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WUNCPolitics Podcast
WUNC

This week on the WUNCPolitics Podcast, a trip down memory lane with longtime North Carolina journalist Paul T. O'Connor.

Donald Trump Jr.
Richard Drew / AP - 2017

Senate Republican leaders unveiled the newest version of their health care bill intended to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. The new bill differs from the Senate’s last attempt in a few significant ways, namely a resurrection of two Obama-era taxes on high-income individuals. 

Woman's hand gesturing 'no'
Robert Couse-Baker / Flickr - Creative Commons

The 1979 North Carolina Supreme Court ruling in State v. Way declared that women cannot legally revoke consent during a sexual encounter. 

Lizzy Ross and Omar Ruiz-Lopez
Violet Bell

Last year Omar Ruiz-Lopez began playing alongside songstress Lizzy Ross. Ruiz-Lopez is a classically trained violinist, viola and cello player who complements her folksy sound. As their collaboration grew, he became more than just an accompanist, and the duo became known as Violet Bell.

The band has since performed about 200 shows together and recently returned from a tour that took them from the Outer Banks to Massachusetts. Their songs reflect the beauty they find all around them and their sense of wonder and gratitude. 

Supreme Court building, Washington, DC, USA. Front facade.
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Daderot

Elected officials in North Carolina violated the constitution by opening meetings with Christian prayers and inviting audience members to join, a federal appeals court ruled Friday in a closely watched case likely headed for the U.S. Supreme Court.

Hemp plant
Steve p2008 / Flickr - Creative Commons

Cannabis has historically been a taboo subject in North Carolina, but this year, that may be beginning to change thanks to a new law supporting a pilot program for industrial hemp farming.

Interstate 95 sign
Sebastian Fuss / Flickr, Creative Commons, https://flic.kr/p/bLjiCK

Several miles of a major north-south artery in North Carolina will be at least partially closed for several weeks so a contractor can repair a bridge damaged by flooding.

exterior of the NC State Legislature
Jeff Tiberii / WUNC

This week in state politics, Gov. Roy Cooper's veto of legislation that would make casino nights and some raffles already run by nonprofits officially legitimate; a budget shortfall of more than $1 billion beginning in 2020; and public financing for private sports entities. Also, is the brunch bill getting too much attention in the media?

Duke Energy's coal-burning plant and the adjacent coal ash ponds by the Dan River.
Riverkeeper Foundation

As a Democratic gubernatorial candidate last fall, Roy Cooper blasted his Republican opponent for adopting a more lenient standard than what's recommended by North Carolina's health agency for cancer-causing hexavalent chromium in well water.

a woman and child walking at the Duke University campus.
rmanoske / Flickr, Creative Commons, https://flic.kr/p/a8PTMJ

Non-tenure faculty at Duke University say they have tentatively agreed to a union contract. The deal would give 14 percent raises to instructors who teach on a course-by-course basis, and 12 percent to faculty on salaries. 

foster care children
Credit U.S. Navy / Wikimedia Commons

The opioid crisis continues to ravage the United States. Children of family members caught up in the epidemic face a particular set of pressures. One of the markers of that extra pressure is the steady rise in foster care rates around the country. In North Carolina the number of children in the foster care system has risen 28 percent in the past five years and is now at a 10-year high. 

Two eagles flying
Ellen Tinsley / Dreaming Song Photos

Ellen Tinsley is acutely aware of the behavior and patterns of bald eagles in North Carolina. The retired equine veterinarian is a bald eagle monitor for the United States Army Corps of Engineers. She spends most mornings at Jordan Lake tracking the behavior of Petruchio, Kate, Hershey and Godiva – eagles who have nested in the area. 

An image of the book cover for 'The Blood of Emmett Till'
Simon & Schuster

In 1955, a group of white men in the Mississippi Delta kidnapped and murdered a young boy named Emmett Till. Till was 14 years old from and was visiting relatives in Mississippi. News of the tragedy spread as Till’s murder helped spark the modern civil rights movement.

a man sitting at a video poker machine
Kent Buckingham / Flickr, Creative Commons, https://flic.kr/p/e9uEjp

Gov. Roy Cooper vetoed legislation Wednesday that would make casino nights and some raffles already run by nonprofits officially legitimate, citing worries it could cause "unintended problems" by giving a foothold to otherwise illegal video poker.

Photo: A Massachusetts voting station sign
Katri Niemi / Flickr

In July 2013, North Carolina lawmakers passed the Voter Information Verification Act – known more commonly as voter ID.  It’s a controversial law that was ultimately struck down in federal court for being unconstitutional. Nearly four years later, state legislators are now working on another voter ID bill that would be taken to voters as a constitutional amendment, according to sources.

Duke Energy's coal-burning plant and the adjacent coal ash ponds by the Dan River.
Riverkeeper Foundation

The nation's largest electric company wants regulators in North Carolina to force consumers to pay nearly $200 million a year to clean up the toxic byproducts of burning coal to generate power. That doesn't sit well with neighbors of the power plants who have been living on bottled water since toxic chemicals appeared in some of their wells.

