On racism and the moment upon us: Do Americans really want a better country?

My brother in Massachusetts had converted to DVD home movies that were shot by an uncle of ours in the 1950s and early 1960s. Many families have these old movies. Many families had one person who owned perhaps a Bell & Howell 8-mm movie camera, projector and screen. A lot of these old films are … Continue reading On racism and the moment upon us: Do Americans really want a better country?

Transformation: 20 acres of Baltimore back from the dead

My Friday column in The Baltimore Sun tells how the abandoned and contaminated PEMCO property in southeast Baltimore, across from Hopkins Bayview, became a new shopping center called Yard 56 and how a determined developer named David Bramble made it happen. Founded in 1911 as the Porcelain Enamel Manufacturing Corporation, the company once had 600 … Continue reading Transformation: 20 acres of Baltimore back from the dead

Getting billionaires and banks to give it up for Baltimore

In my Sun column last week I called upon billionaire Michael Bloomberg to do as he has pledged and give away a bunch of his money — and I specifically suggested that he make a donation of $1 billion to Baltimore Community Lending, an independent, nonprofit, federally-authorized lender that has been financing small businesses and … Continue reading Getting billionaires and banks to give it up for Baltimore

Local nonprofit ownership of The Sun will be great, but we still need you to read it

The Wall Street Journal reports another development in Stewart Bainum’s efforts to save the Tribune newspapers from the Alden Global hedge fund. I certainly hope Mr. Bainum succeeds and that we can establish The Baltimore Sun and other newspapers in our group as nonprofit institutions rededicated to comprehensive news coverage. But, that said . . … Continue reading Local nonprofit ownership of The Sun will be great, but we still need you to read it

The problem in Baltimore is not a lenient judiciary

Following up on recent columns about the continuing violence in Baltimore: Among other findings in Thiru Vignarajah's dive into data about homicide cases: Judges are not going easy on killers. A defendant who stood trial and who was found guilty of first-degree murder for a homicide in Baltimore Circuit Court in the years 2017, 2018 … Continue reading The problem in Baltimore is not a lenient judiciary

Slamming Andy Harris for his lousy vote against honoring Cap cops

The Sun has a strong editorial on this subject today. You can read it at this link. Statement From the Democratic Governors Association: Maryland GOP Rep. Andy Harris, potential candidate for governor and the standard bearer for the base of the Maryland GOP, chose to side with violent insurrectionists over Capitol police officers yesterday. Harris … Continue reading Slamming Andy Harris for his lousy vote against honoring Cap cops

Friday’s column: A battle for something better

Is this predictable or what? Someone who lives in a pricey house in an upscale, mostly White suburb owns a valuable corner property, zoned commercial, in a mostly Black neighborhood of West Baltimore. The property happens to be within walking distance of a college campus, a high school and an elementary school. The owner of … Continue reading Friday’s column: A battle for something better

American Reality Check: ALICE tells a fuller story

You will see in my Wednesday column a reference to, and brief explanation of, ALICE, a new and better way to measure financial hardship in America. ALICE stands for “Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed.” It's the creation of United Way in its effort to give the nation a more precise reality check because the federal … Continue reading American Reality Check: ALICE tells a fuller story

‘Returning citizens’ stitching their lives back together

This year marks 16 since I started reporting on the problems faced by ex-offenders — former prison inmates or, if you prefer, "returning citizens" — as they earn release and come home. The challenges are many, but top of the list is employment. People with criminal records, particularly those who committed an act of violence, … Continue reading ‘Returning citizens’ stitching their lives back together

Resentment of tax cuts and billionaire wealth underpin public support for Biden, Democrats

Pundits keep looking for reasons to explain the wide public support for President Biden's $1.9 trillion disaster relief package, approved this past week without a single Republican vote of support in the Senate or House. Aside from the obvious (real economic pain and stress felt by millions of workers and thousands of businesses because of … Continue reading Resentment of tax cuts and billionaire wealth underpin public support for Biden, Democrats

On American tribalism and the burning of masks by children

According to polls, a majority of registered Republicans support President Biden's widely popular $1.9 trillion relief package to get us through pandemic and into recovery. How do we reconcile that with the fact that so many Republicans also remain Trump supporters, skeptical of science and public health experts? How do you explain parents in Idaho … Continue reading On American tribalism and the burning of masks by children

Where were you, what were you planning to do when the coronavirus arrived?

