C. Fraser Smith

Nov 3, 2016

An election basket of deplorables

I wrote a commentary for WYPR this week, extolling some of the ways America is great – now. I thought we ought to think in these challenging moments about some of the many things that make us great as a people. I took a couple of shots at Donald Trump for the tenor of his […]

Sep 8, 2016

Better than we expected

Reconciliation has a ring to it. A cessation of hostilities. A meeting of minds. Acrimony and grudges off the table. Of course, you want to hear how the other side defines reconciliation. You have to assume the parties are looking for the best possible deal. The famous Chicago organizer, Saul Alinsky, had his own definition […]

Aug 18, 2016

No clean hands in Baltimore

Zero tolerance: I’m betting it sounded good to crime-weary Baltimoreans when Martin O’Malley was mayor. It had worked in New York. Surely Baltimore would be easy. Much smaller. Life did get a bit calmer. But something less definitive came with the tough on crime mantra: Thousands of young black men, arrested for minor offenses, got […]

Aug 11, 2016

So what are we going to do?

Being arrested while black is no new thing. Carl J. Murphy, editor and publisher of The Baltimore Afro-American newspaper, was arrested on the front lawn of his house in Baltimore. Arrested for trespassing. He’d gone outside to attend to something when the police saw him. He called his wife from the stationhouse. Where are you? […]

Jul 27, 2016

The lessons of the Freddie Gray trials

Her initial 15 minutes of fame came with a swift indictment of six Baltimore cops after Freddie Gray died from injuries suffered in police custody. The moment ended yesterday when Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby indicted the entire criminal justice process. The system had gotten in the way of justice for Gray, she said. “…Without […]

Jul 21, 2016

Words that matter    

If you’re perplexed – or vexed – about the state of the nation, remember that words matter, or should. They matter even if transmuted into body language. The Donald’s wife, Melania, in her pro forma candidate’s wife speech, borrowed a few lines from Michelle Obama. How to react? J’acuse! cried the plagiarism police. But was […]

Jul 14, 2016

Whither our better selves?

“… Things fall apart; the center cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed and everywhere The ceremony of innocence is drowned The best lack all conviction, while the worst Are full of passionate intensity…”   “The Second Coming,” William Butler Yeats Yeats’ famous poem came at the end of World War I, a time of great […]

Jun 17, 2016

C. Fraser Smith: The cowardice of Congress

Ten or so players from the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra gave another of their comforting, impromptu in memoriam concerts Monday afternoon. We all knew why. Oh, of course, another mass killing. We were all suffering. Everyone knows we are all in the cross hairs of fate. Music helps us escape reality or tolerate fear or warn […]

Jun 9, 2016

C. Fraser Smith: A standoff nobody wins

Do we really have time for silly bits of political theater? Don’t we want a smart, dynamic, on-the-move City Hall? Wouldn’t it be nice if the clock moved faster, bringing our new leadership on board? I ask because, even as the nation focuses on the Freddie Gray trials, our leaders engage in petty personal politics. […]

Jun 2, 2016

C. Fraser Smith: Our new Bethlehem Steel?

“We’ve seen time and time again, for decades, developers make big promises to the people of Baltimore. They’re given big pots of money, they always promise great jobs that they’re going to create for the citizens of Baltimore, and every time we learn what that is … a small number of poverty-wage jobs that don’t […]

May 26, 2016

C. Fraser Smith: Looking hard for morale boosters

We could all use a little morale boost these days, so in my usual public-spirited way I offer one: Terps basketball fans woke up yesterday to reports that Melo Trimble, the basketball team’s best-known player, will stay one more year in College Park. We know he’s been advised to wait while his draft status, marketability […]

May 20, 2016

C. Fraser Smith: More than one verdict on the way

Once again, Baltimore goes on trial. Circuit Judge Barry G. Williams will rule this morning on the guilt or innocence of a police officer in the Freddie Gary case. Officer Edward M. Nero will be found guilty or go free. Baltimore will still be on trial. How will the city react? If Nero is found […]

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