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The Kojo Nnamdi Show
Updated: 2 hours 33 min ago

The Politics Hour - April 17, 2015

Fri, 2015-04-17 12:06

Maryland lawmakers wrap up their 2015 session in a budget standoff with the state's new governor. Debates over spending and a health care contract for jails exposes rifts between the D.C. Council and Mayor Muriel Bowser. And Virginia legislators head back to Richmond to hash out a laundry list of issues, including policies for drones in the commonwealth. Join us for our weekly review of the politics, policies, and personalities of the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia.

Your Turn

Thu, 2015-04-16 13:06

Hillary Clinton makes a "low-key" entrance into a quickly filling field of presidential contenders. President Obama's proposed nuclear accord with Iran suffers setbacks by Russia, Iran's supreme leader and Congress. And the debate over "free-range parenting" heats up again in our region when a Maryland couple's children are detained a second time for walking home unaccompanied. It's your turn to discuss these topics or whatever else is on your mind.

Maryland's Conowingo Dam Debate

Thu, 2015-04-16 12:25

The Conowingo Dam straddles the Susquehanna River near the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland. Over nearly a century, sediment and nutrients have built up in the reservoir behind the dam, and in major storms those pollutants flow into the Chesapeake. Some, including Maryland's Governor Larry Hogan, believe dredging is the solution; others say the dredging debate is a distraction from pollution being created upriver. We explore the issues.

U.S. Sen. Benjamin Cardin (D-Md.)

Thu, 2015-04-16 12:06

The road to a nuclear agreement between Iran and the United States is cutting through the office of one of the Washington region's most powerful lawmakers. U.S. Sen. Benjamin Cardin (D-Md.) recently negotiated an agreement that would give Congress oversight of a potential pact with Iran. Kojo chats with Cardin about where the issue is heading next and what he sees as stake in the talks between Iran and the United States.

Pati Jinich: New Takes on Traditional Mexican Food

Wed, 2015-04-15 13:06

Pati Jinich made her name sharing the foods and traditions of her childhood in Mexico City on her public television show and through her cookbook. For the show's latest season, Pati travels to Mexico to explore street food in Guanajuato and new takes on Mexican cuisine in San Miguel de Allende. Pati joins us to share her quick and easy versions of traditional foods like tamales, and what taco night is like at her house.

Top-Down Change: T.C. Williams' Principal Looks Back

Wed, 2015-04-15 12:30

When Suzanne Maxey took the helm of Alexandria's only public high school, it was an institution in crisis. The city's historic T.C. Williams High School had been targeted by the government as "persistently lowest achieving." The school had frequent turnover at the top. And its nearly 3,000 students had flagging test scores, a higher-than-average drop-out rate and behavior problems. Five years and one massive overhaul later, Maxey is leaving T.C. Williams a much-changed place. She reflects on tackling reform at one of Virginia's largest high schools and the lessons she’s learned after more than four decades in education.

Free-Range Parenting When You're Poor: Choice or Necessity?

Wed, 2015-04-15 12:06

A Silver Spring couple is in the news again for letting their children walk home alone from the park -- a decision they attribute to their "free-range parenting" philosophy. But parents living on the brink of poverty often make similar decisions for very different, economic reasons. We explore how societal norms and laws on child neglect affect the choices facing poor parents who can't afford child care.

The Challenges Facing America's Somali Disaspora

Tue, 2015-04-14 13:40

A brutal attack by Somali militants on a college in Kenya last week took 148 lives--and triggered renewed fears throughout much of East Africa. But the aftershocks of the attack, for which the group al-Shabab took credit, stretch to many Somali-American communities on the other side of the globe. We explore the complex issues communities in the Somali diaspora are facing in the United States in the wake of last week's attack.

Growing Black Diasporas In The U.S.

Tue, 2015-04-14 13:20

A growing percentage of the black population in the U.S. is made up of immigrants -- and the figure is steadily rising. The trend raises questions for both migrants and African Americans about what it means to be black in America. We consider the rise of diaspora populations in the context of our changing demographics as a nation.

Nigerian Diaspora Activism

Tue, 2015-04-14 13:06

It has been a year since nearly 300 young women, mostly students, were kidnapped by Boko Haram in northeastern Nigeria. In the immediate aftermath, a wave of so-called hashtag activism kept the story in the headlines for a time, but also drew criticism for being a mere token. We talk with a member of D.C's Nigerian diaspora about efforts to keep the story - and its broader context - relevant a year later.

