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.

Map showing the new congressional districs in NC.
ILLUSTRATION BY FIVETHIRTYEIGHT / NORTH CAROLINA GENERAL ASSEMBLY

Now that incumbent North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis lost his Republican primary challenger Garland Tucker, will he stick close to President Trump or try to appease centrists in the state? Political Junkie Ken Rudin analyzes Tillis’ strategy with host Frank Stasio.

McFarlane with her family and Obama.
Courtesy of Nancy McFarlane

Nancy McFarlane has seen a lot of changes in Raleigh in her 12 years on the City Council. She was first elected in 2007, just before the recession slowed growth around the nation.

The choir in costume for one of their performances.
Courtesy of The Burlington Boys Choir

The Burlington Boys Choir is upholding a six-decade-long choral tradition for the boys of Alamance County. Over the years, hundreds of boys have learned the joys of classical music through the choir, which is open to boys between the ages of 9 and 16 years old.

Teachers on a sidewalk holding signs that read 'Proud Public School Teacher.'
Cole del Charco / WUNC

The 2019 legislative session ended with no compromise on teacher pay raises. Gov. Roy Cooper vetoed Republican leaders’ final proposal of an average 3.9% increase, calling it “inadequate.”

McNab and a colleague with a mascot.
Courtesy of Margaret McNab

Teachers nationwide continue to stage protests. Organizations like Fight for $15 are gaining power and steam. General Motors recently ended the longest autoworkers strike in recent history. Employees lost nearly $1 billion in wages while the company lost nearly $2 billion in production.

Sign in front of the confederate monument Silent Sam that reads, 'HANDS OFF SAM.'
Jason DeBruyn / WUNC

The North Carolina Sons of Confederate Veterans are now the official owners of the controversial Silent Sam statue that once stood on the campus of UNC-Chapel Hill.

Screen grab from an old nontheatrical film showing a young African American athlete on a field with white peers.
Courtesy of Duke University Press

Do you remember watching educational movies in elementary school? Older generations might think of the teacher setting up the 16 mm projector, while younger folks were assigned YouTube videos to watch at home.

Carlson standing in front of her art.
Courtesy of the Nasher Museum

For generations Native Americans were left out of the mainstream art world. An exhibition called "Art for a New Understanding: Native Voices 1950s to Today" aims to correct this oversight and recast the history of contemporary art to include work by Native Americans.

A photo of a computer screen showing political ads on Facebook.
Richard Drew / AP

Earlier this fall Twitter banned political advertising on its platform. This includes ads that reference a political candidate, party, election or legislation. Should other social media platforms follow suit?

Headshot of Judith Ruderman
Courtesy of Judith Ruderman

What does it mean to be Jewish in America? For some it is the observance of particular high holy days, while for others it is much more of a cultural identity than a religious one.

A row of pink salt is lined above a shorter bar of green Matcha tea powder.
Dhanraj Emanuel

After moving to the states, Dhanraj Emanuel craved the Indian dishes of his childhood. He had never cooked before, so he mixed spices by smell to sate his nostalgia.

Emanuel comes from a family of photographers. Soon enough, the two worlds collided and Emanuel found his way into the field of food photography. Finding commercial success required leveraging food to elicit emotions like desire, FOMO, or comfort. But his new project does just the opposite. 

Faber holding a mic during one of her comedy sets.
Courtesy of Lauren Faber

To be fair, Lauren Faber had one good shrink back in Philadelphia. Up until then, the 2016 Carolina’s Funniest Comic wondered why none of her friends would take her trauma seriously. That psychologist trained Faber to stop smiling while sharing painful stories. But 20 years of off-and-on therapy has left her wondering if counseling is a good fit.
 

Chart showing major food groups.
National Archives, photo 44-PA-798B

Industrialization introduced a new system for how Americans produce and consume food. During the 19th century, people left farms to work in factories. Those factories created high-calorie, low-quality food, which was distributed nationally through the advent of canning and refrigerated rail cars. Low-wage workers were essential to keeping prices low.

The members of the group.
Courtesy of The Triangle Jewish Chorale.

The Triangle Jewish Chorale brings Jewish and gentile singers together to celebrate the rich history and heritage of Jewish and “Jewishly-inspired” music.

DeVos speaking at a lecturn.
Gage Skidmore/ Creative Commons

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos was forced to cancel nearly $11 million in student loans after a national chain of for-profit colleges experienced accreditation problems and eventually closed several campuses.

