Dear Mike Bloomberg: A request and an invitation

Dear Michael Bloomberg: Now that you’ve given another $43 million to Johns Hopkins University, on top of the amazing $3.55 billion you already gave your alma mater, maybe you can do something directly for Baltimore. I’ve suggested it before in my column. Here’s another try: Give $1 billion over 10 years to the nonprofit Baltimore … Continue reading Dear Mike Bloomberg: A request and an invitation

Catching up with Living Classrooms, a Baltimore do-good that’s grown far beyond ‘field trips for kids’

My latest column in The Sun is another about Living Classrooms, and I'll tell you why:  Until recently, I considered myself to be among the many Baltimoreans who think of Living Classrooms as “field trips on boats for kids on the Chesapeake.” But it’s turned into a lot more than that over the last 36 years. I … Continue reading Catching up with Living Classrooms, a Baltimore do-good that’s grown far beyond ‘field trips for kids’

Harris quacks while Mizeur raises a million

The above photo of Heather Mizeur and Andy Harris was taken when Mizeur recorded her "Soul Force Politics" podcast with Harris in December 2017. Marylanders of the First congressional district got what they voted for — an extreme right-wing, sedition-supporting Republican who has accomplished little during his six terms in Washington. Andy Harris has a … Continue reading Harris quacks while Mizeur raises a million

Civil war sounds crazy, but so did a Trump presidency

Ordinarily, I don’t engage or indulge topics such as this: The prospects of another civil war in the United States. Such things seem too far-fetched, speculative, even ridiculous to bother with, unworthy of 900 words. But the prospect of civil war — an actual split in the country and violent confrontations between red and blue … Continue reading Civil war sounds crazy, but so did a Trump presidency

Joe Manchin’s legacy: Wealth from fossil fuels and putting the nation at risk of more Trumpism

Updated post, with this New York Times story: As Manchin blocks climate plan, his state can't hold back floods Having read my Oct. 3 column in The Sunday Sun, my friend Tom recalled a trip to the Louisiana Gulf Coast a few years ago to do some birding with his wife, Gaile. As they travelled … Continue reading Joe Manchin’s legacy: Wealth from fossil fuels and putting the nation at risk of more Trumpism

Great news: Intentional Balloon Releases Banned in Maryland

I've written about this problem in the past. Glad to see this new law on the books. Here's the press release from the state: The Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) and Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) remind Marylanders that a new state law that prohibits intentional balloon releases takes effect October 1, 2021. … Continue reading Great news: Intentional Balloon Releases Banned in Maryland

A carved sun face, a for-sale sign and the ‘General’s House’

Beauséant  So this is what happens: I'm driving through Mount Washington after visiting my old and beloved Evening Sun editor, Ernie Imhoff, at Springwell retirement community. I see this amazing carved sun face in the remainder of an old tree and, inspired by memories of Ernie assigning stories in the newsroom, I snooped around. I … Continue reading A carved sun face, a for-sale sign and the ‘General’s House’

9/26/2021: Justin Tucker’s foot records his greatest feat

Please note and mark the moment: Justin Tucker’s 66-yard field goal to win today’s NFL game in Detroit for the Baltimore Ravens belongs among the Greatest Feats in Sports History. It’s up there with Bob Beaman’s amazing Olympic-record long jump in Mexico City (1968), Don Larsen’s perfect game in a World Series (1956) and Usain … Continue reading 9/26/2021: Justin Tucker’s foot records his greatest feat

History lesson: The contradictions of Maryland and its Governor in the Progressive Era

In doing some research on the Progressive Era — in part, the subject of my Wednesday column in The Baltimore Sun — I tripped into a fascinating corner of Maryland history and the record of a long-gone governor from Conowingo named Austin Crothers. He was a man of contradictions in an age of ambiguity, a … Continue reading History lesson: The contradictions of Maryland and its Governor in the Progressive Era

A wow-inducing new mural for Little Italy

The pandemic cancelled Little Italy’s Madonnari Arts Festival again. The next one is scheduled for September 2022. Still, art is happening in the old neighborhood. During the hiatus, the organizers of the festival invited Mexican street artist Carlos Alberto Garcia-Hernandez to create a permanent 3D mural on the wall of the Hospital Support Services building … Continue reading A wow-inducing new mural for Little Italy

