The State of Things

M-F 12 Noon, M-Th 8p, Sat 6a

Host Frank Stasio.
Credit Ben McKeown / For WUNC

We bring the issues, personalities, and places of North Carolina to you. We are a live show, and we want to hear from listeners. Call 1-877-962-9862, email sot@wunc.org, or tweet @state_of_things. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

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Courtesy of Liese O'Halloran Schwarz

When six-year-old Ben arrives in the emergency department of a Rhode Island hospital, the physician who attends to him uses her medical training to try to understand his trauma. But as the boy’s memories start returning, and they don’t seem to be his own, she must expand her understanding of how people are connected and what kind of phenomena might be possible.

Lorenzo Manag / Huemanly

 

 When Tracy Cruz was young, singing was just another language. Her mother and grandmother made ballads out of busy work, oftentimes singing in their native Tagalog as they did household chores. Tracy was born on Luzon, the largest island in the Philippines, but moved to San Jose, California when she was five.

Mitch Prinstein / Penguin Random House/2017

Popularity is often a concern for teenagers, but research shows it also influences life outside the high school cafeteria. Children as young as four years old can identify their most popular peer, and one’s popularity growing up can even predict his or her lifespan.

In the book “Popular: The Power of Likability in a Status-Obsessed World” (Penguin Random House/2017), Mitch Prinstein teases apart the distinction between two different types of popularity: likability and status. 

Cover of Coconut, Ginger, Shrimp, Rum cookbook
Brigid Washington / Skyhorse Publishing 2017

Brigid Washington grew up with the Caribbean flavors of her family's native Trinidad. Ginger, coconut, fresh seafood and other ingredients shaped her palate and her experiences in the kitchen.

But food was not an important part of her adult life until, as a dissatisfied writer living in Raleigh, she felt compelled to walk into the kitchen of Bloomsbury Bistro and ask the chef to teach her the culinary arts. That brazen request led to culinary school and a cookbook. “Coconut. Ginger. Shrimp. Rum.: Caribbean Flavors for Every Season” (Skyhorse Publishing/2017) highlights the mainstay flavors of the islands with American fusion twists. 

NC State House
NCGA

Lawmakers returned to Raleigh this week for a special session to determine the titles for six proposed constitutional amendments. The amendments will be put to voters this November and include controversial items like a voter ID measure and a push to limit the governor’s appointment powers.

Courtesy of Onnesha Roychoudhuri / Melville House Books

 

Identity politics are often criticised for being a divisive force in America. But writer and activist Onnesha Roychoudhuri came to a personal realization that they are also key to building important social movements. Roychoudhuri developed this idea after years of working as a journalist and trying to ignore her personal identity in the name of objectivity.

Courtesy of Kurt Gray

The Book of Genesis says that man was created in God’s image. But a new study finds human beings may be returning the favor.

Courtesy of Hope Larson

For decades, dedicated readers have scoured their local comic book stores for the latest issue of their favorite superhero story. But look past the capes and one will quickly come across comics and graphic novels that offer complex and critical analyses of politics and society. From the Pulitzer Prize-winning “Maus” to recent issues of “Black Panther,” graphic novels and comics allow readers to engage with dense topics and relate to diverse characters and experiences. 

President John F. Kennedy in the motorcade where he was assassinated, with Texas Governor John Connally sitting in front of him.
Walt Cisco / Dallas Morning News

Americans know that on November 22, 1963, President John F. Kennedy was shot and killed as he rode in a motorcade in Dallas, Texas. Many people don’t know, however, that Texas Governor John Connally was riding in the same car as President Kennedy that day and was also hit by a bullet. He was seriously wounded, but he recovered. 

Courtesy of Asha Bala / North Carolina Arts Council

When Asha Bala was born, her mother looked at her and declared that she would be a dancer. Her country, India, was a newborn as well, recently independent from British rule. So many parents were keen to revitalize ancient cultural and spiritual practices like Bharata Natyam dance, once practiced in the temples and based on epic tales and mythology.

The Black Man Running group jog in Wilmington.
Courtesy Black Man Running

Putting on running shoes and heading out for a jog is not a straightforward affair for black men. Runner Rendell Smith remembers a white woman who was so scared when she saw him jogging toward her, she dropped her groceries and bolted.

An image of Peter Lamb and the Wolves with Maceo Parker
Peter Lamb and the Wolves

For their latest album, "Carolina Tiger Milk," Triangle-based jazz group Peter Lamb and the Wolves invited some of North Carolina's most prominent musicians.

The band's guest  lineup includes vocalist Django Haskins of The Old Ceremony, saxophonist Maceo Parker and members of the Mint Julep Jazz Band.  

Courtesy of Martha Quillin / News & Observer

When Hurricane Matthew flooded low-lying areas across Eastern North Carolina in October 2016, thousands of people were displaced. As Martha Quillin writes in the News & Observer, it wasn’t just the living who moved.