Big Dubya / Flickr - Creative Commons

A federal voter fraud commission’s request for voter data from individual states has prompted concern from voters and politicians. The commission was formed at the behest of President Trump in reaction to claims of widespread voter fraud. In North Carolina the state elections board is facing a wave of calls from voters who want to voice opposition, or even cancel their voter registration in reaction to the federal data request.

Promotional still for the movie, 'Citizen Kane'
Alexander Kahle, RKO Radio Pictures / Wikimedia Commons

For decades, Hollywood has reigned as an industry that offers entertainment for mass audiences.

In his new book “Hollywood Aesthetic: Pleasure in American Cinema” (Oxford University Press/2017), Todd Berliner explores Hollywood as an art form that appeals to a mass audience. From “Citizen Kane” to “Starship Troopers,” filmmakers have used unique styles to construct narratives, ideologies and genres that challenge the industry’s standards.

Conservative Law Foundation / Flickr, Creative Commons, https://flic.kr/p/cerpnu

Forecasters are warning of extremely high temperatures for the rest of the week. The National Weather Service has issued a heat advisory for a large swath of central North Carolina until 7 p.m. Wednesday.

Patrick Read Johnson directs John Francis Daley through a scene
5-25-77, LLC

Growing up in the small town of Wadsworth, Illinois, Patrick Read Johnson was enthralled, some might say obsessed, with making movies. As a teenager in the 1970s, movies like “2001: A Space Odyssey” and “Jaws” inspired Johnson to make Super 8 movies with his friends in his garage, using any prop or special effect Johnson could concoct. But during a trip to Hollywood, Johnson’s life changed forever when he saw a rough cut of “Star Wars” in the spring of 1977. Johnson was blown away when the movie hit theaters, and was propelled to continue making movies.

City of Raleigh

Visitors to the Neuse River Greenway can enjoy a large field of blooming sunflowers this month. But the greenway doesn't maintain the bright field of flowers. The sunflowers are actually owned and operated by the Neuse River Resource Recovery Facility, formerly known as the wastewater treatment plant. 

A hospital that serves rural Rockingham County has filed for bankruptcy. Leaders at Morehead Memorial Hospital in Eden say competition with larger hospitals has led to a decline in the number of patients it treats. 

In this photo taken Thursday, April 20, 2017 Mark Dorosin, managing attorney at the UNC Center For Civil Rights poses for a photo in his office in Chapel Hill, N.C. The center founded at the University of North Carolina by a fearless civil rights attorney
Gerry Broome / AP

Conservatives unhappy with the work of a civil rights center at the University of North Carolina say a ban on litigation is meant to spare legal clinics while applying only to academic centers.

Donald Trump, Jr., son of Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump, speaks during the second day of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Tuesday, July 19, 2016
J. Scott Applewhite / AP

Donald Trump Jr. tweeted images of emails regarding his 2016 meeting with a Russian lawyer on Tuesday. An intermediary said he could connect Trump Jr. with people who had information "that would incriminate Hillary [Clinton]... and would be very useful to your father."

Construction worker.
Naoya Fujii / Flickr - Creative Commons

Nationally the number of people employed in middle-wage jobs rose by 6 percent between 2001 and 2015. But the numbers in North Carolina went in the other direction. 

Cori Vella poses with cupcake
Loni Lyn Price

The new play “Licked Cupcake” grapples with how organized religion influences the way young women learn about sexuality. Through a series of monologues, anecdotes and songs, characters process the formative and sometimes-shaming messages they were told in their youth about purity and sexual identity. 

Steak on a grill.
Mo Riza / Flickr - Creative Commons

When patients began showing up at hospitals with allergic reactions they believed were caused by meat, doctors were quick to dismiss their theories. But patients living in the South who were exposed to a cancer drug containing alpha-gal, a carbohydrate found in beef, pork and lamb, had similar responses. 

North Carolina legislative building
Wikimedia Commons

A domestic violence bill named for a woman who was shot and killed by her boyfriend is now law. Gov. Roy Cooper signed the measure known as Britny's Law on Tuesday.

In this photo provided by Jimmy Taylor, smoke and flames rise into the air after a military transport airplane crashed in a field near Itta Bena, Miss., on the western edge of Leflore County, Monday, July 10, 2017, killing several.
Jimmy Taylor / via AP

Updated at 8:47 a.m., July 12, 2017

With debris scattered for miles across the flat countryside of the Mississippi Delta, federal and local officials combed soybean fields for clues in a military plane crash that killed 15 Marines and a Navy sailor.

Courtesy of Mike Carraway

Residential areas in western North Carolina have seen an increase in bear activity in the past month, including some especially unusual behavior from a couple of black bears in Asheville and Cashiers. 

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