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
Patience is a virtue, they say, and I have been therefore virtuous when it comes to adjusting to changes in lifestyle during the pandemic and in my personal wait (ongoing at this writing) for vaccination. I think I have been patient with the dog we adopted a year ago, a sweet animal who, to my … Continue reading No more suffering the insufferable Trump cultist
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
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
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
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
Pardon me if I don't see the 57-43 vote to acquit Trump as a moral victory because of the historically bipartisan nature of the vote. You can get your positive take from David Frum in The Atlantic. I concede that I am not in the mood to look on the bright side of Trump's second … Continue reading A political party headed toward irrelevancy
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
Two expressions from the newspaper world: “If your mother says she loves you, check it out.” and "Believe nothing until it has been officially denied.” One thing I’ve wondered about — and came to a conclusion about — through this Trumpian nightmare: What happened to pride in calling out bullshit? I know lots of people … Continue reading If your mother says she loves you . . .
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
Congratulations and thanks to Joseph Alascio for capturing these photographs of a meeting of an American bald eagle and red fox in a cornfield in Harford County. The photo you see at the top of this post is not what you might think -- a cross-species romance or the beginning of a beautiful friendship. Instead, … Continue reading So this eagle and a fox meet in a cornfield . . .
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
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
There was a place in my hometown I considered my own, and itwas just a five-minute walk up WestUnion Street, toward a place known as Cinder Hillbecause there used to be an ironworks with a bigfurnace in the area. There was a spot on the MatfieldRiver where, in summer, I would wait in the mudto … Continue reading The river didn’t smell so bad in winter
You might not believe it — and sometimes I can’t believe it myself — but this is how the sidewalks in my hometown in Massachusetts were plowed all through my boyhood and at least until after I left East Bridgewater for college. The winters were long, snowy, rainy and gray and, for what seemed interminable … Continue reading Snow was no problem for Eddie and Pete
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