Roughly Speaking

Baltimore Sun


A conversational take on Maryland news and culture from The Baltimore Sun newsroom.

Behind the scenes of 'Cops and Robbers' with Justin Fenton - 6/13/2019 9:18:20 PM

Baltimore Sun reporter Justin Fenton spent the last year reporting on the inner-workings of the corrupt Gun Trace Task Force members and their leader, Sgt. Wayne Jenkins. What exactly did he spend his time doing? Hear more about his reporting process and his fight to obtain records.

Cops and robbers: New findings reveal how corrupt Baltimore officers got away with their crimes - 6/12/2019 1:41:22 PM

On the surface, former Baltimore Police Sgt. Wayne Jenkins appeared to have earned his reputation as a rising star in the department for his unparalleled ability to get guns off the streets. But a deep dive into Jenkins and the force in which he operated reveals how the well-regarded cop — and the elite Gun Trace Task Force squad he led — manipulated the criminal justice system to rob and steal with impunity over the course of several years. On this episode, Justin Fenton joins Newsroom Edition host Pamela Wood to review key takeaways from the series, explain his reporting process and provide an overview of the road ahead for the Baltimore Police Department.

Myths, misconceptions and misnomers: Demystifying the opioid crisis - 6/4/2019 6:43:58 PM

Despite increased awareness of the opioid epidemic, the public health crisis continues to ravage communities across the nation each year. This holds true especially in states such as Maryland, where the number of opioid overdose deaths per year has escalated into the thousands. Gov. Larry Hogan even declared a state of emergency in March 2017, becoming the first governor in the nation to take such a step.A new book published by two Baltimore-based experts in addiction medicine and public health suggests that a connection may exist between opioids’ continued havoc and a general misunderstanding of the pandemic — from the language utilized to describe those afflicted with substance-use disorders to the distribution of funds meant to decrease the death toll.Together, married couple Yngvild Olson and Joshua Sharfstein wrote “The Opioid Epidemic: What Everyone Needs to Know,” to discuss the misconceptions about the opioid crisis and what lawmakers, physicians and citizens can do to address it. They sit down with Baltimore Sun investigative reporter Doug Donovan to review key takeaways from the book.Call the Behavioral Health System Baltimore at 410-433-5175 if you are in crisis.

Rodricks: Trump, political tribalism and the push for impeachment - 6/3/2019 2:19:37 PM

In the wake of the Mueller report, a new CNN poll shows an increase among Democrats for Donald Trump's impeachment while Republicans remain adamant in their support of the president, evidence of what presidential historian Richard Striner describes as tribalism -- fierce political loyalty beyond ideology and mere partisanship.Meanwhile, former vice-president Joe Biden is the current front-runner among Democrats seeking their party's nomination. But Biden's status is starting to take a hit from the party's progressive wing.On the show: Mileah Kromer is associate professor of political science and the director of the Sarah T. Hughes Field Politics Center at Goucher College; she oversees the Goucher Poll. Richard Striner is a professor of history at Washington College and an author of books on American presidents, film and architecture.

After two catastrophic floods in three years, Ellicott City reckons with its future - 5/31/2019 5:16:27 PM

In 2016, historic Ellicott City experienced a record flood that tore lives, businesses and the county apart. In 2018, it happened again — another devastating flood, perhaps even more egregious than the first.A year after the 2018 storm, Howard County has put forth a massive plan to reduce future flooding in the town. But after experiencing so much loss, how confident are residents and business owners in their government to keep them safe?In this episode, Howard County Times reporter Erin B. Logan joins Newsroom Edition host Pamela Wood to detail the town’s recovery in the wake of two deadly floods.