One year ago today, on March 5, 2020, Maryland’s Public Health Laboratory in Baltimore reported the first three positive cases of the novel coronavirus in the state. The infected people were from Montgomery County and had contracted the virus while traveling overseas. "We have been actively preparing for this situation over the last several weeks … Continue reading Where were you, what were you planning to do when the coronavirus arrived?

Lyneir Richardson’s Big Idea: “Inclusive ownership” of a Baltimore shopping center

Richardson If you receive the print edition of The Baltimore Sunday Sun, you'll find an outdated number in my column: Lyneir Richardson and Chicago TREND have raised $274,500 from 108 investors. I filed my column on Friday when TREND had raised $239,500 from 101 local investors. Because of The Sun's deadlines for print, I could … Continue reading Lyneir Richardson’s Big Idea: “Inclusive ownership” of a Baltimore shopping center

‘In Europe, they’ve been doing this for years’

"In Europe, they've been doing this for years." How many times have you heard that when it comes to, oh, about a thousand things? The nations of Europe have run ahead of the United States on public transportation and train travel, health insurance, care for the aged, firearms regulation, infrastructure, energy conservation, recycling and all … Continue reading ‘In Europe, they’ve been doing this for years’

Maryland should’ve had one-stop vax registration from the start

Anyone remember when Larry Hogan, as the Republican candidate for governor in 2014, bashed the O'Malley administration and his Democratic opponent, Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, over the messed-up rollout of Obamacare in Maryland? Hogan included the criticism in one of his campaign ads, saying Brown was a weak leader and "just not ready" to be … Continue reading Maryland should’ve had one-stop vax registration from the start

Baltimore: Time to take action against Wire Hell

Those ugly nests of dormant and live cables and wires that hang over alleys in rowhouse neighborhoods are a blight on Baltimore, and it's time to do something about them. Dozens of Baltimoreans have complained to me about them and shared photographs of the overhead tangles. Communications companies leave zombie wires hanging every time someone … Continue reading Baltimore: Time to take action against Wire Hell

Infrastucture: Another Trump fail, another Biden repair job needed

My column in Sunday's Baltimore Sun starts with a visit to the big drinking-water project at the city's Druid Lake. Baltimore now has the largest underground storage tank for drinking water in the whole wide world. That’s according to city officials and engineers who have earned the boast. The massive tank, located in Druid Hill … Continue reading Infrastucture: Another Trump fail, another Biden repair job needed

Crazy for Carbonara: The Ultimate Italian Comfort Dish

Marking the 20th anniversary of The Sun's Carbonara Cookoff The Baltimore Sun February 21, 2001 Donna Crivello and Elia Mannetta (Elizabeth Malby photos) Maybe all Italian food qualifies as comfort food -- the good stuff that warms the spirit as it nourishes the body -- so you'll probably think I'm as nutty as pinoli to … Continue reading Crazy for Carbonara: The Ultimate Italian Comfort Dish

Some welcome news about The Baltimore Sun

The news that Maryland businessman and philanthropist Stewart Bainum stepped up to purchase the Baltimore Sun and the other publications of the Baltimore Sun Media Group and run our news organization as a nonprofit is a potentially huge development for readers in Baltimore and Maryland who want to be informed about life in their communities … Continue reading Some welcome news about The Baltimore Sun

Sen. Ben Cardin on President’s Day

This letter arrived from Senator Cardin before the vote on Trump's impeachment, Saturday, Feb. 13. Both Senator Cardin and Senator Van Hollen voted to convict Trump of the charges brought by the House on Saturday afternoon. Dear Fellow Marylanders: For many, Presidents’ Day usually is not a holiday that inspires deep philosophical reflections. But this … Continue reading Sen. Ben Cardin on President’s Day

My take: Marylanders took the pandemic seriously from the start

Quick story from 2020: In June, I asked the Rev. Derrick DeWitt, director of the Maryland Baptist Aged Home in West Baltimore, when he knew the threat of the coronavirus was real and that he had to take immediate action to protect his residents and staff. His answer: “Right after President Trump said we had … Continue reading My take: Marylanders took the pandemic seriously from the start

Jury nullification: It’s what Senate Republicans are primed for, an appalling disregard of clear evidence against Trump

Maryland’s highest court just issued a ruling that resonates with relevance to Donald Trump’s second impeachment and the former president’s current trial before the Senate. The ruling tempts me to declare that the 44 Republican senators who voted against putting Trump on trial — and who appear ready to acquit him despite overwhelming evidence that … Continue reading Jury nullification: It’s what Senate Republicans are primed for, an appalling disregard of clear evidence against Trump

