The State of Things

WUNC's The State of Things brings the issues, personalities, and places of North Carolina to you.  The State of Things Podcast presents new stories every weekday with topics from our show.  To subscribe:Get a daily show update and special news. Subscribe to our podcast on Google Play or iTunes.  Or, use the links at the right.Visit the main SOT page.

Adam Schiff stands at a podium holding his hands above the surface of the table.
(Senate Television via AP)

This week the U.S. Senate formally began the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump — the third such trial in American history. Democrats made their arguments this week, with the president’s lawyers making their case starting on Saturday. Political Junkie Ken Rudin shares his analysis of the trial so far with host Frank Stasio.

Black and white still image from a Bollywood film.
Wikimedia Commons

From indie rock to local rap, WKNC has built a loyal following of “hipsters and, well, more hipsters,” according to one station promo. But every Sunday morning, a totally different audience tune into North Carolina State University’s student radio station.

Ellis stands in wooded area with cloud graphic floating behind him.
Mike Lento

Justin Ravary Ellis is no stranger around the Triangle music scene. The multi-instrumentalist has played bass in — and fronted — multiple bands and often has a number of collaborative projects on the go. But in 2015 he made the explicit decision to carve out more space and time for something a little more intimate.

Two images of the same street show stark differences in development.
WUNC

Affordable housing is in limited supply in many communities in North Carolina. The problem is particularly acute in Wake and Mecklenburg counties, where the population growth has outpaced that in more rural parts of the state. WUNC data reporter Jason deBruyn explored what is happening to housing in the Triangle region for his new in-depth series “Where We Live.”

Gold Oscar statues.
Praytino / Flickr

The nominations for the 2020 Academy Awards came out last week and the usual uproar followed. For this edition of Movies on the Radio, we asked listeners, staff, and film experts Laura Boyes and Marsha Gordon which Oscar nods they agree or disagree with.

Illustration of a soldier with his head resting on one hand.
Alex Pena / Courtesy of U.S. Air Force

A clinical trial of active-duty military members showed for the first time that a known pain treatment can also be effectively used to treat post-traumatic stress disorder.

Jamea Richmond-Edwards / Courtesy of E. Patrick Johnson

Writer E. Patrick Johnson was hesitant to collect the stories of queer black Southern women. He is a cisgender gay black man, and the divide between the male and female experience was something he felt he could not portray on the page. But after being encouraged by women who wanted their experiences known and shared, he found a way to spotlight their voices.

University of South Carolina Press

More than thirty years after his death, James Baldwin is recapturing the American imagination in politics and popular culture. Black Lives Matter, “Moonlight,” “Between the World and Me,” and Raoul Peck’s Oscar-nominated documentary “I Am Not Your Negro” all resurrect Baldwin’s voice. The major themes of his writing are also evident throughout today’s headlines: police malfeasance, expansive sexuality, class struggle, and the marginalization of black Americans. Baldwin drew on his struggle of overlapping marginalization in his writing — in one interview he described being born poor, black, and gay as “hitting the jackpot” for sourcing material. But his intersectional politics made it hard for the author to find a home with the political movements of the ‘60s and ‘70s. Baldwin was an exile who remained intensely realistic, patient and hopeful about his country’s transformation.

Headshot of Holloway
Esther Hicks Photography / Courtesy of Karla Holloway

Karla FC Holloway was raised in Buffalo, New York in the midst of the battle over school desegregation. Her parents were both school administrators, and although she was not aware at the time of just how involved they were in that fight, she keenly observed their commitment to racial equality.

North Carolina legislative building
Wikimedia Commons

State lawmakers met for a one-day session this week, but in the end, not much has changed. There is still no budget for the current fiscal year as lawmakers enter their longest break in four years.

Billy Dee

What does it mean for a black journalist to remain neutral when writing about police brutality? Can young reporters be objective in their coverage of climate change?  Soon after the 2016 election, while working at American Public Media’s Marketplace, Lewis Raven Wallace wrote a blogpost saying: “We must change what we are doing to adapt to a government that believes in ‘alternative facts’ and thrives on lies.”

Carl Tanner's headshot
Courtesy of Carl Tanner

Growing up, Carl Tanner did his best to hide his vocal talent. He played keyboard in a rock band in high school but was reluctant to let out his booming voice. Eventually, a friend overheard him singing and pushed him to join the school choir. His natural ability stunned the instructor, and he started singing hymns at church, too.

Animated hands with words like 'calm, friendly, curious, inviting, attentive' frame an animated image of a toddler throwing a tantrum.
Pixabay

 

Parents in the United States typically have very little institutional support when it comes to raising children. The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 guarantees workers 12 weeks of parental leave — but that leave is unpaid.

Lizzo sits naked with her long hair draping over her body.
Atlantic Records

The flute-wielding singer and rapper Lizzo is the artist of the moment. She secured the most 2020 Grammy nominations of any artist, including nods for best album, song and record.

