We still need you to read the newspaper

Originally published April, 2021. Updated today as we approach the 185th anniversary of The Baltimore Sun. Photo above is poster from 1987 anniversary celebration. The ultimate problem for American newspapers -- besides the level of profits demanded by corporate ownership -- is that not enough people feel a need to read a newspaper. Even digital … Continue reading We still need you to read the newspaper

A long Russian war on Ukraine will lead to more world hunger

This is an expanded version of my Baltimore Sun column of May 11, 2022. Russia’s unconscionable war on Ukraine could likely ignite a food catastrophe in parts of the world already dealing with shortages due to drought and the long-term effects of the pandemic. Staff from Baltimore-based Catholic Relief Services (CRS) are seeing first-hand the … Continue reading A long Russian war on Ukraine will lead to more world hunger

‘Fiddler on the Roof’ and an April of discovery

If you don’t mind the personal indulgence, I’d like to reflect on something wonderful that happened to me, many of my high school classmates and the people of my Massachusetts hometown 50 years ago this month. It was a high school production of the great musical, “Fiddler On The Roof,” something that by now has … Continue reading ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ and an April of discovery

Baltimore, You Have No Idea: New play slated for December

Baltimore Sun columnist Dan Rodricks tells stories from the hard streets and sweet spots of Baltimore, with six supporting players and a guy on a piano. You'll laugh. You'll cry. You'll sigh. “Baltimore, You Have No Idea,” directed by Will Schwarz with music by Mat Lane, will hit the stage at the BMA Meyerhoff Auditorium, … Continue reading Baltimore, You Have No Idea: New play slated for December

Competent leadership can stop Putin. That’s not something you wish for. It’s something you vote for.

“Please don’t wish,” I heard a woman say. That was her retort to some wishful thinking about life, her answer to hearing someone express hope that things could be different. I look at Putin today and his barbaric attacks on Ukraine, and I wish we could just wish him away. When you feel powerless to … Continue reading Competent leadership can stop Putin. That’s not something you wish for. It’s something you vote for.

Don’t like Putin? Don’t support Trump and Republicans.

In coming elections, Americans will have a choice, as always, when it comes to the kind of government we want: An open, liberal, representative democracy or some version of the old monarchy the Founders rejected, and that would be, in the modern world, an autocratic form of government, if not a dictatorship. It would be … Continue reading Don’t like Putin? Don’t support Trump and Republicans.

Apology and Response: The Sun’s editorial on its racist legacy, and a thoughtful reaction to it

Here, for all to read, is a link to The Baltimore Sun's deeply researched editorial on the newspaper's history of racism, going back to its founding nearly two centuries ago. (Here is a link to a note from our publisher and editor-in-chief, Trif Alatzas.) I hope you take time to read it all, either online … Continue reading Apology and Response: The Sun’s editorial on its racist legacy, and a thoughtful reaction to it

Playing through the pandemic: 428 live stream concerts and counting from An die Musik, Baltimore

Henry Wong, the longtime impresario at An die Musik on Charles Street, in the heart of downtown Baltimore, has kept musicians performing and music lovers entertained throughout the pandemic with his series, An die Musik Live. Sunday night, there was another live-stream, featuring the Phil Ravita Jazz Group. Impressed with his commitment to arranging these sessions, … Continue reading Playing through the pandemic: 428 live stream concerts and counting from An die Musik, Baltimore

Small town, great man: Bob McCarthy of East Bridgewater

Whenever I relate a story about my hometown in Massachusetts, it’s important to remember that these are renderings from the first third of my life, and while they might sometimes seem idealized, I try to sketch with the candid perspective that comes with time. I have not lived in East Bridgewater since the age of … Continue reading Small town, great man: Bob McCarthy of East Bridgewater

Maryland couple who lost Marine son in ‘preventable training fiasco’ on 60 Minutes tonight

“60 MINUTES” LISTINGS FOR SUNDAY, FEB. 6 DEATH IN TRAINING – Lesley Stahl investigates accidents during training involving military armored vehicles. 60 MINUTES found that in recent years, more servicemembers were killed in training accidents than in combat, and a large percentage of those accidents involved military vehicles: from Humvees to light armored vehicles to AAVs. … Continue reading Maryland couple who lost Marine son in ‘preventable training fiasco’ on 60 Minutes tonight

The triumph of Obamacare despite Andy Harris and other do-nothing Republicans.