The Wires: Baltimore’s ugly overhead blight will finally get some attention

This is my third column on this nuisance, and there's some good news for all those Baltimoreans who wrote to me about it and sent photographic evidence. Someone has finally stepped up to do something about a blight on Baltimore and suburban neighborhoods — the tangles of telephone wires and television cables, many of them … Continue reading The Wires: Baltimore’s ugly overhead blight will finally get some attention

Comparing ‘cancers’ on the Republican Party, 1954 & 2021

Much is made of how, in 1974, Republicans in Congress forced President Richard Nixon to resign to end the Watergate scandal and remove "a cancer" on the presidency. Compared to Republicans of the Trump era, the GOP senators and representatives of Nixon's time were giants of principle and conscience. As a followup to my most … Continue reading Comparing ‘cancers’ on the Republican Party, 1954 & 2021

A film every American, especially Republicans, should watch

As long as Republicans stand by Trump, as long as they fail to rebuke the likes of Marjorie Taylor Greene, as long as the cowards and seditionists roam the halls of Congress with impunity, the American democracy is at grave risk. If you think we've seen the last of the insurrectionists, you are mistaken. Those … Continue reading A film every American, especially Republicans, should watch

With Trump controlling the GOP, Andy Harris and other seditionists will be tough to beat

Depending on what happens in the next 18 months, Maryland Republicans will have a choice: Stick with the travesty of Trumpism and support Andy Harris for a seventh term in Congress — a term he once said he would not seek — or back a primary challenger who would be more moderate and less embarrassing … Continue reading With Trump controlling the GOP, Andy Harris and other seditionists will be tough to beat

Citing his ‘unforgivable betrayal,’ Heather Mizeur to challenge Rep. Andy Harris in 2022

After she lost the 2014 Maryland Democratic primary as a candidate for governor, Heather Mizeur, a former state delegate, said she did not intend to run for public office again. But, as a resident of the 1st congressional district, her representative is Republican Andy Harris, and his recent actions have pushed Mizeur to return to the … Continue reading Citing his ‘unforgivable betrayal,’ Heather Mizeur to challenge Rep. Andy Harris in 2022

Pandemic rescue: Biden needs to put Republicans on the hot spot

Guest comment from Tom "Bush Hog" James: One of the more cherished hallmarks of Congressional conduct is the ability to hide -- in some quarters, it's referred to as avoidance of responsibility.  Senators, in particular, have been able to avoid the heat by reliance on their leadership to assure that potentially embarrassing votes never have … Continue reading Pandemic rescue: Biden needs to put Republicans on the hot spot

Once again, Republicans screw up the economy, Democrats try to fix it. And Republicans resist.

Trump left the country in such a mess — an uncontrolled pandemic still killing thousands a day; a botched vaccine rollout; 11 million unemployed, tens of thousands of businesses closed or in bankruptcy — and now a Democrat, President Joe Biden, has to engineer a recovery. This is similar to what happened when Barack Obama … Continue reading Once again, Republicans screw up the economy, Democrats try to fix it. And Republicans resist.

Another Big Lie: Republicans only did to Biden what Democrats tried to do to Trump in 2017

I frequently hear or read Trump supporters and practitioners of What-Aboutism claim that what the Democrats did in Congress in 2017 was comparable to what Republicans did this month regarding the electoral votes for President Biden. It’s another Big Lie, another false equivalence, and here’s why. True: On January 6, 2017, Maryland Rep. Jamie Raskin … Continue reading Another Big Lie: Republicans only did to Biden what Democrats tried to do to Trump in 2017

Psychologist’s view: Surviving the nasty divorce from Trump

Inauguration Day 2021: I invited Dr. Brad Sachs to share his thoughts on the attack on the Capitol by the Trump mob just two weeks before Joe Biden's inauguration. He offers an interesting perspective and a challenge to our thinking about this. Guest commentary by Brad Sachs, a family psychologist based in Columbia, Md. One … Continue reading Psychologist’s view: Surviving the nasty divorce from Trump

‘Better than never,’ says former Maryland prisoner of state legislature’s action

I took this photograph of Calvin Ash (on the right) and his new friend Kurt Wenzing a little more than a year ago. It's one of my favorite photographs. The two men were seated on the front porch of Calvin's late mother's home in Wilson Park, and Kurt had been helping Calvin fix the place … Continue reading ‘Better than never,’ says former Maryland prisoner of state legislature’s action