Susan Davis

Producer, The State of Things

Is America still the land of opportunity? Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist Hedrick Smith takes on that question in his new book,

“Who Stole the American Dream?” (Random House/2012). His answer is a flat, “no,” but the reasons are not so simple. From the introduction of the 401k to the deregulation of banks, Hedrick Smith joins host Frank Stasio to explain the loss of America’s prosperity

There’s a scene in Walter Bennett’s new novel "Leaving Tuscaloosa" (Fuze Publishing/2012) that will send chills down your spine. It’s 1962 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and a group of young white men ride through the African-American part of town throwing eggs and hurling racial taunts. The scene is based on an experience from Walter Bennett’s adolescence and it still bothers him.

How much influence does a first lady have on the president? According to historian William Chafe, in the case of Bill and Hillary Clinton the answer is: an incalculable amount. In his new book, "Bill and Hillary: The Politics of the Personal"

Before Allan Gurganus’s debut novel, "Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All," (Vintage/1984) spent eight months on the New York Times bestseller list, he was a kid from Rocky Mount who wanted to be a painter.

Heist

Oct 5, 2012

President Obama and Mitt Romney agree that the recession continues, the middle class is suffering and something should be done about the deficit.

Kate McGarry is the latest in a long line of female jazz musicians, and she doesn’t want to forget her forebears.

Her latest album, “Girl Talk” pays homage to the women who came before her. Host Frank Stasio talks to her about her music and her new album, and Kate McGarry plays live in the studio with guitarist Keith Ganz.

Joseph Bathanti was born and raised in Pittsburgh. He even went to college and graduate school there. So it's a testament to his passion for North Carolina that he was just announced as the Tar Heel state's newest poet laureate. Bathanti came to North Carolina in the late 1970s to be a VISTA volunteer.

Nathan Kotecki's first young adult novel is haunted by the moody alternative rock of the 1980s which haunted his own youth. Even though the Durham writer's book is set in the present, it's heavy on nostalgia. Kotecki says that for high school kids trying to find their identity as serious, creative types, looking backwards is the easiest way to reject the status quo. Courting the supernatural also helps. Nathan Kotecki joins host Frank Stasio to talk about his book, "The Suburban Strange" (Houghton Mifflin/2012).

Wage Theft

Sep 26, 2012

Wage theft has been called "America's silent crime wave." It’s when businesses steal from their employees through a variety of unconscionable methods. Twenty-six percent of low wage workers don't get paid the minimum wage they are entitled to by law. Seventy-six percent of the country's work force doesn't get paid for the over time they work.

More than 85 people were murdered in the Triangle and Triad regions of North Carolina last year.  You may have heard about the crimes in the news, but you probably don’t know much more than that. The National Organization of Parents of Murdered Children aims to raise awareness about these losses of life.

The Carolina Chocolate Drops famously reclaimed traditional mountain music for African-Americans. Their efforts were celebrated from Nashville to Hollywood and by the folks who give out the Grammy Awards. That legacy took on some poignancy this past year when their mentor, master fiddler Joe Thompson, passed away.

Telegraph Avenue

Sep 18, 2012

Michael Chabon famously constructs whole worlds in his novels.  From the superhero invented by Cavalier and Clay to the Yiddish State of Alaska. His new novel, “Telegraph Avenue” (Harper Collins/2012) is no exception. It conjures a Bay Area struggling with chain stores and its countercultural past. It also comes with a playlist. Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Chabon joins host Frank Stasio to talk about art, culture and the consolation of music.

Even though Wayne Holden wasn’t a natural athlete, being 6 feet, 6 inches meant that he had to play basketball in high school.  That sent him to college, which led him into psychology and working with disturbed kids. It was a career he loved, but since 2005, Holden has worked at RTI International, a global research organization.  Now he serves as RTI's CEO.  So, how did he go from the clinic to the boardroom? Holden joins host Frank Stasio to discuss his fascinating journey.

Julia Scatliff O'Grady attended several time management seminars before she started to teach them.  Neither the experience of being a student or a teacher satisfied her interest in how we use time. So she studied several people with unique relationships to time and wrote the new book, "Good Busy: Productivity, Procrastination and the Endless Pursuit of Balance"

The North Carolina delegation has a prime spot on the floor at the Democratic National Convention arena. Hosting the party's party is a big deal, and for delegates it's fun, and fascinating. We'll meet several North Carolina delegates today. Frank Stasio is joined by Andy Ball, Nick Carpenter, Margaret Katherine Alexander and Sam Spencer.

The Youth Vote

Sep 5, 2012

Young people helped Barak Obama secure the presidency in 2008.  The question is: will they do it again? At Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, they hosted a cyber summit called U-FUTURE directly aimed at empowering young people to participate in the electoral process. Host Frank Stasio is joined by JCS President Ronald Carter, North Carolina State Senator Malcolm Graham and students Michael Jordan and Lauren Simmons.

There are many ways technology aids in the prevention of crime, but Elon University Law Professor Michael Rich has pondered how far should those methods go. What if software, computers and other digital equipment could actually prevent behavior leading up to a criminal act? Rich joins host Frank Stasio to talk about the social and moral implications of using technology at the risk of impeding on free will.

Meet Jon Powell

Aug 20, 2012

Growing up in Garner, Jon Powell stayed out of trouble.  His first encounter with the criminal justice system was as an attorney representing kids. The same kids, over and over again. After a while, his faith in the juvenile justice system to rehabilitate offenders was so low he turned to his religious faith to find a new path.

"The Jew Store" (Algonquin Books/1998) is Stella Suberman's bestselling memoir about growing up in a small town in Tennessee where her parents ran the dry goods market. The Great Depression sent Suberman's family back to New York and eventually to Miami where she found a larger community of Jews including her future husband. Her subsequent two books, including her latest, "The GI Bill Boys" (University of Tenneesee Press/2012), chronicle the better part of the 20th century. The Chapel Hill-based author joins host Frank Stasio to talk about her life’s journey.

Cheese, Please

Aug 2, 2012

Everything's better with cheese on it. Just ask the thousands of people gathered in Raleigh this week for the 29th annual conference of the American Cheese Society. Activities include a keynote address by author Temple Grandin,

African-American kinship often starts with slavery, an institution built on human trafficking – the buying and selling of people as if they were commodities.  The tearing apart of family was part of the violence of slavery and the constant threat of separation from your family was another kind of violence all its own. Historian Heather Williams studies the effects and after effects of slavery.

Audio Pending...

Alexandra Fuller's first book, "Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight" (Random House/2001) was an international bestseller. It chronicled her childhood in colonial Africa as her family moved from impoverished farm to impoverished farm, landing in Rhodesia in time for the country’s war of independence.

Intimate Wars

Jul 24, 2012

An experience early in Merle Hoffman’s career as a counselor solidified her life’s mission.  She was asked to speak to and comfort a woman who was struggling with the decision to have an abortion. Holding that woman’s hand on that difficult day started Hoffman on the path of advocating for the reproductive rights of women everywhere.

Jay Leutze was a non-practicing lawyer writing a novel, working for the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy and minding his own business in his home in western North Carolina when he got a phone call from an impassioned and outraged 14 year old named Ashley. She and her aunt and uncle, Ollie and Curly, were sure that the new scar on a nearby mountain was a violation of the state's Ridge Act.

Businessman Kevin Trapani will tell you that his company, Redwoods Group, does well by doing good.  Redwoods Group recently won an award that validates his claim. B-Lab, an organization that certifies socially responsible companies known as B-corps, named it one of the “Best Companies for the World.”

Pages