America is facing something much bigger than a difference of opinion

What we are facing, my fellow Americans, is not simply a difference of opinion. You all know what a difference of opinion looks and sounds like. What we are facing is not mere disagreement about how much the nation should spend on defense or whether undocumented immigrants should be given a path to citizenship. What … Continue reading America is facing something much bigger than a difference of opinion

American grotesque: Blue marlin killing for money

From Sunday's column in The Baltimore Sun: Nobody asked me, but few things seem more anachronistic — that is, belonging to a time gone by — than a fishing tournament where someone wins thousands of dollars for killing a massive and beautiful blue marlin. This year’s victim at Ocean City weighed 1,135 pounds, and the Florida … Continue reading American grotesque: Blue marlin killing for money

A beautiful symbiosis: Eels and mussels

Allow me to elaborate on something I report in my Sun column today: The significance of a project underway in Maryland to move hundreds of thousands of eels upstream of the Conowingo hyrdoelectric dam on the Susquehanna River. If Democrats and Republicans could work as well together as Anguilla rostrata and Elliptio complanata do, we'd … Continue reading A beautiful symbiosis: Eels and mussels

The peppers-and-eggs sandwich is the official meal of Labor Day

A reminder that, while Labor Day was never identified with a particular food item -- in the way Thanksgiving demands roasted turkey, St. Patrick's Day requires corned beef and cabbage, or the Fourth of July comes ringed in hot dogs -- the peppers-and-eggs sandwich has been the official sandwich of the first Monday in September … Continue reading The peppers-and-eggs sandwich is the official meal of Labor Day

Imagine all of those parking lots covered with solar panels, generating renewable energy

If you haven't been to the Ikea in White Marsh, outside Baltimore, for a while -- or at all during the pandemic -- you'll be surprised to see solar canopies covering the parking lot there. I devoted a recent Baltimore Sun column to the topic of large companies with large parking lots turning them into … Continue reading Imagine all of those parking lots covered with solar panels, generating renewable energy

Biden and Pelosi lead while Republicans make playground noise

An Irish writer named John Waters defines authority as “the capacity to endure unpopularity in the interests of the good.” He adds that a defining quality of fatherhood through the ages has been “a preparedness to be resented.” The two are very much related in the context of American political leadership: Some of the adults … Continue reading Biden and Pelosi lead while Republicans make playground noise

Republicans fall in line behind Marjorie Taylor Greene

You can call her a right-wing QAnon nut. You can call her election last year to the House of Representatives a tragedy. And even some Republicans might distance themselves from her. But yesterday, with their infantile mask protest in the Capitol, Republicans pretty much fell in line behind the awful Marjorie Taylor Green. They embraced … Continue reading Republicans fall in line behind Marjorie Taylor Greene

Yes, Andy Harris, even anesthesia , your specialty, comes with risks

My latest Sun column is about Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md-1) and his claim that the University System of Maryland should not mandate vaccinations against COVID-19 because of the risk of a side effect that, according to the CDC, occurs about 12 times in every 1 million doses. The column is available at this link. Risk … Continue reading Yes, Andy Harris, even anesthesia , your specialty, comes with risks

Getting to inmates before they get back on the street and continue their criminality

In 2016, the Baltimore Police Department did a data dive on people involved in shootings in the city — victims as well as the suspected shooters — and the BPD found this:  Among suspects, 76%  had prior criminal records, 62% percent had prior drug arrests, 52% had been arrested for violent crimes, and 41% percent … Continue reading Getting to inmates before they get back on the street and continue their criminality

Vaccine resistance is about many things, but mostly the warped, fevered politics of the right

Friday's column in The Sun — available at baltimoresun.com — is about the very strange and dangerous trend of right-wing politics and extreme ideology affecting a basic health decision: Whether to get vaccinated against the coronavirus. We have had the vaccine since December, but only half of the country is fully vaccinated, and public health … Continue reading Vaccine resistance is about many things, but mostly the warped, fevered politics of the right

