library.  In attendance were Sheila Dixon, Andrey Bundley, Robert Kaufman, Mike Schaefer, Jill Carter, and Keiffer Mitchell.  The crowd was intense and very involved.  I heard a lot of "Tell it!" and "Yes you did!" and "No you didn't!"  We had to stop and ask people to be quiet several times.  There was quite the peanut gallery in the back of the auditorium, where I was standing.  Emotions were running high.  Of course I had to tsk-tsk some people for talking over the candidates but I was also thrilled that people were inspired!  I hope you'll listen to the forum today, which we are rebroadcasting from 12-2 pm on the show.  And then come here and let us know what you think! Poll: If the primary were today, who would you vote for?


August 28, 2007

8/28/07 Linda Perlstein 1pm


Back to school.. never my favorite time of the year.  So, I'm thankful that as students from nursery school to grad school go back to school this time of year, I'm not among them.

That being the case, I wouldn't have chosen to do what author Linda Perlstein did.  She spent a year immersed in the life of Tyler Heights Elementary School in Annapolis.  Her book, Tested: One American School Struggles To Make The Grade, chronicles the time she spent there.  Its focus is on the effect No Child Left Behind, and the increased focus on standardized testing in education, is having on school administrators, teachers, and most importantly, students.

Public education in the US has changed a lot in just the past few years.  If you have first-hand experience with those changes, as a student, parent, teacher, or through any other perspective, we welcome your thoughts, as always.


August 28, 2007

8/28 Labor, Licensing and Regulation Secretary Tom Perez



For the first time since they’ve kept records, beginning in the 1950’s, home prices are expected to go down. Across the country mortgage foreclosures are becoming an increasing problem. What happens to the economy if a large number of homeowners go into default? Marc's guest this hour is Maryland Labor, Licensing and Regulation Secretary Thomas Perez. Tomorrow he’s scheduled to testify before the Maryland Senate Finance Committee regarding the foreclosure problem in Maryland.   In addition to mortgage foreclosures Marc will talk to Secretary Perez about the ongoing issue of slots in Maryland. Perez recently completed a report concluding slot machines are necessary to protect the state’s horse racing industry.                                                                                                                                          Marcus Information for first time home buyers: 1-800-784-0316
August 27, 2007

8/27/07 Marc’s First Post!

Hey everyone …How do you cover an election with honesty and integrity?  We are going to talk about that at the noon hour today. Here we have Baltimore City elections with four democrats and one green running for President of the City Council.   That’s not so hard, but you have nine candidates running for Mayor. The media, even in the City Council President race, is focusing on the two “big names,” Stephanie Rawlings Blake and Michael Sarbanes.   When we sponsored the President’s debate last week with the League of Women Voters,  the Sun the next day focused on Rawlings-Blake and Sarbanes.  They were really good that night, but Councilman Ken Harris and Green party candidate Maria Allwine had some really profound things to say, and one would never know that by reading the article. So, what do we do?   If you have no money, you can’t buy signs, media time or literature.   So, you get forgotten by the voters and the media.   Do we in the media have a special responsibility to raise the public debate to be all inconclusive?   Is there a threshold in polls or money that should decide who gets covered?   Is public financing the answer and how do you do that?   How do you break through the clutter?

Let us know .. call in or blog on to give us your ideas.

And at one, it is Jonathan Kozol … he is amazing.  He is one of the most cogent, brilliant thinkers about education anywhere.   His books like Savage Inequalities are milestones in educational writing.    All of you have been to school or have kids in school or had kids in school.   We all have opinions about what education should be. He and I will cover vouchers, No Child Left Behind, standardized testing and most importantly from his book, Letters to a Young Teacher, the art and beauty of teaching. That art and beauty of teaching is something we are losing all too rapidly.  Did you see the Sunday Sun with the article about pre-school?  We are taking the play out of nursery school and kindergarten … kindergarten mean children's garden, where they can blossom, learning through play.

What are we doing to our children?  Unless you can afford private school it seems we are regulated by mind numbing regulations, testing and boredom.  Thank God for the creative teachers who love our kids and teaching enough to make it alive despite the rules “to teach for the tests!”

