On the passing of cartoonist Mike Lane

Sad news this week with the passing of another excellent journalist and former colleague, the editorial cartoonist Mike Lane. He created daily cartoons for the Baltimore Evening Sun from the early 1970s, giving him a chance to include Richard Nixon among his subjects, into the 1990s, after the afternoon paper merged with the morning edition. … Continue reading On the passing of cartoonist Mike Lane

Technology is great, but humans still have the power to discern what’s good, what’s bad for us — and for others

I am not a trog. I like technology, and use it every day. But I don’t automatically concede that all technology is good. Shopping online might be fun and convenient, and there are people who absolutely love getting packages delivered at home; they adore Amazon. But online shopping is killing local retailers, and here in … Continue reading Technology is great, but humans still have the power to discern what’s good, what’s bad for us — and for others

Real-life Shawshank: Aging inmates, punishment and redemption

“'The Shawshank Redemption' is such a popular movie. Do Americans really believe in forgiveness and redemption?” “Yes, for me, but not for thee.” By 2005, I had been a reporter and columnist for 32 years, and I had written numerous stories about crime and covered criminal trials. I had written some stories about prisons and … Continue reading Real-life Shawshank: Aging inmates, punishment and redemption

The Crab Corn Coddie is a hit, on the menu this weekend at Pierpoint

We gathered at Pierpoint restaurant in Fells Point to try Chef Nancy Longo’s take on the Baltimore Crab Corn Coddie. She took my work-in-progress to a new level, bringing her years of experience to the mixing bowl, refining the recipe and offering the new concoction as the Wednesday night special with French fries and coleslaw. … Continue reading The Crab Corn Coddie is a hit, on the menu this weekend at Pierpoint

Trump lies again. He’s not bringing troops home from ‘endless wars’

Guess what: Trump might have suggested something that wasn't true: "It's time for us to come home," he said, defending his removal of U.S. troops from Syria. But the troops he claimed to be bringing home from “endless wars” are not coming home. A few thousands went recently to Saudi Arabia, and now a Pentagon … Continue reading Trump lies again. He’s not bringing troops home from ‘endless wars’

Trump reverses plans to host G-7 at Doral, but his bad instincts — and their consequences — remain in plain sight

Trump will never admit a mistake, never own up to doing wrong. Even in reversing the decision to host next year’s G-7 summit at his Doral country club -- a blatant example of the self-dealing that Rep. Elijah Cummings, among others, warned us about after Trump’s election -- this corrupt president can’t concede bad judgement. … Continue reading Trump reverses plans to host G-7 at Doral, but his bad instincts — and their consequences — remain in plain sight

An ovation for Elijah Cummings on the Day of the Rat

That hot Saturday in July started with Trump’s ugly tweet-storm about Baltimore and rats. It ended with a standing ovation for Elijah Cummings. The story by now is familiar: Trump saw a typically distorted and simplistic FOX report that included video of trash and rats in Baltimore, so he decided that the nation needed to … Continue reading An ovation for Elijah Cummings on the Day of the Rat

Next time she’s tempted to zing, Elizabeth Warren might want to ask: What would the Obamas say?

There is a lot to like about Elizabeth Warren as a presidential candidate. She's well-versed in facts and policy and understanding problems. She’s right about income inequality, financial corruption and the need to expand health insurance to every American. Her rise in polling of likely Democratic voters suggests she could be the one who surpasses … Continue reading Next time she’s tempted to zing, Elizabeth Warren might want to ask: What would the Obamas say?

Betrayal of Kurds by Trump will beget more refugees that we won’t take in

Hard to say when we've reached bottom, isn't it? There are so many things about the Trump administration that offend human sensibilities, our sense of American decency and our understanding of Democratic principles that it's hard to single out one of Trump’s actions or one of his tweets as the worst. Separating migrant children from … Continue reading Betrayal of Kurds by Trump will beget more refugees that we won’t take in

Catching (but not so much eating yet) fish from urban waters

We caught rockfish on the fly last fall along the rocky banks of West Covington Park in South Baltimore, to the east of the Hanover Street Bridge. To be more specific, that’s the Middle Branch of the Patapsco River, and I'll probably hit it again this month and next. When I mention this, people ask … Continue reading Catching (but not so much eating yet) fish from urban waters

Epilogue: The state’s missed opportunities in the life of David Warren

David Warren, the subject of my column -- online now, in print this coming week -- has to be one of the most successful defendants in recent Maryland history. His record of arrest for crimes of violence is extensive, and yet the state has only a couple of convictions to show for it. Last Tuesday, … Continue reading Epilogue: The state’s missed opportunities in the life of David Warren

The crazy right’s strategy: Trump’s conduct is indefensible. So let’s accuse Obama and Clinton of something

A senior citizen shared this mailing with me, a solicitation of donations for something called the Liberty Guard in Merrifield, Va. It claims that Trump has been the subject of an attempted coup d’etat and asks for donations to bring “Team Obama” to justice. The organization is run by Bob Barr, a former Republican congressman … Continue reading The crazy right’s strategy: Trump’s conduct is indefensible. So let’s accuse Obama and Clinton of something

The little house Malachi Mills built in West Baltimore in 1843 still stands

People who decry Baltimore’s vacant houses and who say, “Tear them down,” or “Give them away,” do not understand the complicated legal nature of ownership, much less the desire for historic preservation or the matter of market conditions and the availability of capital. They also seem perplexed that there are so many vacants in the … Continue reading The little house Malachi Mills built in West Baltimore in 1843 still stands

The sweet release of a Jewish ritual at the water’s edge

Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, which begins Sunday evening, September 29, has a ritual that brings people to the water's edge for a spiritual experience. It's called Tashlikh, and I'm a Catholic who has developed a keen appreciation for it. I first witnessed Tashlikh one autumn afternoon along Cross Country Boulevard in Northwest Baltimore, … Continue reading The sweet release of a Jewish ritual at the water’s edge

