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

‘Difficult to articulate a level of threat or resistance to justify those knee strikes’

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’

Father’s Day Creek: A book for outdoors lovers, anglers, and anyone who had a father.

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.

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