Adhiti Bandlamudi

 

‘Tis the season for good food, celebration, and gratitude. But between carving the turkey and passing the cranberry sauce, some families are still harboring hurt, anger and resentment from events past. In hopes of salvaging this year’s festivities, host Anita Rao is joined by a team of experts who deconstruct forgiveness: how to do it, and how the act may impact your health. 

Photo of free agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick
AP Photo/Todd Kirkland

During the 2016 NFL season, Colin Kaepernick kneeled during the pregame national anthem to take a stand against police brutality and racial inequality. His actions set off a heated debate, and as the NFL made their position about athlete protest more clear, Kaepernick’s future with the league got increasingly murky. 

Edward Neuwirth

As a child, Brandi Neuwirth remembers family chatter about her great-great-grandfather owning a school in North Carolina. But she was young and North Carolina seemed a world away from the life she lived in New York City. Her great-great-grandfather the Rev. Morgan Latta had a vision of a school that would educate the children of freed slaves.

Gordon Sondland's face in focus, with his nameplate reading 'Ambassador Sondland' out of focus in front of him.
Andrew Harnik / AP

This week’s impeachment hearings featured bombshell testimony, but is it reliable? Gordon Sondland, the U.S. Ambassador to the European Union, testified Wednesday and confirmed a quid pro quo with Ukrainian leaders —  a meeting with President Donald Trump in exchange for investigations into the president’s political rivals.

Courtesy of Maggie West

Racialized housing policies were in place in many U.S. cities for most of the 20th century, and the legacy persists. Redlining, urban renewal and an array of other policies shaped wealth and demographic patterns that inform how today’s cities look and run. Statistics paint a stark picture, but artists and scholars have also taken on the charge of humanizing the story.

City council members.
Max Cooper / Courtesy of the Asheville Blade

The people of Asheville successfully fought against an effort from the North Carolina state legislature to change how the city’s local elections were run.

Fred Rogers was an awkward, introverted child who spent his early years playing alone with puppets, tinkering on the piano and enjoying the company of his grandfather. While most people age out of the pain of their youth, Rogers translated those memories into lessons and stories that touched the hearts and minds of a generation of children.

R.A. Fountain

A.R. “Archie” Ammons never wanted to be called a Southern writer. Raised in rural Columbus County, Ammons wrote reverent poems about a Depression-era landscape of tired mules and empty tobacco barns, touting his bootstraps’ ascent to literary fame. Yet he bemoaned the South as uneducated and chose to spend most of his adult life teaching and living in upstate New York.

Santibanez pumping up one of his teams.
Courtesy of Jose Santibanez

As a kid, Jose Santibanez showed up at school every day not to learn, but to play soccer. He was undocumented and struggled to motivate himself, despite his intellect.

The State of Things is dancing our way to the next Movies on the Radio. Film experts Laura Boyes and Marsha Gordon will talk about your favorite dance movies, from “Singin’ in the Rain” to “You Got Served.”

Warning: This film is not fiction. It is the shocking truth about the coming apocalypse and the events that have led up to it.
Drift Distribution

Who really killed JFK? Why does the water taste funny? What goes on at Area 51? Paranoia is justified in movie classics about nefarious plots reaching to the highest levels of government, church or corporation. Many are allegories, others play upon our wildest fantasies, while some are true-to-life depictions of historical events.

A pile of rubble behind a sign for cottage rentals
Connie Leinbach / Ocracoke Observer

Nearly 10 weeks after Hurricane Dorian struck North Carolina’s coast, Ocracoke Island is still under an evacuation order blocking visitors and tourism. On Monday, Nov. 11, the Hyde County Board of Commissioners agreed to allow visitors starting Nov. 22, which is the same day the island’s main road is expected to reopen. 

Rowdy performing in front of the Washington monument.
Courtesy of Mark Katz

The U.S. Department of State has a long history of utilizing cultural “people-to-people” diplomacy to advance national interests. One of those programs sends hip-hop artists all over the world to engage in artistic exchange.

Cover of 'The Last House Guest'
Simon & Schuster

Avery Greer knows what it is like to feel like a suspect in her own town. Greer, the central character in Megan Miranda’s new novel, lives in a coastal community in Maine, and when her best friend commits suicide, some people begin to suspect she had something to do with the death.

She eventually uncovers a critical clue that could counter the police narrative, and starts on a quest to clear her name and seek justice for her best friend.
 

black and white photo of Ricky Moore standing in front of his restaurant
Baxter Miller

Ricky Moore has been chasing taste for his entire life. He moved around a lot as a child because of his father’s military career, but when he was 11, his family settled back to Eastern North Carolina, in New Bern. He was surrounded by family, friends and country cooking.

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