Across the Eutaw Place divide: Summer music to unite Baltimore neighborhoods

On my drives from downtown Baltimore to points north, I often take Eutaw Place, between Dolphin Street and North Avenue, and it’s one of the best trips in the city — nine blocks of great rowhouses and a wide, shady median that pretty much constitutes a public park. On Friday, I did it again, driving … Continue reading Across the Eutaw Place divide: Summer music to unite Baltimore neighborhoods

Tony Shore’s Baltimore narrative continues at 1/6 scale

My Sunday Sun column (available at baltimoresun.com) is about artist Tony Shore’s Tiny Tony project, something that might seem completely whimsical — and I’m a sucker for Baltimore-style whimsy — but it’s really an extension of the narratives Shore first developed in black velvet.  For more than half his life, Shore has been painting on … Continue reading Tony Shore’s Baltimore narrative continues at 1/6 scale

Everyone has a rescue story, and maybe even one in the family. Here’s mine.

I state in today’s Sun column — available at baltimoresun.com — that we all have stories of rescue. We have all heard a story about some quick-thinking someone saving another someone, often a stranger, from drowning or fire. Or we know someone who did. Some stories are family heirlooms, passed down from generation to generation. … Continue reading Everyone has a rescue story, and maybe even one in the family. Here’s mine.

Home from prison? Looking for help? There’s a job fair for you Thursday in Baltimore

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Baltimore along with the Maryland Division of Parole and Probation, the Baltimore State’s Attorney and the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Safety and Engagement are sponsoring a one-stop reentry resource fair on THURSDAY, JULY 15, 2021 FROM 10:00 A.M. TO 2:00 P.M. at the War Memorial, 101 N. Gay Street.    Several organizations will be on-site … Continue reading Home from prison? Looking for help? There’s a job fair for you Thursday in Baltimore

Trey Mancini: Courage, strength and the gift of medical science

Trey Mancini, leader of the struggling, losing, rebuilding Baltimore Orioles, was already the best story in professional sports, and then he put on a show in the home run derby on the eve of the Major League All-Star game. Amazing. Last year at this time, he was just a couple of months from finishing his … Continue reading Trey Mancini: Courage, strength and the gift of medical science

Reckoning with the past: The potential of a Harlem Park Renaissance in Baltimore

My Sunday column — available at baltimoresun.com — is the second one I've written since meeting Matthew King, founding president of the Harlem Park Community Development Corp. and one of Baltimore's most determined citizens. He and his collaborators have taken on a big challenge — redeveloping and repopulating a once-thriving neighborhood that tells the long, … Continue reading Reckoning with the past: The potential of a Harlem Park Renaissance in Baltimore

The absurd anti-vaxxers have been drenched in a 40-year flood of toxic rhetoric and lies

Of all the absurdities we have suffered in this country since Trump came down the escalator and announced he was running for president, none beats this: The refusal of millions of Republicans — not just a few stupid thousand, but millions — to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Nearly half of Republicans told the Washington Post-ABC … Continue reading The absurd anti-vaxxers have been drenched in a 40-year flood of toxic rhetoric and lies

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How did this happen? How much will the defendant pay? And who is that anyway? Who is to blame? What will the damages be? Lives crushed, the shock of unbelievable, tremors felt in blood lines, immeasurable pain turned goddamn angry, families condemned to heirloom nightmares. Are we not exceptional? How did this happen? Are we … Continue reading Collapse

Retail won’t be what it was but it ain’t dead

You might call this wishful thinking — it’s certainly the wish of many small business owners like the ones I met in Baltimore’s Pigtown neighborhood the other day — but, as stated in today's Sun column, I think the death of brick-and-mortar retail has been exaggerated. I suspect that, coming out of the pandemic, people … Continue reading Retail won’t be what it was but it ain’t dead

Dearest Trump supporters: You moved to the fence. It’s time to jump and end the crazy

You, who voted for Trump — some of you will insist he’s behaving badly now because of the drugs they gave him at Walter Reed for his coronavirus infection. You will say he’s under a lot of pressure and that the Democrats and liberals in the media never gave him a chance to succeed. You’ll … Continue reading Dearest Trump supporters: You moved to the fence. It’s time to jump and end the crazy