Cameras and Cops: A Shift in Community Policing

Tue, 2015-04-14 12:06

The shooting of an unarmed man in Charleston, SC. has shone a spotlight on the critical role cameras can play in encounters with law enforcement. From Ferguson, Mo. to the streets of New York and Washington, D.C, law enforcement agencies are quickly adopting body-worn cameras, but important legal and privacy questions remain over footage shot by both cops and citizens alike. Kojo examines how the now-ubiquitous camera -- whether worn on a uniform or held in a hand -- is changing community policing, and what rights and responsibilities come with this powerful tool.

Reinstating The Brontosaurus And Studying The Smithsonian's Dinosaurs

Mon, 2015-04-13 13:32

Last week, kids of all ages cheered the news that the Brontosaurus is back. A new study says the long-necked animal -- for a century thought to be essentially the same as the Apatosaurus -- is in fact a distinct genus of dinosaur. We learn about the research changing how dinosaurs are classified and get an update on the five-year project under way at the Smithsonian to take apart and study the fossils there.

Prosecuting Police Shootings

Mon, 2015-04-13 13:06

Thousands of fatal police shootings occurred in the United States during the past decade. But a recent analysis found that investigations of those shootings rarely lead to prosecution - with only 54 of the cases studied resulting in charges against an officer. Kojo talks with one of the reporters behind a Washington Post-Bowling Green State University study on the issue about the context it provides for recent incidents in our region and across the country.

DC Public Charter Schools

Mon, 2015-04-13 12:06

Public charter schools launched in the District nearly 20 years ago, and while enrollment has leveled off after years of spectacular growth, demand for the highest performing schools is still strong. We speak with the head of the DC Public Charter School Board about addressing coordination with traditional public schools, special needs students, Common Core standards, and financial oversight.

The Politics Hour - April 10, 2015

Fri, 2015-04-10 12:06

A power struggle develops between D.C.'s newly elected mayor and attorney general. A Democratic candidate in Maryland's race for the U.S. Senate picks up a key endorsement in his opponent's backyard. And elections officials consider whether voting machines in Northern Virginia need to be replaced. Join us for our weekly review of the politics, policies, and personalities of the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia.

Budget and Staff Cuts at Local Universities

Thu, 2015-04-09 13:32

George Washington University blames declining grad school and professional school enrollment for a 5 percent spending cut in the coming year. Howard University cut 84 staff positions "to ensure long-term financial stability." American University will trim base budgets by 1 percent in the next two fiscal years, also due in part to sagging grad student enrollment. And the University of Maryland raised tuition mid year to help offset a state funding cut. We examine the budget challenges facing local universities and ask what effect the cuts will have on campus.

Off The Beaten Path: Hillwood Estate, Museum And Gardens

Thu, 2015-04-09 13:06

Tucked into a quiet D.C. neighborhood that abuts the expansive Rock Creek Park, Hillwood Estate Museum and Gardens offer a hidden respite from the city. The former home of business woman, hostess and collector Marjorie Merriweather Post welcomes visitors to explore the Russian and French antiques inside and the well-manicured grounds. We talk with the museum director about the opportunities and challenges smaller museums have in this community.

Organic and Natural Lawn Care

Thu, 2015-04-09 12:06

It's spring, and for many, that means time spent outside in yards, parks and athletic fields. But recent news may be giving some pause when it comes to caring for lawns and gardens. Mongtomery County is weighing a ban on pesticides for cosmetic lawn care. And the World Health Organization (WHO) recently deemed a common weed killer, Roundup, a probable carcinogen. We explore the growing demand for organic lawn care, as well as natural solutions to pest and weed control.

George Mason Univ. President Ángel Cabrera

Wed, 2015-04-08 13:06

It began as the Northern Virginia branch of the University of Virginia. Now George Mason University is the largest public university in the state, with 33,000 students on three campuses. We'll explore its transition from local commuter school to nationally-ranked research university and examine George Mason's push to attract more international students and to promote research on issues of current importance.

'A Bird In The Hand': Chicken Reimagined

Wed, 2015-04-08 12:31

As our collective culinary palates expand, chicken, an old kitchen standby is sometimes maligned as "boring." Yet most every culture around the world has inspired takes and techniques for making the bird an interesting, delicious and fulfilling meal. We talk with a UK-based cook who considers it a staple and get her ideas - and solicit yours - for takes on poultry that are both creative and comforting.