The unseasonably mild weather that hit our region over Super Bowl weekend revives a question that tracks with climate change: Could Baltimore ever host the big game? With global warming, it seems like the chances of spring in early February are about the same as winter. And, if winter, so what? It’s football, not lawn bowling. The big challenge is hotel rooms. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell says a host region needs 35,000. The Baltimore region has less than half of that. But if Baltimore and Washington collaborated, with the Pro Bowl at FedExField and the Super Bowl at M&T Bank Stadium, there’d be plenty of room. We should be careful what we wish for, however. There would be one big drawback — some call it a curse — in trying to do this while the great Lamar Jackson is with the Ravens: In 54 years, no team has ever made it to a Super Bowl played in its home stadium. So there’s that.
Nobody asked me, but the letter this newspaper recently published from more than 200 Roland Park residents affirming their commitment to reject racism was impressive because it did not equivocate, it did not try to rationalize, explain or excuse bad behavior. The letter followed a Sun editorial that described and decried a racial incident involving some black boys from Roland Park Middle School and a white woman who uttered the N word because she didn’t like their after-school behavior. The letter said the use of the word by an adult was “unconscionable and heartbreaking.” Good for them for saying so. In these times, the counter message to racism and hate can never be heard enough. Especially when children are watching and listening.
The Roland Park incident brought to mind a story a young black man told me. He grew up in Park Heights, but, from 1995 to 1998, he attended Roland Park Middle. When school let out, he and some classmates, also black, sometimes walked through the affluent, predominantly white neighborhood to Falls Road to get a slice of pizza and catch a bus. This took them on side streets, away from Roland Avenue and Cold Spring Lane. “People called 911 when they saw us,” he said. “And the police would show up.” He and other boys were also treated with suspicion, he said, when they tried to buy afternoon snacks. Now 35, this young man’s responsibilities take him back to Roland Park from time to time, and he recently visited the middle school to speak to students. “I have to say, they are some of the brightest kids in this city,” says Brandon Scott, Baltimore City Council president, candidate for mayor and Roland Park Middle alumnus.
Nobody asked me, but Senate Republicans have set all sorts of bad precedents with their abdication of duties and their dismissal of the charges against President Donald Trump. Here’s one: Impeaching and removing a president from office in a presidential election year is now off-limits. Imagine if “let the voters decide” were applied to all cases of political corruption brought under federal statutes. Catherine Pugh might still be the mayor of Baltimore and running for a second term. Instead of charging her with tax evasion and fraud, the U.S. attorney here might have held off until after the April primary to “let the voters decide.” And remember Nathaniel Oaks? The former state senator was forced from office under the weight of federal corruption charges in March 2018, eight months before an election. U.S. District Judge Richard Bennett should have refused to accept Oaks’ guilty plea to “let the voters decide.” Of course, had the judge done that, congressional Republicans would have demanded his impeachment.
Nobody asked me, but Rep. Adam Schiff’s “midnight in Washington” closing argument in Trump’s impeachment trial hit all the right points and powerfully so. A Republican senator, Mike Braun of Indiana, dismissed it as “sanctimonious,” which is what you say when the other guy knocks you over the head with morality and truth. Also, it’s worth noting that three men implicated in the Ukraine pressure campaign — Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, and his indicted buddies Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman — supported Braun’s 2018 campaign. According to the Indianapolis Star, Parnas and Fruman created a shell company that gave hundreds of thousands of dollars to a Super PAC that spent $2.8 million opposing Braun’s rival. So there’s that.
Nobody asked me, but I don’t believe anything Trump says; he’s the first president in my lifetime whose every utterance deserves suspicion. With more than 16,000 false or misleading claims since taking office, according to the most recent Washington Post count, you’d be a fool to accept anything he says or tweets on its face. Same for what comes out of his administration. The expansion of Trump’s travel ban to six more countries, four of them in Africa, appears to be in keeping with the racism, xenophobia and cruelty that drives Trump’s immigration policies. The administration’s claim of national security is unbelievable.
Nobody asked me, but if you run a restaurant in Pigtown, it makes sense to serve (if serving meat you must) excellent pork products. Has anyone ever made this connection? Corned Beef Row is known for corned beef, Little Italy for Italian food, and, with more than 160 Korean-American restaurants and businesses, there’s a stretch of Route 40 in Howard County officially marked Korean Way. So, regarding Pigtown and pork — specifically, the delicious (and freshly sliced) ham the chef at Breaking Bread put in my baked-on-site croissant the other day. Whether in the spirit of the location or just as the establishment’s daily standard, it was superb. Now I’m thinking this revitalized Baltimore neighborhood would be the perfect place for a row of ribs and barbecue joints. I mean — wait for it — this could be the start of something pig.