A Maryland official estimates that more than 30,000 people recently gained private coverage through the Obamacare market in Maryland’s 1st District — health insurance that their representative in Congress, Andy Harris, a six-term Republican, opposed for years. I report this trend to note how clueless Harris has been about some of the people he represents … Continue reading The triumph of Obamacare despite Andy Harris and other do-nothing Republicans.

Reading “The Raven” on Poe’s birthday in Baltimore

Wednesday Jan. 19 is the anniversary of the birth, in 1809, of Edgar Allan Poe. His birthplace was Boston. The Master of the Macabre lived in Baltimore and died here in 1849. On his birthday, in keeping with my stated resolutions for 2022, I hope to read, “The Raven” at his gravesite in downtown Baltimore. … Continue reading Reading “The Raven” on Poe’s birthday in Baltimore

Dear Joshua: What I said about Republicans is still essentially true.

Sharing some of the comments I receive from readers again, here's an emailed letter that arrived from a fellow named Joshua: "Your Steven Sachs column is very well done but, in my opinion, your quip, 'these days integrity seems as rare as a Trump-defying Republican,' is the very type of divisive and inaccurate statement that … Continue reading Dear Joshua: What I said about Republicans is still essentially true.

My 20-step plan to cook multiple meals and get the house warmed up at the same time

It's winter so I again offer my 20-step plan for staying warm and sufficiently fed, making optimum use of the stove for heating and for creating several meals. My plan involves a few hours of early-morning cooking, which compensates for the inadequacies of your home-heating system, and you'll get a good workout, an exercise in … Continue reading My 20-step plan to cook multiple meals and get the house warmed up at the same time

Herman Williams fought hardcore, demoralizing racism to become Baltimore’s first Black fire chief

From the Baltimore Sun archives: My column from Jan. 5, 2001, after Herman Williams, Baltimore's first Black fire chief, announced his retirement. The department on Sunday reported that Chief Williams had passed. Information was incomplete, but I believe he was close to 90 years old. PUTTING OUT fires for a living might have been the … Continue reading Herman Williams fought hardcore, demoralizing racism to become Baltimore’s first Black fire chief

Maryland Rep. Andy Harris was among the Jan. 6 seditionists and refused to honor Capitol cops. He doesn’t deserve a 7th term.

On this anniversary of the Jan. 6 mob attack on the U.S. Capitol, one of the worst days in American history, anyone who calls himself a patriot should vow to never vote for any member of Congress who took part in the effort to subvert the election of Joe Biden as president. For Marylanders, that … Continue reading Maryland Rep. Andy Harris was among the Jan. 6 seditionists and refused to honor Capitol cops. He doesn’t deserve a 7th term.

Heavenly: Scrambled eggs in a vintage double boiler

A reader in California, Gary Cawood, says he needs more information about one of the cooking tips published recently in my Sun column. “I put one of the recommendations from your article,  ‘32 things I learned about everyday cooking,’ that the Sacramento Bee published to the test by using a double boiler to scramble eggs … Continue reading Heavenly: Scrambled eggs in a vintage double boiler

Don’t Look Up: A Netflix Movie Tries to Satire Something Beyond Satire

The question was raised during the Trump administration: Is satire dead? The answer by now is resounding, it seems to me, so any attempts to use humor or exxageration to expose people's stupidity or vices in these dark times -- post-Trumpian, but maybe not; a second (or is it third?) surge of the pandemic; Coal … Continue reading Don’t Look Up: A Netflix Movie Tries to Satire Something Beyond Satire

DDm raps: That’s my best friend. That’s my dog.

That’s my best friend ... That’s my dog ... He gon always hold me down ... That's my dog. This Just In: Baltimore-based rapper DDm (Dapper Dan Midas) has recorded a new song (lyrics below) and video celebrating life with dogs. More specifically, "That's My Dog" is meant to highlight dog ownership among Black, indigenous and … Continue reading DDm raps: That’s my best friend. That’s my dog.

Baccala, bacalhau, bacaloa — it’s all cod to me

There’s really no practical reason for baccala anymore. They have this thing called “refrigeration” now and you can freeze fish for months. The original concept — drying out flanks of Atlantic cod and salting them to preserve them — goes back centuries and remains a thing only because there’s a market for the resulting Old … Continue reading Baccala, bacalhau, bacaloa — it’s all cod to me