U.S. Department of Agriculture

Are wood pellets a renewable energy? In 2009, the European Union declared wood pellets a “carbon-neutral choice,” and in 2018 the EPA followed suit. Yet pellets are less efficient than fossil fuels. To make the same amount of energy, wood pellets release more carbon than both coal and natural gas.

Even before the Civil War, the North Carolina General Assembly was reckoning with prohibition. Women led the charge against drinking mostly through church organizations and behind-the-scenes political advocacy.

Refugee  children pose for a photo in front of a school bus.
Courtesy of the New Arrivals Institute

Southeast Asian refugees first arrived in Greensboro after the Vietnam War. Now, more than 40 years later, the city continues to welcome families fleeing violence.

Quilla with a microphone over a mixing board, mid-performance.
Courtesy of Anna Luisa Daigneault

Since landing in Greensboro, Quilla’s cosmic beat-making has encouraged other women DJs to step into the scene.

Carrie Knowles in front of a microphone
Courtesy of Carrie Knowles

Writing has been a central part of Carrie Knowles’ life since she was a young girl. She pursued creative writing as her major in college, even though it went against her father’s wishes.

Protesters hold signs that read 'NO IRAN WAR.'
(AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

The U.S. House of Representatives approves a resolution that would limit President Donald Trump’s power and require authorization from Congress before taking any additional military action against Iran. While Trump tries to calm the nation’s fears, the FBI and national security leaders believe Iran and its proxies still pose a threat.

Charlotte Jarvis

Semen is a potent substance, both literally and symbolically. It was described by Chinese proverb as “equal to ten drops of blood”; by Sumerians as “a divine substance,” given to humanity by the god of water; and by Aristotle as “the most perfect component of our food.”

Courtesy of the Verona Quartet

Attending a night at the symphony may conjure up images of an elaborate theatre, expensive tickets and an audience dressed in their finest. Chamber Orchestra of the Triangle is working to change that perception with upcoming performances featuring the Verona Quartet, COT’s inaugural string quartet-in-residence.

Jason DeBruyn / WUNC

200 families living in the McDougald Terrace public housing complex in Durham have been temporarily moved into hotels because of ongoing problems with carbon monoxide. The Durham Housing Authority put in place a voluntary evacuation order Friday as it conducts testing at the units. 

Poster of RLT's Curious Incident shows Michael in a red hoodie looking up at a night sky.
Courtesy of Raleigh Little Theatre

 
Actors make their living by telling the stories of other people. It is a craft marked by embodying a completely different life. But sometimes this process pushes out those who could most authentically tell the story. 

A surgery portrayed on a television episode
NBC

Television medical dramas have been a staple in Hollywood for decades. But just how accurate are those surgery scenes on NBC’s “Chicago Med?” Could Holmes and Watson really solve a crime using the science portrayed in the CBS series “Elementary?” It is Dr. Oren Gottfried’s job to ensure that medical facts align with the fiction of Hollywood. 

82nd Airborne paratroopers marching at Fort Bragg
Sgt. Kissta M. Feldner / U.S. Military

Iranian airstrikes on two U.S. military bases in Iraq yesterday marked a response to the assassination of Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani. In the past week, thousands of soldiers from the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg rapidly deployed to the Middle East and Marines from Camp Lejeune are now also on their way to reinforce U.S. military presence.

Jeffries stands in uniform next to a sign that reads 'Lindsey Jefferies NC's First Female African AMerican Black Helicopter Pilot for the NC Army National Guard.'
Courtesy of Lindsey Jefferies

Captain Lindsey Jefferies was the first of her six siblings to graduate from college. As a child, her family struggled financially and was constantly on the move in search of better paying jobs and a lower cost of living. She hoped that getting a good education could be a ticket to a more secure future and set the goal of attending UNC-Chapel Hill.

Workers with a large tractor dig coal ash out from pit.
NC DEQ / Flickr

Duke Energy is expected to execute the country’s largest coal ash cleanup in the next couple decades. A settlement signed Dec. 31, 2019 between Duke Energy and the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality decided the utility will excavate nearly 80 million tons of coal ash from unlined ponds and move it to lined landfills.

photo of writer David Zucchino
Becca Fox

 

Pulitzer Prize winner David Zucchino tackles Wilmington’s big lie in his latest book. Often called the Wilmington Massacre, early history described it as an unfortunate event where blacks were planning a race riot to overthrow whites. What history uncovered was a highly structured, highly coordinated coup planned by white supremacists to strip blacks of their newly-gained political power.

Red racecar speeding away.
Mark Menscer

Mark Menscer likes living between worlds. The “shock nerd” might spend the day chumming it up at a race track before heading home for a solitary night spent photographing the remains of a supernova. The Fayetteville native points to his unique upbringing for sparking his curiosity and wide-ranging interests.

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