What are your thoughts?  I would really like to know. Hear you on the air... read your thoughts on the blog, marc
August 27, 2007

08/27/08 Jonathan Kozol

I stand in awe of teachers.  I really do.  Especially city teachers, or any teacher in a low-income neighborhood.  Especially any teacher in a low-income neighborhood that is teaching at a public school and thus has the spectre of No Child Left Behind hanging above her/his head all the time!  I mean honestly, how do you deal with that?  Well, Jonathan Kozol has some advice.  He is of course the educational activist most famous for his book Savage Inequalities: Children in America's Schools.  That book looked at race and class based economic disparities in American schools.  His new book is quite a bit more personal.  It's a series of letters he wrote to a young teacher during her first year in a Boston Public School.  It's his advice to a young teacher about how to succeed not only winning the attention of the students--but also how to maintain a sense of whim and imagination in a world obsessed with test results.  It's called Letters to a Young Teacher. What do you think? Poll: Do you think No Child Left Behind has been good or bad for our schools? Poll: What do you think of Kozol's advice that teachers subvert NCLB in any way possible? Enjoy the hour.  -Jessica
August 27, 2007

8/27 Media’s Role in Elections

Another election season is upon us. While there are five candidates seeking the office of Baltimore City Council President and nine candidates running for mayor how many candidates are you aware of? The same with the Democratic and Republican candidates running for next year’s presidential nomination. Can you name all of them? When a number of candidates run for one political office does the media attention on only the leading candidates influence the race? Do candidates end up getting excluded because of polling, fundraising and media resources?  This hour we discuss the role of the media in political races. We’ll discuss the who, how and what determining which candidates receive the most media coverage with Sean Yoes, Senior Reporter for the Afro-American newspaper, Baltimore Sun City Editor Howard Libit and Patrick Gonzales, whose market and research firm conducts political polls. What do you think?

Poll: Should the media pay more attention to lesser known candidates?

You can go here (pdf) to get the League of Women Voters 2007 Primary Voters' Guide. And come to our Mayoral forum on Wednesday night from 7-9 pm in the Wheeler Auditorium at the Enoch Pratt Free Library.                                                                                                                                      Marcus
August 22, 2007

8/22/07 Dr. Andres Alonso

Tonight, a very special two hour Marc Steiner Show.  We bring you a conversation with Dr. Andres Alonso, the new CEO of Baltimore City Schools.  He'll be on the air with the Chairman of the Baltimore City School Board. My co-producer Marcus says he has seen this scenario a thousand times; a new official comes into a city, and there is a lovey-dovey honeymoon period where everyone extols the virtues of the new official and truly believes this person will have the secret on how to change things.  And then the blush leaves the rose.  What do you think?  Have you heard things from Dr. Alonso that make you feel that maybe this guy has a chance to really make a difference? Poll: Do you think Dr. Andres Alonso can make Baltimore City Schools better? Poll: Should Baltimore have an elected school board? Poll: Should the City-State Partnership be ended? Poll: Should principals and teachers have more autonomy? Join us tonight!  Get your questions in beforehand here, or email us at, or call during the show, from 7-9 pm, at 410-662-8780, or 1-866-661-9309 (I finally got those numbers memorized!)


August 22, 2007

08/22/07 President of Baltimore City Council Forum

Ooowee!  If you didn't join us last night at the Enoch Pratt Free Library to hear the candidates for President of the Baltimore City Council argue their cases for why they should be elected, you missed out!  I'll be honest; I wasn't thrilled at the idea of working until 9:30.  But I had a great time and was really impressed by a lot of the things the candidates had to say.  Couldn't come?  That's okay; we're replaying the entire debate today, on air.  Tune in to hear Maria Allwine (G), Stephanie Rawlings-Blake (D), Ken Harris (D), Michael Sarbanes (D), and Charles Ulysses Smith (D).  You'll hear their answers to burning questions such as: If you had the power to do so, would you remove the Male/Female sculpture in front of Penn Station?  What high school did you go to?  And of course, we'll talk serious policy issues; the drug problem, vacant homes, schools, taxes, etc. Special thanks to the League of Women Voters of Baltimore City for arranging and hosting the event! Don't miss next weeks forum with the candidates for Mayor of Baltimore City!  Same time (Wednesday, 7pm), same place (Wheeler Auditorium, Enoch Pratt).  Call 410-377-7738 for more information. Listen to the forum! Hour One  Hour Two



P.S. Extra points if you can determine exactly where the debate got a little dirty!