Suffering from Trump Time Madness: A conversation with the low-info voter

I had a moment of what you might call Trump Time Madness during an otherwise pleasant conversation with an otherwise congenial and interesting stranger, and it speaks to what I consider one of the nation’s biggest problems -- not enough people following the news of the day in a daily newspaper. I know that sounds … Continue reading Suffering from Trump Time Madness: A conversation with the low-info voter

Impossible Dream: A Whopper that takes vegetarians back to the cave, assuming they want to go there

Having pushed away from fast-food and chain restaurants a couple of years ago, it took me a few months to get around to sampling an Impossible Whopper at Burger King, and I only did so at the urging of a raving vegetarian friend. I went to a BK in Towson, Maryland. (There are other local … Continue reading Impossible Dream: A Whopper that takes vegetarians back to the cave, assuming they want to go there

Next speaking engagement is with Trout Unlimited in Towson on Sept. 18

Maryland Trout Unlimited: Wednesday, September 18. 7:30 p.m. Join us to hear Baltimore Sun columnist Dan Rodricks, author of "Father's Day Creek: Fly Fishing, Fatherhood and The Last Best Place on Earth." Dan will discuss his book and talk about his journey from angler to conservationist, and the emotional and psychological connections to rivers and special places … Continue reading Next speaking engagement is with Trout Unlimited in Towson on Sept. 18

Followup: Yes, some people are giving up lawns to combat climate change

I received a great deal of response to my recent column on suburban America’s obsession with big lawns and the need to plant more trees as an answer to the climate crisis. Aside from a few readers who complained that having more trees means more leaves to rake in the fall, the responses ranged from … Continue reading Followup: Yes, some people are giving up lawns to combat climate change

The peppers-and-eggs sandwich is the official meal of Labor Day in the U.S.

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 in the U.S.

Electric ferries need to be considered for the Chesapeake Bay

To some people, a ferry crossing sounds like a quaint throwback to an earlier time, before Maryland built the first bridge across the Chesapeake Bay in the 1950s. A second span went up in the 1970s, and now the Governor of Maryland, a road-warrior Republican, has the state's transportation department studying when and where to … Continue reading Electric ferries need to be considered for the Chesapeake Bay

Make this Italian summer vegetable stew with two spellings and multiple pronunciations

If you want to make use of all that zucchini and all those tomatoes showing up in the farmer’s markets right now -- and get a delicious and meatless meal -- try making what my mother, the late Rose Popolo Rodricks, used to make: Giambotta. She pronounced it, “Jumbottella,” but the Italian spellings are either … Continue reading Make this Italian summer vegetable stew with two spellings and multiple pronunciations

A year since Bryan McKemy’s senseless death; his parents among many in the long wake of Baltimore’s gun violence

Today marks a year since the gun insanity in Baltimore reached the McKemy family. Scott and Angie McKemy received the shocking news about the death of their 27-year-old son, Bryan, in the early afternoon of Aug. 7, 2018. Bryan was employed by a home-improvement contractor, and he was working on the rear of a house … Continue reading A year since Bryan McKemy’s senseless death; his parents among many in the long wake of Baltimore’s gun violence

Overnight: The evidence of life in Father’s Day Creek

I almost always find the shucks of numerous stoneflies on the boulders along Father’s Day Creek, my secret trout stream and “spirit-home” in Pennsylvania. I am impressed by three things -- the size of the shucks, the abundance of them, and the fact that the transition from such a large nymph to fly takes place … Continue reading Overnight: The evidence of life in Father’s Day Creek

An outpouring of concern I have not seen since the 9/11 attacks

We know that people around the world are appalled that Donald Trump is president of the United States, but I am hearing directly from them this week. The response so far to my column on Trump and, even more so, the Sun’s “rat” editorial about him has been off the charts. We are hearing from … Continue reading An outpouring of concern I have not seen since the 9/11 attacks

Vietnam War protests were bitter, but they were about policy. In the Trump era, it’s all personal

Since the founding of the Republic, people have always been at odds, based on their personal interests, their religious beliefs, their life experiences, their political loyalties and prejudices. I witnessed American debate at its most intense -- over the U.S. involvement in the war in Vietnam in the 1960s and 1970s. But where we are … Continue reading Vietnam War protests were bitter, but they were about policy. In the Trump era, it’s all personal

Maryland is the wealthiest state. Millionaires need to step up and save the BSO

Maryland is the richest state per capita, with a median household income of $80,766 and one in 12 households the home of millionaires. Kiplinger last year estimated close to 180,000 millionaire households in the state. So why is the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra struggling to stay alive? It should not be -- not with the kind … Continue reading Maryland is the wealthiest state. Millionaires need to step up and save the BSO

In Baltimore and other cities, many are called for jury duty but few chosen, and why is that?

Citizens of Baltimore are used to (or sick of) it by now -- getting summoned to jury duty at the historic downtown courthouse, sitting around all day, and never getting called to serve on a trial jury.  . . . Obviously, there are trials. Obviously, people serve -- I have, on two criminal cases -- … Continue reading In Baltimore and other cities, many are called for jury duty but few chosen, and why is that?

The tragedy of Billy Dolan and the futility of the war on drugs

There are thousands of tragedies from the opioid epidemic, but the tragedy of the Dolan brothers, described in two of my Baltimore Sun columns, stands out in one particularly depressing way: The older of the two, Billy, (in flight off a trampoline in the photo with this post) had been blamed -- and criminally charged … Continue reading The tragedy of Billy Dolan and the futility of the war on drugs