Many people gathered at Headliners Barbershop, while one person cuts hair.
Tru Pettigrew

After Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, was killed by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, a national conversation started about law enforcement and communities of color. That conversation was also happening in Cary, North Carolina, at Headliners Barbershop, where the clientele is majority African-American.

Courtesy of Scene on Radio

The 2017 season of the podcast “Scene on Radio” from the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University received a Peabody Award nomination for its candid look at white supremacy in the United States.

A copperhead snake
Jeff Beane

With warmer weather and more outdoor activities comes the increase in snake sightings in North Carolina. There are nearly 40 species of snakes in the state with one of the most common being the copperhead. Despite the fact that there are copperheads in every county in North Carolina, there are still a lot of misconceptions and myths about them says herpetologist Jeff Beane

Gage Skidmore/Flickr Creative Commons

Powerful, wealthy organizations like the National Rifle Association might want to buy elections, but campaign finance laws stop them from doing so. At least, they’re supposed to.

Kim Rice wrestling her opponent
courtesy of Kim Rice

A kickboxing class is what led Kim Sarah Rice to practicing Brazilian jiujitsu. She thought kickboxing was fun and she felt strong and powerful while attacking those heavy weighted bags.

Image of Asheville police car
Osajus / Flickr Creative Commons

 

Yesterday, the Asheville Citizen Times revealed the Asheville Police Department has been following local civil rights group since the shooting of Jai “Jerry” Williams two years ago.

The AIDS Memorial Quilt
Elvert Barnes / Creative Commons https://bit.ly/1dsePQq

According to the United Nations, more people are living with HIV than have died since the epidemic began in the 1980s. There have been large medical and social advances for those diagnosed with HIV and AIDS. But many of those early researchers, advocates and survivors are nearing the end of their lives. 

Promotional photo from 1937 screwball comedy 'The Awful Truth' starring actors Irene Dunne and Cary Grant. The actors face away from each other and the scruffy actor dog sits between them.
Columbia Pictures

Film Curator Laura Boyes is a sucker for old romantic movies. But digging for gems from the golden age of cinema also tends to turn up sexist tropes: the two-dimensional secretary, naive blonde and women who flounder without significant male help.

Julie-Ann Scott-Pollock with her three sons.
Courtesy of Julie-Ann Scott-Pollock

Julie-Ann Scott-Pollock studies what it is like to live in the body of another person. She looks specifically at bodies that may make others uncomfortable, like those of people with memory loss or people who have bulimia. She transforms first-person interviews into performance pieces that explore perspectives on embodiment.

Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP Photo

President Donald Trump is in the United Kingdom for a two-day visit with British leaders. The visit turned awkward after the president blasted U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May in the press one day before the two were set to meet. He told a British tabloid that May ignored his advice on Brexit and that her political rival Boris Johnson would make an excellent prime minister.

Nikola Solic / AP Photo

The 21st FIFA World Cup hosted by Russia heads toward the final game on Sunday when France and Croatia will battle for the top spot. The tournament attracts millions of viewers from around the globe, with the last World Cup final between Germany and Argentina in 2014 drawing a record 1.01 billion viewers worldwide, according to FIFA.

D. Shawn and Soul
Courtesy of D. Shawn & Soul

Duo D. Shawn and Soul say their debut album takes on a different tone than the “turn up” or party songs that loom large in the rhythm and blues scene. According to the artists, a significant amount of R&B music does not show the true depth of who a woman really is, and their release “Ya Girl’s Playlist” is an effort to counter that one-dimensional narrative.

Colby Rabon / Carolina Public Press

In February, Congress enacted legislation geared at keeping children out of foster care and in a stable home with their family. The Family First Prevention Services Act frees up $8 billion in federal funds once allocated for foster care and adoption and allows states to use it for prevention.

Ragen Chastain is doing a split
Courtesy of Ragen Chastain

More than 90 million American adults are obese. Research shows that excess weight can increase your risk of certain health conditions, like heart disease and diabetes. But being overweight affects more than your health. Studies show obese people have a harder time finding a job and are paid less than thinner people.

Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck in 'Roman Holiday'
Classic Film / Flickr - Creative Commons -https://flic.kr/p/VkLRWH

Vacation movies may show off some of the world’s most beautiful scenery, but the most compelling films are the ones that show characters another side of themselves. Take a protagonist out of her usual environment and anything can happen.

courtesy of Jennifer Dasal

It can be as difficult to explain why an artist is driven to paint or sculpt as it is to define what makes great art. But for some of the highest-achieving artists the motivation to create is clear: competition.

Charles Rex Arbogast / AP Photo

In late June, a federal judge ordered the Trump administration to halt most family separations at the border and to reunify all families that had been separated. U.S. District Court Judge Dana Sabraw told the government to have all families back together by July 26 and to reunify children under the age of five with their parents by July 10.

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