Poll: Who would you like to see be Baltimore City Council President?

Poll: If you had the power to, would YOU remove the Male/Female statue outside of Penn Station?

August 21, 2007

08/21/07 Cummings, Schools, Republicans, and Israel/Palestine

Today we bring you four fascinating interviews.
  • Congressman Elijah Cummings joins us to discuss the Iraq War and more.
  • We talk to Principal Susan Burgess and teacher Tracy Larkins from George Washington Elementary, a Baltimore City school that is having great results on standardized testing.  What are they doing right?
  • Our old friend Richard Vatz, Professor at Towson and Associate Psycology Editor of USA Today Magazine, stops by to discuss his recent editorial about Republicans and 2008 politics.
  • And finally, we talk to Rabbi Arik Ascherman and his wife Rabbi Einat Ramon (the first Israeli-born female Rabbi) about the human rights work they do in Israel and Palestine.


August 20, 2007

08/20/08 Frank DeFord


We did this GREAT interview with Frank Deford one April.  It was live in front of a crowd of people at Hood College.  It was great; Marc and Frank talking for an hour about sports and how sportsmanship has changed...the audience asked questions...everyone had fun and it was a great, great show. A great, great show that no one ever got to hear because of a mysterious corruption of the audio. Sigh. So join us today at 1 pm as we force lightening to strike again, for another great hour with the really wonderful Mr. Frank DeFord.  You know him from his witty and always surprising sports commentary on NPR's Morning Edition.  He's just written a new novel called The Entitled: A Tale of Modern Baseball. Listen to this show! -Jessica
August 20, 2007

08/20/07 Open Phones

We're back! We're back! Did you miss us? And as always after an extended time away...we bring you an hour of Open Phones to get back into the swing of things. What's going on in the world that you care about? What made you mad last week? How do you feel about things? We missed you! Give us a call ( 410.662.8780) during the show, or email us ( or leave a message here! Listen to this show! -Jessica
August 7, 2007

08/07/07 A. Robert Kaufman


I'll be honest.  Sometimes, the phone calls from A. Robert Kaufman are not always the most welcome.  You know he is going to twist your ear about not having a certain viewpoint (read:his) on the show, and will give you a slightly long winded explanation of how he feels and the data to back his opinions up and why this is important and so on and so on.  We're often pressed for time in this job, so sometimes this is not always the most welcome phone call.

But the thing about Bob is, this is really a person who pretty much gives everything he has to the things he believes in.  He's spent his life speaking out for the kind of people that most consider the dregs of society-the poor, the addicted, the prostitutes, the mentally ill.  He imagines a society where someone who needs help gets it.  That's really very radical and it's not often that someone espouses these beliefs and then puts their money where their mouth is like he does.  We live in a Christian nation but this perennial candidate and atheist is one of the few people I know that really embraces and lives some of the social teachings of Jesus about poverty and loving and taking care of those in need, our modern day lepers.

So I have a lot of respect for Mr. Kaufman-and will always take his phone calls.  He's on our show today because he is running for Mayor of Baltimore, and I know he has a lot to say about how we can make this a better city.  I hope you'll join us.


August 6, 2007

08/06/07 Executive Privilege

I will confess that when the whole scandal about the firing of seven U.S. Attorneys I didn't find myself too captivated by the entire ordeal.  It was one of those incidents where, sure, I knew it was important, but I was having trouble rousing myself to be captivated by it. Maybe it just seemed like just more of the same. But the larger debates that have arisen from it are another story-such as the one over executive privilege.  President Eisenhower was the heaviest user of executive privilege-he invoked it over 40 times in response to demands from Senator Joseph McCarthy that White House aides testify before Congress.   The last time an aide went to court for not complying with a congressional supeana was in 1983, when Environmental Protection Agency official Rita Lavelle was told by the Reagan Administration to not testify regarding the use of Superfund money.  The jury found her not guilty of contempt charges.  The White House has asserted "executive privilege" as a reason to keep Bush Administration aides from testifying in Congress. According to a lot of things I have read, executive privilege lives in a sort of "constitutional wilderness."  The concept seems to be generally accepted as an idea, but it's scope and it's weight are undetermined.  Join us today as we discuss this issue.  What do you think?  Is President Bush going too far with who he is extending executive privilege too?  Is Congress on a witch hunt?