From The New York Times: The Roman Catholic bishops of the United States, flouting a warning from the Vatican, have overwhelmingly voted to draft guidance on the sacrament of the Eucharist, advancing a push by conservative bishops to deny President Biden communion because of his support of abortion rights. I remember one unfortunate thing about … Continue reading Hypocrites in shepherd’s clothing
I quote Tom Manger in my Friday column in the Sun. A native of Baltimore, he was police chief of Montgomery County for 15 years and is now a public safety consultant. He also served as a summer cop in Ocean City in 1976, after graduating from the University of Maryland. Here's more of what … Continue reading What a top cop says about the Ocean City mess
Just as I finished writing today's column about Rep. Andy Harris' efforts to move even further to the way-out Republican right, he adds another item to the resume, signing his name to a letter calling on President Biden to undergo a cognitive fitness test. Harris had been one of 21 Republicans in the House who … Continue reading A Maryland congressman’s race to the bottom
My colleagues from The Sun newsroom — Tim Prudente, Jessica Anderson and McKenna Oxenden — have a story today about the police in Ocean City and the videos of their violent confrontations with young men on the Boardwalk. The story quotes a retired police captain and use-of-force expert named Ashley Heiberger, and Heiberger focuses on … Continue reading ‘Difficult to articulate a level of threat or resistance to justify those knee strikes’
The place looks so pristine and inviting, so constant and enduring, I sometimes feel unworthy of it, as if an intruder, a riparian peeping Tom who should just catch a quick glimpse and leave. There is nothing here but the real world of trees, clear water, rocks as old as time, flickering birds, dancing insects … Continue reading Nothing here but the real world
I would like you to know the following: Since my first day of work in a newspaper’s city room — June 1973, The Patriot Ledger, Quincy, Massachusetts — I’ve been intrigued, entertained, impressed, inspired, mentored, awed and enlightened by the people who worked there. I can’t think of one reporter, critic or editor who, in … Continue reading Great and good journalists I have known
Note: This item went for $750 at auction on June 17, 2021. Among the items that will be on the auction block later this month is an honorary fire chief's helmet given to the late Carol Channing in 1978 when the Tony Award-winning actress was in Baltimore (and I was but a cub reporter for … Continue reading Epilogue: Carol Channing’s Baltimore fire helmet up for auction
A narrative memoir about fly fishing, fatherhood and finding your last best place on Earth. Published by Apprentice House Books at Loyola University Maryland. Available now in softcover and hardcover. Publication date: May 2019. Foreword by Lefty Kreh. . . . . . "Where would you want to be if you knew the world would … Continue reading Father’s Day Creek: A book for outdoors lovers, anglers, and anyone who had a father.
Reaction to last month's column on the progress on electric vehicles confirmed what we already knew: Some people look right past the positive to the negative. The column was essentially an update on the technological and commercial aspects of electric cars and trucks and it was mostly an upbeat report because there's a lot to … Continue reading BGE’s ramp-up on EV fast charging continues
It was nothing I did. It just happened. I never used an herbicide on the lawn in my Baltimore backyard, and never used fertilizer. And so we have plenty of clover (photo above, and yeah that's my paint-smeared shoe on the left), and it pleases the bees and the city rabbits. This is how the … Continue reading Benign neglect gets a clover lawn, bees and bunnies
As a columnist, I have interviewed many American combat veterans. That includes veterans of World War II, several of them when my editors in Baltimore sent me to Normandy to cover the 40th anniversary observances of the D-Day invasion and the beginning of the liberation of France. But, of all the stories I wrote -- … Continue reading Memorial: A French homage to the Private John Kreiner who did not come home to Baltimore
Given the events of the last five years — and, in particular, the January attack on the U.S. Capitol fueled by Trump’s Big Lie about the November election — I was drawn this Memorial Day weekend to the one monument in the city of Baltimore that honors the more than 65,000 Marylanders who fought for … Continue reading Republicans dishonor long-gone Americans who died to save the Union
Some rivers speak to us. It’s the sound of time. It’s the same sound the Native Americans heard way back when “the green dark forest was too silent to be real.” (Gordon Lightfoot). There are days when I’m fishing and I think the riffles are laughing at me. There are moments when, oddly, the pleasant … Continue reading The laughing river
Last week in my Sun column I suggested that Michael Steele, the former Maryland lieutenant governor and Republican national chairman, leave the Republican Party and become a Democrat. You can read my reasoning in the column — here’s the link — but anyone who has listened to Steele talk on MSNBC about the party knows … Continue reading Why would any rational American want to remain a Republican?
You look at the list of Preakness winners over the years and, for the most part, they have names that range from serious to charming to the mildly whimsical: Citation, Secretariat, American Pharoah, Affirmed, Silver Charm, Spectacular Bid, Red Bullet, Lookin at Lucky. But some horses on the daily racing charts have truly wacky names. … Continue reading Bananas on Fire: Never judge a horse by a wacky name
I don’t know if John Means’ no-hitter is a turning point for the still-in-last-place Baltimore Orioles, but — who knows? — we might look back on Means’ nearly perfect game in Seattle as an important marker in the club’s redevelopment. I know what you're thinking: "Let’s enjoy the moment, dude, but let’s not get carried … Continue reading Was that a turning point we just witnessed in Means’ no-hitter? Anyone remember Billy Rohr?