It's crab feast time in Maryland. How the industry is doing and how to host your own. - 5/23/2019 8:46:52 PM

Welcome to summer in Maryland, where crab is king. Last year, the state’s popular crustacean industry suffered as nearly half of Maryland’s crab houses were unable to secure enough H2-B visas for foreign workers, whom they rely on to pick the meat sold at restaurants and supermarkets. Some reported revenue decreases of 50 percent or more.But this year’s crab market appears to be in better shape, as the Trump administration made 30,000 additional visas available for the temporary labor program. While Maryland’s crab proprietors say they feel confident about this summer’s crab yield, they’re concerned about what the future holds for their businesses, as the demand for temporary worker visas continues to surge.On today’s episode: Baltimore Sun weather, science and environment reporter Scott Dance joins Newsroom Edition host Pamela Wood for a wide-ranging discussion about the future of Maryland crabs, the state of their habitat in the Chesapeake Bay and what you need to know before hosting your own cookout.

Exit interview with Herb Smith who co wrote the book on Maryland politics - 5/21/2019 2:04:18 PM

When you’ve devoted nearly 46 years to teaching political science and a good part of that time to being a pundit, you get to have an exit interview when retirement grows nigh. This spring’s semester at McDaniel College in Westminster was Herb Smith’s last as a professor of political science. For many years, he was a regular go-to political commentator for Maryland reporters, and his keenest skill was bringing historical perspective, and much-needed humor, to current affairs. Smith and former state secretary of state John Willis literally wrote the book on Maryland politics --- published by the University of Nebraska Press in 2012, and titled, "Maryland Politics and Government: Democratic Dominance." On this show: Herb Smith reflects on American politics from the time of Eisenhower to Trump.

Should the Preakness stay in Baltimore? - 5/16/2019 7:53:20 PM

The battle over keeping the Preakness in Baltimore has ignited a divisive political conflict that’s quietly been brewing, mostly out of public view, for years. For nearly 150 years, the second jewel of the triple crown has hosted names like Seabiscuit, Secretariat and dozens of two-legged celebrities for the Preakness, including models, athletes, and actors. The race attracts hundreds of thousands of fans to the area on Preakness weekend.But despite its historic roots, the millions of dollars it generates, and a state requirement that Baltimore must host the Preakness barring an extreme disaster or emergency, its owners have expressed more interest in investing its future in its Laurel Park facility, some 30 miles away.Baltimore Sun reporting revealed this year that the Canadian-based Stronach group, the owner of the track and the race, has spent most of the state aid it receives for track improvements on Laurel Park since 2013. Though track in Laurel hosts significantly more horse racing events than its Baltimore counterpart and may prove to be in better condition, city residents, neighborhood leaders and others maintain that moving the Preakness away from Baltimore would wreak further havoc on an area in decline.In this episode: Community leaders, city residents, policy experts and Baltimore Sun reporters wade in to help untangle the question at the heart of this debate: Is the Baltimore Preakness worth saving? *Note: A previous version of this episode misstated when the Baltimore Colts left Baltimore. The Colts left Baltimore in March 1984. We regret the error.

The Ravens big gamble on Lamar Jackson and other offseason storylines you should follow - 5/10/2019 2:42:33 PM

Call it beginner’s luck, but rookie Lamar Jackson’s record-breaking 2018 season left the Ravens management wanting more. So much more, in fact, that they traded veteran quarterback Joe Flacco for a fourth-round NFL draft pick and did not play him after he recovered from his week 9 hip injury — a decision that many criticized during the infamous Wild Card Round playoff game against the Los Angeles Chargers, which ended in a 23-17 defeat. With Flacco’s departure, the team has vowed to head in a “new direction,” with Jackson at the helm. Outside of the Ravens’ administration, not everyone is as confident in this rebranding effort or Jackson’s ability to carry an offense — much less get through a game without fumbling. However, the team’s management, now headed by new general manager Eric DeCosta, is sticking by its decision.Ravens beat reporter Jonas Shaffer joins Roughly Speaking host Pamela Wood to discuss the Ravens’ big gamble on Lamar Jackson and other important decisions that the team has made as it enters the 2019 season.

Pugh’s legacy and what to expect from Baltimore’s next leader - 5/3/2019 5:05:02 PM

How will history remember Pugh? Baltimore Sun reporters Luke Broadwater and Ian Duncan join Pamela Wood to discuss the many shades of Pugh’s legacy. Then, editorial page editor Andy Green joins to comment on the kind of leader the city seeks to move it forward.