I saw these offensive flags for sale on Amazon and decided this is the last straw -- I'm done buying products this way. I told myself several times over the years that I would stop this lazy practice of buying stuff through Amazon, and broke that pledge a few times, particularly during the pandemic. Now … Continue reading It’s way past time to stop using Amazon
Journalists are drawn to experts. We use them to add context to stories or to provide perspective in controversies. As a generalist in print and broadcasting, I have for years cited as sources people with great expertise in various sciences, all manner of medicine, criminology, the law, foreign policy, literature, immigration, climate change. They have … Continue reading Does one bad opinion erase an expert?
Always a gentleman, always professional, always encouraging, always interested in the work and experiences of others, always offering insight, always ready to provide perspective on Baltimore, Maryland and national politics, always thinking and writing, always at work on a book, always a role model for other journalists. Always tall, always smiling and happy to see … Continue reading Always Fraser Smith
In my Sunday Sun column, I again advocated that Baltimore find money, perhaps in the coming bundle of Biden infrastructure spending, to tear down the elevated Jones Falls Expressway (Interstate 83) south of Penn Station and create a grand city boulevard instead. The 1915 postcard to the right shows what the area of Penn Station … Continue reading Knocking down the JFX and making a new city boulevard
A couple of weeks ago, Maryland's progressive General Assembly, led by Democrats, abolished life without parole for defendants convicted of murder before the age of 18 -- and they did this over the veto of the Republican governor, Larry Hogan. (The legislature also took the Maryland governor, present and future, out of the parole process … Continue reading Life sentences for minors: Trump’s cruel and unusual Supreme Court
Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,In there stepped a stately Raven of the saintly days of yore. Baltimore claims Edgar Alan Poe because he lived here for a while and definitely died here. He's buried here. Poe's house is still standing on the west side and the city's … Continue reading Poe had the Raven, me the Woodpecker
Carl Schoettler, my late colleague from the Baltimore Evening Sun and Sun, (photo) was the mentor and advisor for several reporters many years his junior, and I was lucky to have been one of them. Way back, when I was still feeling my way through a relatively new assignment -- editors of the Evening Sun … Continue reading A place for the ‘mildly amusing’ story
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?
Other anglers must think it odd that I still use the old Pflueger Medalist reels. What can I say? I like how they feel and work. I like the feel of the rod when there's a little more weight at the bottom, the way I prefer older knives with thick handles when I'm preparing a … Continue reading This old reel, a reliable friend
Did you think about going solar at your house, then drop the idea? Are you counting on the electric grid in your region to become less dependent on fossil fuels and, therefore, greener? And does that make you feel it’s unnecessary to put solar panels on your roof? Or maybe you just think they’re ugly. … Continue reading Did you think about rooftop solar, then drop the idea?
And so I think about all those words Joe wrote, and wrote on deadline, clouded in cigarette smoke on the day Kennedy died, or in the fading sunlight of a Bonn afternoon, or in a hotel somewhere, or for the last 25 years of his career in an office on North Calvert Street in Baltimore. … Continue reading On the passing of Joe Sterne, journalist
Fully vaccinated, I went -- with a friend who is fully vaccinated -- to the Orioles' home opener on Thursday. Here's my mildly amusing Sunday Sun column on that experience. I assume others there were fully vaccinated, but, of course, I didn't know that. About 1.3 million people, or about 22% of the state’s 6 … Continue reading Are we there yet? Nope. Continue maskulation.
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
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
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
Yuri Fatkulin When we broke the set of the Rodricks For Breakfast show in late 1999, after five years of weekend morning television and some of the hardest work and greatest fun we ever had, crew members suggested I take home the mural painted by the Russian artist Yuri Fatkulin. This talented muralist had painted … Continue reading From the attic: The art of Yuri Fatkulin
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
The photographs with this post are, for me, like its subject — out of focus. As I write this, I am far from full clarity on what became of Kurtis Darius Williams, the subject of my column on June 15, 2018 and again today in the Sunday Sun. I am puzzled, curious, sad. Sometimes you … Continue reading Out of focus: Kurtis Williams
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
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
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
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
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
I wish it were possible to just wish it away -- this long, terrible run of violence. I have lived and worked here for 45 years now, and have written many times about all the violence that comes from all the drug dealing that comes from all the drug addiction. And then there's the violence … Continue reading A wish for Baltimore
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
This photograph gives a fair representation of what the first Sunday in March 2021 looked and felt like along a creek in a rural area north of Baltimore -- dormant and low and colorless but for the midday sky. It's Tween Time, between winter and spring. I doubt I've ever heard anyone call it their … Continue reading Tween Time: March and the slow rise to spring
Here's a photograph from the Hungarian embrassy in Washington showing Maryland's extreme-right, gun-packing Republican congressman, Andy Harris (on the left for this photo only!) receiving a medal of merit from the ambassador, Szabolcs Takács. Wondering why Harris receieved the Officer’s Cross of the Hungarian Order of Merit on January 29? It has something to do with … Continue reading Andy Harris gets a medal
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?
"We're not a nonprofit, but we're not a profit maximizer, either." I heard a businessman on a mission say that the other day, and while I found it refreshing, it also reminded me of something: People who have a lot of money want more of it. To be sure, there are different levels of desire … Continue reading Wanting to help the poor, but only at double-digit returns
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." 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’
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
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